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The Feldenkrais Method, often referred to simply as "Feldenkrais", is a somatic educational system designed by Moshé Feldenkrais (1904–1984). It is a methodical approach to bring about an improved interplay of our body, "The vehicle of our intentions" and our "processor", the brain. It is education via the central nervous system. It engenders improved physical function and promotes general wellbeing by increasing students' awareness of themselves while expanding students' movement repertoire. Students sometimes notice reduced pain or fewer limitations in movement.
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, like the Alexander Technique, is therefore a movement pedagogy as opposed to a manipulative therapy. The Method is experiential, providing tools for self-observation through movement enquiry.
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 falling 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. The review concluded that the emerging evidence at that time was "encouraging" but "by no means compelling".
Certification by Feldenkrais Guild
To obtain the qualification of Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner (CFP), Feldenkrais teachers complete 740–800 hours of training over a 3 to 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.
Some of Moshe's students went on to develop their own methods, deriving their approach on the fundamentals of the Feldenkrais Method. Listed are a few of those methods:
Shelhav-Child'Space Method - Developed by Dr. Chava Shelhav. The method focuses on supporting and enriching the development of infants and toddlers from birth to walking and jumping, integrating the parents in the process of observing and nurturing their infant's developmental needs.
- Herman, Carla J.; Allen, Peg; Hunt, William C.; Prasad, Arti; Brady, Teresa J. (2004). "Use of Complementary Therapies Among Primary Care Clinic Patients With Arthritis". Preventing Chronic Disease 1 (4): A12. PMC 1277952. PMID 15670444.
- Ernst, E.; Canter, P. H. (2005). "The Feldenkrais Method - A Systematic Review of Randomised Clinical Trials". Physikalische Medizin, Rehabilitationsmedizin, Kurortmedizin 15 (3): 151–6. doi:10.1055/s-2004-834763.
- International Feldenkrais Federation list of guilds
- Feldenkrais, Moshé (1991). Awareness Through Movement. London: Thorsons. ISBN 0062503227.
- Feldenkrais, Moshé (1981). The Elusive Obvious. Cupertino, Calif.: Meta Publications. ISBN 0-916990-09-5.
- Feldenkrais, Moshé (2006). The Potent Self: A Study of Spontaneity and Compulsion. Berkeley, Calif.: Frog Publications. ISBN 1-58394-068-5.
- Feldenkrais, Moshé (2005). Body and Mature Behaviour: a study of anxiety, sex, gravitation and learning. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books U.S. ISBN 1-58394-068-5.
- Beringer, Elizabeth (2010). Embodied Wisdom: The Collected Papers of Moshé Feldenkrais. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books U.S. ISBN 1556439067.
- Rywerant, Yochanan (2002). The Feldenkrais Method: Teaching by Handling. Basic Health Publications. ISBN 1591200229.
- Alon, Ruthy (1996). Mindful Sponaneity: Lessons in the Feldenkrais Method. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books U.S. ISBN 1556431856.