INTEGRATED HEALING ARTS
The Peninsula's Premier Complementary Healing Organization
The Feldenkrais® Method is a unique blend of science and aesthetics. It is an innovative mind/body-oriented approach that enhances the ability of human beings to learn, change and improve throughout their lives.
Moshe Feldenkrais Ph.D. (1904-1984), a physicist, engineer, martial artist (one time world Judo champion) and educator, developed the Method by studying the direct relationship between bodily movement and the ways we think, feel, learn and act in the world.
A major focus of the Method is creating an environment where the individual learns how to use his or her whole body effectively to cooperate in a smooth and fluid movement, rather than repeatedly straining particular regions of the body. This can be done by extraordinarily subtle and gentle movement which can result in remarkable transformations.
People find the work effective for many reasons including: injury prevention, mobility improvement, pain reduction, performance and creativity enhancement. Everyone can benefit from this work. Interestingly, a person with severe neurologically based movement difficulty and a professional athlete can learn to function better with the same practices.
This can occur because the movements are designed to revive sensory acuity and to initially proceed slow enough to give the central nervous system an opportunity to create new pathways. Normally, we have a tendency to try to learn a new function too quickly, resulting in retracing old pathways in the nervous system. Therefore, we continue to carry old patterns into the learning of a new function. In addition, recent research has shown the importance of introducing novel information to enhance the plasticity of the nervous system, i.e. learning. This indicates something initially found to enhance learning done repeatedly can actually dull learning. Therefore, it is important to continue to introduce novel situations to heighten learning. Feldenkrais realized the importance of this information long before research supported this knowledge. He designed over a thousand movement lessons in various configurations and orientations to continue to enhance the learning process and increase the individuals chances to respond appropriately to new and unique situations.
There are two forms of the Method: Awareness through Movement group lessons and Functional Integration private hands-on lessons. Awareness though Movement classes consist of group lessons in which the students exploring movement sequences follow the verbal directions of the instructor. The lessons begin with comfortable easy movements that gradually progress into movements of greater range and complexity. The movements not only develop awareness, but also flexibility and coordination. By the end of the lesson, you may feel light, playful, joyful and/or a new found freedom in the expression of your movement.
Functional Integration is a gentle, yet very informative, hands-on technique. Changes are promoted in the individuals body organization by instructive touch and verbal cues, enhancing the efficiency, coordination and ease of movement. The individual forms a more complete image of movement on a neuromuscular level that allows him or her to become aware of new options of movement.
Both these approaches are designed to help the individual realize and/or inhibit old patterns of movement (which can maintain pain and dysfunction) and develop new alternatives for movement. As a result, muscular stress is reduced and sensitivity is heightened which allow for greater choice in all aspects of our life. When we become aware of what we do, we are open to change and can choose our ways of taking action in the world.
Feldenkrais® practitioners at IHA:
Jean Elvin 650-796-4847