The Feldenkrais Method: An Introduction by Alan S. Questel
Summary of Back to Oneself research - prepared by Feldenkrais Ireland
An interesting account of the benefits of Feldenkrais in a randomized qualitative study with a group of chronic low back patients as compared to a second group of matched patients who followed a physiotherapy intervention can be read at http://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/21478?locale=en. This is a doctoral thesis published by the University of Gothenburg publications and is by Christina Schon-Ohlsson. It is titled " Back to Oneself - Sensory Motor Learning- applied to patients with nonspecific chronic low back pain" - called NSCLBP. The abstract gives a good summary of the findings.
It is a thorough and well designed research study with objective and independent measures by computer in a movemant lab and by orthopaedic surgeons as well as subjective evaluation by patients.
The major component of the Sensory Motor Learning intervention used with one of the matched patient groups was the Feldenkrais Method of sensory-motor re-education (P.6) taught both as ATM (Awareness Through Movement) lesson and hands on Functional Integration lesson. The physiotherapy intervention used with the other matched patient group comprised individually selected for each patient and supervised by a physiotherapist stabilizing, strenghtening and stretching exercises to promote musculoskeletal, neuromuscular and circulatory functions(P.19).
It is clear that the patients assigned to the Feldenkrais intervention did much better than those assigned to the physiotherapist designed exercise intervention on many measures. According to the Abstract "Compared with an age and gender matched control group without back pain the chronic low back pain patients' performance was significantly less efficient before the SML" (Sensory Motor Learning -ie Feldenkrais) " intervention". After the SML intervention there were no significant differences between the movement capacity of the patient group and the control group" (ie those with no chronic back pain)."The results were maintained after one year. The (Feldenkrais intervention assigned) patients described that they had learned to reduce pain, to diminish psychological distress and to improve physical ability. Major differences were identified when comparing how the two patient groups with NSCLBP experienced SML and ET( exercise /physiotherapy). The patients in the SML group expressed that they had learned to trust in themselves and now felt able to handle their low back pain themselves. This was in contrast to the patients in the ET group who expressed insecurity and dependence on advice from back -pain experts". The body awareness developed by the Feldenkrais intervention patients was credited with a big significance in the benefits experienced by this patient group and their "subjectively experienced positive physical and psychological changes coincided with objectively assessed improvements in movement capacity."
The study also makes it clear that the benefits of Feldenkrais are not limited to NSCLBP patients and that many other groups of patients with restricted movement capacity due to disabilities of specific or non-specific origin can also benefit similarly from Feldenkrais (P.59).
Back To Oneself - Sensory Motor Learning applied in patients with nonspecific chronic low back pain 2009