If you have never heard of the Alexander Technique then you might be interested to know some of the ways in which it can help you. The Alexander Technique (AT) has been credited with helping to ease neck and back pain, beat stress and even increase confidence. Here are a few facts about this technique and some of the ways in which it could help you.
1. Who Was Alexander?
The Alexander Technique is, funnily enough, named after a man called Frederick Matthias Alexander. He was a Shakespearian actor from Australia and when his hoarse voice threatened to end his acting career for good, he knew he needed to take action. And so the Alexander Technique was born!
2. What's the Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Technique basically teaches you how to undo the bad habits that you will have developed over the course of your life. It teaches you to become more aware of your body and teaches you how to use it properly. If you watch a baby, you will see that they are completely free and unencumbered by those big bags we carry around. They don't need to sit at desks and slouch over computers. These little things can have a profound effect on our body and mind and the Alexander Technique is about reprogramming our bodies to function at their optimum levels.
3. Where's the Research?
A lot of the early medical research on the Alexander Technique was conducted during the 1940s by Dr. Wilfred Barlow. He was a consultant rheumatologist at Guy's Hospital in London and a summary of his work can be found in his book, The Alexander Principle. There has been much research conducted since then. For example more recently, a large case study conducted in 2008, showed how the Alexander Technique could help treat back pain.
4. How Can It Help You?
As well as helping to relieve back pain, the Alexander Technique can help with digestion, confidence, voice projection and stress relief. The main principles of the Alexander technique are that how we move, sit and stand affects how well we function. The relationship of the head, neck and spine is fundamental to our ability to function optimally and we need to become more mindful of the ways in which we go about our daily activities. Hands up if you're slouching now! It's important to remember that the mind and body work together as one, with each influencing the other. Learning and applying the Alexander technique is also thought to help improve balance, co-ordination and breathing.
5. What Happens in a Session?
One of the first things your teacher will do is to look at your posture. They will also look at other postures and stances, such as the way in which you sit and work at a computer. They will then introduce some exercises and techniques that you can incorporate into every day life.
6. Where Can You Find More Information?
If you're interested in finding out more then the web is where to turn. There are some fabulous sites and the most comprehensive is Alexandertechnique.com. It is a great resource and has some wonderful information about how to use the Alexander Technique. It contains videos and podcasts and is certainly worth a look if you're interested in this field. However, as with anything, if you have an injury or suspected injury, be sure to first seek advice from a health care practitioner.
7. What do People Say about It?
Performers understand the importance of poise and the ways in which body and mind are inextricably linked. Indeed, it was a performer who created this technique! Some high profile people who are reported to have used the Alexander Technique include Victoria Beckham, Madonna, Sir Paul McCartney and Sting, to name but a few. And if it's good enough for them!
These are just a few interesting facts about the Alexander Technique. Has anyone used this self-help solution? If you have, how has it helped you?