Feldenkrais

Rating

Category: Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Injury Type: Acute

What is it?

The Feldenkrais Method® facilitates learning about movement, posture and breathing to ultimately increase the ease and range of movement and improve flexibility and coordination. Through gentle movement lessons, clients are taught to become more aware of how our habits may restrict our movements through daily life. Clients are taught easier options for movement. This form of movement therapy is used to enhance the functional rehabilitation of patients with impairment from chronic pain.

How does it work?

The Feldenkrais method was created by Moshe Feldenkrais, who believed the human mind has the ability to understand, learn and perform new activities. Using the Feldenkrais technique patients are guided to understand and identify their dysfunctional movement pattern and discover alternative options to perform a task without experiencing pain. The approach involves:

  • Classes called "Awareness Through Movement" (ATM)
  • ATM lessons are usually taught in groups on a weekly basis. A Feldenkrais practitioner guides the participant through a planned sequence of movement explorations. Attention is drawn to the process of each movement pattern. Through observing their movements, participants learn easier ways of moving in everyday activities. Exploring movement in these classes is designed to improve overall wellbeing.
  • Individual lessons called "Functional Integration" (FI)
  • This is a hands-on process which addresses particular individual problems, therefore lessons are tailored to each person's needs. The Feldenkrais practitioner guides movements through precise touch. The client lies or sits, comfortably clothed, on a low padded table. The practitioner brings present habits into focus and offers new movement options. The learning is then applied to everyday activities such as reaching, sitting, standing and walking.

Is it effective?

Feldenkrais may be used as a treatment for whiplash after the initial stage of healing. There are no studies assessing the effectiveness of Feldenkrais for whiplash. Feldenkrais has been used successfully in chronic neck and back conditions.

Are there any disadvantages?

The disadvantages associated with Feldenkrais have not been researched. Given that several classes/sessions may be required it may be an expensive treatment option.

Where do you get it?

Qualified therapists teach the Feldenkrais method. They are listed in the appropriate section of the Yellow Pages, and can be found at The Australian Feldenkrais Guild.

Recommendations

The use of Feldenkrais following whiplash cannot be recommended because of a lack of research evidence. More research is required.

Key References

  • Cotter, AC, Memmo, P & Kim, N 2002, 'Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the Treatment of Whiplash Disorders', in Whiplash, eds GA Malanga & S Nadler, Hanley and Belfus Inc., Philadelphia, pp. 373-391.
  • The Australian Feldenkrais Guild 2003, The Feldenkrais Method, viewed 30 October 2007.
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