Feldenkrais Method™ and Eating Disorders
Journal of Dance & Somatic Practices, Volume 3, Numbers 1-2, 27 April 2012
In this article, we present an action research project conducted over 21 weeks with seven women suffering from eating disorders for an average of 34 years. The aim was to (1) describe the women’s experiences of Feldenkrais classes via a variety of qualitative data collection methods and (2) to identify any possible relationships between changes of their body awareness and their eating disorders. A thematic analysis inspired by grounded theory showed that the action research using the Feldenkrais method of somatic education demonstrated a potential for helping the participants to consciously challenge dominant social discourse by engendering concrete changes in the way they perceived themselves. They reported being able to occasionally change their daily activities and various eating habits, thus revealing transfer of learning from the Feldenkrais classes to their daily lives.
The Spanish Journal of Psychology Vol. 15 (No. 3) November 2012
Irina Malkina-Pykh, St. Petersburg State Institute Of Psychology And Social Work
Hutchinson (1985) is referring to an evaluation of a training program consisting of exercises using imagination and elements of Feldenkrais lessons to change the negative body and self image of obese women. The outcome points to the therapeutical effectiveness of the Feldenkrais Method with eating-disorder patients within another multimodal treatment program (Laumer et al., 2004). The participants of the Feldenkrais-course showed increasing contentment with regard to problematic zones of their body and their own health as well as concerning acceptance and familiarity with their own body. Other results were a more spontaneous, open and self-confident behaviour, the decrease of feelings of helplessness and decrease of the wish to return to the security of the early childhood , which indicates the development of felt sense of self, self-confidence and a general process of maturation of the whole personality.
Dying to Please: Anorexia, Treatment and Recovery, 2d ed.
McFarland, Apr 29, 2009
Avis Rumney, LMFT
This is a book and no transcripts are available on the internet.
Avis Rumney has several articles on eating disorder on her website: http://www.avisrumneymft.com/articles
The Feldenkrais Method seeks to make unconscious movement conscious, and then to provide the individual with other options in she moves and behaves. This work does for the body what psychotherapy does for the mind . . . An anorexic may be hyperactive and exhibit a great deal of movement, but her rhythms of movement may are often very rigid and tense. The awareness of freedom of movement that Feldenkrais encourages can address the very driven, unconscious nature of movement of the anorexic, offering her a choice in how she moves.
IFF - Feldenkrais Research Journal. 1,17.
Laumer, U., Bauer M., Fichter M., & Milz H. (2004).
Based on the movement-pedagogical concept of Feldenkrais … this research aimed at studying the therapeutical effects of the Feldenkrais Method “Awareness through Movement” with eating disorder patients. … The participants of the Feldenkrais-course showed increasing contentment with regard to problematic zones of their body and their own health as well as concerning acceptance and familiarity with their own body. Other results were a more spontaneous, open and self-confident behaviour, the decrease of feelings of helplessness and decrease of the wish to return to the security of the early childhood , which indicates the development of felt sense of self, self-confidence and a general process of maturation of the whole personality. The outcome points to the therapeutical effectiveness of the Feldenkrais Method with eating-disorder patients within a multimodal treatment program.
in the book: Feminist Perspectives on Eating Disorders, The Guilford Press, 1994
Edited by Patricia Fallon, Melanie A. Katzman and Susan C. Wooley
Marcia Germaine Hutchinson, Chapter 8 (pages 152 - 168)
The Feldenkrais Method is a unique psychophysical approach that uses movement exercises to retrain the nervous system, enhancing body image and promoting embodiment. ... Although almost any body-oriented work is helpful, Feldenkrais movement is especially well suited to reintroducing women to their disowned bodies in a nonjudgmental way. Feldenkrais exercises hone body awareness exquisitely, providing participants with a means to feel grounded in their own bodies and to develop respect for the integrity of their bodies. In contrast to many movement approaches based on imitation of "correct" form, Feldenkrais movements instead lead participants through a process of internal discovery of what is correct, based on their bodies' unique design. Participants experience harmonious cooperation between body parts, as well as a sense of lightness and grace, regardless of their size, shape, or level of functioning.
