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The Feldenkrais Method, often referred to simply as "Feldenkrais", is a somatic educational system designed by Moshé Feldenkrais (1904–1984). Feldenkrais aims to reduce pain or limitations in movement, to improve physical function, and to promote general wellbeing by increasing students' awareness of themselves and by expanding students' movement repertoire.
Feldenkrais taught that increasing a person's kinesthetic and proprioceptive self-awareness of functional movement could lead to increased function, reduced pain, and greater ease and pleasure of movement. The Feldenkrais Method is therefore a movement pedagogy, similar to the Alexander Technique in being educational and not a form of manipulative therapy. The Method is experiential, providing tools for self-observation through movement enquiry.
The practitioner directs attention to habitual movement patterns which are inefficient or strained, and teaches new patterns using gentle, slow, repeated movements. Slow repetition is believed to be necessary to impart a new habit and allow it to begin to feel normal. These movements may be passive (performed by the practitioner on the recipient's body) or active (performed by the recipient). The recipient is fully clothed.
Feldenkrais is used to improve movement patterns rather than to treat specific injuries or illnesses. However, because habitual and repetitive movement patterns can contribute towards and in some cases cause injury, pain, and physical dysfunction, the method is often regarded as being within the field of integrative medicine or complementary medicine.
In 2005 a systematic review of randomized controlled trials found six published trials of the Feldenkrais Method, which addressed varied populations and interventions. Of the six trials, five reported positive benefits, and one reported no change. Indications were for multiple sclerosis, and neck, shoulder, and back complaints. The review concluded that the emerging evidence at that time was "encouraging" but "by no means compelling," due to study design flaws.
Certification by Feldenkrais Guild
To obtain the qualification of Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner (CFP), Feldenkrais teachers complete 800 hours of training over a 4 year period. Professional standards are set internationally by the International Feldenkrais Federation. Feldenkrais practitioners are certified by a regional Feldenkrais Guild in one of seventeen countries, and each guild maintains lists of practitioners.
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- International Feldenkrais Federation list of guilds
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