The Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique is general in its application and can be of benefit to any person whatever their occupation and whatever their complaint and is not restricted to people suffering from physical disabilities such as back and neck pain, tension headache, frozen shoulder, tennis-elbow, sciatica, arthritis, RSI, etc. It improves health across the board. There is no need for specific exercises or manoeuvres for individual ailments.

In a nutshell, having lessons in the Alexander Technique will:

Although the Alexander Technique is fairly well-known, it is difficult to explain in words, and almost impossible to appreciate its true value without experiencing it directly. For example, the central concept of ‘use’ – the way people handle themselves in everything they do – is difficult to grapple with. People are more comfortable with the idea of posture. Unfortunately, this term does not do justice to the Alexander Technique due to its static, and therefore reductionist, connotation. So-called good posture is too often transient and can relapse into postural collapse as soon as movement is involved.

The Alexander Technique rests firmly on the trio of use, shape and function. Use conditions shape; shape in turn, conditions functioning. The Alexander Technique does not in fact pretend to cure or palliate anything – it does better than that by teaching how to remove what is perhaps the most important cause of malfunction – misuse of the way we move and hold ourselves. By doing so it raises the general standard of health, a process followed by the disappearance of symptoms which have been caused directly or indirectly by misuse.

The importance of use as a factor of health and fitness is often overlooked or unrecognised. This is because the way we use ourselves in our daily activities is almost always entirely unconscious. Moreover, it can take years before we experience the pain and malfunction which results, and then we seldom associate the one with the other, blaming extraneous causes instead. To make things worse, with time we get used to these habits of misuse which by then feel right and familiar owing to an untrustworthy kinaesthetic sense. The Alexander Technique addresses this dangerous misapprehension.

There is a very good article on the NHS Choices website expanding on the merits of using the Alexander Technique by those suffering chronic back pain.