Feldenkrais Method® and Chronic Pain

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Chronic Pain

Feldenkrais® therapy as group treatment for chronic pain – A qualitative evaluation  

Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies Volume 15, Issue 2, April 2011

Ann Öhman PT, PhD,   Lena Åström PT, MSc,   Eva-Britt Malmgren-Olsson PT, PhD


This qualitative study describes and analyses the experiences and self-reported effects of those participating in a Feldenkrais group intervention.

Fourteen women with non-specific neck and shoulder pain participated in a group treatment design using the Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) method. Data were collected in two ways: diary notes directly after the sessions and thematic interviews. Conclusions:  Positive experiences from the Feldenkrais group treatment were reported, especially concerning movement ability and body awareness.

The Feldenkrais Method in the Management of Chronic Pain 2010

The Australian Feldenkrais Guild Inc



This submission argues for expanded acceptance of the Feldenkrais Method as an intervention in the delivery of health care for people with chronic pain. We will provide information to assist other health professionals to gain understanding and knowledge of the Feldenkrais Method in general terms, but more importantly, why it is so beneficial specifically to people with chronic pain.


American Journal of Pain Management AJPM Vol. no. 1 January 1999

IFF Academy Feldenkrais Research Journal 1 (2004)

David Bearman, MD, and Steven Shafarman


A preliminary study was undertaken to determine both the efficacy and cost effectiveness of the Feldenkrais Method for treatment of Medicaid recipients with chronic pain at the Santa Barbara Regional Health Authority (SBRHA). SBRHA staff wished to offer treatment for chronic pain patients beyond what is provided for in the Medicaid scope of benefits. ... Patients with chronic headaches and/or musculoskeletal problems were enrolled in the study. Seven patients began the program; all completed it. ... Participants reported more mobility and decreased perception of pain, both immediately after the program and in a one-year follow-up questionnaire. Results compared quite favourably with NPDB comparison groups. Cost effectiveness calculations were based on Medicaid costs for one-year periods pre- and post-intervention. Patient costs dropped from an average of $ 141 per month to $82 per month. This represents a 40 % savings.


IFF Feldenkrais Research Journal

Julie R. Dean, Suzanne A. Yuen & Stacy A. Barrows, PT,CFP December 15, 1995



The purpose of this study was to describe the effects of a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) sequence on fibromyalgia patients. Subjects met twice a week for a one hour group ATM lesson, and were instructed to follow through daily with practice tapes ... It was concluded that the Feldenkrais Method has potential value as a possible adjunct to the physical therapy treatment of selected fibromyalgia patients.

Feldenkrais Toronto West recognizes that the article in Feldenkrais Research Journal by    Julie Dean, Suzanne Yuen, Stacy Barrows, on EFFECTS OF A FELDENKRAIS AWARENESS THROUGH MOVEMENT SEQUENCE ON FIBROMYALGIA PATIENTS states that Feldenkrais Method has value as a possible adjunct to physical therapy treatment of fibromyalgia patients. Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration help in athletics, arts, theatre, dance, music. Feldenkrais Toronto West movement classes are different from yoga, Pilates, Alexander Technique, massage, chiropractic, Tia Chi. Improve thinking in movement reducing pain and stiffness. Feldenkrais Method neuro movements rewire your brain to manage joint, back pain, knee, hip replacement, improve balance, neurological disorders, mobility and vitality. The Brain’s Way of Healing by Norman Doidge and Crooked by Cathryn Ramin. Feldenkrais Toronto West offers Ruthy Alon Movement Intelligence Bones For Life and Marion Harris Feldenkrais Centre


(Feldenkrais is discussed on Pages 33-36)


Kate McCaffrey, D.O. supervised and compiled the edited the project. 


The Alternative Pain Management Resource Manual is a project written by medical students and was solely funded by Cal-SEARCH ... a federal grant program that matches medical students with rural-based California physicians. With the help of a Cal-SEARCH Grant, medical students interviewed alternative providers, learning about each of their fields in depth.  ... The students then revised, edited, and formatted the Alternative Pain Management Resource Manual. Kate McCaffrey, D.O. supervised and compiled the edited the project. ... The goal of the manual is to educate patients and providers about the adjunct therapies and treatments available for chronic pain.  ... This manual seeks to provide a safe, alternative resource for patients and providers seeking alternative ways to manage both chronic and acute pain and reduce the reliance on pain medication, specifically opioid pain relievers.

