Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique

Frederick Matthias Alexander was an actor and developed the Alexander Technique after suffering for years with a recurring vocal problem. He discovered a way to allow the natural poise of his head on top of his spine to free his body of the tension he had experienced.

He began to teach his technique to others, discovering new benefits all the time. In the London theatres of the early 1900's, Alexander became known as 'The Breathing Man', as he taught various performers to use his technique for themselves to expand their breath capacity and use their natural voice with more ease.

“We translate everything, whether physical, mental or spiritual, into muscular tension.”
F.M. Alexander

The physical benefits of the technique have become very widely known and the technique is used to enhance performance in many sports, including running, swimming, tennis and horse riding. It is also a feature of music and drama schools worldwide. But how can it help in everyday life?

Because it is something you learn, rather than something you come and have done to you, Alexander Technique practitioners are known as teachers, not therapists, and the person learning is traditionally called a 'pupil', rather than a client or patient. Learning takes place in a lesson.

The Alexander Technique starts with awareness

An Alexander Technique teacher will work with you to help you to recognise how and where you are causing undue strain and tension. This might first be evident in your body or you might notice something emotional, or your pattern of thought. Your thoughts and actions start to become more conscious, allowing you to make choices about the way you conduct your daily activities.

You will naturally start to gain more self-awareness, feel more confident in the choices you make, become more poised, grounded and upright. Hence, natural, 'good posture' is often associated with the Alexander Technique.

People come to the Alexander Technique for all sorts of reasons. Often it is a recurring back pain or some other injury, or it might be that they want to improve their performance in a sport or in their job.

In Alexander’s time he worked with many sports people and actors, as well as people who simply wanted to be the best they could be in their day-to-day lives. Sir George Bernard Shaw and Aldous Huxley were both early proponents of his work.

The technique is still being used by many prominent people who continue to enjoy its benefits; people such as John Cleese, Sting, Paul McCartney and James Cracknell have all spoken of its benefits.

The Alexander Technique has been proven to provide long term benefit for back pain, (British Medical Journal, August 2008).

It has also been known to help in addressing the following issues:

  • Aches, pain and stiffness
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Back, neck or shoulder pain
  • Breathing and voice issues
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (M.E.) and related conditions
  • Discomfort while using a computer or doing repetitive work
  • Fear of public-speaking
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Injury
  • Lack of confidence, shyness or low self-esteem
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Multiple schlerosis (M.S.)
  • Musculo-skeletal conditions
  • Neurophysiological conditions
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Poor posture
  • RSI and Tennis Elbow
  • Sciatica
  • Scoliosis
  • Shock or trauma following an event or accident
  • Stiff neck
  • Stress
  • Stuttering and other speech difficulties
  • Temporal mandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
  • Tiredness
 

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