The Alexander Technique

Angelique Swallow MSTAT  

BMJ Alexander Technique - Part 1 BMJ Alexander Technique - Part 2

 

The Alexander Technique- Frederick Matthias Alexander (20 January 1869 – 10 October 1955) was an Australian actor who developed the educational process that is today called the Alexander Technique.

The Technique is a method of re-education that will give you the necessary skills for self-awareness and self-development to allow you to make changes of long-standing habits and unnecessary tension in everything you do. It will help you, whatever your age or abilities are, to relieve the aches and pains caused by postural habits and stress. It will teach you to carry out all your daily activities with ease, whether it is sitting long hours at a computer or meeting deadlines.

Quotes: The Alexander Technique eludes precise definition because it involves a new experience - the experience of gradually freeing oneself from the domination of fixed habits. Any attempt to put that experience into words is necessarily limited, rather like trying to explain music to someone who has never heard a note. 'Michael Gelb'

The technique doesn't teach you something new to do. It teaches you how to bring more practical intelligence into what you are already doing; how to eliminate stereotyped responses; how to deal with habit and change. It leaves you free to choose your own goal but gives you a better use of yourself while you work towards it. 'Professor F.P. Jones''

The Technique is not a method of accumulated information nor the art of learning something new. It is, instead, the art of unlearning, which is much more subtle, and sometimes a more difficult endeavor - unlearning that which is habitual, instead of natural; letting go of old patterns and of those repetitious opinions arrived at in times and circumstances totally different from those of the present. 'Aldous Huxley'

Scientific evidence:

In 2011, a study of postural tone concluded that the Alexander Technique alters the muscular tension along the spine and hips that supports the body against gravity, reducing stiffness in these areas.

In 2008 randomised controlled trial published in the British Medical Journal found marked improvement in addressing back pain with this technique. Those receiving 24 lessons had 3 days of back pain in a four week period, 18 days less than the control median of 21 days. The cohort receiving 6 lessons had a reduction of ten days in days-of-pain reported. Outcomes were also measured by Roland disability scores, a measure of the number of activities impaired by pain, with a control baseline of 8.1. 24 lessons reduced this by 4.14 points, while six lessons combined with exercise produced a reduction of 2.98.

A subsequent analysis and comparative study of the economic implications concluded that "a series of six lessons in Alexander technique combined with an exercise prescription seems the most effective and cost effective option for the treatment of back pain in primary care".

"The great phase in man's advancement is that in which he passes from subconscious to conscious control of his own mind and body" F M Alexander

For more information you can also visit The Society of the Alexander Technique www.stat.org.uk

Angelique Swallow MSTAT - Alexander Teachnique Teacher