Feldenkrais is a method of body movement education based on relearning how to go about our daily lives in ways that optimize movement. Most people who come to me come with injuries caused by repetitive stress. A common metaphor I use is this: if your car was out of alignment and the tire wore out, you wouldn’t just buy a new tire, you’d change the alignment of the car. When a person develops joint pain, something in the kinetic chain is out of alignment. Just treating the pain does not eliminate the underlying problem and, typically, the pain will occur again. Learning proper movement patterns with Feldenkrais alters your mechanical kinetics, reducing the stress on your body and allowing it to heal. This relieves the pain and prevents further injury.
Unlike body work and traditional physical therapy, which might be compared to an auto-body shop where mechanics hammer out dents and replace parts, Feldenkrais works by reprograming your body to follow optimal patterns. Fortunately, the nervous system wants to be reprogrammed. Your body automatically tries to “improve movement patterns;” that is how babies and children acquire motor skills in the first place. Sometimes, those movement patterns become sloppy or forgotten and so we re-learn them with Feldenkrais.
For example, imagine a person trying to learn a new sport such as tennis. When they hit the ball in the “sweet spot,” they instantly know that they hit it right. Everything about it is right; it flies right, it feels right. They know that feeling and they crave to hit the ball exactly like that again and again. Good movement patterns feel the same; your body recognizes them. As with learning a sport, you do need practice to perfect these new movements. But the positive reinforcement from your body makes relearning easy and fun.
- Excerpt from "The Brain's Way of Healing" by Norman Doidge
- Article about MS and Feldenkrais