Feldenkrais Method

The Feldenkrais Method is a type of exercise therapy devised by Israeli Moshé Feldenkrais (1904–1984) during the mid-20th century. The method is claimed to reorganize connections between the brain and body and so improve body movement and psychological state.[1]

There is no good medical evidence that the Feldenkrais method confers any health benefits. It is not known if it is safe or cost-effective,[2] but researchers do not believe it poses serious risks.[3]

Effectiveness and reception

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.[2] Accordingly in 2017 the Australian government identified the Feldenkrais Method as a practice that would not qualify for insurance subsidy, saying this step would "ensure taxpayer funds are expended appropriately and not directed to therapies lacking evidence".[4]

There is limited evidence that workplace-based use of the Feldenkrais Method may help aid rehabilitation of people with upper limb complaints.[5]

David Gorski has written that the Method bears similarities to faith healing, is like "glorified yoga", and that it "borders on quackery".[6]


The Feldenkrais Method is a type of alternative exercise therapy that proponents claim can repair impaired connections between the motor cortex and the body, so benefiting the quality of body movement and improving wellbeing.[1] The Feldenkrais Guild of North America claims that the Feldenkrais method allows people to "rediscover [their] innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement" and that "These improvements will often generalize to enhance functioning in other aspects of [their] life".[6] Proponents claim that the Feldenkrais Method can benefit people with a number of medical conditions, including children with autism, and people with multiple sclerosis.[7][8]

In a session, a Feldenkrais practitioner directs attention to habitual movement patterns that are thought to be inefficient or strained, and attempts to teach new patterns using gentle, slow, repeated movements.[9] Slow repetition is believed to be necessary to impart a new habit and allow it to begin to feel normal.[10] 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.[9]

Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement Lesson
Students at the San Francisco Feldenkrais Practitioner Training doing an Awareness Through Movement lesson (1975)


Similar to some other somatic methods, such as those started by F. Matthias Alexander, Elsa Gindler, and Gerda Alexander, the Feldenkrais Method originated in the efforts of its founder to work with his own bodily problem.[11] In the case of Moshé Feldenkrais, it was a chronically injured knee.

Feldenkrais first injured his knee while playing soccer in British-controlled Palestine in the 1920s.[12]:82 He reinjured it while negotiating the slippery decks of submarines while working as a scientist at the British Naval station at Fairlie, North Ayrshire, Scotland during the Second World War.[13]

By that time Feldenkrais was a judo teacher and had mostly completed the work toward a D.Sc. under the guidance of Nobel laureate Frédéric Joliot-Curie.[12]:208 Facing the prospect of a surgery that could leave him with a life-long limp, Feldenkrais decided to apply the knowledge gained from his study of physics, engineering, and martial arts to an intensive self-study of his own movement habits. When his work provided him with relief, allowing him to avoid the knee surgery, he began exploring the methods he developed on himself with a small group of people at Fairlie, including scientific colleague John Desmond Bernal and John Boyd-Orr, Nobel laureate and first president of the World Academy of Art and Science.[14]

After serving as head of electronic engineering for the Israeli Army in newly formed Israel from 1951 to 1953, Feldenkrais devoted the rest of his life, from age 50 onward, to developing and teaching self-awareness through movement lessons.[15][16]

From the 1950s till his death in 1984, he taught continuously in his home city of Tel Aviv. Feldenkrais gained recognition in part through media accounts of his work with prominent individuals, including Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.[17][18] Beginning in the late 1950s, Feldenkrais made trips to teach in Europe and America. Several hundred people became certified Feldenkrais practitioners through trainings he held in San Francisco from 1975 to 1978 and in Amherst, Massachusetts from 1980 to 1984.[19] Anticipating the need for an institutional structure to carry on his teaching, he helped found the Feldenkrais Guild of North America in 1977.[20]

Feldenkrais developed the conceptual framework of his method in part through the publication of six books, beginning with Body and Mature Behavior (1949) and ending with the posthumously published The Potent Self (1985).[21]

