Introduction to the Feldenkrais Method: ‘New Light on Old Patterns’
On Tuesday 11th November, Perth Physiotherapist Jodie Krantz from Free2Move in Mt Hawthorn presented a 2 hour workshop to recently graduated Physios at the Australian Physiotherapy Association branch office. Fourteen Perth Physiotherapists, who have graduated within the last 5 years, had the opportunity to experience the Feldenkrais Method first hand from a presenter with over 20 years experience in the field.
Ms Krantz invited participants to engage with questions such as:
- How do we change habits which no longer serve us?
- What about the stubborn, longstanding patterns which seem to defy change?
- Is there a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ way to move? or breathe?
- How can the discoveries we make about our own movement patterns enhance our ability to educate our clients?
- What does it mean to re-educate our movement patterns and why is it necessary?
- How can we have more power with less force? greater range with less strain?
The Feldenkrais Method is based on the life work of Dr Moshe Feldenkrais (1904 – 1984). Dr Feldenkrais, an inventor, nuclear physicist and judo expert, understood ‘neuroplasticity’ – the ability of the brain and nervous system to adapt, change and re-wire itself – long before it became a buzzword in popular science. His frequently subtle yet profound and powerful method of movement re-education is useful for anyone seeking to change patterns of pain and tension and replace them with a sense of ease and freedom.
The Feldenkrais Method is popular with Physiotherapists and people seeking to overcome chronic pain or neurological problems as well as athletes, dancers and performing artists, who wish to become more graceful, coordinated, efficient and powerful.
Ms Krantz describes Feldenkrais as a scientific approach to movement re-education, which focuses on improving the human capacity for learning. It involves directing the attention to the body in a relaxed, enjoyable and mindful way, while exploring slow, gentle yet unusual movement sequences. This helps Feldenkrais students become more aware of muscular habits and tension patterns, allowing them to discover new and more efficient patterns of movement. Ultimately Dr Feldenkrais was not just interested in flexible bodies but in flexible minds.
In her work as a Physiotherapist, Ms Krantz finds that the Feldenkrais Method is particularly helpful for people with chronic pain issues such as back pain, headaches, shoulder pain and hip pain.
“Feldenkrais looks at the whole body and how the different body parts work in relation to each other” said Ms Krantz. “Instead of focusing on the pain itself, the focus is on pain-free, comfortable movement. The relaxing and enjoyable movements have a positive effect on physical and mental well being, helping break the vicious cycle of pain, tension and poor posture, which often occurs with chronic pain.”
Ms Krantz has been invited to present another workshop for the Australian Physiotherapy Association on the Feldenkrais Method in 2015 on the topic of Feldenkrais for Chronic Pain. She will also present a Chronic Pain workshop for the Australian Feldenkrais Guild next year.