Researching the Feldenkrais Method

What are the optimal methodologies for conducting research into the Feldenkrais Method? While there is a clear set of lessons and techniques applied across Feldenkrais trainings, there is no equivalent set of methodologies for researching the Feldenkrais Method. The question of research has become more acute with the ever-increasing number of publications referencing the Feldenkrais Method.

Hillel Braude
Its field of practice in terms of first-person experience of movement and intersubjectivity is inherently resistant to positivist research methodologies associated with medical research, such as Evidence Based Medicine.

In addition to a constitutive approach, research methodologies applied to the Feldenkrais Method also need to account for embodied processes related to emergent phenomena and self-organizing systems.

Correlating first-person experience and third-person neuroscience as proposed by Francesco Varela in the field of neuro-phenomenology also provides a promising methodology for the Feldenkrais Method in relation both with ATM’s and FI’s.

These individual studies research the Feldenkrais Method on an ad-hoc basis, and do not describe generalizable or meta-theoretical approaches to researching the method.

Determining optimal methodologies for researching the Feldenkrais Method requires a working definition of it. One methodology may be to breakdown the components of the Feldenkrais Method for analysis. However, this approach also has its limitations, exemplified by the analogy of the well-known Indian parable of the blind men encountering an elephant. Each describes the characteristics of the elephant based on his limited information. Grabbing the tail, the first man concludes that the elephant is a rope. The second feels the elephant’s rough and knobble knee, declaring it to be a tree trunk. Feeling its writhing trunk, the third considers it to be a snake. The parable assumes an inherent referential instability arising from the limited perspective of the observer, necessitating interdisciplinary perspectives. However, the parable is especially pertinent to the Feldenkrais Method, since its field of practice in terms of first-person experience of movement and intersubjectivity is inherently resistant to positivist research methodologies associated with medical research, such as Evidence Based Medicine. In addition to a constitutive approach, research methodologies applied to the Feldenkrais Method also need to account for embodied processes related to emergent phenomena and self-organizing systems.

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