Since Feldenkrais' death, the international Feldenkrais community has used a guild structure to regulate its activity, with training accreditation boards in the Americas, Europe, and Australasia overseeing guilds and associations in eighteen member countries.[22] The Feldenkrais Journal, the annual publication of the Feldenkrais Guild of North America, serves as a forum for the Feldenkrais community to discuss the method and its applications.[23]


The development of the Feldenkrais Method was influenced by Moshe Feldenkrais's involvement in the martial arts.[24][12]:71 After meeting Kano Jigoro, the founder of Judo, while living in Paris in the 1930s, Feldenkrais transitioned to that practice.[25] One of the main influences of judo on the Feldenkrais Method is the differentiation between rote exercise and attentive movement: "the methods of physical exercise in vogue ... exert only the muscles without any other goal, and one needs much will to bind oneself unfailingly to one of these methods", wrote Feldenkrais in 1952. "Judo is very different, each movement has a specific goal which is reached after a precise and supple execution."[26] Before he focused on the creation of his own method, Feldenkrais influenced the teaching of martial arts in Western Europe through the publication of five books on jiujitsu and judo, as well as teaching at practice centers in France and Great Britain.[12]:211–212

Feldenkrais was born into an Hasidic family and community, and he acknowledged the influence of Hasidic Judaism on his method.[12]:7 In David Kaetz's biography, Making Connections: Roots and Resonance in the Life of Moshe Feldenkrais (2007), he argues many lines of influence can be found between the Judaism of Feldenkrais's upbringing and the Feldenkrais Method – for instance, the use of paradox as a pedagogical tool.[27] Feldenkrais also acknowledged the influence of the Russian spiritualist George Gurdjieff on his work, in particular Gurdjieff's teachings on automatism and freedom in embodiment.[12]:430–444

Feldenkrais earned his doctorate in a program at the Sorbonne intended to bridge theoretical physics and industrial engineering.[12]:128–129 Mark Reese, another biographer of the teacher, says that Feldenkrais brought this emphasis on practical scientific inquiry to the understanding of embodiment expressed through his method:

"Feldenkrais was critical of the appropriation of the term 'energy' to express immeasurable phenomena or to label experiences that people had trouble describing", notes Reese. "He was impatient when someone invoked energy in pseudoscientific 'explanations' that masked a lack of understanding. In such cases he urged skepticism and scientific discourse. He encouraged empirical and phenomenological narratives that could lead to insights."[12]:117

Feldenkrais incorporated the views of other scientists into his teaching; for instance, he asked questions of both the neurosurgeon Karl H. Pribram and the cyberneticist Heinz von Foerster at trainings in San Francisco in the mid-1970s.[28][12]:329–330 Cybernetics, also known as dynamic systems theory, continued to influence the Feldenkrais Method in the 1990s through the work of human development researcher Esther Thelen.[29]


