Feldenkrais Method® and Mind, Body Awareness and Somatics
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Mind, Body Awareness and Somatics
Perceptual and Motor Skills, December 2000
Poss A. Dunn, Douglas K. Rogers
To investigate the effect of sensory imagery on subsequent movement, a unilateral Feldenkrais lesson of imaging a soft bristle brush passing over one-half of the body and in which no movement occurred, was given to 12 naive subjects. Forward flexion for each side of the body was measured at a sit-and-reach box. For 8 and 10 subjects who reported the perception of a side as being longer and lighter following the sensory imagery, there was also a significant increase in the forward flexion range on that side.
Journal of Leadership Education Volume 15 Issue 3 Research
Mary Margaret Fonow, Ph.D. Arizona State University, Judith A. Cook, Ph.D. University of Illinois, Richard S. Goldsand, B.A. Arizona State University, Jane K. Burke-Miller, Ph.D. University of Illinois
Our research examines the Feldenkrais Method of somatic education as a potential strategy for enhancing mindfulness, body awareness, and empathetic leadership perceptions among college students. The study we report on is part of a larger initiative to incorporate principles of mindfulness into the creation of a leadership curriculum in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. … Somatic education involves using sensory-motor learning to acquire greater voluntary awareness and control over the movement of one’s body … Our attention is focused on the role of the Feldenkrais Method of somatic education, in which participants’ enhanced awareness of bodily sensation, we believe, may uniquely support the relational capacities, such as openness and empathy, which are needed for advocacy and social change.
Journal of Education & Social Policy Vol. 4, No. 3, September 2017
Mary Margaret Fonow, Ph.D. Arizona State University, Judith A. Cook, Ph.D. University of Illinois, Richard S. Goldsand, B.A. Arizona State University, Jane K. Burke-Miller, Ph.D. University of Illinois
The second is Awareness through Movement® (ATM® ), which involves verbally directed, gentle movement sequences and is typically done in groups and led by certified Feldenkrais instructors. ... The guided exercises work by making individuals aware of their habitual neuromuscular patterns and rigidities and by teaching participants new ways of moving that increase sensitivity and improve bodily efficiency. ... Through greater awareness of the minute details of how one performs different actions, Feldenkrais students learn how to eliminate unnecessary energy expenditure and move with greater ease and less effort. At the same time, this allows the brain to create new patterns and affords the individual new options for thinking, acting and feeling. ... A growing body of research suggests that, in addition to having a positive effect on the way one moves, the Feldenkrais Method can induce relaxation (Wanning, 1993), elevate mood(Lake 1985) and reduce stress and anxiety (Kolt & McConville, 2000).Summaries of the research literature on outcomes of Feldenkrais interventions include studies finding significant reduction of pain, improvement of affect states, enhanced self-efficacy and self-image and positive increases in a wide range of quality-of-life measures
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, 12 pages
Susan Hillier and Anthea Worley
The Feldenkrais Method (FM) has broad application in populations interested in improving awareness, health, and ease of function. This review aimed to update the evidence for the benefits of FM, and for which populations. ... Single studies reported significant positive effects for reduced perceived effort and increased comfort, body image perception, and dexterity. ... clinicians and professionals may promote the use of FM in populations interested in efficient physical performance and self-efficacy.
A thesis presented to the Faculty of Saybrook University in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of Master of Science (MS) in Mind-Body Medicine, Available on ProQuest May 2012
The Feldenkrais Method generates a range of healthful or salutogenic outcomes, yet its contribution to the field of mind-body medicine (MBM) remains largely unexamined. The Feldenkrais Method is a form of somatic education offering both practices and theoretical perspectives for an integrated mind-body approach. Research shows that the Feldenkrais Method produces outcomes on a range of functional, psychophysical, and psychosocial measures. This thesis argues that the Feldenkrais Method is an awareness practice of value for mind-body and integrative approaches to health. Possible mechanisms and dynamics of action of the Feldenkrais Method are presented. This thesis proposes that non- or preconscious intentionality and “know-how” can be an important aspect of healthy behavior. Somatics practices and somatic awareness can play an important role in creating an intentional arc toward health. This study supports the importance of research into the Feldenkrais Method in relation to MBM and health.
Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts [Special Issue: New Connections in Education Research], 20, 4-19, October 2016
Sue Erica Smith, Charles Darwin University; E.L. Schuberg Barnes, Charles Darwin University; Jon Mason, Charles Darwin University; Julia Broome
This paper explores how mindfulness exercises and body awareness can support teacher wellbeing. ... Teachers are busy people in what has long been known to be a stressful profession and it is a profession that is also prey to the more serious condition of burnout. .. In elaborating on this claim, evidence
is presented both from mind-body disorder as well as optimized mind-body functioning that can be facilitated by physically-grounded mind training through Feldenkrais techniques (Feldenkrais, 1964; 1981; 1984). The process of exploring experience of movement using a Feldenkrais approach, provides a basis for mindful attention and also facilitates improvement in mind-body functioning. The value of Feldenkrais Awareness through Movement has been investigated in other domains including leadership and management. In these movement explorations, the student learns how to find ease in moving in many different ways and in this process learns multiple things simultaneously.
Journal of Consciousness Studies, Volume 6, Numbers 2-3, 1 February 1999
The position of this paper is that mind and body are not two entities related to each other but an inseparable whole while functioning. From concrete examples from the Feldenkrais Method, it is shown that changes in the organization of movement and functioning are intimately related and that one cannot change without conscious experience.
Sport, Education and Society, Volume 5, Number 1, 1 March 2000, pp. 35-49
In Western societies since (and probably before) Descartes, the human body has been objectified and alienated from the self, something to be subdued, managed and more recently worked upon as symbol of self-value. ... Physical education as the school site for body work has been implicated in the process of objectification and alienation. The traditional practices of physical education, including choices in teacher language, position bodies as objects, and movement as an instrumental outcome of practice. Not all movement practices, however, subscribe to this approach. This paper will compare the language practices of teachers in a physical education lesson and a Feldenkrais movement class as these constitute different forms of embodiment, different selves.
Affiliations: University of Indianapolis
Brown, Elaine; Kegerreis, Samuel
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 show that there was a significant difference in EMG activity of the flexors and of RPE values within each group; however, there were no significant differences between the two groups. 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.
Frontiers in Psychology, 12 January 2015
Michael Kimmel , Christine Irran and Martin A. Luger
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Founded by the physicist and judo teacher Moshé Feldenkrais (1904-1984) after the 1940s, the Feldenkrais Method®views itself as a somatic educational system for enhancing the body image, heightening awareness and expanding one's movement repertoire. Awareness through movement (ATM) lessons are presented verbally. The practitioner guides several participants through a series of movements. The participants are invited to discover effortless and pleasurable exertion, while increasing their musculoskeletal awareness and spatial orientation. The aim is to help them realize new proprioceptive and kinesthetic possibilities. In Functional Integration (FI)—our present focus—the practitioner manually guides a single client's movement.
Changes in neural resting state activity in primary and higher-order motor areas induced by a short sensorimotor intervention based on the Feldenkrais method
[Using MRI to track changes in the brain while doing "Artificial Floor"]
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2015; 9: 232.
Julius Verrel, Eilat Almagor, Frank Schumann, Ulman Lindenberger, and Simone Kühn
We use functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate short-term neural effects of a brief sensorimotor intervention adapted from the Feldenkrais method, a movement-based learning method. Twenty-one participants (10 men, 19–30 years) took part in the study. Participants were in a supine position in the scanner with extended legs while an experienced Feldenkrais practitioner used a planar board to touch and apply minimal force to different parts of the sole and toes of their left foot under two experimental conditions. ... The results of this exploratory study show that a short, non-intrusive sensorimotor intervention can have short-term effects on spontaneous cortical activity in functionally related brain regions. Increased resting state activity in higher-order motor areas supports the hypothesis that the global intervention engages action-related neural processes.
Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 6. 102-107. 2001
Gretchen A. Kerr, Filip Kotynia, Gregory Kolt, Western Sydney University
The ability of the Feldenkrais® Method to reduce state anxiety was investigated. Specifically, both a single Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement lesson and a 10-week Feldenkrais®Awareness Through Movement programme were studied. Participants volunteered to take part in one 1-hour class each week for 10 weeks. Individuals who declined to participate in the 10-week programme were given the opportunity to participate in a single 1-hour lesson during week 5. ... Findings indicated that state anxiety scores decreased significantly over a single lesson (T2–T3) for both new (n=13) and returning (n=42) students. In addition, state anxiety scores were significantly lower after the 10-week programme (T4) when compared with baseline scores (T1) for new (n=3) and returning (n=42) students, with new students experiencing a significantly greater reduction than returning students. These findings can be interpreted as further support for the efficacy of the Feldenkrais® Method in reducing state anxiety.
Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 2000
Gregory S. Kolt, Facultyof Health Studies, Auckland University of Technology; Janet C. McConville, School of Physiotherapy, La Trobe University
The effects of a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement program and relaxation procedures were assessed on a volunteer sample of 54 undergraduate physiotherapy students over a 2-week period. Participants were randomly allocated into a Feldenkrais Method ... compared to the control group, females in the Feldenkrais and relaxation groups reported significantly lower anxiety scores on completion of the fourth session (compared to immediately prior to the fourth session), and this reduction was maintained one day later. These findings can be interpreted as preliminary evidence of the efficacy of the Feldenkrais Method and relaxation procedures in reducing anxiety.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, June 2015
Dav Clark, University of California, Berkeley; Frank Schumann, Paris Descartes, CPSC; Stewart H Mostofsky, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Bodily movement has long been employed as a foundation for cultivating mental skills such as attention, self-control or mindfulness,
with recent studies documenting the positive impacts of mindful movement training ... A parallel “mind-body connection” has also been
observed in many developmental disorders. We elaborate a spectrum of mindfulness by considering ADHD, in which deficient motor control correlates with impaired (disinhibited) behavioral control contributing to defining features of excessive distractibility and impulsivity. ... We particularly follow Feldenkrais’ suggestion that mindful learning of skills for organizing the body in movement might transfer to other forms of mental activity. The results of mindful movement training should be observed in multiple complementary measures, and may have tremendous potential benefit for individuals with ADHD and other populations.
Theory and Practice of Physical Culture - The Monthly Scientific Theoretical Journal
A.A. Gorelov, professor; Dr.Hab, St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University;
S.A. Gorelov, St. Petersburg; L.A. Grigorovich, Russian Academy of Education
According to the concept of ... M. Feldenkrais, who investigated into the mechanisms of awareness through movement, every individual acts in accordance with the so-called "self-image". Self-image controls every human action and is determined by three determinants: heredity, upbringing and self-cultivation, education and self-education. ... the author’s views on upbringing which, in his opinion, forms us as members of a particular society, and dictates to every individual to be as similar to an average person (ideal for this society) as possible. It dictates to each of its members how to dress, makes one express one’s thoughts the same way as the majority, instills behavioral styles, etc. The objective is to form the direction in the human desire to personalize one’s behavior within the framework of the generally accepted norms of a given society. ... in his understanding of the mechanisms of motor self-development and self-improvement of an individual in ontogenesis, permanent functioning of which at the same time forms his intellectual sphere. In other words, the process of motor self-improvement of a person includes not only the development of his physical conditions or practiced movements that become skills, but also his own intellectual self-improvement.
University of Bordeaux (Google can translate)
Adjoa Domelevo, Master's Thesis, September 2014, Paris Descartes, CPSC
This research points two aims : to propose a school form of practicing "Feldenkrais® " to locate the effects of the
activity "Feldenkrais® " on stress and coping after a training program for pupils in a class of Troisième. Our work
scans several theorical areas in order to follow a multidisciplinary method. Research methodology is based on a
mixed approach : qualitative, because the "Feldenkrais® " propose a betterness process, and, quantitative. ...
Our results indicate that the stress level decreases after "Feldenkrais®" training. But results are nuanced about body image and strategies of coping : some of our results confirm our hypothetis and others refute them. Main contributions of this research are : a better knowledge of the "Feldenkrais® ", of the somatic education ; a better knowledge of health education ; a didactic innovatory proposal: teaching a body awareness method in scholar context ; a new tool to cope with stress, for the adolescents. This work opens paths to self-health, transdisciplinarity, and well-being bodily techniques in schools, body ecology.
Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine, 2011, Georgetown University Medical Center
Wolf E Mehling, Judith Wrubel, Jennifer J Daubenmier, Cynthia J Price, Catherine E Kerr, Theresa Silow,
Viranjini Gopisetty and Anita L Stewart
Enhancing body awareness has been described as a key element or a mechanism of action for therapeutic approaches often categorized as mind-body approaches, such as yoga, TaiChi, Body-Oriented Psychotherapy, Body Awareness Therapy, mindfulness based therapies/meditation, Feldenkrais, Alexander Method, Breath Therapy and others with reported benefits for a variety of health conditions. To better understand the conceptualization of body awareness in mind-body therapies, leading practitioners and teaching faculty of these approaches were invited as well as their patients to participate in focus groups.
Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy, INSIDE OUT ISSUE 49: SUMMER 2006
The Feldenkrais Method is a technique which uses movement and deep awareness to improve the functioning of the entire human organism. It was developed during the 1950s by Moshe Feldenkrais, physicist, engineer and martial artist. The following is an introduction to the theory and practice of the method he developed which has come to be widely used throughout the world by people wishing to improve their capacity for action, thought and feeling. ... In the waking state there are four components to each action we carry out: Movement, Sensation, Thought, and Feeling. Each of these combines to a greater or lesser extent in everything we do. Indeed, if one of these aspects is missing from our lives our existence may be threatened. These components not only combine to allow us behave but through them we have the experience of being ourselves, that is they provide us with our self-image.
Western Sydney University
Anna Yeatmen, 2008 (revised version from the IFF 2007 version in the Feldenkrais Research Journal, 2007)
Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, 2011, 3 (1&2), p
This research has begun to respond to fieldwork difficulties met in bringing somatic practices, particularly Feldenkrais, into the field of social work. The endogenous discourses produced by the Feldenkrais community to describe and analyse the practice proved to be counterproductive to convince social work professionals of the relevance of Somatics ...
Journal of Fluency Disorder. 25 (2000), 59–76
Marina Gilman, Loyola University, Medical Center, Chicago; J. Scott Yaruss, Stuttering Center of Western Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh
Relaxation techniques have been an integral part of many stuttering treatment approaches since the early part of the 19th century. The therapeutic use of relaxation has fallen out of favor in recent years, however, due to concerns that the sensation of being relaxed is difficult to generalize and so has limited efficacy outside the treatment environment. This paper reviews the history of relaxation techniques in stuttering therapy and proposes a means for viewing relaxation not as a passive process (e.g., a feeling of calmness), but rather as an active, dynamic process involving coordinated movement of the entire neuromusculoskeletal system. This balance is central to the theories of somatic education, such as those developed by Alexander, Rolf, and Feldenkrais. Accordingly, this paper argues that the use of somatic education in stuttering treatment may promote the perception of relaxation and facilitate the habituation of new behavior patterns, thereby leading to improved generalization of relaxation outside the treatment setting.
The Feldenkrais Journal: 15, 39-46, 2003.
The Feldenkrais Guild of North America
Kathryn Goldman Schuyler
Can Awareness Through Movement lessons (ATM), taught as part of a university graduate course, catalyze significant change in people who otherwise have no experience with the Feldenkrais Method? That is what I explored with very positive results. I have been intrigued since the Amherst training with the question of how to encourage people to make connections through movement which will promote learning in other areas of their lives.
International Feldenkrais Federation, IFF Feldenkrais Research Journal, Volume 5
Cliff Smyth, MS, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher®
This paper describes the Feldenkrais Method, and explores the phenomenology of embodiment as it emerges from the practice of the Feldenkrais Method, including the following themes: the effect of somatic practice on the experience of being-in-the-world through shifts in perception and bodily disposition; the body in its world; action, function and practical bodily engagements; the experience of being a bodily subject and having a physical body; health, awareness, and the how of how the body appears in consciousness.
Thrive Global, COMMUNITY, October 4, 2017
Does keeping up with the news give you whiplash or a growing sense of dis-ease? Has your life been interrupted or upended by a natural disaster or otherwise taken an unexpected turn? If there is something that anyone can do to improve their ability to respond to life’s inevitabilities and its vagaries, it’s finding a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method and taking an Awareness Through Movement class.
Feldenkrais Research Journal Volume 5, May 2016
Adjoa Domelevo Feldenkrais Practitioner; Doctoral student, University ParisDescartes;
Bernard Andrieu PhD, Professor, University ParisDescartes
'Body Ecology’ is not just an interesting phrase, but a practice that engages our daily responsibility and it also connects to a body awareness through reflection on our actions and it’s consequences. ‘Body Ecology is a practice of selfcare that is responsible for the care of others through lifestyle choices’ (Andrieu 2011: 12). Without knowing the ecology of our own bodies, we are looking in nature a harmony that is within us: our microcosm no longer corresponds with the macrocosm. ... The research problem is expressed as follows: Awareness Through Movement, one of the two Feldenkrais Method modalities, promotes emergence and persistence of flow experience and its returning into flow (Csikszentmihalyi 1975, 1990). The aim of this research is to create new knowledge about the body, Feldenkrais Method, and flow. It is intended also to test and verify the Feldenkrais Method’s impact on the expérience of flow. Her epistemological posture will be rooted in body ecology (Andrieu, 2011) and positive psychology (Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi 2000). The research methodology will adopt a qualitative approach. The results of of this study will be relevant to three social spheres: the scientific community, educational sphere, and the sports world.
