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Monday, October 10, 2011

How is Feldenkrais different from other modalities?

The purpose of the material below is to address in a simple way questions people often ask me about the Feldenkrais Method -- it looks at a few basic elements of form, and does not touch on philosophy, function, or the endless list of possible comparatives. The material is a synthesis of existing information and my own thoughts.  I hope the reader will take these brief paragraphs in the spirit in which they are meant.  Thanks! Carole

Awareness Through Movement® and Functional Integration®

The basis of the Feldenkrais Method is about learning in the body and the nervous system — learning that happens profoundly through your own experience, while doing gentle, guided, non-habitual movement sequences. As you direct your attention to sense and feel yourself in movement, your brain understands at a deep level that it is no longer limited by habits. The body and mind learn to release and connect more deeply; new patterns of thinking, feeling and movement emerge that can be used at any age and in every activity.

How Feldenkrais is different than…

· Yoga: The Feldenkrais Method is focused on movement, function and individual, dynamic organization, i.e., each person discovering their own most efficient and comfortable way to accomplish the action required in each moment. Yoga focuses on perfecting specific positions or static poses that everyone seeks to perform or hold in the same, ideal way.

· T’ai Chi: Feldenkrais, though similar to T’ai Chi in focusing on movement with the whole self, builds up incrementally to a refined quality of movement using simple, developmentally oriented steps. Each person performs Feldenkrais movements differently, according to capacity and physical condition; i.e., there is no form. T’ai Chi movements are precise forms that are learned in whole, and are performed in the the same by everyone.

· Pilates: Feldenkrais is similar to Pilates, being concerned with physical coordination and organization; it differs by being oriented toward efficient, easy and reversible movement and not only building strength. Your body is the only equipment you need for Feldenkrais.

How is Feldenkrais different from physical therapy?

The Feldenkrais Method centers on helping students study their existing movement patterns and re-learn the transmission of movement throughout their whole body, while minimizing unnecessary muscular contraction and tension. Examining movement in all parts of the body and its effect on all other parts, supports the development of stable, comfortable and efficient action and movement. Physical therapy targets specific muscles or muscle groups that are isolated from the rest of the body for repair and/or strengthening.

How is Feldenkrais different from chiropractic?

Feldenkrais lessons do not adjust or manipulate bones per se. Instead, lessons present new movement patterns and possibilities to your nervous system that safely help you regulate your own movement choices--both consciously and subconsciously. Chiropractic manipulates bones directly; but because muscles pull bones out of alignment, if new movement patterns aren’t presented, your muscles return to their old patterns, despite numerous skeletal adjustments--and the sequence of events causing misalignment begins anew.

Carole Bucher, BA, GCFP/T