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Tue, 19 Aug 2014, 16:41 GMT
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Looking at the Alexander Technique

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The use of Alexander Technique

  • 'Shelly is a mum and a busy nurse working on a cardio-thoracic ward. She's on her feet all day, always at red-alert for her patients. When she gets home she has a lively two year-old to cope with. Shelly has chronic lower back pain. She constantly took painkillers and pain was threatening her job.'
  • 'Mike is a composer. He used to get so emotionally involved in composing that he literally froze and could not continue, 'The tension was astronomical, I just couldn't do anything about it.'

These patients, although their needs are different, are taught the Alexander Technique in the same way. It's not a therapy it's a learning process. But its not book learning, it's both mind and body learning.

With the help of an Alexander teacher you learn how to improve your breathing, balance, co-ordination and movement. You learn, not to relax, but much more effectively, how to release tension and stimulate a lengthening of your musculature.

This lets you move freely and easily. It's a skill, which initially seems complex, but with practise, the Alexander Technique becomes part of you and you wonder how you managed without it. Having a tutorial CD helps both as an introduction to the Alexander Technique and a way of practising in between lessons.

In a lesson a teacher uses their hands to guide your musculature towards a state of ease. The touch is very gentle, you don't need to undress and there is no manipulation. Explanations are given to teach you to use your body better.


  • 'Mike found that lessons helped him to recognise the build up of tension.
    'Without it I'd be in a desperate state and probably have an ulcer! The searing wrist pains that I got when playing the piano have gone too. I know how tension builds up and I can mange it.'
  • Shelly is half way through her basic course, and has stopped taking painkillers and her back has improved enormously. She has far more energy for her two-year-old.
    'I went through my entire day stiffening my neck so much it ached and holding my breath, waiting for the next emergency to occur. I'm using my whole self much better. I wish I'd done this years ago!


By Carolyn Nicholls
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