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Dr Moshe Feldenkrais 

Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984) was a distinguished physicist, engineer and judo master who devised the Feldenkrais method in response to his own knee injury.  Born in Russia, Feldenkrais immigrated to Israel at the age of thirteen. After receiving degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering, he earned his D.Sc. in Physics at the Sorbonne in Paris. He subsequently worked for a number of years in the French nuclear research program with Joliet Curie.

Physically active, Feldenkrais played soccer and practiced the martial arts. He studied with Jigoro Kano, the originator of Judo, and in 1936 became one of the first Europeans to earn a black belt in that discipline.

A chronic knee injury prompted him to apply his knowledge of physics, body mechanics, neurology, learning theory and psychology to a new understanding of human function and maturation. Despite being given little hope of ever walking normally, Feldenkrais refused surgery. Instead he looked for clues about how to heal himself through his extensive knowledge of neuroscience, biomechanics, psychology, engineering and martial arts.

He explored non-habitual movement patterns in a playful, effortless, curious way. This approach prompted his nervous system to update restrictive habits that were causing him problems. He learnt to move more easily.

To achieve lasting, radical change, Feldenkrais discovered it was important to work with the whole body and the whole self. His investigations resulted in the formulation of a unique synthesis of science and aesthetics, known as the Feldenkrais Method.

His insights contributed to an emerging field of somatic education. They continue today to influence disciplines such as physical medicine, gerontology, the arts, education and psychology.

He conducted three professional trainings during his life, one in Tel Aviv, Israel (1969-1971), one in San Francisco, CA, USA (1975-1978) and one in Amherst, MA, USA (1980-1983).  

Today, there is a thriving community of thousands of Feldenkrais practitioners worldwide.  Feldenkrais is now regarded as an integral part of therapy in many isuues and is used in specialist hospitals and clinics around the world. 

The Feldenkrais Method

The Feldenkrais Method is at the leading edge of the emerging field of somatic education.  It is an innovative system that approaches human development and the improvement of functioning through the medium of physical movement. Based on the work of "Dr Moshe Feldenkrais" (1904-1984) and influenced by his expertise in physics, engineering and judo, the Feldenkrais Method draws together both the science and the art of human movement.  

It offers a unique and effective approach to human learning by accessing the nervous system's own innate processes for the enhancement and refinement of functioning. Based on our personal history, each individual adopts patterns of physical and psychological behaviour adapted to their own particular environment. These patterns are deeply embedded in our nervous system and often become outmoded or dysfunctional creating unnecessary limitations and sometimes pain. Our posture and the ways that we move are learned, even if that learning was not conscious. Thus, physical difficulties or limitations are seen, from the Feldenkrais perspective, as the result of either incomplete learning or trauma that can lead to dysfunctional habit patterns. When it is necessary to change or create a new pattern, the Feldenkrais Method provides the means to know what to change and how to change it.

The founder, Moshe Feldenkrais, utilized his background in physics, mechanical engineering and judo to develop a system with an unusual melding of biomechanics, motor development, psychology and martial arts. It has achieved international recognition for its demonstrated ability to improve posture, flexibility, coordination, self-image and to alleviate muscular tension and pain. It consists of two compelling and versatile applications: Awareness Through Movement®, done in groups and Functional Integration®, an individualized hands-on practice. Based on the same theoretical ground, both modalities harness the nervous system's ability to self-organize towards more effective and intelligent action.

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 "Nothing is permanent about our behavior patterns except our belief that they are so"

Moshe Feldenkrais

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