The Alexander Technique is a series of educational classes that was created to help retrain body movements and posture. It helps improve mobility, performance, stress, and many other issues. The classes are in private sessions with an instructor who has been certified to teach the technique. People often find that the lessons they learn are adaptable to several other areas of life. The end goal is to perform daily activities with a higher level of ease and less effort on the body, and mind.
A young actor developed the Alexander Technique in the 1890's, Frederick Matthias Alexander. He was a Shakespearean orator who began experiencing voice problems that could threaten his career. After several doctors visits that led to no improvements, he began studying himself. Alexander took to the mirror and examined his movements when he was reciting lines. He noticed that a strained neck and simple avoidable movements were the sources of his problem. After only a short while of changing his movements did he begin to improve.
The remarkable improvements Alexander had made on himself began to gain recognition among his peers. It wasn't long before people started coming to him for help. Shortly after that, he began teaching his findings full time in Sydney, Austrailia. He moved to London in 1904 where he opened a practice and published several books. The benefits of his technique became popular with scientists and doctors who realized his findings matched the same scientific data found in neurology and physiology. In 1931 the demand prompted him to open a three-year teaching program of the technique.
There are several health benefits when using the Alexander Technique. Performance in all activities can be improved as well as posture and relief from back pain and tension. It also works to produce a better overall sense of well-being and mindset by reducing anxiety and stress. The technique is also used to help patients with Parkinson's disease to improve speech and mobility. It's also used by pregnant women to help with comfort during pregnancy, during labor, and to help recover after giving birth.
It's no big surprise that the Alexander Technique is popular with performers since it was developed by one. It continues to be used by musicians, actors, dancers, and singers who wish to improve some area of their performances. The issues range from stage fright nerves to balance. It plays a huge role in the psychological health of performers enabling them to deal with stressful issues with poise and confidence. The technique is so widely used in the entertainment world that it is even taught at Juilliard.
The Alexander Technique is taught by a certified instructor in a one on one lesson. There is no strenuous physical activity involved, so it is not at all like a physical therapy session. Students are invited to show up in their typical clothing and mindsets. Teachers spend time observing a students movements and posture both visually and using their hands. After an evaluation, a plan will be put in place to make corrections. Lessons are typically two to three times a week for a half hour to forty-five minutes. In between lessons, it is up to the student to continue to practice what they learn.
There are classes to learn the Alexander Technique held all over the world, including most states of the United States. If there are no classes where you live, you can even take lessons over the internet using Skype. Teachers can be from medical offices, colleges, or private practice. It is important that you do research to find the best class option for your needs. It is best to get a recommendation from someone who has had successful results from taking a particular teachers class.
If class times don't fit into your schedule or you prefer to learn in private, self-study of the Alexander Technique is certainly an option. Several books outline the technique in a textbook style and can be studied on your own time. There are also many DVD's and videos available. The internet is a useful resource for self-study of this technique as it holds plenty of resources to learn this technique and many are even free.
The American Society for the Alexander Technique is a great resource to start with when considering taking these lessons. They provide tons of information that can answer any questions you have. More importantly, they can direct you to an AmSAT Certified Instructor. These are board certified teachers who have completed the necessary training for three years and have passed all requirements.
Many people aren't even aware that poor posture could be the cause of many of their problems. Incorrect posture over a long period can have all kinds of negative effects on the body. Back pain, neck pain, body aches, and even headaches can all be symptoms. It can also be responsible for creating a pot belly that sticks out beyond what it should and rounded shoulders. Small changes such as those taught in the Alexander Technique can help with these issues to great extents.
The simple answer to who should consider learning the Alexander Technique is everyone! Most people suffer from some aspect that can improve by learning this technique. It is even often taught to younger children to prevent issues with posture in the future. Whether it be the pain, anxiety, balance, or just a better sense of well-being. It is taught to several people in all walks of life because it truly can improve so many issues that people face all across the globe.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.