  1. ^ a b Stalker D, Glymour C, eds. (1989). Examining Holistic Medicine. Prometheus Books. p. 373. ISBN 9780879755539. a system of exercise therapy developed in the 1940s by former judo instructor Moshe FeldenkraisCS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b Baggoley C (2015). "Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Natural Therapies for Private Health Insurance" (PDF). Australian Government – Department of Health. Lay summaryGavura, S. Australian review finds no benefit to 17 natural therapies. Science-Based Medicine. (19 November 2015).
  3. ^ Singh, S; Ernst, E (2009). Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial. Corgi.
  4. ^ Paola S (17 October 2017). "Homeopathy, naturopathy struck off private insurance list". Australian Journal of Pharmacy.
  5. ^ Hoosain M, de Klerk S, Burger M (2018). "Workplace-Based Rehabilitation of Upper Limb Conditions: A Systematic Review". J Occup Rehabil (Systematic review). doi:10.1007/s10926-018-9777-7. PMID 29796982. Workplace-based work hardening, case manager training and Feldenkrais should be implemented with caution, as only one study supported each of these interventions.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ a b Gorski D (6 August 2009). "M.D. Anderson enters the blogosphere–and goes woo". Scienceblogs—Respectful Insolence.
  7. ^ Adams A (30 April 2015). "How the Feldenkrais Method can Benefit Children with Autism". Feldenkrais Educational Foundation of North America. Archived from the original on 18 September 2016.
  8. ^ Dillon S (15 June 2015). "Maintaining Mobility:The Feldenkrais Method and Multiple Sclerosis". Feldenkrais Educational Foundation of North America. Archived from the original on 18 September 2016.
  9. ^ a b Levine, Andrew (1998). The Bodywork and Massage Sourcebook. Lowell House. pp. 249–60. ISBN 9780737300987.
  10. ^ Knaster, Mirka (1996). Discovering the Body's Wisdom: A Comprehensive Guide to More Than Fifty Mind-Body Practices. Bantam. pp. 232–8. ISBN 9780307575500.
  11. ^ Johnson, Don Hanlon (1995). Bone, Breath, and Gesture: Practices of Embodiment. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books. p. xi. ISBN 1556432011.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i Reese, Mark (2015). Moshe Feldenkrais: A Life in Movement. San Rafael, California: ReeseKress Somatics Press. ISBN 978-0-9855612-0-8.
  13. ^ Doidge, Norman (2015). The Brain's Way of Healing. New York: Viking. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-14-312837-3.
  14. ^ Feldenkrais, Moshe (1981). The Elusive Obvious. Capitola, California: Meta Publications. pp. 5–6. ISBN 978-0-916990-09-1.
  15. ^ Claire, Thomas (1995). Bodywork: What Type of Massage to Get and How to Make the Most of It. William Morrow and Co. pp. 75–88. ISBN 9781591201656.
  16. ^ Hanna, Thomas (1979). "Moshe Feldenkrais", in Explorers of Humankind. San Francisco: Harper & Row. p. 17. ISBN 0-06-250375-8.
  17. ^ Lori, Aviva. "Ben Gurion's Personal Trainer". Haaretz.com. Haaretz. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  18. ^ Buckard, Christian. "Feldenkrais Biography-First Chapter". feldenkrais-biographie. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  19. ^ Keller, Jon; Freer, Bonnie. "His Methods May Seem Bizarre, But Thousands Swear by Mind-Body Guru Moshe Feldenkrais". people.com. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  20. ^ Hanna, Thomas (1979). "Moshe Feldenkrais" in Explorers of Humankind. San Francisco, California: Harper & Row. p. 18. ISBN 0-06-250375-8.
  21. ^ "Moshe Feldenkrais Bibliography". Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais – His Life and Work. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  22. ^ "Member Organizations". International Feldenkrais Federation. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  23. ^ "The Feldenkrais Journal". Feldenkrais Guild of North America. Archived from the original on 24 May 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  24. ^ Marlock, Gustl (2015). The Handbook of Body Psychotherapy and Somatic Psychology. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books. p. 876. ISBN 9781583948415.
  25. ^ Buchanan, Patricia. ""The Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education"". A Compendium of Essays on Alternative Therapy. InTech. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  26. ^ Feldenkrais, Moshe (1952). A.B.C. du Judo: Jiu-Jitsu. France: Chiron.
  27. ^ Kaetz, David (2014). Making Connections: Roots and Resonance in the Life and Teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais (2nd ed.). Hornby Island, Canada: River Centre Publishing. pp. 13–15, 27–28. ISBN 978-0-9784014-2-9.
  28. ^ Feldenkrais, Moshe (1981). The Elusive Obvious. Capitola, California: Meta Publications. p. 46. ISBN 0-916990-09-5.
  29. ^ Buchanan, Patricia. "The Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education". Intechopen.com. InTech. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
1984 in Israel

Events in the year 1984 in Israel.