A thesis presented to the department of Physical Therapy and the Graduate School of the University of Central Arkansas in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Physical Therapy, December 1999
Hans Staffan Elgelid
Available in the IFF Research Journal Volume 2
This study suggested a change in body image, as measured by a Semantic Differentiation Scale, in the three subjects that received Awareness Through Movement lessons. ... Feldenkrais wrote that the body image is never static, and changes from action to action. ... The subjects that participated in the Awareness Through Movement lessons did score higher on the Semantic Differentiation Scale, at the conclusion of the study, ... These higher scores could come from the fact that Awareness Through Movement lessons involve the whole body, and take the person through different combinations of movements than to what the subject is accustomed. ... If as Feldenkrais claims in his book “Awareness Through Movement”,15 “The way a man holds his shoulders, head, and stomach; his voice and expression; his stability and manner of presenting himself-all are based on his self-image”, then it would make sense that 48 learning how to move and hold the shoulders, head, and stomach would also change the person’s general body image.
Abigail H. Natenshon, MA, LCSW, GCFP
Abigail Natenshon has several resource articles on eating disorders
on her websiite: https://treatingeatingdisorders.com/
Eating disorders render their victims out of touch with what has become a fragmented core self. The Feldenkrais Method ©and Anat Baniel Method© based on the work of Moshe Feldenkrais have been proven to facilitate personal self-awareness on a profound bodily/sensory level, offering increased options for personal change and problem solving. Through attention and differentiation, gentle and pleasurable movements awaken the brain to sensory awareness, challenging individuals to move beyond habitual patterns of behavior and thought in taking action in the world, and promoting access to a unified sense of mind, body and self. By rectifying distortions in self perception in individuals with eating disorders and body image concerns, these forms of somatic education make it possible for individuals in "emotional exile" to directly access aspects of the core self through self-awareness and self-acceptance, all within the confines of a single 45 minute "lesson." According to Moshe Feldenkrais, "We must know what we do, in order to do what we want." Embedded in the movement lessons are general strategies for what Moshe Feldenkrais calls "learning how to learn."
The Open Access Journal of Science and Technology Vol. 4 (2016), Article ID 101219
Abigail H. Natenshon, MA, LCSW, GCFP
Eating disorders (ED) are disorders of the brain. As scientists acknowledge the genetic basis of ED and their deleterious impact on brain circuitry, practitioners need to recognize the importance of healing the eating disordered brain, along with the patient. The time has come for the ED treatment community to access the neuroplastic brain's capacity to heal itself through the introduction of non-invasive, integrative, adjunctive neurophysiological interventions into mainstream ED clinical practice. Eating disorder pathology marks the loss of the brain's capacity to integrate mind, brain and body, impacting the integrity of the core self. By re-defining the development of the self as an embodied, sensory-based process grounded in kinesthetic experience, 21st century brain research and technology has substantively expanded the breadth and depth of effective treatment strategies for ED and their co-occurring conditions to include various forms of somatosensory interventions. Neurophysiological and psychophysiological treatment interventions, by carving new neuronal pathways and creating connectivity that augments brain circuitry, carry the potential to remediate body image and self-image distortions, reintegrating the fragmented eating disordered core self. To date, intentional partnering between therapist, ED patient, and neuroplastic brain has been rarely applied in the clinical milieu and minimally referenced in the treatment literature. By bringing current neuroplasticity research into frontline practice, ED practitioners not only bridge the research/practice gap, but redefine new directions for future ED research.
Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center (EDReferral.com), 2016
Abigail Natenshon, MA, LCSW, GCFP
The FELDENKRAIS METHOD, a movement technique connecting mind and body, encourages listening mindfully to our inner selves, our sensations, and emotions, even while challenging ourselves to take action in the world. Seeking to create whole and emotionally functional human beings, the method relies on attention and awareness, differentiation and integration to teach people to move beyond dysfunctional habitual patterns and thinking that limits and distorts self-image, and that inhibits authentic self expression and clarity of thought. In so doing, the potential for effective problem-solving and improved daily functioning is expanded.
