Frequently Asked Questions

Photo by Rosalie O' Connor, www.rosalieoconnor.comWhat is the Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education?

The Feldenkrais Method is a form of somatic education that uses gentle movement and directed attention to improve movement and enhance human functioning. With this Method, you can increase your range of motion, improve your flexibility and coordination, and rediscover your innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement.

By expanding the self-image through movement sequences, the Method enables you to include more of yourself in your movements. Students become aware of their habitual neuromuscular patterns and rigidities, and learn to move in new ways.

 

Who Benefits from the Feldenkrais Method?

Everyone can benefit from the Method. The Feldenkrais Method helps those experiencing chronic or acute pain of the back, neck, shoulders, hips, legs, or knees, as well as healthy individuals who wish to enhance their movement abilities. The Method has been very helpful in dealing with central nervous system conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and stroke. Musicians, actors, and artists can extend their abilities and enhance their creativity. Seniors enjoy using it to retain or regain their ability to move without strain or discomfort.

Somatic education is a "field of study dealing with somatic phenomena: i.e., the human being as experienced by him/herself from the inside.
—Thomas Hanna, Ph.D., philosopher, Feldenkrais practitioner

 

What Happens in a Feldenkrais Method Session?

In the group setting of Awareness Through Movement® lessons, the Feldenkrais® teacher verbally leads you through a sequence of movements in basic positions: sitting or lying on the floor, sitting in a chair or standing. These precisely structured movement explorations involve thinking, sensing, moving, feeling, and imagining. By increasing awareness, you will learn to abandon habitual patterns of movement and develop new alternatives, resulting in improved flexibility and coordination. Many lessons are based on developmental movements and ordinary functional activities (reaching, standing, lying to sitting, looking behind yourself, etc.). Some are based on more abstract explorations of joint, muscle, and postural relationships. There are hundreds of ATM lessons, varying in difficulty and complexity, for all levels of movement ability. A lesson generally lasts from 30 to 60 minutes.

Private Feldenkrais lessons, called Functional Integration® lessons, are tailored to each student's individual learning needs. The teacher guides your movements through gentle non-invasive touching and words. The student is fully clothed, lying on a table, or in a sitting or standing position. At times, various props (pillows, rollers, blankets) are used in an effort to support the student, or to facilitate certain movements. The learning process is carried out without the use of any invasive or forceful procedure.

 

How Does the Feldenkrais Method Differ from Massage and Chiropractic?

While all of these practices touch people, the Feldenkrais Method is very different. In massage, the practitioner is working directly with the muscles, in chiropractic, with the bones. These are structural approaches that seek to affect change through changes in structure (muscles and spine). The Feldenkrais Method works with your ability to regulate and coordinate your movement, which means working with the nervous system and the whole person.


How are Feldenkrais Practitioners Trained?

All Feldenkrais practitioners must complete 740-800 hours of training over a 3 to 4 year period. Practice of skills, readings and assigned projects are completed in addition to training hours. Trainees participate in Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration lessons, lectures, discussions, group process, and observe archival videos of Dr. Feldenkrais teaching. Newtonian mechanics, physics, neurophysiology, human movement development, biology, and learning theories are components of the training programs. Practitioners are certified by the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America and are required to upgrade professional skills formally each year.