WHAT HAPPENS DURING A PRIVATE SESSION?
In Feldenkrais private sessions (known as Functional Integration or FI), you will lie or sit in a comfortable position on the Feldenkrais table. The sessions usually last 40-50 minutes, during which time I will guide you through gentle movements intended to unwind muscular tension, improve posture, and enable easier movement in targeted activities and in everyday life. Mostly you relax and pay attention to what is happening while I guide your movements. At times I may give you verbal movement instructions. In most lessons, we will finish doing a movement exercise that you can practice at home. Attending group classes or doing recorded movement lessons (which I provide free of charge) is recommended for most people doing private sessions, in order to keep the practice deepening between sessions. Please wear warm and comfortable clothing that does not restrict your joints.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A GROUP CLASS?
In Feldenkrais group classes (known as Awareness Through Movement or ATM), you will be verbally guided through a series of movements, while being reminded to keep your attention in the movement and to go at your own pace. Most lessons are done lying on the back, some lying on the side or front, and some are done in sitting, standing, or walking. Please wear warm and comfortable clothing that does not restrict your joints.
IS FELDENKRAIS A KIND OF PHYSICAL THERAPY?
Although many people - myself included - come to Feldenkrais seeking relief from pain or other kinds of physical discomfort, the method is not a form of physical therapy. It is a form of education about body awareness and movement habits. (This field is known as "somatic education.") Where physical therapy usually seeks to understand the cause of a problem in a diagnostic fashion in accord with anatomical logic (i.e., if you strengthen your abdominal muscles, they will help support your spine, and your back may stop hurting), somatic education takes a systems view of human functioning. That means that we do not see physical problems in isolation from other aspects of a person, such as movement and attention. While a "quick-fix" type of solution - here's the problem, here's how to fix it - is what we usually hope for, it is rarely a solution that will actually and sustainably solve the problem. Feldenkrais gives people access to information - partially conceptual, mostly experiential - that they can use to learn to work with their own embodiment. Because this information is learned rather than received, it is an investment in your own self-empowerment that will last for the rest of your life.
IS FELDENKRAIS A KIND OF PSYCHOTHERAPY?
I once had a client tell me, "What you're doing is like psychotherapy for the body." I can see what he meant by that. Feldenkrais offers people an in-depth look at themselves, in some ways comparable to what someone might experience with a psychotherapist. This is in part because our psychologies - our emotions and meaningful sensations, and from them many of our cognitive and relational habits - live nowhere else but in our bodies.
That said, Feldenkrais is not psychotherapy. Firstly, this is because it is educational rather than therapeutic. As with, say, Tai Chi or meditation, one does not need to have a pathology or a diagnosis to begin doing Feldenkrais, although those are perfectly good reasons to do it. Secondly, it is because Moshe Feldenkrais, who worked with many psychologists in his lifetime, wanted to provide people with a non-psychological method of working with themselves. Feldenkrais is about working with oneself in movement. Feldenkrais believed that our movement habits tend to be less guarded than our psychological habits, and thus movement offers a more direct route to personal discovery and positive change. While this way of working will inevitably open doors to territories of experience that overlap with psychology, it is its own approach.
HOW QUICKLY DOES IT WORK?
Feldenkrais sessions are almost always relaxing and rejuvenating, and many people experience positive changes from the first session. In most cases, however, a commitment of time and a bit of persistence are necessary to achieve lasting results. We have spent our entire lives developing and practicing our embodied habits. It is possible to transform them, but it usually takes some education about new options, some trial and error, and a commitment to practice. Based on my own experience and my experience working with others, I am completely confident that anyone can see positive changes if these ingredients are there.
HOW CAN FELDENKRAIS HELP WITH PAIN?
As recent pain science has shown, pain is more complicated than we used to think. It is not always the case that pain is a simple "report" from the body. Sometimes tissue damage and pain correlate, but sometimes there is pain but no tissue damage, and sometimes there is tissue damage but no pain. Because of its emphasis on detailed self-observation and gentle experimentation, the Feldenkrais Method is very effective at helping to sort out this complicated phenomenon. By tuning into and repatterning your nervous system via your movement habits, Feldenkrais presents you with an empowering way to face and ameliorate chronic pain.