Cliff Smyth, PhD
Researching Feldenkrais: What We Know So Far
Thursday May 9th, 2019, at 8 am EDT (New York)
Research into the Feldenkrais Method® is in its early days, and yet, in the last 10 years, there has been a quickening in the amount of research done, as well as improvements in the quality of that research. There is now research into the Feldenkrais Method in a wide range of applications in relation to the fields of movement science, health, and the arts.
This presentation and discussion will review the highlights of research into the Feldenkrais Method to date. What research has been undertaken? How was it done? What are the emergent themes and most significant findings? What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of the research so far?
Findings from research into the outcomes from the Feldenkrais Method will be reviewed: What outcomes have been measured and described and with which populations? For example, research around balance, walking, grip, pain, functional activities, and more. What are some of the applications of the Method that find support in the research?
Given that the Feldenkrais Method is based in experiential learning, qualitative studies that explore how people experience the Method, and the impact it has had on their lives, are relevant. This presentation and discussion will review the qualitative studies of the Method.
Ways of thinking about the Feldenkrais Method and of doing research are evolving: What are the roles of research itself in forming hypotheses and theory in the practice of research and the Method?
About Cliff Smyth
Cliff Smyth, PhD, is a Feldenkrais Method teacher and practitioner, health and wellness coach, and mind-body skills teacher. He is the editor of the Feldenkrais® Research Journal, published online by the International Feldenkrais Federation (IFF). His master’s thesis addressed the contribution of Feldenkrais Method to mind-body medicine, while his PhD dissertation researched the lived experience of the Feldenkrais Method for people in relation to pain. Cliff is a teaching fellow at Saybrook University in the College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences and visiting lecturer at San Francisco State University where he teaches Somatics.
He is interested in the science and phenomenology of the Feldenkrais Method and other movement-based body-mind awareness practices. He has been practicing the Feldenkrais Method for 27 years, first in his native Melbourne, Australia. Then for over 20 years at the Feldenkrais Center for Movement & Awareness in San Francisco, where he specializes in working with people with stress, back pain and repetitive strain injuries.
Cliff served for twelve years on the board (six as President) of the IFF, and was involved in creating archives of and publishing many of Moshe Feldenkrais’ key teaching materials. He is currently working on articles on movement and cognition, interoception, and the role of habitual muscular tension in health.