SenseAbility, Feldenkrais Guild of North America, April 2011
Abigail Natenshon, MA, LCSW, GCFP
The concept of unifying mind and body to foster healing dates back 2500 years as a cornerstone of Buddhist practice. By the 1970’s, Moshe Feldenkrais had envisioned and created a method designed to facilitate healing, self-regulation, and the emergence of self by inducing neurological change and reintegrating the central nervous system through sensory input to brain, body and the embodied mind, achieved through movement with attention. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, neuropsychological research and brain imaging technologies had provided conclusive evidence that integrative brain development occurs throughout our lives, the result of integrative and mindful cognitive, behavioral, and sensory connections made within, an
Abigail Natenshon's Treating Eating Orders (treatingeatingdisorders.com)
Abigail Natenshon, MA, LCSW, GCFP
The development of the self is grounded in kinesthetic experience; our movement, interwoven into the fabric of our self image from the beginning of our lives plays an extensive role in how the nervous system coordinates a coherent sense of self through the life span. An eating disordered relationship with food is indicative of a pathological relationship with the self. The eating disorder dissociates an individual from him/herself; recovery marks a re-association with an otherwise estranged and ostracized core, re-establishing self acceptance, self respect and self-reliance. By upgrading the function of brain and nervous system, the Feldenkrais technique brings individuals in “emotional exile” back to themselves, and to their loved ones. By teaching students to experience the interrelationships between moving, thinking, feeling and sensing, the Feldenkrais Method offers entrance to the ground floor of our sense of self.
Neurobiology and the Changing Face of Eating Disorder Treatment: Healing the Eating Disordered Brain
Chapter 3 in the book: Eating Disorders - A Paradigm of the Biopsychosocial Model of Illness, Edited by Ignacio Jáuregui Lobera, February 2017
Open access peer-reviewed chapter 3 available on intechopen.com
By Abigail H. Natenshon, MA, LCSW, GCFP
In treating an obese individual who suffered from compulsive over-eating, Feldenkrais assigned her the daily task of slowly and mindfully counting every spoonful of cereal with milk that she puts into her mouth throughout the day. ... Clarifying the self-image requires the reshaping of neurocircuits through self-awareness, with mindfulness of each part of the action, the patient's experience during the action, and the perception of the total body image during and following the action . Attention paid to behavior has been deemed, “the specificity scalpel into the brain to recarve neurocircuits” ... Recognizing that sensory stimuli are closer to unconscious functioning than to conscious understanding, Feldenkrais’ work allows patients to consciously reconnect with their unconscious sensorimotor repertoire through sensory training that expands their movement repertoire. The method enhances the kinesthetic sense, which is, as our first and basic ability to perceive, deeply connected with our self‐identity
Clinical Rehabilitation, March 2011
Daniel Catalan-Matamoros , Department of Nursing and Physiotherapy, University of Almerı´a, Spain
Liv Helvik-Skjaerven, Depart. of Physiotherapy, Bergen University College, Norway; M Teresa Labajos-Manzanares, Depart. of Psychiatry and Physiotherapy, University of Ma´laga, Spain; Alma Martı´nez-de-Salazar-Arboleas, Mental Health Public Services of Almerı´a, Spain; Eduardo Sa´nchez-Guerrero, Depart. of Psychiatry and Physiotherapy, University of Ma´laga, Spain
This study has shown the feasibility of Basic Body Awareness Therapy for people with eating disorders. Drives, body dissatisfaction, quality of life and the level of eating disorder have been significantly improved, which could encourage further good-quality research. ... The basic Body Attitude Test was established in Scandinavia by Roxendal, inspired by Feldenkrais pedagogy ... The aim of body oriented therapies in patients with eating disorders is to regulate hyperactivity, drives and tensions. In our study, Basic Body Awareness Therapy was shown to have a positive effect on drives. High levels of body dissatisfaction exist in patients with eating disorders. Body dissatisfaction improves through body-oriented therapies. In our study, significant differences were found in the Eating Disorder Inventory ‘body dissatisfaction’ and in the Body Attitude Test, which is supported by previous research. In addition, the improvement of body dissatisfaction is related to body image which, under the construct of ‘body experience’ is an important diagnostic element in patients with eating disorders.
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