Randomized Controlled Trial of Physiotherapy and Feldenkrais Interventions in Female Workers with Neck-Shoulder Complaints

Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

September 1999, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 179–194

Inga Lundblad, Jessica Elert, Björn Gerdle


The present study aimed to investigate whether physiotherapy or Feldenkrais interventions resulted in a reduction of complaints from the neck and shoulders (prevalence, pain intensity, sick leave, and disability in leisure and work roles) in 97 female industrial workers (not on long-term sick leave). Range of motion of neck and shoulders, VO2, endurance score (i.e., summation of pain intensity ratings during a static shoulder flexion), cortical control according to the Feldenkrais methodology, and physiological capacity according to a dynamic endurance test of the shoulder flexors with simultaneous surface EMG were also recorded. The workers were randomized to: (1) physiotherapy group (PT-group; treatment according to the ergonomic program of the PTs of the occupational health care service), (2) Feldenkrais group (F-group; education according to the Feldenkrais methodology), or (3) control group (C-group; no intervention). Pre- and post-tests were made at one-year intervals. The two interventions lasted 16 weeks during paid working time. The F-group showed significant decreases in complaints from neck and shoulders and in disability during leisure time. The two other groups showed no change (PT-group) or worsening of complaints (C-group). The present study showed significant positive changes in complaints after the Feldenkrais intervention but not after the physiotherapy intervention.

Effect of body awareness therapy on fibromyalgia syndrome in women: a randomized controlled trial

Journal of Exercise Therapy and Rehabilitation. 2014;1(2):43-48



There was a statistically significant improvement in study group according to the results of the FIQ, NHP, and BDI. Both treatment protocols had the same effect on the intensity of pain, fatigue and sleep disturbance; but quality of life, depression and disability level were more improved in the group receiving BAT. ... We concluded that BAT has short and long term positive effects and may be applied safely and effectively in addition to conventional physical therapy and rehabilitation approaches.

Body awareness therapy for patients with fibromyalgia and chronic pain

Disability and Rehabilitation, June 2005, 27(12): 725 – 728

GUNVOR GARD Department of Health Sciences, Lulea˚ University, Sweden


There are several therapies designed to increase body awareness. They are commonly known as body awareness therapies (BAT) and include Basic BAT, Mensendieck and Feldenkrais therapy. A focus on emotions is important in all these therapies. In this article the aim and development of Basic BAT is described together with evaluations of treatments including Basic BAT. Multidisciplinary studies have shown that Basic BAT can increase health-related quality of life and cost-effectiveness. However Basic BAT needs to be further studied in relation to patients with fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic pain. Studies so far indicate that Basic BAT has positive effects.

Effects of Feldenkrais Method on Chronic Neck/Scapular Pain in People With Visual Impairment: A Randomized Controlled Trial With One-Year Follow-Up

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2014

Lars-Olov Lundqvist, PhD; Christina Zetterlund, MSc; Hans O. Richter, PhD


... systematic reviews indicate that multimodal rehabilitation has the strongest has the strongest evidence for effectively alleviating chronic neck/scapular pain.

Among multimodal rehabilitation interventions, Feldenkrais method may be of particular benefit for those with visual impairment. This is because Feldenkrais method is based on hands-on kinesthetic communication, which does not require visual ability. Through gentle touch, the therapist directs the client’s attention to different parts of the body.  ... This study demonstrated positive effects of Feldenkrais method,suggesting that there is reason for practitioners and their patients with visual impairments to evaluate the use of Feldenkrais method for chronic neck/scapular pain

Effect of a three-day Feldenkrais method (FM) course on subjective perception of range of motion, pain and mood

Rehabilitace. 53. 151-160.

