The Alexander Technique (A.T.) is a re-educational method that restores your natural ability to move in a skilled and poised way, just as happens naturally in small children and gifted athletes.
When errors in the way you go about doing things restricts your potential, or causes you pain or injury, a course of lessons in the A.T. is very likely to help - and the benefits can be dramatic and long-lasting.
What is the Alexander Technique?
The A.T. is a practical method for changing the way in which you use yourself in everyday activities.
How does it work?
The Alexander Technique works by helping you to identify and prevent the harmful postural and movement habits that aggravate, or may be the cause of, stress, pain and under-performance.
What will I learn?
You will learn how to approach movement with more awareness and skill. With increased awareness you can: be poised without stiffness - move gracefully and powerfully with less effort - be alert and focused with less strain - breathe and speak more easily and freely - be calm and confident.
A major clinical trial has shown that that a course of lessons in the Alexander Technique can
lead to impressive long- term benefits for people with chronic low back pain.
Smaller studies have shown many other health benefits from lessons.
How is it taught?
Lessons in the Alexander Technique are usually given on a one-to-one basis. Groups can provide a useful introduction to the Technique, but are not a substitute for individual lessons.
The Alexander Technique involves no specific exercises, requires no special clothing or equipment, can be practised wherever you are and is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness.
What happens in a lesson?
Gentle hands-on guidance and verbal explanations are used to help you find ease and balance within yourself in simple everyday movements such as sitting, standing, walking or bending.
"I find The Alexander Technique very helpful in my work. Things happen without you trying.
They get you to be light and relaxed. You must get an Alexander teacher to show it to you."
John Cleese, Actor
"The Alexander Technique works...
I recommend it enthusiastically to anyone who has neck pains or back pain."
Roald Dahl, Writer
More quotes from well-known people
How many lessons will I need?
This can vary quite a lot for each person. However as a guide, for the average person with chronic back pain just 6 lessons halves the days of pain and 24 lessons reduces the days of pain by 86%, even a year after completing the lessons. (source: British Medical Journal).
It is generally an advantage (but not essential) to have lessons twice or even three times weekly for the first few weeks, after which weekly lessons are usual.
Who can be helped by the Alexander Technique?
Most people are likely to benefit from better posture and coordination, greater freedom in movement, greater calmness and clarity of thought and more skilled performance.
There is good evidence that the Alexander Technique (A.T.) can help with the more common types of back and neck pain and a number of other conditions. The A.T. is likely to help where a problem is either caused or exacerbated by errors in coordination, including posture and balance. Even in conditions with other causes, such as Parkinson's disease and falls in elderly people, there is evidence that the A.T. may go some way towards alleviating symptoms. You are very welcome to contact me for advice on your own situation.
Are lessons in the Alexander Technique suitable for everyone?
The Alexander Technique can benefit people of any age, at almost any level of physical fitness, and from all backgrounds.
Other pages about the Alexander Technique:
The Alexander Technique for Back Pain - the medical evidence
The Alexander Technique for Neck Pain and other conditions (including Parkinson's disease, balance and fear of falling in older adults, skilled performance and stagefright, musculo-skeletal pain, knee osteoarthritis, mobility and posture, etc)
Quotes about the A.T. by well-known people (from John Cleese to George Bernard Shaw...)