Related Terms

  • Awareness Through Movement®, bodywork, Feldenkrais bodywork, Functional Integration®, gestalt synergy.

Background

  • The Feldenkrais Method® was developed by Moshe Feldenkrais (190-1984), a Russian-born Israeli physicist who was disabled from a knee injury. Dr. Feldenkrais called on his formal training in science and the martial arts to develop an approach that aimed to help the body move in more natural and comfortable ways.
  • The Feldenkrais Method® involves stretching, reaching, and changing posture in specific patterns. In some cases, it includes a form of massage. In general, the emphasis of the Feldenkrais Method® is to provide supportive therapy or physical rehabilitation. It has not historically been viewed as a cure for most diseases. Recently, the Feldenkrais Method® has been studied as a means to improve muscle and joint pain, to improve quality of life in chronic conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, and to reduce anxiety levels. Research is still early in these areas, without definitive answers.
  • The Feldenkrais Method® can only be offered by practitioners who have trained in accredited programs. Practitioners are registered with Feldenkrais guilds worldwide. In the United States and Canada, practice of the Feldenkrais method is not governmentally regulated.

Evidence Table

    Disclaimer

    These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

    Balance problems

    It has been suggested that the Feldenkrais Method® may help improve unstable balance or function, but there is little available research.

    Cerebral palsy

    There is not enough clinical evidence on the use of Feldenkrais for cerebral palsy.

    Dystonia (muscle disorder)

    Patients who practice complementary alternative medicine methods have reported that the Feldenkrais Method®, as well as breathing therapy, massage, and relaxation techniques helped improve symptoms of dystonia. Further data are needed to form therapeutic recommendations.

    Eating disorders

    Early research suggests that Awareness Through Movement® sessions may improve self-confidence in patients with eating disorders, although it is not clear if eating habits are affected. Further research is needed before a conclusion can be drawn.

    Fibromyalgia

    The Feldenkrais Method® is popularly considered a useful treatment for chronic pain. However, clinical evidence of the efficacy of Feldenkrais in fibromyalgia is limited.

    Low back pain

    Limited research suggests that Feldenkrais sessions may be helpful when added to other therapies for back pain and may have mild benefits when used alone.

    Mood

    Early research suggests that participation in a single Awareness Through Movement® session may reduce anxiety levels. Other research revealed improved mood among participants who enrolled in a one-year program that included the Feldenkrais Method®.

    Multiple sclerosis

    Early evidence suggests that steadiness and comfort with daily movements, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, and overall quality of life may improve in patients with multiple sclerosis who use Feldenkrais bodywork or participate in Awareness Through Movement® sessions. More research is necessary.

    Musculoskeletal disorders

    In early studies of patients with nonspecific musculoskeletal disorders, Body Awareness Therapy® and Feldenkrais seemed to improve health-related quality of life. It is not clear if Feldenkrais is superior or equal to other forms of body movement therapy for musculoskeletal disorders in general, and little research is available.

    Neck and shoulder pain

    Limited evidence suggests that Feldenkrais may reduce neck and shoulder pain, although additional research is necessary before a firm conclusion can be drawn.

    Physical functioning and well-being in the elderly

    There is not enough scientific evidence to assess the effects of Feldenkrais on physical functioning and well-being in the elderly.

    Rehabilitation

    The Feldenkrais Method® has been suggested as a potentially useful adjunct to rehabilitation or recovery after injury or surgery (in particular in patients with orthopedic injuries). Further research is necessary before a firm conclusion can be made.

    Voice disturbances

    There is not enough scientific evidence to assess the effects of Feldenkrais on voice disturbances.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

    Disclaimer

    The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

Safety

    Disclaimer

    Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.

Attribution

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().

Bibliography

    Disclaimer

    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

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  • Emerich KA. Nontraditional tools helpful in the treatment of certain types of voice disturbances. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2003;11(3):149-153.
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    View Abstract