How is Feldenkrais different from physical therapy?
The Feldenkrais Method looks at the transmission of movement through the whole person, whereas physical therapy tends to isolate and focus on specific muscles for strengthening. Feldenkrais is about using ourselves efficiently rather than building up muscles, more like a 4-cylinder engine than a V-8; it is about distributing movement through the whole self and eliminating unnecessary tension and effort.
How does the Feldenkrais Method differ from chiropractic?
Feldenkrais practitioners do not adjust or manipulate the bones into place. They simply offer possibilities, through movement, to the nervous system, and the brain makes the choice. It is the muscles that pull our bones out of alignment; if new movement patterns are not learned, the muscles may continue to do that no matter how many chiropractic adjustments you have. With the Feldenkrais Method, the learning is yours to take with you.
How is Feldenkrais different from yoga, tai chi, Pilates or Alexander Technique?
Feldenkrais is more about movement than yoga or Alexander Technique, less about position or posture. Dr. Feldenkrais was concerned with function and dynamic alignment, what kind of alignment you need at any given moment for any given task, rather than static posture. Like tai chi, Feldenkrais is about moving with the whole self, but provides ingenious methods for accessing this quality of movement. Like Pilates, Feldenkrais is concerned with coordination but is less strength-based and more efficiency-based.
Different from these other disciplines, the Feldenkrais Method at bottom is about learning. Dr. Feldenkrais believed that learning happens most profoundly through movement: when you can sense and feel something as you take action, your brain really understands in an embodied way that you have choices other than your habitual ones.
Should I do group classes or individual sessions?
Individual, hands-on sessions address individual issues that often cannot be dealt with directly in group classes. Group, verbally-guided classes offer the opportunity to make valuable discoveries through your own movement exploration. Many people do both, and they are an excellent complement to each other. Individual sessions may be particularly helpful for people who have specific needs and requests – such as performers or athletes – and for people with neurological conditions or for those in significant pain.
How long are classes and individual sessions?
Both last approximately one hour.
How many sessions do I need, and how often?
In order to make the connections more quickly, it is helpful, although not necessary, to do individual sessions on a weekly basis. How many will depend on your particular situation and goals. People dealing with severe neurological conditions can make significant improvements with regular sessions over an extended period of time. Louise Runyon offers a volume discount on a series of ten lessons. As Feldenkrais is process of learning and improvement, it can always be helpful at any time. Many people begin with a series of ten or more lessons, and come back from time to time for individual sessions.
Should I do Feldenkrais or Bones for Life?
Feldenkrais, either individually or in groups, is an excellent precursor for taking Bones for Life classes. Feldenkrais helps heighten awareness and your ability to sense what you are doing. Many people start with Bones, however, with good results. If you are dealing with osteopenia or osteoporosis, you may want to begin with Bones. Bones for Life is also extremely helpful in improving alignment and the flow of movement through the whole skeleton and is not limited to bone-strengthening; Louise Runyon uses many of its approaches in her individual Feldenkrais sessions. If you are dealing with significant injury or limitation it is probably preferable to start with Feldenkrais, which is somewhat gentler and less vigorous. Bones for Life is very much focused on the function of walking, although much of the work is done lying on the floor.