Feldenkrais method: becoming aware of your own body

Modern life tends to lead us to very sedentary habits. If you look like most people in the West, even though you think you meet the demands of everyday life on many battlefields (work, family, community, etc.), the truth is that in practice, your body tends to get used to the same movements and postures. Take, for example, the number of hours we spend sitting per day and what posture our torso assumes when we do so. Monotony and passivity are constants in the life of most of our muscle groups, and it is something that affects our quality of life.

Fortunately, there are ways to reactivate our body to make it the versatile and reliable machine which for millennia has been shaped by evolution. In the world of fitness as in the world of health and medicine, it is becoming more and more important to expand the possibilities of movement that sedentarism has shortened since our childhood.

the Feldenkrais Method is one of those calls to action.

What is the Feldenkrais Method?

The Feldenkrais method offers a way to learn (or relearn) how one’s own body works from patterns of movement and the generation of certain mental states. In his sessions, an expert indicates how to perform certain movements while the practitioner performs them and focuses his attention on them. The goal is for the brain to correctly register the associations between the movements, the muscles that are activated and the sensations that this produces, so that these movements become part of the usual repertoire and are performed automatically without having to concentrate on them. .

The main objectives of the Feldenkrais method are improve posture, range of motion, coordination and flexibility, as well as optimize efficiency in the use of muscle groups.

In short, the Feldenkrais Method is a system of somatic education that raises the need to make the most of the possibilities of movement and strength of the body itself, to be able to develop in any situation without unnecessary strain and strain. .

How is it made?

The Feldenkrais Method can be followed in two basic ways: in a group and individually. However, both set the same goals and in both, exercises focused on movement and directed attention are offered.

The sessions consist of a series of easy-to-perform repetitions of movements. The practitioner usually does this by lying down on a mattress, although some sets are done while standing. During the sessions, it is necessary to follow instructions that refer to both the observable movements and the mental states of those who practice them, with the basic aim that attention is fully focused on the movements so that in the future they can be performed automatically in all kinds of situations that require it. The movements used in the Feldenkrais Method do not involve any effort or pain, as the joints and tendons are not forced sharply.

The fact that the emphasis is on the physical aspect (movement) and the psychological aspect (attention) is a sample of the philosophy of mind from which the Feldenkrais method starts: one assumes a bodily component and a another mental component that must work harmoniously for the whole system (the person) to work properly. It is a dualistic mind-body approach in which the particularities of each of the two components must be recognized so that the two can integrate well.

Critics of science

The Feldenkrais Method focuses on interesting goals from a fitness and health perspective, as we often understand that good physical shape is a lot of strength and low in fat and we ignore issues such as flexibility or energy efficiencyto our movements and postures.

However, and despite the fact that Feldenkrais began his studies on the subject decades ago, it is considered that there is not enough empirical evidence back up its principles with the approval of science and that, in any case, further studies are needed to verify its effectiveness. Adding to this the fact that in the Feldenkrais method does not raise the need to achieve measurable goals from the outside but places progress in the subjectivity of the patient (since it is a personal process), has often tend to associate it with pseudosciences and New Age culture.

On the flip side, many of the benefits that the Feldenkrais Method is supposed to have have nothing to do with the functional aspects of strength and movement, as they are more about cognitive aspects, such as the ability to seek out. new, even subjective solutions, such as improving self-esteem. These are assumptions that are currently based more on theory than empirical evidence, and that nor do they emerge from a consolidated theoretical framework.

This does not mean, however, that practicing the exercises proposed in the Feldenkrais method does not imply any benefit. On the one hand, we can understand that beyond improving or not improving range of motion and postural habits, following this system can lead to increased satisfaction or bring other positive aspects. associated with the placebo effect. On the other too it is possible that it also improves somewhat functional and measurable aspects of the human body, And that the lack of independent and well-designed studies on the subject conceals these advantages. We will only know as more research is done on the Feldenkrais Method.

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