Abbe Lyons

Abbe Lyons was one of the first three American women to be ordained as cantors in the Jewish Renewal, along with Susan Wehle and Michal Rubin. They were ordained on January 10, 2010.She now works for the Congregation Tikkun v’Or in Ithaca, New York, where in addition to being a cantor she leads the bar and bat mitzvahs.Prior to becoming a cantor, Lyons earned a degree in voice performance from Ithaca College, then moved to California to study the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education. It was there that she became involved in Jewish Renewal.

Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique, named after its creator Frederick Matthias Alexander, is an educational process that was created to retrain habitual patterns of movement and posture. Alexander believed that poor habits in posture and movement damaged spatial self-awareness as well as health, and that movement efficiency could support overall physical well-being. He saw the technique as a mental training technique as well.Alexander began developing his technique's principles in the 1890s in an attempt to address voice loss during public speaking. He credited his method with allowing him to pursue his passion for reciting in Shakespearean theater.Some proponents of the Alexander Technique say that it addresses a variety of health conditions related to cumulative physical behaviors but there is little evidence to support these claims. As of 2015 there was evidence suggesting the Alexander Technique may be helpful for long-term back pain, long-term neck pain, and may help people cope with Parkinson's disease. However, both Aetna and the Australian Department of Health have conducted reviews and concluded that the technique has insufficient evidence to warrant insurance coverage.

Bodywork (alternative medicine)

In alternative medicine, bodywork is any therapeutic or personal development technique that involves working with the human body in a form involving manipulative therapy, breath work, or energy medicine. Bodywork techniques also aim to assess or improve posture, promote awareness of the "bodymind connection" rather than the "mind-body connection", or to manipulate the electromagnetic field surrounding the human body and affecting health.

Boston University Tanglewood Institute

Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) is a summer music training program for students ages 10 to 20 located in Lenox, Massachusetts, under the auspices of Boston University College of Fine Arts.

Contemporary dance

Contemporary dance is a genre of dance performance that developed during the mid twentieth century and has since grown to become one of the dominant genres for formally trained dancers throughout the world, with particularly strong popularity in the U.S. and Europe. Although originally informed by and borrowing from classical, modern, and jazz styles, it has since come to incorporate elements from many styles of dance. Due to its technical similarities, it is often perceived to be closely related to modern dance, ballet, and other classical concert dance styles.

In terms of the focus of its technique, contemporary dance tends to combine the strong but controlled legwork of ballet with modern that stresses on torso. It also employs contract-release, floor work, fall and recovery, and improvisation characteristics of modern dance. Unpredictable changes in rhythm, speed, and direction are often used, as well. Additionally, contemporary dance sometimes incorporates elements of non-western dance cultures, such as elements from African dance including bent knees, or movements from the Japanese contemporary dance, Butoh.

Dance science

Dance science is the scientific study of dance and dancers, as well as the practical application of scientific principles to dance. Its aims are the enhancement of performance, the reduction of injury, and the improvement of well-being and health.

Dance medicine and science as a field of study developed in the 1970s and 80s out of the field of sports medicine. In the early 1980s, the American Dance Festival (ADF) started including dance medicine courses in their course work for dancers. When ADF moved to Duke University, physicians from Duke University Hospital became interested in dancers. Then, in 1990, the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) was formed by an international group of dance medicine practitioners, dance educators, dance scientists, and dancers. Membership of IADMS began with 48 members in 1991, and has grown to over 900 members in 35 countries as of 2016.Dance science as an academic discipline has been evolving over the past 20 years. In the United Kingdom, three degrees (at master's level) now exist: one at the University of Bedfordshire, one at the University of Wolverhampton, and one at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. With regards to dance science research, another UK institution which has staff and students active in the area is the University of Birmingham. Some undergraduate degrees in dance, or other dance courses, also include one or several modules in dance science, with the aim of promoting healthy dance practices. These include the University of Wolverhampton, the Royal Academy of Dance, and Bird College.

