In our day to day lives, we experience many things that can take their toll on our bodies. For most, the answer to this pain comes with natural therapy, but not many know about the benefits of the Feldenkrais Method. This unique exercise therapy is said to reconnect the body and mind to soothe your aches and pains and promote wellness.
We put our bodies through quite a bit each day, and that’s not counting the feats of strength we do in addition to that like hiking, carrying our children, or sitting for long hours at a computer. When our bodies begin to experience strain or discomfort, it can be felt all over and lead to chronic and long-lasting pain.
The Feldenkrais Method is one of the lesser known natural therapies out there and it’s said to relieve people of their chronic pain, caused by all kinds of things. With a process that works somewhat like yoga but different, this method claims to be able to rewire your brain and fix your body.
If you’ve never heard of Feldenkrais Method before, it’s quite fascinating to explore deeper. We’re going to look at exactly what this technique involves, what you can expect during a session and the benefits that it claims to offer. For those seeking a natural solution to their pain and body movement issues, this is one to keep your eye on.
What is the Feldenkrais Method?
The Feldenkrais Method was created by Moshe Feldenkrais, an Israeli engineer born in Russia who immigrated to Isreal when he was 13 years old. After earning double degrees in both electrical and mechanical engineering, he was able to use this knowledge to work with the human body and treated an ankle injury he had suffered playing soccer.
During his life, he held three training seminars where he taught just 300 people the Feldenkrais Method who then went on to show other practitioners how to do it. With a focus on the principles of physics and biomechanics, as well as the individual nature of human development and how each of us moves, this unique technique is now used by thousands of people around the world.
The concept behind this exercise therapy isn’t just about working your body, but the mind too. The Feldenkrais Method teaches that our brains can be rewired to make our bodies hurt less and move fluidly, so that we experience less discomfort and find it easier to move through everyday life.
The education one receives while learning the Feldenkrais Method is all about gentle movements and teaching people to use their bodies more effectively. The results are smoother, more comfortable, and pain-free bodies that will continue to evolve and improve as you spend more time using the method.
What to Expect in a Session
The Feldenkrais Method has often been likened to yoga as the classes often resemble what you’d find in a standard yoga class, but there is the option for private treatment as well. Most of the moves are done slowly and gently to allow people time to adapt, but there will be some fast portions where you need to be especially careful not to lose awareness of your body.
A standard class will feature a range of motions and positions that your instructor will guide you through. There are moves like hip releases with bolsters or pelvic tilts, so again it sounds somewhat similar to yoga. However, the difference with Feldenkrais is that a lot of emphases is put on the mind so that you’ll be able to rewire your thinking and reset the way you move.
There is a lot of thought that goes into each movement and participants must also dig deep to think about where their pain comes from. According to the instructors, rather than looking at something like poor posture, you need to go further than that and think about why your posture might be poor in order to fix it.
One thing that makes Feldenkrais so unique is that it’s accessible to people of all genders, backgrounds, and ages. There are specific courses directed even at babies and children as it’s believed that the can benefit as well. Thanks to its gentle approach, even the elderly or those with serious physical pain or limitations will be able to take part in the Feldenkrais Method.
Feldenkrais vs Other Forms of Natural Therapy
According to the official Feldenkrais Method homepage, there are certain ways that this approach differs from other popular forms of alternative therapy. Here are just a few key differences they claim it offers, direct from their FAQ page:
When compared to tai chi and other physical forms of therapy, you don’t need any experience or special physical condition to be able to use it. It’s available to everyone and you’ll get results from just your first class.
Massage is more about soft tissue manipulation whereas the method goes deeper and looks at healing your nervous system so that you can effectively change your body with your thoughts.
There’s no need to flexible or have any idea what you’re doing to use the Feldenkrais Method. Some yoga lovers even claim to have used this method to allow them to be more flexible to go into positions thanks to their new range of motion.
Benefits of Feldenkrais
As the Feldenkrais method is quite new when compared to other natural therapies like acupressure or yoga, it’s believed to have many benefits for its users. Although studies have yet to find conclusive evidence that it’s able to achieve all of these things, here are some benefits that its participants have experienced.
Increased range of motion
Whether you’re recovering from an injury and trying to rehabilitate or just want a better range of motion for sports or everyday life, Feldenkrais can help you achieve it.
Those with chronic or short-term pain are recommended to get involved with this method and use it as a long-term approach to prevent pain from returning.
Many people report feeling more graceful and free moving after just one session, which could be especially beneficial for those who need it in their careers, like models or dancers.
Improved flexibility and ease when stretching out are common benefits of using this method which can be hugely helpful for those wanting to build their strength or get more out of their bodies.
Some users find that focusing on the connection between their body and mind improves their coordination and that their body responds better to thought.
When we’re moving our bodies as intended and feeling more natural in our movements, we tend to feel better emotionally and mentally as well, which is what users of the Feldenkrais Method report.
Modern Criticism of the Feldenkrais Method
As with any new form of alternative medicine or treatment, there is some criticism out there about the Feldenkrais Method. Various governments have denied this method of treatment as being covered as a form of therapy stating that there was no real evidence that any of it worked.
Other critics of the method claim that it’s more like a glorified yoga that costs a lot more to attend and with fewer results. As it’s still in the early days, it’s too hard to justify whether or not the high costs fit the benefits that it’s so far able to offer.
Those who believe in the method state that it falls into line with other preventative methods and is more about treating problems before they arise. The Feldenkrais Method leaves recovery and healing in the hands of the patient and allows them to work as they need to see improvements, which makes it a smart choice.
A Unique Exercise Therapy for Healing
Rather than reaching for medication or opting for invasive surgery, the best approach to pain and discomfort should always be a natural one. The Feldenkrais Method might not be as popular as yoga or massage, but its following is certainly growing and there are many who claim they have felt the benefits for themselves.
We’ve always known about the important connection between the body and mind but it’s not normally something that exercises therapy covers. This makes the Feldenkrais Method such a standout and the logic behind it seems quite easy to justify.
If you’ve been looking for a solution from your chronic pain or just feel that your body is out of sorts, you might benefit greatly from trying this natural exercise therapy. The Feldenkrais Method shows great promise as a natural treatment and there’s no doubt it will only continue to grow in popularity.