Moshe Feldenkrais PhD
Dr Moshe Feldenkrais was a pioneer of movement science in educational and therapeutic settings. An Israeli scientist who originally trained as an engineer, he received his doctorate in physics from the Sorbonne, where he assisted Nobel Prize winner Joliet Curie in nuclear research. An associate of the founder of Judo Jigoro Kano, Feldenkrais was also a well known Judo Teacher, and was instrumental in introducing Judo to the west.
A severe knee injury amplified Feldenkrais’ interest in human movement and capacity for learning and change. Given a poor prognosis by surgeons, he applied scientific method and systems theory to investigate the functioning of his own body. He studied anatomy, physiology, neurology and human development. He identified that the unique human capacity for self-awareness allows us to move out of the habitual patterns that often limit us, and into new improved ways of functioning. Understanding the integral role self image has in optimal function, he refined the awareness of his own movement, and taught himself to walk again in the most biomechanically efficient way within the constraints of his injury.
Feldenkrais’ genius was to integrate scientific knowledge and martial arts principles, with his own observations of the human capacity for lifelong learning. He pioneered the relationship between consciousness and movement and until his death continued to refine and teach his method. The assumptions that underlie his method have half a century later been endorsed by a revolution in neuroscience.
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