Portland, OR- January 9, 2007- The Feldenkrais Guild® of North America announces the publication in Physical Therapy Journal (Volume 86, Number 12, December 2006) of a research study by Temple University Professor James Stephens, PT, PhD, CFP, which found that hamstring muscles can be lengthened using specific Awareness Through Movement (ATM) lessons without any stretching. Previous studies have shown that the traditional approach to passive stretching to increase muscle flexibility does not produce long-term changes in the viscoelastic properties of muscle. In Dr. Stephens’ study, the experimental group engaging in the complex active movements of ATM lessons gained significantly more hamstring muscle length compared with the control group continuing normal activity. The study results suggest a wide range of applications of ATM for problems of flexibility and mobility. Further research is needed.
ATM lessons are typically experienced in a group atmosphere where a Feldenkrais practitioner verbally guides students through a series of slow, gentle movements. The method was developed by Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc. (1904-1984), an engineer, physicist and martial arts expert. Currently there are over 1700 practitioners of the method in the United States and Canada.