Feldenkrais

It’s amazing how something so subtle can change so much.

Feldenkrais® has been helping people to change habits, move better and reduce pain for more than 70 years.

I've got three daughters and they all said, 'What's with you? You've grown taller.' I'm 6 foot 3 inches. Then over the weekend I'd get clicks and pops from my back as I felt things further freeing up, so something had really happened. 
        Senior manager, UK education sector.
Dear Ben, although I could only do parts of the lesson today, the effect is incredible. My slipped disk is barely painful at all. Thank you once again. 
      Pensioner, ex- Business executive, Germany. 

What is the Feldenkrais Method?

Feldenkrais® uses micro- and macro-movements to help us learn to improve our posture, suppleness, balance, freedom of movement, and ergonomics. At the same time, tension, pain and dysfunction can all be improved when the body moves better.

The exercises, developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais from the 1940s to the 1980s, use movement with awareness to activate the learning brain. The brain learns to wire in new movement habits permanently. Organic change to how the brain sends out movement commands is much more powerful than just fitness or repetition training.

Feldenkrais® works on multiple levels: movement, function and thinking. Movement means better muscle control and more fluid joints, less pain and more movement ease. This in turn benefits functions like sleep and digestion, helping our bodies to rest and rebuild. When we are stronger, fitter and less tired, we have resilience against stress or burn-out, and are flexible in our movements and emotions. Feldenkrais® group and individual sessions help many people towards a general improvement in all aspects of life.

I found it very interesting to see the progression from a restrained movement at the beginning to the instant where everything falls into place and the movement of the head and the pelvis become coordinated!
       Restoration expert, Geneva.
I just had the funniest sensation walking up the stairs. As if my legs were flying. Without weight. I walked up effortlessly.
        Manager, British Airways 

What makes this different from exercise and fitness? Feldenkrais® uses guided awareness during movement to activate the learning centre of the brain. Doing a new movement with awareness means that the brain can change itself. In scientific words, Feldenkrais® re-wires the brain through „neuro-plasticity“. In this way, effortful or inefficient movement habits can be replaced by long lasting, ergonomic and efficient ones.

Feldenkrais® sessions avoid repetition and boredom, and focus on novelty and enjoyment. Novelty stimulates attention, pleasure stimulates enthusiasm, comfort permits focussed engagement. Boring repetition, pain and strain are avoided because they inhibit learning and stop you from changing. Here our motto is „No pain, gain.“

My neck feels so different already, just from that one exercise. I've been having a real pain right at the base of my neck, continuous for the last week or so. There's not any pain there at all at the moment. 
       Desk based worker benefitting from "Posture in the office".
I've got Covid with mild symptoms, and I've got muscle pain, every bit was in pain.  Now it feels much better. I honestly wasn't going to come, but I was, like, I'll see just how far I can go and see if it will make a difference. And I can feel [the change] in my lower back a bit, I can feel the difference in other parts. 
       Desk based worker after the 50 minute online lesson. 
 
© Ben Parsons

The trainer. Ben Parsons has been doing Feldenkrais® for over 20 years, and became a certified teacher and practitioner in 2016. He did his training in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He is also trained to work with special needs children using JKA, (the Jeremy Krauss Approach).


Feldenkrais® has two formats: individual (hands-on or verbally instructed) and group (verbally instructed) sessions. Sessions last 50 to 60 minutes (for children 30-45 minutes). Online sessions last either 30 or 50 – 60 minutes. Lessons are done lying on a mat, sitting or standing. Participants wear comfortable clothing.

Individual sessions are tailor-made, and the practitioner moves the student in natural movement patterns. This is usually done lying down, sometimes sitting or standing.

In group classes, the teacher tells the students what to do and helps with refinements. The teacher does not demonstrate ‚the correct movement‘ because it is not about copying a movement, but about individual awareness, exploration and observation, which results in a unique and successful outcome for each person.

Group Classes

Online classes run in English and in German on Zoom. Times and prices. Contact me with questions and for the class access link.

I offer online Posture and Work Place Ergonomics courses for companies in association with Jaluch HR & Training. Contact me directly.

Children

Parents of unique or special needs children usually worry and want the best for their child. I developed my interest and passion for working with special needs children whilst working as a volunteer at the Viktor Frankl School (Frankfurt). Feldenkrais® helps parents by helping their child move and interact better.

The Feldenkrais® Method helps children developmentally, and therefore benefits any or all of the following; movement, coordination, balance, social regulation and self regulation.

© Ben Parsons

The Feldenkrais® Method is known for treating children with respect, meeting them eye to eye and working with them, not on them. I started developing this competency whilst working at a school for physically and mentally multiply-handicapped children in Frankfurt, Germany and I have many great experiences from my work. In 2019 and 2020 I completed the advanced training in JKA, the Jeremy Krauss Approach for working with children with special needs.

Children’s sessions are done live or via web conferencing (Zoom). With video conferencing, I guide the parent’s movements, how to hold and move a young child like I would do if we were physically present, so that the child experiences similar benefits of being treated directly by me. Older children with cognitive skills can follow my instructions directly, with or without the assistance of a parent.

A 12 year old girl, disabled from birth with a genetic disorder, rapidly developed greater self awareness and as a consequence there were positive changes to her movement, sleep, biological self control, such as bladder control, mood and social interaction.

A 13 year old boy with a 60 degree scoliosis that has been operated on. He comes to me to help him reduce back pain from prolonged sitting during the school day.

A 9 year old girl lacked pelvis and trunk movement control and had no ability to sit with her head straight and her eyes level. She was kept vertical in the wheelchair using straps. She learnt to bring and maintain her trunk into vertical alignment so finally her eyes were level to the horizon and she could see the world straight and with a smile.

My Feldenkrais® story.

Having developed writer’s cramp, a repetitive strain injury (RSI), as a student in 1993, I first came across the Feldenkrais® Method in London in 1999. When I moved to Switzerland in 2002, I took group and private classes to help improve my posture and my ergonomics. Later, when my son was born with an orthopaedic foot problem, my wife and I took him to Feldenkrais® to improve his posture and the development of his walking, flexibility and balance. Thanks to Feldenkrais®, I got rid of the RSI problem permanently and my son became able to move more competently and without pain. From 2012 till 2016 I did the four year, 800 hour professional Feldenkrais® training program in Frankfurt am Main.

I now work using Feldenkrais® helping adults with a variety of needs (often to do with posture and ergonomics, also injuries and stress related issues), and children with special and/or developmental needs. In 2020 I became a JKA therapist. The Jeremy Krauss Approach (JKA) for Special Needs Children focuses on helping children develop using brain repatterning by means of learning through movement and experience.


Kids Movement

I have set up a special group movement program for young children with my colleague, physiotherapist Miriam Großhennig. More details will follow after the Corona shut down.


Shiatsu

In 1996 I began my career as a Shiatsu therapist, and with over twenty years experience, I know how effective Shiatsu is for the client, making it possible for them to gain deep relaxation, relief for, and resilience against, stress , and stimulating the person’s own internal resources for regeneration. Shiatsu is also good for addressing physical tensions and pains and energy blockages, according to chinese medicine.

Shiatsu, or Japanese acupressure massage, is done fully clothed, usually on a futon mat or on a massage table. Appointments last about one hour.


Ben Parsons. bp @ potsdam-feldenkrais.com. Telephone: +49 (0)151 25862646

Fotos: Rosalie O’Connor @ IFF, Steve Harvey @ Unsplash, Banner foto Pexels/Wordpress

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