In new research, people with problems affecting functional ability have shown statistically significant improvements in daily function, pain and health-related quality of life after a series of Feldenkrais lessons. In the same study, investigators validated three outcome measurement tools that Feldenkrais practitioners can use to evaluate client improvements and that researchers can use in future investigations.
Researchers in Melbourne and Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia—all certified Feldenkrais practitioners and members of the Australian Feldenkrais Guild [AFG]—invited AFG practitioners throughout the country to participate in the study. Each practitioner agreed to give specifically designed client questionnaires to his or her clients before and after a series of Feldenkrais sessions. Practitioners returned complete data for 33 subjects. A series consisted of two to 20 sessions, depending on individual needs, with the average being 6.5 sessions. Series were completed in just under 3 months, on average, with the span ranging from 2.5 to 31 weeks.
The outcome measurement tools included the Patient-Specific Functional Scale (PSFS), the Pain Outcomes Profile and the SF12v2. Practitioners reported that the PSFS was the most useful, since it helped clients develop functional goals to achieve through their Feldenkrais work. For example, a client might identify that he wanted to be able to sit at his computer at work without back pain. The Pain Outcome Profile was valuable for measuring changes in pain over time. The SF12v2 is a health survey with eight categories that measure aspects of physical, social, emotional and mental health. Investigators noted that the SF12v2 was complex to score and more useful for research than as a clinical tool.
Data analysis of client reports revealed that all clients experienced statistically significant improvements in daily function, pain and six of the eight health-related quality-of-life outcomes. All clients had been experiencing pain or lack of functional ability for a median time of 12 months prior to the study.
Lead author Karol A. Connors, MPT, CFP, research officer for the AFG, said, “This study has demonstrated that the Feldenkrais Method® can produce measurable changes in a client’s functional activities and health-related quality of life. Future researchers can now be confident using these measurement tools to investigate the effects of the Feldenkrais Method with various client groups to build a knowledge-base about who will benefit most from this innovative approach.” The research appeared in the Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies (2010; doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2010.09.001).
To learn more about this and other Feldenkrais research, go to www.feldscinet.org.