Origins and History

Frank Wildman, PhD
James Stephens
Leya Aum

In our society, we do, by the promise of great reward or intense punishment, so distort the even development of the system, that many acts become excluded or restricted. The result is that we have to provide special conditions for furthering adult maturation of many arrested functions. The majority of people need to re-form patterns of motions and attitudes that should never have been excluded or neglected.

M. Feldenkrais

The Feldenkrais Method® is named after the Israeli scientist Moshe Feldenkrais, DSc (1904-1984). Feldenkrais worked as a nuclear physicist with the Nobel laureate Joliot-Curie. After injuring his knee in a soccer game, Dr. Feldenkrais learned that a surgery had only a 50% chance of improving his condition, but if the surgery were unsuccessful it would confine him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Unsatisfied with these prospects, he proceeded to learn anatomy, kinesiology, and physiology and combined these with his knowledge of mechanics, physics, electrical engineering, and martial arts (he wrote several books on Judo and was the first non-Japanese to earn a black belt in this discipline). This endeavor not only restored most of the function to his injured knee but also marked the beginning of his investigation into human function, development, and learning that was to occupy him for the rest of his life and eventually lead to the development of the Feldenkrais Method. From the 1970s on he taught the method throughout the world. He directed the Feldenkrais Institute in Tel Aviv until his death in 1984.

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