What is the Feldenkrais Method?
Who was Moshe Feldenkrais?
Moshé Feldenkrais (1904-1984) was a leading innovator in the field of human education and improvement. Primarily a scientist, Feldenkrais was an experimental physicist and electrical engineer trained at the Sorbonne during the development of Quantum Mechanics. Prior to creating his method, he was a leading researcher working in the famous Curie Laboratories in Paris. During World War II he was instrumental in the development of sonar under the British Admiralty. Feldenkrais was also one of the first European proponents of Judo and other martial arts. His efforts to rehabilitate his own injuries from soccer and Judo led him to apply his keen mind to a study of human movement and learning. His first book on his method, Body and Mature Behavior, a Study of Anxiety, Sex, Gravitation and Learning, appeared in 1949. In the 1960’s, believing he had developed a revolutionary way to improve human functioning, he left his job as the head of electrical engineering for the Israeli military to devote himself full time to teaching the method he invented. During his lifetime people suffering from a wide range of severe and seemingly incurable problems sought out his help from all over the world.
Principles of the Method and its Teaching
The method teaches principles of inquiry and observation as well as the practical application of a functional understanding of movement and learning. How effectively those principles are applied depends entirely on the skill, intelligence, and creativity of the practitioner. Thus, Feldenkrais work is unlike most methods in that there is no set of instructions or recipe for practitioners to follow to address certain problems. The very same problems can relate to wildly different movement patterns in different people, so a practitioner must observe the unique individual and creatively apply Feldenkrais principles in a specifically tailored way. This is not an easy skill to learn.