The Feldenkrais technique reteaches you how to move your body. It focuses on replacing old habits with new and healthy ones. Therapy increases your flexibility, balance, and range of motion. It may also improve your emotions.
Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais studied how people moved while he was recovering from a knee injury. Feldenkrais teachers feel that poor posture and body movement reflect problems in the nervous system. Doctors or Feldenkrais teachers instruct others to use exercises to help correct these problems.
Feldenkrais practitioners believe that people develop poor habits as children and keep these patterns for life. Relearning good posture and body movements may reduce body aches and pains.
An important Feldenkrais technique is to help you become more aware of your poor habits. Once you are aware of the problem, the teacher can help you learn more effective and comfortable movements. This is done through individual and group lessons.
The group lessons are called Awareness through Movement. These simple exercise classes focus on slow, non-aerobic movements. Daily movements such as sitting, walking, and standing are taught. According to Feldenkrais, movements should be made with "minimum effort and maximum efficiency."
During the individual sessions and with your clothes on, the teacher uses touch to help you sense and improve your movements. As you are sitting, standing, or lying down, the teacher gently moves your muscles and joints. All the movements are within the normal range of motion and do not cause pain. Individual and group sessions may last 45 minutes or longer.
The Feldenkrais technique is not a treatment or cure for any single health problem. It is a supportive therapy that can help when combined with other treatments. Feldenkrais teachers believe that learning the techniques will help you recover faster from injury or illness. The technique is considered useful for all types of muscle and joint pain and nervous system problems, like multiple sclerosis (MS) or palsy and during stroke recovery. Patients with anxiety or depression may feel less anxious or depressed using the Feldenkrais technique.
Feldenkrais teachers emphasize that the techniques may improve balance, coordination, and mobility. Many dancers, athletes, and actors use the techniques to improve their skills.
For more information:
1. Inglis B & West R: The Alternative Health Guide. Alfred A. Knopf, NY, NY; 1983.
2. Kastner MA: Alternative Healing: The Complete A to Z Guide to Over 160 Different Alternative Therapies. Halcyon Publishing, La Mesa, CA; 1993.
3. Sifton DW: The PDR Family Guide to Natural Medicines and Healing Therapies. Three Rivers Press, NY, NY; 1999.
4. Woodham A & Peters D: Encyclopedia of Healing Therapies, 1st ed. Dorling Kindersley, NY, NY; 1997.