Somatic bodywork

Fekdenkrais, Bartenieff, Labanalysis
Ukrainian Moshe Feldenkrais, a physicist and engineer, was a student of Alexander’s and a friend and colleague of Ida Rolf. Seeking to heal his own disabling knee injury in the mid 20th century, he incorporated aspects of the judo in which he was a black belt with the Alexander Technique and his own studies of biomechanics, engineering and anthropology.
Feldenkrais is more likely to incorporate group work, as patients/students of Awareness Through Movement®, or ATM, are supine — to reduce distractions, effort and the effects of gravity — as the teacher guides them through exercises. The more than 2000 different sequences are designed to re-educate the subjective experience of the neuro-muscular system. Also a component of Feldenkrais is Functional Integration®, a more hands-on method with physical gentle guidance to put the body through adapted ranges of motion to address specific needs, the lesson custom made for that patient, who may be sitting, standing, lying down or using props. Like other kinds of bodywork, Feldenkrais is claimed to improve posture, grace and flexibility and lessen pain and stress.
For a list of local practitioners of Feldenkrais, see www.feldenkrais.com/practitioners/find/ Feldenkrais is also available at our local Health Care is a Human Right clinics. See www.healthcareisahumanright.com.
Other somatic bodywork modalities include Labanalysis, created by Austrian dancer Rudolph Laban, and Bartenieff Fundamentals from his student Irmgaard Bartenieff, and others. But no matter what form they take and what they emphasize, somatic bodywork treatments seem to improve posture and ease pain (something this writer’s aching back could use about now) and bridge the link between massage therapy and independent exercise in a therapeutic way.

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