The Alexander Technique is not a therapy it is an education. “When you stop doing the wrong thing, the right thing does itself”. [F.M. Alexander]
The Alexander Technique was developed by Frederick Matthias Alexander [1869-1955]. He was a successful Australian actor whose career was threatened by vocal trouble. Doctors were unable to offer him much help and so he discovered ways of working with movement and thought until he developed the principles of the technique. He no longer had difficulty with his voice and he also found that other health problems were improved.
He spent the rest of his life teaching his technique to others and set up the first Alexander Technique Training Course in London. There are now thousands of teachers practising in many parts of the world registered with S.T.A.T. (The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique) the main official representative body of the Alexander Technique. All its members have completed a three year, full time training course and have reached a standard approved by the Society. They are professionally qualified and adhere to a published code of ethics.
Randomised controlled trial of Alexander technique lessons, exercise, and massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain: economic evaluation.
The full article in the BMJ can be seen at: http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/337/dec11_2/a2656
Some well-known people who have studied the technique:
– George Bernard Shaw / playwright
– Aldous Huxley / writer
– John Dewey / American educational philosopher
– Frederick Perls / originator of the Feldenkrais Method
– Professor Nikolaas Tingergen – Nobel Prize for physiology/medicine
…and many more, including: Paul McCartney, Sting, Paul Newman, John Cleese, William Hurt, Robin Williams, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen, Nyree Dawn Porter and Ruby Wax
What is it?
The Alexander Technique is a method of learning how to use yourself more effectively in daily activities. The problem of trying to improve body use by yourself is that habits of misuse come to feel right and comfortable. A teacher helps you to become aware of habits and tensions and how to release them. During a lesson the teacher uses their hands in a gentle non-manipulative way and some verbal instructions to guide the pupil in finding a more released and lighter, co-ordinated way of moving.
Although some benefits can be derived from a few lessons, a longer course will be required to lay down new habits and maintain improvement. Apart from short introductory courses for groups, the Alexander Technique is taught individually. A lesson is approximately 40 minutes and it is helpful to wear clothing which does not restrict movement.
Cancellation at less than 24 hours’ notice will incur the full fee.
How does it work?
As a pupil you learn to appreciate the practical implications of thought and its effect on muscle activity. A teacher’s hands encourage a specific quality of muscle tone. Together with words of instruction, this helps to release inappropriate tension and allows the body to become better aligned and balanced. You may feel lighter, looser and taller. At first all of this will probably regress which is why it’s beneficial to have the first few lessons closer together. Then, over a period of time, you will learn to create the conditions for change yourself. You must be prepared to accept that the responsibility and commitment for change rests with you, the pupil.
Who can benefit?
The technique is concerned with adding a new dimension of awareness to your everyday life. Young children generally have an alertness and poise that allows them to sit, stand and move gracefully without strain; rarely does it continue into adult life or even adolescence. So most people can benefit.
It is particularly useful for:
· improving posture and co-ordination
· reducing stress and tension
· promoting personal development
· preventing unnecessary wear and tear
· people who suffer from back or neck pain, headaches or tension related problems
· performers, presenters, actors, dancers, musicians, sports people, sedentary occupations, airline personnel, pregnancy, horse riding, the voice and general well being.
Hilary Austin trained as an Alexander Technique teacher from 1989-1992 with Walter Carrington [who worked and studied with F.M Alexander, the founder of the technique] at The Constructive Teaching Centre in London. She runs a successful practice in the UK and for several years was involved with introducing the technique to British Airways, leading workshops for them and other organizations such as the Skyros Holistic Holidays in Greece. She is a qualified Watsu [Water Shiatsu] practitioner/instructor and is interested in promoting personal growth and awareness. She is currently developing a personalised programme – “Inner Work Out” using her combined experiences and different inquiry methods. She also practices yoga and biodynamic craniosacral therapy. Additionally she is a certified TRE provider see www.traumaprevention.com
For more information, please contact Hilary.