Jitka Varekova,  Charles University in Prague; Klara Dadova, Charles University in Prague; Adam Šlégl

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/306977723_Effect_of_a_three-day_Feldenkrais_method_FM_course_on_subjective_perception_of_range_of_motion_pain_and_mood   (Google can provide a translation)

Feldenkrais method (FM) uses movement and motor learning as a way to influence and progress of an individual both from the physical and psychic point of view. In group sessions "Awareness through movement" individuals are verbally led to do certain movement sequences. The aim of this work was to explore the effect of a three-day course of FM on perceived range of motion, pain and mood. Subjects: The research was performed on 95 women and 4 men (average age 50 yrs, range 22-80 yrs).  ...  Results showed mostly positive response to the intervention (87 %) and expressed interest to come back to this type of exercise in the future (89 %). Most of the subjects experienced an increase in range of motion (86 %), decrease of pain in locomotor system (60 %), increase of body perception and awareness (88 %), as well as mood improvement (85 %). Sixty eight percent of subjects reported they felt rested and full of energy after the exercise Conclusions: Feldenkrais method has been used in prevention of locomotor disorders for decades. The Prague study results confirm positive effect of the method on pain perception, increased of range of motion, improvement of body awareness and also on psychic state.

The Meaning of Pain

Scott Clark 

Feldenkrais Guild UK



Pain may exist as a naked fact, but it enters our personal world clothed in interpretation and meaning. In turn, the meaning determines our feeling about the pain. Who has not felt the distress of some mysterious ailment, and felt that distress melt away when we found a satisfactory explanation?

My experiences with Feldenkrais

Online article in Princeton University, Department of Computer Science, Oct 2007

Sanjeev Arora,Charles C. Fitzmorris Professor of Computer Science, Princeton University


We are all aware that some people's bodies are better organized than ours. ... We see this diversity and tend to think:"This just the way the body/skeleton happens to be."  It has therefore been a source of great surprise to me that most such aspects of the body can be brought under our control and changed using something called the Feldenkrais method. I was led to this method while seeking a solution to a RSI/typing related injury that wouldn't go away. However, in retrospect I realize that in addition to curing my RSI it gave me a much better sense of my body and a much better posture and alignment. Every aspect of my life ---swimming, walking, sleeping, picking up new sports, etc.---became easier and lighter.

The interpretation of experience and its relationship to body movement: A clinical reasoning perspective

Manual Therapy, Volume 11, Issue 1, February 2006,

Ian Edwards, Mark Jones, Susan Hillier , University of South Australia, Australia


In this paper, we present findings from literature which suggests an intrinsic relationship in patients with chronic pain between the development of rigid and limited perspectives based on the interpretation of experience and the development of decreased repertoires of movement patterns. We present a research-based clinical reasoning model for conceptualising the teaching of movement for patients with chronic pain and contend that therapists can intentionally teach movement using fundamentally different reasoning and learning processes.

The Feldenkrais Method for People with Chronic Pain

Feldenkrais Institute of New York

Marek Wyszynski, PT, GCFP


The Feldenkrais Method is an educational system that connects learning with human health and function. Many of the movement choices we make seem automatic, yet how we sit, stand, walk, turn, and breathe affects the state of our health and quality of life. The Feldenkrais Method offers simple yet concrete exercises and awareness training through which movement patterns as well as thinking, feeling, and mental states can be positively altered and chronic pain relieved.

Manipulative therapy (Feldenkrais, massage, chiropractic manipulation) for neck pain.

Published 2013 in Current rheumatology report

Christopher Thomas Plastaras, Seth Schran, Natasha Kim, Deborah Darr, Mary Susan Chen


Neck pain is an extremely common symptom with many possible etiologies. A substantial number of patients are turning to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Low-quality evidence supports the beneficial effects of CAM. Feldenkrais, massage therapy, and spinal manipulation are discussed in detail. Complications are generally benign and self-limited, although occasional catastrophic consequences have been documented

Feldenkrais-Core Integration Method in Patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis: A Pilot Study

Published September 2016 in JSM Arthritis 

Susanna Maddali Bongi, Guya Piemonte , Monica Landi

Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Division Rheumatology, University of Florence, Italy


Feldenkrais Core Integration method is a movement based MBT with effects on muscle contractures, pain and stiffness. Its global approach recognizes the interactions between mind and body in supporting health and allows the patients to achieve physical and psychological well-being. The present study showed that FCI approach may be a useful and feasible non-pharmacologic approach in the treatment in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. FCI had positive effects on pain, fatigue, global health status, disease activity, functional status and enthesitis.

