A Proposal for a Strategic Hierarchy in Functional Integration®
David Zemach-Bersin, Feldenkrais Trainer, Feldenkrais Access Founder
Moshe Feldenkrais was explicit, "Improve the person, not their problem. If you improve the person, their difficulty will improve." This dictum represents one of the essential reasons he successfully improved and transformed human abilities and restored lost function.
Feldenkrais is telling us that the vast majority of human musculoskeletal problems are reflections of poor organization. He understood that there is a way of being 'organized' that is optimal for all human beings; a particular organization between our skeleton, nervous system, and musculature. This organization gives us our best possible options for efficient, easy, and effective movement or action.
The neutral neuro-muscular-skeletal state that is synonymous with good organization reduces the attraction and the burden of past adjustments to culture, trauma, punishment, and anxiety. The neutrality of good organization leaves these 'characterological habits without a muscular and sensate basis. Where there was compulsion, we now have choice.
Good organization brings us into alignment with the fundamental biological principle of the conservation of energy, i.e., action and adjustments to gravity are realized with the minimum expenditure of energy.
Good organization - as defined by Feldenkrais - provides or enables the ability to move from the standing or sitting position in all primary or cardinal directions with a minimum of muscular effort. Hence, effective action is potentiated by good organization. As an added and significant bonus, minimum effort maximizes our ability to make kinesthetic-sensory distinctions, thereby helping to create information.
I have devoted the past 48 years to the study, exploration, practice, and teaching of Moshe Feldenkrais' insights. During the past 16 months, I have been working with people virtually. This experience has helped to renew and crystalize for me the primacy and brilliance of "treating the person and not the problem." I believe that with a clear understanding of the hierarchy of criteria for optimal self-organization, we can better realize Feldenkrais' dictum and potentiate our practice of Functional Integration.