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Alexander Technique


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Alexander Technique

In This Article
History How does it work?
A typical appointment What to expect
Timings/ Costs/ Sessions Is it right for you?
 
The Alexander Technique was developed at the end of the 19th century by former actor Frederick M. Alexander. Born in Tasmania in 1869, Alexander forged a career reciting monologues to large audiences around Australia. After his voice became hoarse during a performance, doctors were unable to find any cause and advised Alexander to rest.

Finding that rest alone didn't solve the problem, Alexander reasoned that his vocal delivery may be the cause of the problem. Alexander studied his way of speaking and observed his unusual head position and tension in the muscles of his neck. This he believed was putting unnecessary strain on his vocal chords. Correcting the alignment of his head, and the overall posture of his body, cured his vocal strain.

From this study, Alexander proposed that the entire neuromuscular system would benefit from balancing tension in the muscles. The technique developed and Alexander was able to help with patient's coordination, breathing, posture and joint function which resulted in reducing stress and improvement to overall health.

The Alexander Technique aims to reduce tension both mental and physical. By applying various methods, Alexander Technique teachers change habitual movements that have resulted in poor posture and become the cause of tension throughout the mind and body.

Alexander Technique is primarily concerned with the head, neck and back and the thought processes related to movement. Making gentle adjustments physically, and to the way a person thinks about posture, breathing and coordination, balance in neuromuscular function can be achieved to improve mental and physical well-being. These methods can then be applied to daily activities.

The Alexander Technique is observational, educational and hands-on in its approach but does not use any physical exertion to achieve results. The therapy is a teaching process allowing the individual to tailor methods depending on their needs or condition. As such, sessions are called 'lessons', while practitioners are called 'teachers' and patients referred to as 'pupils'.

Be prepared - It is advisable to choose an Alexander Technique teacher who is a member of, or is accredited by, an association or professional body. This ensures your lesson is carried out in a suitable environment and by someone who has received formal training and ongoing development. Members are also bound to a code of ethics and practice. The main Alexander Technique organisations are listed at the foot of this article.

Alexander Technique teaching is regulated by the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). The key purpose of CNHC is to act in the public interest and enable proper public accountability of the therapists that it registers.

Before your appointment, spend time thinking about your condition and what you expect to achieve with Alexander Technique. Make some notes before you attend about your expectations and concerns and what you hope to learn that can be applied to your lifestyle.

Be aware that Alexander Technique requires the teacher to be hands-on but you will not need to undress during the treatment. It is advisable to wear loose, comfortable clothing though as some physical movement will be required.

Lessons will usually take place on a one-to-one basis but can be done within a group. During your first lesson, the Alexander Technique teacher will spend time questioning you on your general health, medical history and lifestyle. They will then observe your posture and physical movement whilst walking, sitting or lying down.

The teacher will then use a hands-on method to gather further information about your movement. This allows them to feel for muscle and breathing patterns and they will usually place their hands on your head, neck, back or chest. They will explain fully what they are doing in order for you to recognise the patterns for yourself.

Once the teacher has gathered information on your current condition, they will begin to make gentle adjustments to correct any problems. The teacher will explain what this involves in order for you to understand its principles and apply them yourself.

Alexander Technique is not a painful or physically aggressive therapy and works at a pace that will suit you depending on your current physical condition and rate of learning. Alexander Technique requires you to learn and apply its principles to everyday activities to achieve its full benefits. It is not a cure but a teaching method to allow you to improve your health.

Your first lesson will last longer than subsequent lessons as your teacher gains an understanding of your lifestyle and condition and explains the principles of Alexander Technique. Expect to spend 60 minutes during your first lesson with follow-up lessons lasting around 45 minutes.

An introductory lesson can cost on average £40 - £60 with subsequent lessons costing £25 - £45. Costs vary from town to town so it is advisable to check with your local teacher before making an appointment.

The number of lessons you require will depend on your circumstances and condition and chronic problems may require more lessons. Those wishing to fully learn the principles of Alexander Technique can attend up to 30 lessons or as an ongoing process. Many people feel the benefit of Alexander Technique after a few lessons.

Alexander Technique is a proven therapy helping to overcome injury, chronic pain and stress. As a development process, its principles can applied to physical and mental well-being and improve an individual's ability to learn and live well. People involved with performing arts have found the technique to be extremely beneficial.




This therapy or modality may help with:

Arthritis Back Pain Blood pressure
Breathing disorders Chronic Pain Circulation Problems
Disc Problems Heart disease Insomnia
Joint Pain Lumbago Migraines
Muscle Cramps Muscle stiffness Neck pain
Neck stiffness Osteoporosis Panic Attacks
Post operative pain Postural problems Repetitive strain injury
Rheumatism Sciatica Scoliosis
Shoulder pain Spinal Injury Sports injuries
Sprain (Ankle, Knee) Stress Whiplash

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Featured Alexander Technique Practitioners

Sample Of Practitioners By Location
Alexander Technique Birmingham Alexander Technique Brighton Alexander Technique Bristol
Alexander Technique Cardiff Alexander Technique Central London Alexander Technique Coventry
Alexander Technique East London Alexander Technique Edinburgh Alexander Technique Glasgow
Alexander Technique Harley Street Alexander Technique Leeds Alexander Technique Liverpool
Alexander Technique Manchester Alexander Technique North London Alexander Technique Nottingham
Alexander Technique Sheffield Alexander Technique South London Alexander Technique West London

About Therapist Qualifications

Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT) Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT) More Info


 

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