Concerns about college and university student health date back to at least the mid-19th century. These concerns were addressed through the development and implementation of required, service-based physical activity education programs. In the 1920s–1930s, 97% of American colleges and universities offered such programs. Today less than 40% do. However, student health issues persist. This essay asserts that kinesiology departments are best suited to address these needs by delivering physical activity education courses through their institution’s general education curriculum. General education courses are those that every student must take in order to develop the competencies necessary for living a full and complete life and contributing to society. Given the growing costs of higher education, any such requirement must be justifiable. Therefore, implementing and sustaining a physical activity education general education requirement is not for the faint of heart; it requires effort, resources, support, and time. This essay explores these issues.
Promoting Physical Activity Education Through General Education: Looking Back and Moving Forward
Bradley J. Cardinal
Perspectives on the Feldenkrais Method
Developmental movement unfolds across multiple levels of a person’s biological hierarchy, and in multiple time frames. This article addresses some of the complexity of human moving, learning, and development that is captured in the lessons of the Feldenkrais Method®. It provides an overview of who Moshe Feldenkrais was and how he synthesized a body of work characterized by ontological, epistemological, and ethical stances that make his method unusual and provocative. An overview of his group and individual lessons, with examples, is followed by a closer look at how the complexity of the Feldenkrais method can be understood.
Re-Education: What Can Complementary and Alternative Approaches to Movement Education Teach Kinesiology?
David I. Anderson
The goal of this special issue of Kinesiology Review is to expose kinesiology to a body of knowledge that is unfamiliar to most in the field. That body of knowledge is broad, deep, rich, and enduring. In addition, it brings with it a skill set that could be extremely helpful to professional practice, whether in teaching, coaching, training, health work, or rehabilitation. The body of knowledge and skills comes from a loosely defined field of study I have referred to as “complementary and alternative approaches to movement education” (CAAME). The field of CAAME is as diverse as the field of kinesiology. This introductory article focuses on what the field of CAAME has to teach kinesiology and what the field could learn from kinesiology. The overarching aim of the special issue is to foster dialogue and collaboration between students and scholars of kinesiology and practitioners of CAAME.
The Somatic Work of Thomas Hanna, Tai Chi, and Kinesiology
Bradford C. Bennett
Thomas Hanna’s somatic work has been essential to the development of the field of somatic education. From redefining the word “somatic” and developing the concept of somatics as a field of study, to starting the magazine/journal Somatics, to developing theories and practices of somatic education, Hanna greatly influenced this fledgling area of work. This article presents the somatic philosophy, theories, and education techniques of Hanna, focusing on the aspects that are unique to this somatic explorer. Hanna’s techniques are contrasted to the traditional somatic movement training of Tai Chi. The difficulties of researching a learning such as somatic education are discussed. Ideas are presented on how kinesiology and somatic education can inform each other.
Motor Cognition: The Role of Sentience in Perception and Action
Ezequiel Morsella, Anthony G. Velasquez, Jessica K. Yankulova, Yanming Li, Christina Y. Wong, and Dennis Lambert
The function of the conscious field remains mysterious from a scientific point of view. This article reviews theoretical approaches (passive frame theory and ideomotor approaches) that elucidate how the conscious field is intimately related to a special kind of action selection. This form of action selection is peculiar to the skeletal-muscle output system. The notion of encapsulation and how it explains many properties of the conscious field are discussed, including why the conscious field, though in the service of adaptive action, contains contents that are not action-relevant; why the field has a first-person perspective; and why the field is so thorough, in terms of its contents, the contrasts among contents, and the representation of spatial layout. The authors discuss subordinate encapsulation and the hypothesis that the conscious field is what allows for encapsulated conscious contents to influence action selection collectively, yielding what in everyday life is called voluntary behavior.
Roberta J. Park: Paving the Sport History Highway While Saving Physical Education From a House Divided
Patricia Vertinsky and Alison Wrynn
Internationally acclaimed sport historian Roberta Park was among the Academy of Kinesiology’s leading scholars. Her extensive career at the University of California, Berkeley, was a powerful example of one woman’s agency and success in the hierarchical world of higher education. Systematically opening up the breadth of embodied and gendered practices deemed suitable for examination by sport historians, Park’s pioneering scholarship helped turn a narrow lane into the broad highway of sport history. She demonstrated that it is neither possible nor desirable to study the history of medicine, health, or fitness without accounting for the body, raising provocative questions about the historical origins of training regimens for sport and exercise, and excavating the histories of the biomedical sciences to better understand the antecedents of sports medicine and exercise science. She never abandoned her faith in the importance of the profession of physical education, properly supported by scholarly enquiry, holding up Berkeley’s foundational program as a template to guide physical education’s future and grieving its demise in 1997.
Somaesthetics in Context
After defining somaesthetics and explaining the terms of its definition, this paper distinguishes between somaesthetics and other somatic disciplines concerned with improving the quality of our movement. The paper then outlines the roots of somaesthetics in pragmatist philosophy and the philosophical idea of the holistic art of living that combines cognitive, aesthetic, and ethical concerns. The next section discusses the three branches of somaesthetics and its three dimensions while also mapping their interrelations. After a section that contextualizes somaesthetics in relation to affect theory and cognitive science and that briefly notes some of its many interdisciplinary applications, the paper concludes with a discussion of the somaesthetic approach to the issue of norms and values in somatic experience, inquiry, and practice.
An Education for Life: The Process of Learning the Alexander Technique
Charlotte Woods, Lesley Glover, and Julia Woodman
The Alexander technique is an educational self-development self-management method with therapeutic benefits. The primary focus of the technique is learning about the self, conceptualized as a mind–body unity. Skills in the technique are gained experientially, including through hands-on and spoken guidance from a certified Alexander teacher, often using everyday movement such as walking and standing. In this article the authors summarize key evidence for the effectiveness of learning the Alexander technique and describe how the method was developed. They attempt to convey a sense of the unique all-encompassing and fundamental nature of the technique by exploring the perspectives of those engaged in teaching and learning it and conclude by bringing together elements of this account with relevant strands of qualitative research to view this lived experience in a broader context.
Evidence for the Effectiveness of the Feldenkrais Method
James Stephens and Susan Hillier
The Feldenkrais method (FM) is a process that uses verbally and manually guided exploration of novel movements to improve individuals’ self-awareness and coordination. This paper reviews recent literature evaluating the therapeutic value of the FM for improving balance, mobility, and coordination and its effectiveness for management of chronic pain. The authors also explore and discuss studies that have investigated some of the other bodily effects and possible mechanisms of action, such as (a) the process of learning itself, (b) focus of attention during motor learning, (c) autonomic regulation, and (d) body image. They found that research clearly supports the effectiveness of the FM for improvement of balance and chronic pain management. The exploration into mechanisms of action raises interesting questions and possibilities for further investigation.
If It All Comes Down to Bodily Awareness, How Do We Know? Assessing Bodily Awareness
Wolf E. Mehling
A purported key mechanism of action in most mind–body movement approaches is the maturation and development of bodily awareness. This is an experiential learning process with its own phenomenology, underlying neurological processes, and challenges for scientific study. This report focuses on the assessment of changes in bodily awareness, which is of key importance for the documentation of this learning process for both research and clinical application. Objective assessments requiring lab equipment are briefly reviewed. Qualitative assessments can be performed by interviews, focus groups, and second-person observation of movement performance. In addition, systematically developed self-report questionnaires have become available in recent years, have undergone extensive validation, and are presented here.