The Feldenkrais Method®

The Feldenkrais Method® of Functional Integration™ was developed more than 50 years ago by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais as a method for teaching neural relearning and repatterning to individuals. The first Westerner to obtain a black belt in judo and a rigorously trained physicist who was associated with Joliot-Curie, Feldenkrais was fascinated by the physiological and psychological functioning of human beings. His studies included neurophysiology, anthropology, developmental psychology, and anatomy. Feldenkrais lectured at Tel Aviv University, held six patents, and authored 14 books and numerous articles. He taught his method to students from all over the world, including Sheryl Field, the Executive Director of the Field Center.

The basis of the Feldenkrais method is that motor function will improve, often dramatically, if the brain is provided with appropriate sensory information about alternative movements. A newborn infant learns how to move by spontaneously trying many movement patterns, absorbing the sensory information resulting from those movements, and making new neuronal connections that allow more complex and efficient movements.

A Feldenkrais practitioner uses hands-on contact to gently stimulate the muscles, joints, and ligaments of the child in patterns that suggest organization during normal voluntary movements. The sensory information is used by the child’s nervous system to establish new connections in such a way that the child can generate movements voluntarily. For children with developmental difficulties, the practitioner is in essence providing the sensory feedback or environment that would have normally arisen from the child’s own movements. The improvements in the child’s motor repertoire often seem miraculous.