What is the Alexander Technique? Described as a way of learning to get rid of harmful tension in the body, as a method to change movement habits in one’s daily activities, and as way to move mindfully through life, the Alexander Technique aims to improve ease of motion and increase balance, support and coordination.
Based on the premise that inefficient patterns of movement accumulate tension, interfering with one’s ability to move with ease, the Alexander Technique is a learned skill that can be applied to a myriad of practical situations. Most importantly, it offers people the opportunity to take charge of their own healing process by becoming aware of how they think, move, and act or react.
Alexander Technique Applications
The Alexander Technique can be applied to all activities, from sitting and lying down to standing, walking, lifting, driving, and more. It is used to relieve tension, stress, strain and pain, and is especially effective for improving posture and relieving back pain. In a nutshell, the Alexander Technique teaches people to become self-aware and how to change long-standing habits that cause unnecessary physical and mental tension or strain.
Alexander Technique and Back Pain
Research studies such as those published in the British Medical Journal show the Alexander Technique can reduce back pain by up to 85%, offering more long-term benefits than traditional medical care or massage. After learning to recognize their poor postural and movements habits, students learn how to identify and avoid actions that contribute to back pain, how to move with less tension, and how to properly relax and rest their back and neck.
Who Uses the Alexander Technique
Individuals of all ages and lifestyles use the Alexander Technique, including notable athletes, authors, musicians, actors, and dancers. The technique is helpful for improving or alleviating:
• Sore shoulders
• Sore neck
• Muscle pain
• Poor posture
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Aging process
• Parkinson’s Disease
In addition, Alexander Technique is used in conjunction with:
• Physical therapy
• Martial arts
• Sports medicine
• Horseback riding
• Spiritual development
Alexander Technique Self-Study
The developer of the Alexander Technique, F. Matthias Alexander, was self-taught and had this to say: “Anyone can do what I did, IF they will do what I did.”
Towards this end he published several books providing written guidance, including “The Use of the Self.” Today there are Alexander Technique books, manuals, videos, audio tapes, DVDs, and MP3s.
Alexander Technique Certification
To receive accreditation from the American Society for the Alexander Technique
and become “AmSATcertified,” teachers must complete a 3-year teacher training course and 1,600 hours of training. Most Alexander teachers, who can be found all over the world, are members of a professional society which publishes a list of approved professionals.