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What Is the Feldenkrais Method?

Have you ever felt that you were losing your touch at something? Maybe your movements have become less and less productive? Learn to move with renewed purpose and understanding of your body using the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education.

The Feldenkrais Method was developed by a Russian named Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais. He was somewhat of a renaissance man being a physicist, an educator, a martial artist and a mechanical engineer. Feldenkrais was actually his own test subject for the method that bears his name. When knee injuries hindered his ability to walk, he used his knowledge to teach himself to walk again.

The Feldenkrais Method teaches you to move with purpose. Think about it. When we learn to eat, we are satisfied with getting a utensil to the mouth with food still on it. The same goes for anything else that we learn. It is just enough to learn the action but not to further perfect it. With this method, movement is combined with knowledge to make each and everything we do easier and with greater range of motion.

Range of motion is something often talked about with strength training. The muscles are challenged more when the entire muscle is engaged during the lift and the return. It takes focus to keep the tension in the muscle on the return when you want to just let it drop.

The basis of the Feldenkrais Method is to learn new ways of moving that use less energy. Who wouldn’t want to learn to do what they do more efficiently? This is one part of the equation on movement. Learning to function better within the body translates into every area of your life. This method is helpful to people who suffer from arthritis, back pain, shoulder and neck pain, knee pain and also those who are physically fit but want to be better.

The Feldenkrais Method involves two steps: Awareness Through Movement® and Functional Integration® lessons. Awareness Through Movement involves the teacher verbally instructing students on how to move their body in different ways. You begin with basic movements that you learn as a child and build upon these with increasingly more complicated movements, each requiring thought from the student.

The next step is Functional Integration. During this part of the lessons, there is a point where touch is introduced into the equation. Students are instructed to lie down on a table and perform movements with the verbal and physical assistance of the teacher. The touch is never intrusive and the teacher doesn’t push the student beyond their limits at the time. As each goal set is achieved, students gain confidence to continue.

People have learned to move without pain and to do things they haven’t done for years. The Feldenkrais Method teaches people to use their body to their fullest potential through purposeful movement.

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