A thesis submitted for the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY, School of Education, University of Birmingham, September 2011
Embodiment is a process as much of a state of being, and as such has implications for perceptions of mind and body, learning, and reflective practice. This approach to embodied reflective practice thus has potential for educators and teacher trainers, as well as direct work with children. ... Another structural hands-on approach to the body is that developed by Moshe Feldenkrais. ... “he would do what was necessary in order to discover how to do a movement more efficiently...he would explore his body for hours at a time in order to discover the process and its connections” (Hanna, 1985) ... it is the inner awareness and experience that is the work. “to understand how my techniques work...I have deliberately avoided answering the whys” (Feldenkrais, 1981). ... Feldenkrais felt that it was the learning of his clients that contributed to their healing “the accent is on the learning process rather than the teaching technique” (Feldenkrais, 1981).
TEAK MA Dance Pedagogy Thesis, 6 April 2009
University of the Arts Helsinki
The Feldenkrais method is a somatic educational system developed by Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984) which offers to improve the quality, range and comfort with which we move. Since we are moving every moment of our lives, then through improving movement, the method aims to improve all that we do. It also concerns itself with learning. More specifically, learning how to learn. It employs a pedagogical process that applies not only to learning new movements, but to any new skill (Feldenkrais, 1972). ... we work slowly and gently, in a way that educates our whole selves to move in a better coordinated, more efficient and graceful way. The more we become aware of how we are moving, the more efficient our movement becomes. As a result, we find ourselves increasingly able to let go of unnecessary habits and holding patterns that we have accumulated over our lives, moving instead in response to the present situation. Feldenkrais called these holding patterns parasitic movements .
Feldenkrais ‘Functional Integration’ Increases Body Contact Surface in the Supine Position: A Randomized-Controlled Experimental Study
Frontiers in Psychology, October 2018
Matthias Brummer, Center for Physical Therapy and Feldenkrais Method, Fürth, Germany,
Feldenkrais ‘Functional Integration’ (FI) is a widely used type of body work with a focus on the continuous integration of body sensations and awareness with movement. The method is, amongst others, known for improving balance in aging populations, but also for its ability to relax muscles. ... We evaluated objectively and subjectively if a treatment with FI would induce changes in pressure and contact surface of the body on the mat. ... We conclude from our study that Feldenkrais FI indeed relaxes the body. This is visible through a larger area covered by the body and higher pressure, objectively measured.
Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 1997
Ralph La Forge, MS, San Diego Cardiac Center Medical Group
The Feldenkrais Method .... A mind-body-oriented approach teaches the patient to be mindful of the intrinsic energy from which he or she may ultimately perceive greater self-control and empowerment. Intentionally becoming aware of breathing and specific proprioceptive sensations while performing low-level physical activity . . .
The Feldenkrais method is not a system of physical exercises such as calisthenics; these exercises are, as Feldenkrais practitioners call them, somatopsychic explorations that foster improvement by accessing inherent neurological competencies and facilitating new learning. Feldenkrais methods are aimed primarily at those whose symptoms relate to inefficient movement.
The Journal of Psychology Interdisciplinary and Applied, October 2003
Yael Netz, The Academic College at Wingate, Israel
Ronnie Lidor, University of Haifa, Israel
Feldenkrais is a system of body retraining designed to make people aware of the components of movement and directing them to select integrated patterns of motion. Through learning synchronous muscloskeletal patterning, thinking and feeling are altered in a positive direction. The exercises are gentle and undemanding, causing minimal cardiovascular and muscloskeletal strain. ... Specifically, this study introduced the Feldenkrais activity, adding credence to the ability of the mindful activities to produce mood changes. The effectiveness of the Feldenkrais activity on mood alterations has been examined only in a multi-session program. This technique was also shown to be effective in one single session of exposure to physical activity.
Doctoral Theses from University of Gothenburg, Sweden, 1985
Motor disturbances are usually associated to mental disorders. ... Feldenkrais has developed two methods ... The goal of Awareness Through Movement is to re-activate co-ordinations which are lost in present-day use of the body or as a result of injury. The method often starts with a small movement, which during several repetitions develop into a co-ordination that engages the whole body. This kind of training requires total mental presence. Feldenkrais calls his method a "body-mind method". ... The results of the study show significant differences in the treatment group in four factors of the BAS [Body Awareness Scale]: The Movement Factor, Gaze and Sexual Interest, Body Image, and Anxiety Factor. The treatment group showed a significant improvement after six months in twelve separate items, nine of which were related to the body and motor ability, and three emotional symptoms. Seven items were significantly improved in the treatment group after twelve months. There were no significant improvements in separate items or factors in the control group. These results confirm the hypothesis that the BAS is sensitive to changes.