Feldenkrais Method® and Fitness and Athletics

Disclaimer: please read. Feldenkrais Toronto West has provided resource information, through website links, on the Feldenkrais Method®. The information contained within this website, includes summaries and abstracts and is not to replace medical advice and medical treatment. The information is for educational purposes only. The resource links, summary/abstract descriptions and information listed on this website, uses wording obtained directly from the publication, and may not necessarily be comprehensive. As such, any information acquired from this website and resource links should be used in conjunction with other available resources and with the advice of healthcare professionals. This website and its content are provided on an “as is” basis. Feldenkrais Toronto West makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, up-to-date information, or timeliness of any of the resource links listed nor of their summary descriptions. These resource links to websites/articles/documents are provided as a resource for your own personal educational purposes only. These resource links do not necessarily represent the opinions of the owner of this website - Feldenkrais Toronto West. The names of research/document authors, and Feldenkrais® trainers and practitioners and their studios, are provided solely as a database of available resources.  Their inclusion on this website should not, in any way, be construed as a referral or confirmation of professional credentials.  For articles/documents in a different language Google Translate offers translation.  As with all internet connections, one should be protected by an effective antivirus program.  As websites are constantly undergoing revisions, this website and Feldenkrais Toronto West accepts no responsibility for these website links and cannot provide any assurance that future website changes may include some issues or problems. Please ensure that your computer is always protected with an effective antivirus program.

Attentional Focus in Motor Learning, the Feldenkrais Method, and Mindful Movement

Perceptual and Motor Skills, Volume: 123 issue: 1, August 7, 2016

Josef Mattes, University of Vienna, Austria


The present paper discusses attentional focus in motor learning and performance from the point of view of mindful movement practices, taking as a starting point the Feldenkrais method. It is argued that earlier criticism of the Feldenkrais method  ... turns out to be unfounded in light of recent developments in the study of motor learning and performance. Conversely, the examples of the Feldenkrais method and Ki-Aikido are used to illustrate how both Western and Eastern (martial arts derived) mindful movement practices might benefit sports psychology.


Conference: 8th International Scientific Conference on Kinesiology, 2017, At Opatija, Croatia

Krešimir Šoš,  Filip Bolčević,  Vladimir Medved​,  University of Zagreb


To achieve adequate range of movement in joints is an important determinant of training status in football. It enables a biomechanically correct performance of certain movement structures and contributes to the prevention of sports injuries. The Feldenkrais method offers the possibility of learning and optimization of movement, which, consequently, through inhibition of redundant muscular activity may enable an increase in the range of movement (ROM). ... The goal of this research has been to compare and quantify the influence of work according to Feldenkrais method and classic stretching exercises on ROM in top-level football players. ... Group I practiced Feldenkrais method and had an average initial value of Reach 1=0.57±11.4 cm, and of final Reach 2=6.1±10 cm.

The Feldenkrais Method: A Dynamic Approach to Changing Motor Behavior

Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport ©2001 by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Vol. 72, No. 4

Patricia A. Buchanan and Beverly D. Ulrich


Also published in the IFF Research Journal:  http://iffresearchjournal.org/de/system/files/10PatBuchananEnglishVersion.pdf

The Feldenkrais Method was designed as an approach to changing and improving motor behavior over time—or simply, motor development—whether within a single session or over years of training. We believe this method is based on plausible tenets, made more intriguing by the many similarities to the principles of a popular contemporary theory—dynamic systems theory.

Facilitating Cervical Flexion Using a Feldenkrais Method: Awareness through Movement

Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy,  Vol 16, July 1992

Suzanne Ruth, MS, PT,  Sam Kegerreis, MS, PT, ACT


Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) methods can benefit anyone, even skilled athletes.  ...  This study provides data that support assertions that immediate physical and perceptual changes can be effected with the use of Feldenkrais ATM sequences. The ATM sequence studied was shown not only to increase the range of movement in a neck flexion task, but also to decrease the perceived effort required to perform this task in normal subjects

Lengthening the Hamstring Muscles Without Stretching Using “Awareness Through Movement”

Physical Therapy, Volume 86, Issue 12, 1 December 2006,

James Stephens, Joshua Davidson, Joseph DeRosa, Michael Kriz, Nicole Saltzman


Passive stretching is widely used to increase muscle flexibility, but it has been shown that this process does not produce long-term changes in the viscoelastic properties of muscle as originally thought. The authors tested a method of lengthening hamstring muscles called “Awareness Through Movement” (ATM) that does not use passive stretching.  ... Hamstring muscle length was measured before and after intervention using the Active Knee Extension Test. Results. The ATM group gained significantly more hamstring muscle length (+7.04°) compared with the control group (+1.15°). Discussion and Conclusions. The results suggest that muscle length can be increased through a process of active movement that does not involve stretching. Further research is needed to investigate this finding.

Slow Movement with Awareness: Better than Exercise?

Psychology Today, July 2010

Alan Fogel, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology Emeritus at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City


There is mounting evidence that slow movement, with body sense awareness, has astounding health benefits by itself and in combination with regular exercise routines. ... Aside from the legacy slow movement practices of yoga, tai chi, qi gong, aikido, and others, there are many movement practices, a few of which are mentioned here, that were developed in the 20th century and that also lend themselves to similar psychophysiological effects. Moshe Feldenkrais invented a system of body movement education-the Feldenkrais method-that reawakens, develops, and organizes capacities for kinesthetic (sensorimotor) learning. Whereas children before the age of three learn movements by relying on their sensorimotor experience, older children and adults in technological cultures often behave according to social expectations, distancing themselves from their bodily feelings. Feldenkrais "Awareness through Movement" classes teach moving with awareness and ease.

