benefits of the feldenkrais method

Awareness Through Movement Improves Quality  of Life in People with Multiple Sclerosis 

J Neurol  Phys Ther. 27(4): 170, 2003.
Stephens  JL, Cates P, Jentes E, Perich A, Silverstein J, Staab E, du Shuttle D, Hatcher  C, Shmunes J, Slaninka C  2003   

PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: To assess  quality of life changes associated with a successful balance intervention in  a group of people with MS.

NUMBER OF SUBJECTS: 12 people with MS mean age 54  yrs, mean Kurtzke EDSS level 4.75

MATERIALS/METHODS: Subjects were randomly  assigned to 2 groups: Awareness Through Movement intervention (ATM) and control  group (EDU). The ATM group participated in 8 Awareness Through Movement  sessions while the EDU group participated in 4 educational sessions over 2  months. Balance and mobility measures were performed before and after the  intervention period. These results were published in Neurology Report 2001;  25(2): 39-49.
To assess quality of life the MSQLI was administered before and  after the intervention. The MSQLI has 10 sub-scales including: Modified  Fatigue Impact (MFIS), Pain Effects, Perceived Deficits (PDQ), and Modified  Social Support Survey (MSSS).All scales are valid for people with MS with  reliability scores ranging from .78 to .97. Data analysis used Kruskal -  Walis ANOVA for group comparisons and Spearman rs for correlations.

RESULTS:  There were 3 significant group differences: 1) increase in pain effects in  the ATM group (p< 0.03); 2) decrease in perceived difficulty recalling  recent events (PDQ-RM) in the ATM group (p< 0.035); and 3) improvement in  perceived availability of others for companionship (MSSS-POS) in the ATM  group (p< 0.035). Improvement on the PDQ-RM was highly correlated with  decreased Fatigue Impact. Improvement in MSSS-POS was highly correlated with  decrease in cognitive fatigue impact and a decrease in total PDQ,  retrospective memory and planning and organization subscale scores. 

CONCLUSIONS: The larger picture that emerges is that an intervention that was  successful in improving balance and mobility had other spin-off benefits that  were physical, psychological and social improving quality of life. ATM is  intended to improve people's awareness and understanding of their bodies and  to help individuals create alternative strategies for setting and achieving  goals in their life. This spin-off impact may be present in other kinds of  interventions but it has not been measured or documented.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:  In an environment where patients and payers increasingly demand significant  functional outcomes and measurable improvements in quality of life, it is  important to document not only the physical outcomes but also the outcomes  that reflect quality of life.


Use of awareness through movement improves balance and balance confidence in people with multiple sclerosis: a randomized controlled study.

Neurology Report, 25(2), 39-49.
Stephens, J., DuShuttle, D., Hatcher, C., Shmunes, J. & Slaninka, C. (2001). 

This study examined the effectiveness of a structured, group motor learning process, Awareness Through Movement (ATM), on balance, balance confidence, and self-efficacy. Twelve people with multiple sclerosis were randomly assigned to either ATM or control groups. The ATM group participated in 8 classes, 2 to 4 hours each while the control group participated in educational sessions, over 10 weeks. Six outcome measures were used: the Basic Balance Master modified Clinical Test of Sensory Interaction in Balance (mCTSIB) and Limits of Stability tests; the Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale; prospective falls; Equiscale; and the Multiple Sclerosis Self-Efficacy Scale.

The ATM group exhibited significantly improved mCTSIB scores indicating an average center of pressure position closer to theoretical center, had significantly fewer abnormal mCTSIB tests, and demonstrated improved balance confidence compared to controls. There was a trend toward improvement in all other measures in the ATM group compared to controls. These results suggest that this type of motor learning intervention can be effective in improving a variety of physical and psychological parameters related to balance and postural control.


benefits of the feldenkrais method


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