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 thought 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. This holistic focus means that the primary intention is not to treat injuries. However, it can be used as a type of integrative medicine because correcting habitual movement patterns can help heal injury, pain, and physical dysfunction.[not in citation given]
In 2015 the Australian Government's Department of Health published the results of a review of alternative therapies that sought to determine if any were suitable for being covered by health insurance; the Feldenkrais Method was one of 17 therapies evaluated for which no clear evidence of effectiveness was found. It is not known whether the Feldenkrais method is safe or cost-effective.
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