The Feldenkrais Method®
for Children with Juvenile Arthritis
“The Feldenkrais Method® is the most sophisticated and effective method
I have seen for the prevention and reversal of deterioration and function.”
Margaret Mead, Ph.D., Anthropologist
What is the Feldenkrais Method®?
The Feldenkrais Method® was developed by Dr. Mosché Feldenkrais (1904–1984), a physicist and an athlete. He applied his scientific approach to the study of movement. The Feldenkrais Method® is not an exercise program, not an adjustment, and it is not a treatment. It is a sophisticated from of sensory-motor education based on research in physics, biomechanics, learning theory, human development, and neuroscience.
The Feldenkrais Method® is offered as individual or group lessons, called Awareness Through Movement® and as individual sessions, called Functional Integration®. Awareness through Movement® consists of verbally instructed sequences and combinations of movements. Functional Integration® is the hands-on aspect of the Feldenkrais Method®, in which the understanding and the knowledge of the practitioner are used to benefit the client.
The more the musculature and fascial fabric (connective tissues) tighten due to inflammation, consisting of swelling, heat, redness, and pain in the joints, the more restricted movements become, and the more uncomfortable one feels. The practice of Awareness through Movement® increases flexibility and range of motion, provides better coordination and balance, makes breathing easier and benefits the production of the synovial fluid, the lubricant inside the joints. Since this holistic methodology of care specifically emphasizes the exploration of effortless, slow and gentle movement, it can undo habitual compensation patterns that the body employs when there is pain. The practice engages the brain’s ability to coordinate posture and movement exchanging relevant information between the muscles, the connective tissues, the skeleton and the nervous system.
How can the Feldenkrais Method® help my child?
For most of the practice, your child will be in a non-weight-bearing position by lying down on a mat or a blanket not placing any stress on her joints. She will follow the instructions of the Feldenkrais Practitioner and move effortlessly with the rhythm of her natural breathing pattern. Easy, small movements will stimulate the parasympathetic branch of her autonomic nervous system calming her Whole-Self. She will gradually become receptive to changes and develop and utilize new pathways around areas of damage.
“I have been intrigued by this subtle form of retraining the nervous system,
which I recommend to patients whose movement has been restricted.
Feldenkrais can be an effective part of any painful condition
from degenerative arthritis to fibromyalgia.”
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Author of Spontaneous Healing: How to Discover and Embrace Your Body’s Natural Ability to Maintain and Heal Itself
In consultation and coordination with your child’s primary healthcare provider, I recommend integrating the Feldenkrais Method® between your child’s doctor visits and monitoring potential benefits of this whole person care approach.