ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE Overview Information
The Alexander Technique is a method used for overcoming conditions caused by habitual movements and postures. It is used for conditions including back pain, neck pain, repetitive strain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, stress, fatigue, stuttering, voice loss, performance anxiety, Parkinson's disease, asthma, migraineheadache, and other conditions.
The Alexander Technique was developed between 1890 and 1900 by Frederick Matthias Alexander, an Australian who was a Shakespearean orator.
Practitioners of this technique are certified by the American Society for the Alexander Technique and must complete 1600 hours of training. There are approximately 2500 practitioners of the Alexander Technique worldwide.
How does it work?
The Alexander Technique is often used to address conditions such as back pain or carpal tunnel syndrome, which can result from repetitive movements or postures. The goal of the technique is to identify those movements or postures that are harmful and correct them through certain thought processes.
Patients typically attend a series of one-on-one lessons with an Alexander Technique instructor in order to learn to identify the habits. Alexander Technique lessons can involve bodywork on a table and/or observation and guidance during specific activities. Bodywork on a table often involves the instructor leading parts of the body--such as head, arms, legs--through a series of movements intended to enhance movement and sense of movement. The observed activity portion often includes a series of movements while the instructor provides feedback and observations, often using a mirror, to help identify and change problematic areas.
The basic principles of the Alexander Technique include the following:
Primary control: This is the relationship between the head, neck, and spine. The relationship can be either free or compressed. When the relationship is free, the body moves optimally. When it is compressed, it doesn’t.
Awareness: This is the process of identifying the habits that result in the physical problem, such as pain or tension.
Inhibition: This is the process of noticing when the body is moving in a compressed way that can result in a problem. By noticing this, the problematic movement can be changed or stopped.
Direction: This is the process of visualizing movement and allowing the body to move reflexively and effortlessly rather than forcing compressed movement.
- Asthma. There is some evidence that using the Alexander Technique can improve breathing in healthy people, but no reliable research has been done on people with asthma.
- Stuttering. Some reports suggest that applying the Alexander Technique for 18-30 lessons can reduce stuttering in adults who have had moderately severe stuttering since childhood.
- Parkinson's disease. Developing research shows that applying the Alexander Technique for 24 lessons can significantly improve disability and depression in people with Parkinson's disease.
- Back pain.
- Neck pain.
- Repetitive strain injury.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Voice loss.
- Performance anxiety.
- Migraine headache.
- Other conditions.
ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE Side Effects & Safety
The Alexander Technique appears to be safe when used appropriately. There are no known safety concerns.