Several universities in the United States also offer dance science courses as part of their dance curriculum, accommodating both undergraduate and graduate level students. These include, but are not limited to: Cornish College of the Arts, Columbia College of Chicago, California State - Long Beach, Elon University, Florida State University, Goucher College, Long Island University - Brooklyn Campus, Ohio State University, Ohio University, UCLA - Irvine, University of Colorado, University of Illinois - Urbana Champagne, and the University of Oregon.

Typically, the subject areas within dance science are similar to those studied in "sports science", though naturally with a focus on dance and the special considerations that this involves. They include: physiology, anatomy, kinesiology, psychology, biomechanics, nutrition, and similar. However, unlike sports science, dance science sometimes also studies related topics such as creativity and somatic techniques, including the practices of Pilates, yoga, Alexander technique, Feldenkrais method, etc.

Some dance companies employ dance scientists to provide support services, such as physiological testing, psychological support, conditioning and nutritional counseling. Such professionals include physical therapists, nutritionists, pilates instructors, massage therapists, and dance medicine physicians. Dancers that are not employed by a dance company that offers rehabilitation benefits on-site can sometimes have access to such facilities within their city of residence. Dancers in New York City have access to The Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, located at the NYU-Hospital for Joint Diseases, NYU Langone Medical Center, which offers many subsidized and free services for the dance community. These services include "clinics staffed by orthopedists and dance physical therapists; state-of-the art research and rehabilitation technology and free injury prevention screenings and lectures." Westside Physical Therapy, directed and founded by Marika Molnar - the first physical therapist hired by the New York City Ballet - is another example of a physical therapy clinic in New York City that offers specialized care to dancers (as well as to non-dancers).

The largest organization promoting dance science internationally is the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS). As well as producing a scientific peer-reviewed journal, Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, it also holds an annual conference. The Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA), which holds its annual symposium in Aspen-Snowmass, Colorado, is a unique organization that concerns itself with the injuries and health issues of musicians as well as dancers. In the UK, DanceUK is perhaps the foremost proponent of dance science and healthy dance practice more generally. A conference entitled "From Cognition to Conditioning" was held at Middlesex University in February 2007.

Gokhale Method

The Gokhale Method or Primal Posture method is a postural awareness technique developed by acupuncturist and yoga instructor Esther Gokhale. The method proposes that certain patterns exist in the way people in pre-modern and less industrialized societies move and adopt posture. Gokhale claims that these patterns, which she calls primal posture, can be learned through practice. The method became popular in the beginning of the 2010s among professionals in the Silicon Valley, where Gokhale is located.

Gustave Solomon

Gustave Solomon (October 27, 1930 – January 31, 1996) was a mathematician and electrical engineer who was one of the founders of the algebraic theory of error detection and correction. He completed his Ph.D. in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1956 under direction of Kenkichi Iwasawa.

Solomon was best known for developing, along with Irving S. Reed, the algebraic error correction and detection codes named the Reed–Solomon codes. These codes protect the integrity of digital information, and they have had widespread use in modern digital storage and communications, ranging from deep space communications down to the digital audio compact disc.

Solomon was also one of the co-creators of the Mattson–Solomon polynomial and the Solomon–McEliece weight formulas. He received IEEE Masaru Ibuka Award along with Irving Reed in 1995.

Solomon was survived by one daughter.

Ingo Taleb Rashid

Ingo Taleb Rashid, *2.5.1963, is Sheikh of the Tariqah Naqshbandi-Rashidiya, director & choreographer, founder of El Haddawi,

List of forms of alternative medicine

This is a list of articles covering alternative medicine topics.

