Feldenkrais© teachers work with people presenting a variety of neurological disorders, that can be present from birth, result from a neurodegenerative illness, be due to traumatic brain injury or related to a stroke, a sudden reduction of the blood supply to some parts of the brain, that killed part of the cerebral tissues. As different areas of the brain cope with different tasks all these events can have many different consequences depending on what area suffered the injury and when the injury occurred. In some cases the injury extent can be such that a person can become completely completely dependent on carers to perform daily activity. The variety of possible issues affecting the brain makes it impossible to have a mechanical approach to the task of regaining independence. In such situation, the Feldenkrais practitioner will explore the extent of damage by looking at the general tonus and at the damaged response in movement and will help the person to explore from a new perspective all movement possibilities and the relationship between her self and the external world. Modern neuroscience findings radically changed the view of the brain and embraced the concept of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form new connections and reallocate areas of the brain to different functions throughout life to reflect changes occurring in our self and the surrounding world.
This property is so extreme that it can allow one half of the brain to take over in some cases to a large extent the functions of the other half. Despite neuroplasticity has many benefit, it can also contribute to impairment. In the case of chronic pain, the pain can be facilitated, or in cerebral palsy, where a function was first achieved when the brain had not healed yet, see for instance: "The Boy Who Could Run But Not Walk: Understanding Neuroplasticity in the Child's Brain" by Dr. K. Pape.
The Feldenkrais Method© makes use of many aspect of neuroplasticity fo feed information to the brain in a manner that makes it easier to build new neural pathways. For instance one of the recent finding of neuroscience is that neurons firing together are also wiring together.
In improving a function, this principle is exploited by the Feldenkrais teacher to either create new patterns or by moving independently parts usually activated at the same time to inform the brain about novel movement possibilities.
Other principles include the use of novelty, surprise, rhythm variation and playfulness in our lessons.