Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais (1904 -1984) left his Russian homeland as a teenager for Palestine to participate in developing the country. From 1928 to 1938 he lived in France, where he received his Ph.D. in applied physics. From early on, he busied himself with martial arts, was the first European to hold a black belt and established the first jiu-jitsu club in France. "Movement" was the topic he worked on all his life. A serious knee injury he had suffered led him to study the relationship between movement, thinking, sensation and emotion. The insights he gained led him to develop the holistic approach of the Feldenkrais Method®, which he presented in numerous publications and lectures.
In his method he examined the way in which the nervous system links the work of the muscles and the skeleton with the adaptability of man in order to orient oneself in the physical, social and cultural world. As a trained physicist, he observed the principles of motion and human organization in gravity. He linked these biomechanical laws with those of the evolutionary development of man. To spread his findings, he led three training programs in Israel and the United States, founded an institute in Israel. He worked with Ben Gurion, Yehudi Menuhin, Karl Pribram, Margaret Mead and Heinrich Jacoby, among others.
The Feldenkrais Method® has two basic approaches:
- Awareness through Movement (ATM) for group lessons and
- Functional Integration (FI) for individual sessions.