Mabel Elsworth Todd

Mabel Elsworth Todd (1880 – 1956) is known as the founder of what came to be known as 'Ideokinesis', a form of somatic education that became popular in the 1930s amongst dancers and health professionals. Todd's ideas involved using anatomically based, creative visual imagery and consciously relaxed volition to create refine neuromuscular coordination. Lulu Sweigard, who coined the term Ideokinesis, and Barbara Clark furthered Todd's work.Todd's work was published in her book 'The Thinking Body' (1937), which is now considered by modern dance schools to be a classic study of physiology and the psychology of movement. Her work influenced many somatic awareness professionals of her day, and is often cited along with The Feldenkrais method for its focus on the subtle influence of unconscious intention and attention.

Mitzvah Technique

The Mitzvah Technique is focused on dealing with body mechanics in a state of motion. It is a development of the Alexander Technique, the Feldenkrais Method and health-oriented work on musculoskeletal problems and stress diseases. Each of these techniques is based on correcting common postural faults by addressing the neuromuscular system through postural re-education. Yet, the Mitzvah Technique encompasses both a unique philosophy and a set of procedures. This includes the discipline, exercises, and the work that Mitzvah Technique practitioners do with their hands.

Moshé Feldenkrais

Moshé Pinchas Feldenkrais (Hebrew: משה פנחס פלדנקרייז, May 6, 1904 – July 1, 1984) was a Ukrainian-Israeli engineer and physicist, known as the founder of the Feldenkrais Method. It is a system of physical exercise that is claimed to improve human functioning by increasing self-awareness through movement; the claim is not supported by medical evidence.Feldenkrais' theory is that "thought, feeling, perception and movement are closely interrelated and influence each other."

Nia (fitness)

The NIA Technique is a mind/body physical conditioning program that initially stood for Non-Impact Aerobics, a health and fitness alternative that emerged in the '80's, and evolved to include neurological integrative practices and teachings. The Nia Technique was founded in 1983 by Debbie Rosas and Carlos AyaRosas in the San Francisco area. Nia combines martial arts, modern dance arts and yoga in a workout set to music.

Relaxation technique

A relaxation technique (also known as relaxation training) is any method, process, procedure, or activity that helps a person to relax; to attain a state of increased calmness; or otherwise reduce levels of pain, anxiety, stress or anger. Relaxation techniques are often employed as one element of a wider stress management program and can decrease muscle tension, lower the blood pressure and slow heart and breath rates, among other health benefits.People respond to stress in different ways, namely, by becoming overwhelmed, depressed or both. Yoga, QiGong, Taiji, and Pranayama that includes deep breathing tend to calm people who are overwhelmed by stress, while rhythmic exercise improves the mental and physical health of those who are depressed. People who encounter both symptoms simultaneously, feeling depressed in some ways and overexcited in others, may do best by walking or performing yoga techniques that are focused on strength.

Release technique

In dance, release technique is any of various dance techniques that focus on breathing, muscle relaxation, anatomical considerations, and the use of gravity and momentum to facilitate efficient movement. It can be found in modern and postmodern dance, and has been influenced by the work of modern dance pioneers, therapeutic movement techniques such as Feldenkrais and Alexander Technique, and yoga and martial arts.


Slavuta (Ukrainian: Славута, Russian: Славу́та, Polish: Sławuta, Yiddish: סלאוויטא‎, translit. Slavita) is a city of oblast subordinance in the Khmelnytskyi Oblast (province) of western Ukraine, located on the Horyn River. Serving as the administrative center of the Slavutskyi Raion (district), the city itself is also designated as a separate raion within the oblast, and is located approximately 80 km from the oblast capital, Khmelnytskyi, at around 50°18′N 26°52′E. The city's population is 35,442 (Jan. 1, 2011).


Somatics is a field within bodywork and movement studies which emphasizes internal physical perception and experience. The term is used in movement therapy to signify approaches based on the soma, or "the body as perceived from within," including Alexander technique, the Feldenkrais Method, and Rolfing. In dance, the term refers to techniques based on the dancer's internal sensation, in contrast with "performative techniques," such as ballet or modern dance, which emphasize the external observation of movement by an audience. Somatic techniques may be used in bodywork, psychotherapy, dance, or spiritual practices.

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