Back Pain Treatment: The Feldenkrais Method

Like the Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais is a health system of becoming aware of the types of body mechanics that may cause you to have joint pain or back pain, and learning to modify those mechanics. Feldenkrais, like the Alexander technique, is taught through instruction from an expert in body mechanics - ideally in one-on-one sessions. Feldenkrais may also be taught in classes. Other names used to describe a scientific analysis include biomechanics, patterns of movement, and mind-body awareness.

The Feldenkrais Method uses a program of subtle movement to help you become more aware of your body, discover how your body moves and explore new movement skills. This method includes hundreds of different movements designed to increase body awareness, flexibility and range of motion.

Experts in Feldenkrais movements are trained to educate patients in the use of proper body mechanics, as well as hands-on manipulations, to gradually train the body to work more efficiently. Feldenkrais movements are usually taught while you are lying on a mat. Usually, the patient will meet with the instructor for one private one-on-one session followed by a six week series of classes.

This system was designed and developed by Moshe Feldenkrais. This method is designed to educate people on how to become more aware of how we move, and the way our body is supposed to move in order to work properly. By studying the Feldenkrais methods, we may become more aware of our own body mechanics, and how to change them in order to support our weight-bearing joints better. Through these practices, we are taught to become self-aware of how we carry ourselves, and taught proper ways of moving so that are body may become able to heal itself. The theory behind these practices is that the techniques should improve our posture, reduce joint pain, increase our mobility, and promote general well-being. This mind-body aware program is usually classified as a health system within the field of complementary medicine or integrative medicine.

Feldenkrais, like Frederick Matthias Alexander, who developed the Alexander System, believed that good body mechanics are conducive to good health, and bad body mechanics are conducive to bad health, and chronic pain disorders like back pain. Feldenkrais believed that our posture and body mechanics could directly affect our health. The Feldenkrais method was more focused on improving the way people moved their bodies than on dietary modifications of spinal manipulations, as opposed to other fields of complementary medicine such as chiropractic. Feldenkrais devised programs to teach self-education to people so that they could use the concepts learned in sessions and classes throughout their lifetimes. Like Alexander, Feldenkrais was not classically trained in medicine, as he was a engineer and physicist and also a judo master. These three sciences together gave him a background that helped him understand how the body functions, and what types of movements we do while walking, sitting, picking things up, and carrying objects can affect the health of our musculoskeletal system.

One of the key concepts of the Feldenkrais method was Awareness Through Movement (ATM). In ATM sessions and classes, people begin paying attention to the way they move their bodies. While we are moving our bodies, we are thinking of the ways our muscles and bones move, sensing the environment around us, and imagining how we could do things better.