"Although no one would claim that the Alexander Technique treatment is a cure- all in every case, there can be no doubt that it often does have profound and beneficial effects, and I repeat once more, both in the 'mental' and 'somatic' spheres". Nikolaas Tinbergen, Nobel Prizewinner for Medicine and Physiology 1973
The Alexander Technique
The Alexander Technique through direct and practical experience teaches us to use ourselves more effectively in all activities of living and how fundamental a contribution to health and well being it can make.
Why we need it
In young children we often see an alertness and poise that allows them to sit, stand and move gracefully without strain. Yet we rarely do see that same poise continuing into adult life. Most of us have developed habits that interfere with our natural co-ordination and functioning. We become disconnected and find ourselves reacting automatically in ways that are frequently harmful to our well being and reduce our effectiveness in whatever we do.
The integration of our system as a whole is primarily determined by the co- ordination of our head, neck, and back. When we interfere with this subtle relationship we create distortion and strain throughout the organism and we can be said to be mis-using ourselves.
The result of this misuse may be experienced as specific symptoms such as headache, backache, stiff neck and shoulders, RSI or more generally as a lack of poise, lack of vitality or as a sense of being "out of touch" with our body. Since the body and mind are part of one system, lack of physical poise can affect our state of mind and our ability to cope with life.
People learning the Technique come from all walks of life and backgrounds: doctors, therapists, musicians, actors, managers, secretaries, writers and sportsmen and women.
How is it taught?
The Alexander Technique is usually taught on a one-to-one basis. Along with verbal instruction and gentle use of their hands, Alexander-teachers help bring about a better co-ordination in their student. As students become more aware of
what constitutes a better use of themselves, they are taught to consciously refrain from habitual patterns of interference and to allow a better functioning to take place. Students develop their ability to attend to the way they react to the various stimuli of life and to change so as to have more choice in how they respond - both physically and mentally.
Benefits of the Technique
The benefits can include relief from aches and pains associated with misuse, improved physical and mental health, enhanced performance and improved appearance.
“The Alexander Technique gives us all the things we have been looking for in a system of physical education; relief from strain due to maladjustment and consequent improvement in physical and mental health; and along with this a heightening of consciousness on all levels. We cannot ask more from any system of physical education; nor, if we seriously desire to alter human beings in a desirable direction, can we ask any less” Aldous Huxley
Alexander Technique in a nutshell
- It is a simple and practical method of mind/body integration.
- It leads to ease of movement, poise and vitality.
- It relieves pain and stress caused by everyday misuse of the body.
- It teaches the appropriate amount of effort for a particular activity.
- It gives you more energy for all your activities.
- It can be applied to any everyday activity (siting, standing, walking, bending, lifting)
- It can be applied to specialized activity (like deskwork, house work, cooking, playing an instrument, Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, sports, meditating etc.)
- It is and intelligent way to solve body problems.