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Information about the Feldenkrais Method and Feldenkrais Practitioners
Information and benefits of Feldenkrais as a complementary therapy Feldenkrais is a form of movement therapy designed to isolate separate muscles and muscle groups and thereby promoting flexibility, releasing tension, and enhance balance
The Feldenkrais method was invented by Moshe Feldenkrais an Israeli physicist as a way of retraining the body. After suffering a serious knee injury he found the chance of full recovery offered by the convential treatments suggested to be very slim. Using his vast experience as a physicist, judo expert, mechanical engineer and educator, he developed a system of therapeutic exercise movements based on an understanding of human physiology and the connection between mind and body.
treatment.....

Feldenkrais Method and Feldenkrais Practitioners information and what to expect from therapy

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Feldenkrais Method and Feldenkrais Practitioners

What is Feldenkrais?

Feldenkrais is a form of movement therapy designed to isolate separate muscles and muscle groups and thereby promoting flexibility, releasing tension, and enhance balance
The Feldenkrais method was invented by Moshe Feldenkrais an Israeli physicist as a way of retraining the body. After suffering a serious knee injury he found the chance of full recovery offered by the convential treatments suggested to be very slim. Using his vast experience as a physicist, judo expert, mechanical engineer and educator, he developed a system of therapeutic exercise movements based on an understanding of human physiology and the connection between mind and body.

What is the Feldekrais Method
The Feldenkrais Method is a "movement re-educational system" designed by Moshé Feldenkrais (1904–1984) an Israeli physicist, judo expert, mechanical engineer and educator.After suffering a serious sports injury he decided that rather than undergo surgery, he would explore alternatives and created his own form of rehabilitation integrating physiology, anatomy, martial arts, psychology, and neurology.
The Feldenkrais method is designed to improve a persons movement repertoire, with the aim of expanding and refining the use of the self, through awareness, in order to improve and correct any limitations in movement, reduce pain and promote general well-being. The Feldenkrais Method is accepted as falling within the areas of alternative medicine or complementary medicine
.
Feldenkrais aims to treat the whole person, recognising both the importance of proper breathing to movement and the way that a person speaks, moves, and thinks is based on the self-image that person may have developed over the years. In order to change the way we move and carry ourselves, we also have to change how we see ourselves.
Feldenkrais practitioners use gentle movement and focus on increasing the ease and range of motion, improving flexibility and coordination which ultimately rediscovers our innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement.

 

"Without movement life is unthinkable."

"Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself."

Moshe Feldenkrais



Feldenkrais Treatment - What to expect
Feldenkrais work is practiced either in groups or with individuals.
A feature of Feldenkrais treatment (in whichever form) is the emphasis on doing movements very slowly and gently, this is essential for breaking out of ingrained movement patterns and learning new ones. The emphasis on slow movement makes it ideal for older people or those in chronic pain. All practitioners are trained to have a sensitive touch and to feel how your skeleton is reacting and moving, and what your muscles are doing. This enables them to guide your body how to discover ways to move more easily.

Group sessions - ATM (Awareness Through Movement) involve verbal instruction by a Feldenkrais teacher who directs a series of movements with the clients sitting, lying on the floor, or standing (fully clothed). Lessons generally last from 30 to 60 minutes and consists of comfortable, easy movements that gradually evolve into different body positions with a greater range and complexity. The emphasis will be on learning which movements work better for you functionally and noticing the quality of positive changes to your body. Many of these movements are based on ordinary functional activities we are used to and occur during normal human development (reaching, standing, lying to sitting upright, looking behind yourself, etc.), there are also some based on more specific explorations of joint, muscle, and postural dynamics. There are hundreds of ATM lessons, varying in difficulty and complexity, designed for all levels of ability.

Individual sessions -
These are known as Functional Integration (FI) - and are performed with the patient fully clothed, often lying on a table or in a seated or standing position. At times, various props (pillows, rollers, blankets) may used to support posture or facilitate movements in patients who may have limitations. Through gentle touch and a series of guided movements, a practitioner will develop lessons that are tailored to a patient’s unique structural needs with the goal of expanding flexibility and coordination.

Treatments do not require you to burn up a lot of energy through heavy exercise. Feldenkrais is not an exercise routine, though often some Feldenkrais principles can be incorporated into exercise routines (including yoga/pilates/weight training/sports etc.). Sessions will involve gentle movements (interspersed with resting periods) where awareness is the goal not calorie burn off.

Often you are encouraged to monitor your breathing and always to monitor how comfortable you are - comfort is considered the way to learn - pain is not a requirement in this Method.