A comparative outcome study of body awareness therapy, Feldenkrais, and conventional physiotherapy for patients with nonspecific musculoskeletal disorders: changes in psychological symptoms, pain, and self-image

Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, (2001)

Eva-Britt Malmgren-Olsson; Bengt-Ake Armelius; Kerstin Armelius

Department of Psychology, Umea University, Umea,Sweden.


The purpose of this study is to compare treatment effects of Body Awareness Therapy, Feldenkrais, and conventional individual treatment with respect to changes in psychological distress, pain, and self-image in patients with nonspecific musculoskeletal disorders. A total of 78 patients, 64 females and 14 males, with nonspecific musculoskeletal disorders were recruited consecutively to the different treatment groups in a quasiexperimental design. The patients were measured three times during the study period: before the interventions, after six months, and after one year. The results showed significant positive changes overtime in all three treatment groups with regard to reduced psychological distress,pain, and improved negative self-image. There were few significant differences among the groups but effect-size analysis indicated that the group treatments using Body Awareness Therapy and Feldenkrais might be more effective than conventional treatment.

Health Problems and Treatment Effects in Patients with Non-specific Musculoskeletal Disorders A comparison between Body Awareness Therapy, Feldenkrais and Individual Physiotherapy

Academic Thesis for Medical Doctorate, Community Medicine & Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy and the Department of Psychology, Umeå University

Eva-Britt Malmgren-Olsson, RPT, MSc,

(Similar to article above with a focus on pain dimensions and other health related outcomes.)


Persistent non-specific musculoskeletal pain disorders are an increasing health problem in primary care causing suffering for the individual and a burden for the society. ... The aims of this thesis were to get an extensive description of patients with non-specific musculoskeletal disorders and to evaluate the effects of different physiotherapeutic treatment modalities in primary care. [Body Awareness Therapy (BAT), Feldenkrais (FK) and individual physiotherapy (TAU)] ... The outcome variables included different pain dimensions as well as physical, psychosocial and health-related aspects. ... The main conclusion from this thesis is that group treatment modalities with Body Awareness Therapy and Feldenkrais approaches are more beneficial than individual physiotherapeutic treatment for patients with non-specific musculoskeletal disorders. The chance of achieving positive treatment effects increases six times with BAT and four times with FK compared to TAU.  

The Feldenkrais Method of Bodywork

Relias Media, Morrisville, NC, US, January 2002

Alan D. Forker, MD, FACC , Professor of Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine


This review will focus on the Feldenkrais method (of bodywork); the Alexander technique and Trager approach will be described briefly. All three are best utilized in the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders; but they also have been used in headaches, chronic lung disease, Ménière’s disease, and mental depression. ...  Feldenkrais methods encourage a life-long discovery process through which patients learn why they have pain and distress while they learn how to become more aware and promote self-healing. ... For willing, interested patients with low back pain or other forms of muscular soreness and pain; movement disorders associated with cerebral palsy, Parkinsonism, or multiple sclerosis; or post-stroke disability, consider the Feldenkrais method and massage. 

Feldenkrais Helps Patients with Chronic Pain Rethink the Way They Move

Spondylitis Plus, Fall 2019

Spondylitis Association of America

by Rachel Zaimont. Interview with Stacy Barrows, GCFP, DPT


The Feldenkrais Method works on improving the quality of the way the nervous system works and optimizing body function. It’s about improving people’s attention through their movement to accomplish something they want to do better. In a Feldenkrais lesson, you’re learning from your own body – you’re learning from yourself. The difference between Feldenkrais and physical or occupational therapy is that Feldenkrais doesn’t try to correct you. It guides you instead in discovering for yourself the optimum, most efficient way of moving for you. ...  people often come to me because they have pain. What will surprise them is how small movements we do together will still have value to them. ...  A lot of people are very compromised by pain. Their capacity to imagine movement may be restrained because they’ve had such limited movement during their lives. This work can help people get out of a rut of doing something the same way.

Sue Seto, Toronto West

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