The Feldenkrais method is an education method that teaches its students how to move with less effort in order to achieve better function. It is a system of re-introducing often rarely used movement patterns in a flexible manner. Feldenkrais method also has a powerful psychological component as it involves deep trance through the teacher’s language patterns. It is used as a way to change whole person behaviour and can be helpful if used in combination with physiotherapy in the areas of pain relief and restoring normal movement. Some physiotherapists have completed post-graduate studies in Feldenkrais and now teach this method as an adjunct to their physiotherapy treatment. Feldenkrais gets its name from its originator Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, a Russian-born physicist and judo expert (1904-1984).
Rather than be viewed as a “treatment”, Feldenkrais is viewed as a “lesson” in movement. The teacher talks the student through a sequence of movements that works like a physical riddle. Each new movement is repeated and explored, and as the movements become more natural, then the student can use their enhanced body awareness to release chronic patterns of tension and create new movement possibilities.
The Feldenkrais method is divided into two areas:
- Awareness through movement – This area deals mainly with groups and begins with simple, comfortable movements which gradually become more complex. The teacher verbally guides you through a series of steps which are performed in lying, sitting or standing. One major goal is to help the student eliminate unnecessary expenditure of energy.
- Functional integration is tailored to the unique needs of the individual and teaches the student to utilise his body and behaviour in more efficient ways. The student may lie down, sit or stand, while the teacher guides his movements by touch and through verbal instruction.
There are many benefits that are believed to be gained through the Feldenkrais method including that it may:
- Help in the alleviation of chronic or acute back, neck, shoulder, hip, leg or knee pain.
- Help healthy individuals improve function and self-image.
- Help deal with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and stroke.
- Maintain or regain ease of movement in the elderly.
- Help athletes, musicians, dancers, actors and artists improve performance and enhance creativity.
- Increase vitality and relaxation.
- Improve learning in children with learning disabilities
- Improve hand strength and performance in people with hand problems.
- Ease back pain in pregnant women.
- Enhance performance in computer workers.
If you think you can benefit from this exciting method of treatment, come and see a Feldenkrais trained physiotherapist for a consultation.
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