mental, need not be considered as diseases to
be cured, but
rather as an acquired result of a learned mode of doing. Actions
repeated innumerable times for years on end, such as all habitual
actions, mould even the bones, let alone the muscular envelope.
the physical faults that appear in our body long after we were
born are mainly the result of activity we have posed on it.
Faulty modes of standing and walking produce faulty feet, and
it is the mode of standing and walking that must be corrected
and not the feet.
Unlike other animals, which are preprogrammed to survive, human children
must learn to move. Although a cat is born with the knowledge of how
to move gracefully, it takes years for humans to learn movement well
enough to function independently in the world. The necessity and ability
to learn individual patterns of movement leads to a variety in human
movement and posture unknown in other species and can be considered
the most distinguishing feature of mankind.
Once they have reached a level of proficiency sufficient for walking,
jumping, or playing sports, most people stop learning new movements
and improving their body awareness. Whatever style of movement has been
learned at this point, mostly through trial and error and imitation
of models in the social environment, then begins to form a personal
set of movement habits. These movement habits tend to overuse certain
muscles and joints while neglecting or ignoring the use of others, thus
leading to a limited range of movement and gross inefficiency.
Many people find they are simply unable to improve at activities that
interest them, be they sports, dance, or music. They avoid engaging
in activities where they could be confronted with a lack of coordination
and awareness and never learn to ski or dance because they feel uncomfortable
observed, "Through the
first years of life, we organize our entire system
in a direction which will forever after guide
us in that direction. We end up being
restricted, we don't do music, we don't do other things. What is
more important, we find ourselves capable of only doing those things
that we already know.
In the long run these limitations in awareness and coordination lead
to physical dificulties, such as recurring pain, repetitive stress injuries,
or problems recovering from injuries.
This great ability to form individual nervous and
muscular patterns makes it possible for faulty functioning to be learned.
The earlier the fault occurs, the more engrained it appears, and is.
Faulty behavior will appear in the executive motor mechanisms which
will seem later, when the nervous system has grown fitted to the undesirable
motility, to be inherent in the person and unalterable. It will remain
largely so unless the nervous paths producing the undesirable pattern
of motility are undone and reshuffled into a better configuration.
Body and Mature Behavior
No other animal has the ability to change and reorganize the way it
performs familiar activities the way human beings can. People have the
capacity to make each walk they take a different walk, completely new
in style; to make each movement a new experience.
Yet this amazing capacity to learn is rarely used; most people find
one way of doing something and stick to it until finally a knee or a
back breaks down. Then they assume that their distress was caused by
the activity they performed rather than their particular way of performing
Feldenkrais Method® sees problems
as a consequence of arrested or incomplete learning
that leaves its mark on all biologic
functions, from digestion, breathing, and muscular control to the sexual
act and social adjustment.
By recapitulating the exploratory style of learning natural to infants,
patients of the Feldenkrais Method discover new ways to sense and move
that expand awareness and develop more efficient and comfortable movement.