Image credit: Moshé Feldenkrais circa 1957 © International Feldenkrais® Federation Archive
Moshé Feldenkrais (1904–1984) was trained as a scientist and physicist with specialities in mechanical and electrical engineering. He received his Doctor of Science from Université Paris-Sorbonne in Paris, France in 1930’s.
During the academic career in Paris, he worked at the Joliot Curie laboratory, which focus on physics and chemistry research in one of the research sections in the world renowned Institut Curie.
The Joliot Curie laboratory at the time was directed by Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie who were jointly awarded the 1935 Nobel Prize for Chemistry “in recognition of their synthesis of new radioactive elements” as stated on the official web site of the Nobel Prize.
Moshé Feldenkrais is known from the textbooks as a collaborator of Joliot-Curie, Langevin and Kowarski participating in the first nuclear fission experiments. During the war he went to Great Britain and worked on the development of submarine detection devices. From experimental physics, following finally a suggestion of Lew Kowarski, he turned his interest to neurophysiology and neuropsychology.
He studied the cybernetical organisation between human body dynamics and the mind. He developed his method known as “Functional integration” and “Awareness through movement.” It has been applied with surprising results to post-traumatic rehabilitation, psychotherapy, re-education of the mentally or physically handicapped, and improvement of performance in sports. It can be used by everybody who wants to discover his natural grace of movement.
A concise biography of Moshé Feldenkrais written by Mark Reese (1951–2006) in 2004 describes an overview of Dr. Feldenkrais’ personal history and trainings in science and Judo in relation to the method. This biography is available on the websites of The Feldenkrais® Educational Foundation of North America and The Feldenkrais Guild® of North America.
Mr. Reese’s longer version of Dr. Feldenkrais’ biography Moshé Feldenkrais: A Life in Movement portrays Dr. Feldenkrais’ life journey of developing the method in detail.
Moshé Feldenkrais © International Feldenkrais® Federation Archive