The effects of Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement on hamstring length, flexibility, and perceived exertion

Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, October 1999

C. Hopper, G. S. Kolt, J. C. McConville

La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria 3083 Australia


Although the Feldenkrais Method is rapidly gaining popularity among health professionals, only a small body of empirical research has documented its efficacy. The aim of the current study was to investigate the effects of the Feldenkrais Method on flexibility, perceived exertion and hamstring length. In Study 1, 79 healthy participants undertook measurements of flexibility (sit and reach test), perceived exertion (Borg's Rating of Perceived Exertion 6-20) and hamstring length (active knee extension test) prior to being randomly allocated into a Feldenkrais or control group.The same measurements were taken after the group intervention (a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lesson, or control procedure). Although the Feldenkrais participants improved significantly more in sit and reach measurements than their control counterparts, no differences between the groups were found for measures of perceived exertion or hamstring length.

Electromyographic Activity of Trunk Musculature During a Feldenkrais Awareness through Movement Lesson

Isokinetics and Exercise Science. 1(4): 216-221, 1991 - Only the abstract is available for review (unless purchase the article)

Brown, Elaine, Kegerreis, Samuel

Affiliations: University of Indianapolis


The purpose of this investigation is (1) to determine if a Feldenkrais awareness through movement technique creates a measurable physiological change in muscular activity, (2) to determine if there is a perceptual recognition of a physiological change, and (3) to determine if perceptual recognition may be induced as a result of suggestion, imagery, and visualization. The results support the following conclusions: (1) the Feldenkrais method produces a change in the amount of muscular activity as measured by EMG required to perform a movement task; (2) a perceptual recognition of the change in muscular activity is produced; and (3) this perceptual recognition of change is not the direct result of the use of suggestion, imagery, and visualization. This study supports the use of the Feldenkrais Method clinically for increasing attention to posturing, movements, and changes in muscular activity with movements.

2 Unconventional Ways to Improve Your Nordic Skiing

Online Blog - by Cross Country Ski Technique


Try the Feldenkrais Method to Improve Coordination. Here’s a typical list of things you need to work on if you want to be a faster nordic skier:

Aerobic Capacity, Strength, including explosive strength, Speed, Agility, Flexibility and Balance. There’s one item, not on that list, that I think is most important for learning to ski well: Body Awareness. ... The Feldenkrais Method ...  is all about improving coordination using small, exploratory movements that our brain finds interesting and non-threatening.

Is the Feldenkrais Method® the Missing Link in Mind-Body Fitness?

IDEA Fitness Journal

Mind-Body Wellness Review, 2016

Valerie Grant, Oct. 2016


Activity coupled with attention leads to efficiency. If we don't pay attention to what we’re doing, there can be serious ramifications. Just think how important attentive driving is! In terms of movement efficiency, the Feldenkrais Method may be the “missing link” in the mind-body conversation. As a fitness or wellness professional, you may find that integrating elements of Feldenkrais lessons into your teaching can help your clients and class participants to move more efficiently and to make better progress.

How to use Feldenkrais Technique to Free up Your Yoga Part 1: Twisting [text with video]

The Yoga Lunchbox, online website articles, APRIL 28, 2015



I first came across Feldenkrais in a yoga teacher ... Now that I’ve been practicing yoga for almost two decades, I’ve also become very interested in how the body opens up, or doesn’t open up. From my own experience I can see that it’s not a simple equation of doing x, y, or z posture enough times and achieving your optimum range of movement. I’ve discovered that there are many variables to increasing flexibility or ease within postures ...  I’d always thought that finding greater freedom in a reclining twist was a matter of effort, of finding the stretch and release.  However, through this technique I can see that sometimes it’s about training the body to move in different ways. It’s about working with the nervous system and the origins of movement.

Can Better Body Awareness Improve Your Workout?

Psychology Today, December 2017

Pirkko Markula, Ph.D.


Body awareness, aka the sensitivity to one’s body’s internal sensations, is at the core of many body-mind therapies or movement forms, such as yoga, Feldenkrais, Alexander, Tai Chi, and Pilates. While we can practice body awareness in these types of classes, why not have it inform all of our exercise practices — or even our everyday movement experiences. This means paying more attention to how we perform exercises. To do this, we can add a few small pointers to our workouts: Perform each exercise at a slower pace to carefully observe each part of the exercise. This strategy helps to employ both the concentric phase — muscle contracts while working — and eccentric phase — muscle lengthens while working — of each exercise. 

Effectiveness of the Feldenkrais method in rehabilitation of scapular dyskinesias in high level swimmers

Brief presented by Lise Pommier, student in 3rd year of massage physiotherapy, with a view to obtaining the Masseur-Kinesitherapist State Diploma.
Promotion 2013-2016.  In French - Google can translate.


This study is one of the first of its kind, and is a preliminary to further work on the effectiveness of the method Feldenkrais in high level swimmers. Positioning and mobility of the scapula on shoulder pain appear to be very sensitive to muscle imbalances, but there is also a predominant proprioceptive component in the appearance of these troubles. Despite the constitutive biases of this study, we find that the method Feldenkrais allows an awareness by the subject of these imbalances, and therefore a overall improvement in pain phenomena. We also see a sensation general well-being in these swimmers who last a few days after the session. Future studies will be needed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Feldenkrais method in the longer-term reeducation of swimmers. We also think it would be interesting to study the effectiveness of the method in the search for performance improvement by
a work of movements and their fluidity.

Sue Seto, Toronto West

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