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What is Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Technique works to change postural and movement habits that create unnecessary tension in the body and restrict activities. Practitioners advocate that the Alexander Technique can release unwanted muscular tension throughout the body which has accumulated over many years of stressful living and bad body use.
The Alexander Technique works to build awareness of balance, posture and co-ordination while performing everyday actions. This brings into consciousness tensions throughout the body that have previously gone unnoticed and that can cause back pain.
The Alexander Technique was developed by Frederick Matthias Alexander, a Shakespearian actor who could not work because he kept losing his voice. Alexander found that the reason for his voice loss was essentially excessive and unnecessary tension in the act of speaking of which he was unaware.
How Does Alexander Technique Work?
The Alexander Technique involves a teacher using their trained hands whilst giving subtle indications of timing, direction and coaching. This is aimed at building awareness of habits of tension and working to “undo” those habits and apply that “undoing” in movement and activity. Most commonly at the beginning of lessons, teachers may suggest activities that are routine, such as walking or sitting. For part of the lesson, some teachers have learners lie on a table, so the student can experience the principles of Alexander Technique in action without having to pay attention to maintaining balance. This is called "table work" by Alexander Technique practitioners.
How Can Alexander Technique Help?
Teachers of the Alexander Technique advocate that by becoming more aware of how the body works and learning how to "undo" bad body use habits, those with long term back pain will be able to find comfort and ease of their symptoms. Alexander Technique practitioners work to teach their pupils how to release unnecessary muscle tension and learn new, freer, ways of moving which cause far less strain on the back.
Alexander Technique practitioners describe that many people who practice the Alexander Technique experience a general feeling of lightness throughout their bodies and even describe the sensation after lessons as being like ‘walking on air’.