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The Feldenkrais Method was developed by Israeli scientist Moshe Feldenkrais, DSc, a nuclear physicist working with the Nobel laureate Joliot-Curie. After suffering a knee injury while playing soccer, Feldenkrais discovered that there was a 50% chance of recovery and a 50% chance that after surgery he would be stuck in a wheelchair forever. Rather than take this chance, he set out to learn anatomy, kinesiology, and physiology. Combining this with his knowledge of mechanics, physics, engineering, and judo (he was the first non-Japanese to earn a black belt) he managed to restore most function to his knee. This began his exploration of human function and development, the culmination of his research became the Feldenkrais Method.
Feldenkrais is an educational system more so than a curative treatment. Through teaching, patients learn to avoid painful motions, improve their movement, and promote general health by becoming more self-aware. One technique is known as Awareness Through Movement. This method utilizes a series of demonstrations that show how conscious perception has a direct effect on the way the body functions. The second technique is Functional Integration in which a trained practitioner takes a hands-on approach to show clients how to eliminate excess effort in movement and reduce stress. Feldenkrais is most successful in resolving chronic muscle pains by utilizing somatic re-education.
In order to become a certified Feldenkrais practitioner, providers must enroll in a 3-year, 4 part intensive program that is approved by the Feldenkrais Guild. One school that offers this program is the Feldenkrais Movement Institute. Providers receive formal and hands-on education in the foundations of somatic healing.
Credentials and Regulation Bodies
The Feldenkrais Guild is the overarching accreditation and regulation body for the Feldenkrais method. Certified practitioners must successfully complete the 3-year Guild-approved training program. Practitioners are required to observe the standards set by the Feldenkrais Guild in their practice in order to remain certified.
The Feldenkrais Guild is the umbrella association subdivided by region. The Feldenkrais Guild of North America, for example, is the professional organization certified practitioners in the United States belong to. The Feldenkrais Guild offers accreditation, sets regulations, and promotes the advancement of its members.
Feldenkrais treatment can be received individually or in a class setting and in person or over Skype. Individual sessions average $60 to $80. Group classes are $25-$30 on average. Many Feldenkrais practitioners will integrate Feldenkrais into bodywork therapies like massage or physical therapy. Prices for those services will vary according to the main treatment they are providing.