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Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique was developed in the late 19th century by and Australian actor called Frederick Matthias Alexander, and is based on the principle that our holistic health is influenced by habitually poor posture. This could relate to basic functions such as sitting, standing, or lifting incorrectly, or perhaps the physical tension that can build up as a result of stress, anxiety, or low self-esteem. By becoming aware of bad postural habits, and re-learning basic movements, over time we can rectify the situation.

Years of sitting and standing incorrectly, lifting without paying attention to our bodies, and the tension that can result from stress, low self-esteem, or anxiety can take it’s toll on our bodies. To see this you only have to look at the grace and flexibility of a young child versus that of his/her parents. We can pick up some very bad habits over the years if we’re not careful. Alexander believed that habitually poor posture affects the way our body and mind function, and that in order to rectify this we have to re-learn even the most fundamental movements such as sitting and standing. Alexander technique teachers will teach students to become aware of how they abuse their bodies, and thence to pay close attention to how they hold their heads, and align their bodies such that they are balanced and can move is a more relaxed and fluid way.

Musicians and actors often benefit from Alexander training to prevent muscle strain, as it teaches students to become more aware and break bad habits. Initially the technique must be taught by a qualified practitioner, however once learnt it can be easily practised throughout daily life if the motivation is there.

The Alexander Technique is useful for relieving:

  • Musculo-skeletal problems.
  • Back pain.
  • Stress, anxiety, depression.
  • Headaches.
  • Gastro-intestinal disorders.
  • Repetitive strain injuries.
  • Bursitis.
  • Postural pain during pregnancy.

Please note that a good Alexander technique practitioner will always do a thorough consultation before commencing a treatment, and will also provide advice about aftercare and homecare.

Bibliography

The following books were referenced for this section and are all available (via the links) in association with Amazon.co.uk:

Encyclopedia of Natural Healing by Anne Woodham and Dr David Peters

Holistic Therapy – A Practical Approach by Francesca Gould

See our full range of Holistic Therapy books in the Further Exploration section.

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