You may find yourself doing activities such as rolling your head, or lifting a leg or even working out how to roll over easily!
The Feldenkrais method is gentle, non-invasive and does not force individuals through any movement they cannot do. There are very few if any instances where treatment should be avoided. Patients experiencing intense pain, recent burns, active infection or skin irritation that could make any movement difficult will prompt practitioners to postpone any sessions until the condition subsides.

 

Feldenkrais Therapy Techniques

Awareness Through Movement (ATM)

ATM is usually group instruction.
Feldenkrais gave the name "Awareness Through Movement" to a series of demonstrations he devised as he was learning to walk normally with a seriously damaged knee. His lessons were intended to provide concrete directions for attending to and learning about the physical experience associated with the movements. The goal was to increase the clients' awareness of the mechanical details and the sensation, opening the possibility of actively choosing new patterns of movement. Feldenkrais taught that changes in our ability to move are inseparable from changes in our conscious perception of ourselves. He believed that changes in the physical experience could be described as changes in our internal self image, he felt that activity in the motor cortex played a key role in the sense of body position. His aim was to clarify and work therapeutically with this relationship, using instructions that involved both specific movement methods and invitations to introspection.
Awareness Through Movement group classes - Led by a teacher, are classes increase mobility and help replace old patterns of movement with new, improving breathing and blood circulation. Classes are popular with actors, musicians, and dancers.


The group technique (Awareness Through Movement) was created to produce the effect of the manipulative teaching in the greatest number of people. (The word teaching indicates that the changes in the self-image are produced by the pupil, through becoming aware of his changed body image.)

From Moshe Feldenkrais, “Body and Mind”, 1980:

 

Functional Integration (FI)
FI - one-to-one sessions, using touch and tissue manipulation, where the practitioner actively involves the client's body in various movements tailored to individual needs.
In a Functional Integration lesson a trained practitioner uses his or her hands to guide the movement of a single client, who may be sitting, lying or standing (fully clothed). The practitioner uses this "hands-on" technique to help the student experience the connections among various parts of the body (this can be with or without movement). Through precision of touch and movement, the client learns how to eliminate excess effort and thus move more freely and easily. Lessons can be specific in addressing particular issues experienced by the client, or it can be more global in its application. Although the technique does not specifically aim to eliminate pain or cure physical complaints, such requirements can help to decide the lessons approach and content. Issues such as chronic muscle pain can eventually resolve themselves as the client may learn a more relaxed approach to his or her physical experience of this newly acquired more integrated, free, and easy way to move.

The manipulative technique is necessarily individual and custom tailored to fit the particular needs of the person.

From Moshe Feldenkrais, “Body and Mind”, 1980:

 

Some Benefits of Feldenkrais Therapy.
Feldenkrais therapy offers options for new ways of moving that are healthier for your body it can reduce aches and pains, instill greater freedom of movement,
improve relaxation response, improve breathing and improve sleep patterns, provide relief from the effects of stress and create greater awareness of comfortable and efficient posture.

Some specific problems that can be improved by Feldenkrais Therapy

  • Sports injuries - It can be good for people recovering from an injury, teaching them a better way to that does not aggravate the injury
  • People with chronic or persistent pain in muscles or joints, or suffering from headaches.
  • Neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's benefit by improving coordination, ease of movement, improved stamina and stability.
  • Repetitive strain injuries.
  • Patients recovering from surgery
  • Performance enhancement for dancers, actors, athletes, musicians, martial artists and other performers, helping toprevent injuries.
  • People wishing to stay active and flexible as they age. Loss of function, stooped posture and restricted movement are often viewed as some inevitable products of aging. Feldenkrais lessons can help to arrest or even recover these lost functions.

The exercises can re-educate the brain and nervous system to develop new ways of moving and perceiving the body, as well as elevating mood and increasing overall feelings of well-being.

Background
Moshé Feldenkrais believed that health is founded on good function. He asserted that his method of body/mind exploration improved functioning (health) by making individuals more aware: "What I am after is more flexible minds, not just more flexible bodies". The Feldenkrais Method tends towards being a form of self-education and mind-body development, rather than a manipulative therapy. Feldenkrais' approach was essentially experiential, grounded in tools of self-discovery and movement enquiry and his approach was somatic, which means that it sees the mind and body as one whole.

Feldenkrais' background as a physicist, engineer and judo master deeply informed his research. Major influences on Feldenkrais' work include Fechner, Gerda Alexander, Elsa Gindler, Kano, Gurdjieff, Coué, Bates, Jacoby, Todd, and F. Matthias Alexander, all of whom were concerned with awareness and education.

 

Read much more about the Feldenkrais Method in one of these excellent books.....

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