The Alexander Technique

Woman Receiving Physical Therapy

The Alexander Technique was developed many decades ago to teach people how to release themselves of self-imposed limitations and live pain free.

According to recent figures supplied by Google, more than four million people search for “lower back pain” information on the search engine giant. It’s indicative of the ubiquity of lower back pain throughout the world in general and the United States in particular.

Rather than face an extended period of taking medication, sufferers seek to find alternative methods to reduce or eliminated chronic lower back pain. From the everything-old-is-new-again file, the Alexander Technique is growing in popularity as an effective technique for naturally reducing pain.

Simply defined, the Alexander Technique teaches patients how to eliminate tension. More technically, the process identifies the bad habits people acquire when it comes to movement and patterns of accumulated tension, both of which hinder our natural ability to move without difficulty. The technique puts healing back in the hands of patients because it is proactive and the results are improved freedom of movement, balance, support, and coordination.

The Alexander Technique isn’t a series of traditional exercises; it more a way of reminding your body how to properly move, balance, and hold itself through the release of pent up tension. It can be applied in a wide range of normal daily activities such as sitting, lying down, standing, walking, and lifting.

The technique was developed more than 60 years ago by F.M. Alexander (1869-1955), who was an Australian actor who started suffering from chronic laryngitis whenever he appeared on stage. His physicians could not find anything physically wrong with his throat or vocal chords, leaving Alexander frustrated.

Forced to find his own solution, Alexander eventually realized that whenever he performed, he became especially tense in his neck and upper back, which in turn affected his voice. Once he identified the problem, he taught himself new ways to move with greater fluidity and less tension.

His health improved so dramatically that friends, peers, and even some of the doctors he had consulted asked him to share his secret. He started teaching others, all the while refining his technique. After helping others for more than 35 years, Alexander started training a corps of instructors in what became known as the Alexander Technique.

Richard Brennan, director of the Alexander Technique teacher training college in Galway, recently wrote a book called Back in Balance, to help people identify the source of their back pain and develop effective techniques to eliminate the problem for good. One of the primary issues is poor posture. By simply retraining the body to maintain correct posture Brennan says many patients not only experience less pain but also sleep better and enjoy a better overall sense of well-being.

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