What Is It?
How Does It Work?
What Happens During Treatment?
What Is It Used For?
What Is It?
The Alexander Technique is a method of retraining our bodies to move
in a more coordinated and efficient way. It aims to correct harmful
habitual patterns such as slouching and tensing of muscles which can
cause pain and other health problems.
The Alexander Technique was developed in the late 19th century by
F.M. Alexander, an Australian Shakespearean actor who often lost his
voice on stage. Using three-way mirrors he found that his habit of
tightening his neck muscles and jutting his jaw forward while speaking
restricted his vocal cords. By working to correct his posture he found
his voice was restored. Alexander then began developing a system to
teach simple, efficient movements that would help other people improve
their balance, posture and co-ordination, while relieving pain.
How Does It
The Alexander technique is essentially a re-education process which
concentrates on removing stress and bad posture. It focuses on the
relationship between the head, neck and spine, which teachers call “primary
control”. When these three are properly aligned through correct
posture, improvements in muscular function allow more efficient breathing
and movement of the whole body.
The technique is based on a series of gentle exercises and movements
that teach you how to sit, stand and move in a natural and more efficient
What Happens During
Alexander technique lessons can be conducted one-on-one with a teacher,
or in group classes. The teacher begins by observing how you use your
body when sitting, standing and walking. S/he notes any inappropriate
muscle tension caused be incorrect alignment of the head, neck and
spine, that throws the rest of the body off balance. Poor habitual
posture is changed by instruction and gentle touch, the teacher placing
his or her hands on or near the head or spine to remind you of correct
alignment. Some sessions will have the student lying down to learn
how to release excess muscle tension, while others involve mostly sitting,
standing and walking.
The sessions are not strenuous or physically painful. The teacher
allows the student to release tension and harmful habits at their own
pace. Improvement is gradual, as long held bad habits take time to
adjust. But with time and patience the posture and movement of the
body will improve. A lesson usually lasts between 30 and 45 minutes
and students generally take a series of 10-40 lessons.
Sessions can be tailored to meet the specific needs of individuals
such as dancers, athletes or actors.
What Is It Used
By correcting habitual bad posture and taking stress off the body,
the Alexander Technique alleviates tensions that can cause many health
problems. It can help ease neck pains, backaches, headaches, repetitive
strain injuries and postural problems during pregnancy. Correct posture
improves breathing, making the technique of benefit to asthma sufferers.
People with sciatica, osteoporosis and arthritis may also benefit,
with an improvement in strength and mobility.
The technique leads to a better awareness of the body and the way
it moves. It can help to release habits that are tied to poor self-image
and emotions (research suggests a connection between posture and state
of mind) so the technique can bring psychological as well as physical
The Alexander Technique is generally considered safe for everyone,
including pregnant women, with no known side effects.
an Alexander Technique Practitioner
Prices are in US Dollars
How to Learn the Alexander Technique:
A Manual for Students
A primer for students of the Alexander Technique, a well-known
method for improving freedom and ease of movement and physical
coordination. This book provides the first authoritative
account of William Conable's concept, Body Mapping, the study
of how our ideas about our bodies affect our experience and
movement. This concept is integrated with a lucid explanation
of the Alexander Technique that clarifies and simplifies
the task of teaching and learning the Technique.
Body Learning : An Introduction to the Alexander
Michael J. Gelb
This new, fully revised and updated edition confirms Body
Learning's status as the classic work on the Alexander Technique
for maintaining the health and efficiency of the body.
"The approach to learning and the techniques outlined
in Body Learning transformed my life. Read and practice, and
Michael Gelb's profound message will transform yours. "-Tony
Buzan, author of The Mind Map Book
Indirect Procedures: A Musician's Guide to the Alexander
Technique (Clarendon Paperbacks)
Written by an experienced professional musician and teacher
of the Alexander Technique, this volume is the first to deal
specifically with the application of the Technique to music-
making. Introducing the musician to the principles and procedures
evolved by F. M. Alexander (1869-1955), the book contains
practical advice related to all areas of musical activity,
from technique, sound production, and interpretation, to
daily practice, rehearsal routines, and the mitigating of
stage fright and health problems.
Alexander Technique Books
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