Touch and Move with the Feldenkrais Method

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The power of touch and movement.


For many reasons, some children with special needs require help with their movement development. Thankfully now there are many gentle and natural ways that can assist a child whose movement development is a concern for mum and dad. One approach, that I have the greatest privilege of working with, is the Feldenkrais Method.


The Feldenkrais Method is a gentle, non invasive, movement based education. In fact, Moshe Feldenkrais developed much of his methodology by observing the young patients of his wife, paediatrician Yona Rubenstein. He saw how children moved their bodies, and how these movement pathways became the foundation for functional adult movement. Next time you turn your head with ease to look quickly over your shoulder to check on your active toddler, you can thank your baby-self mastery of rolling on the floor!


How does it work?


By using touch and movement, a Feldenkrais practitioner can help a child learn what she may not be able to discover for herself in terms of how she moves her body. The Feldenkrais Method is a very gentle, hands on, guided movement lesson. The Feldenkrais practitioner breaks down all the different pieces of the movement jigsaw puzzle, and then puts them all back together again in a way that the child can start to understand and utilize. Filling in a missing piece, or pieces, suddenly makes the “impossible possible, the possible easy, the easy elegant”, as Moshe Feldenkrais said himself.   It can be as simple as discovering how a reaching hand and a push from a foot can lead to a roll from the back to the tummy.  As with all learning, sometimes this process can happen quickly and other times it is a more gradual and longer process.


What’s so important about touch and movement?


Touch and movement stimulate many sensory systems within the body and build neural pathways in the brain that let us know who we are and where we are in space. Touch and movement define the boundaries of our bodies, teach us about force and resistance and cause and effect, and stimulates the receptors in our muscles, tendons and joints. Touch and movement help us to communicate and interact with our world. Touch and movement bring us pleasure and joy and happy hormones for an optimally learning brain.  Although there are many therapeutic benefits to the Feldenkrais Method, I like to see it as an education of primary, functional human movement.


Finding what works for you and your child.


If you have a little one at home who is struggling to move with ease, the Feldenkrais Method can offer some guidance and support in a wholistic, respectful, gentle, and non invasive way. Finding a practitioner close to you is as easy as visiting www.feldenkrais.org.au  All practitioners listed at this site are Guild certified. You can find a practitioner who, like me, specialises in working with children of all abilities. Happy rolling!


Ingrid Weisfelt, Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner


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