Specific Applications of the Alexander Technique
While some people come to study the Alexander Technique because of a general interest in improving health, functioning and self-awareness, most have a specific need in mind when they begin lessons. The following are some of the most common applications of the Technique:
Back, neck and shoulder pain - Though the cause of this pain can sometimes be a mystery, there are, generally speaking, three reasons for it: disease, injury, or misuse. The majority of chronic, non-specific musculoskeletal pain (back, neck, and other joint pain) can be attributed to misuse or postural maladies. The Alexander Technique is not a form of therapy or an attempt to cure an illness or heal an injury. It is, however, a highly practical approach to alleviating general misuse and postural problems. The Technique provides an index for you to observe and improve movement, and a means to gain proficiency in such essential skills as walking, bending, sitting and standing. In essence, it is a unique form of self-management that helps you to reduce or eliminate misuse of your body. It has also helped people with a wide variety of other chronic and/or neuromuscular problems such as TMJ Syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease and repetitive strain injuries (e.g., Carpal Tunnel Syndrome). Watch this video about a formal scientific study published by the British Medical Journal demonstrating the effectiveness in helping people with chronic back pain.” (see video here)
Performing arts - Singers, instrumentalists, actors and dancers of every sort have benefited from studying the Alexander Technique. It is taught at some of the most distinguished institutions worldwide such as The Juilliard School and The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. The Technique addresses some of the most fundamental movement issues of the performing artist such as breathing, balance, reducing muscular tension and fatigue, enhancing body awareness, managing stage fright, and avoiding injury.
Athletic performance, exercise and fitness - The athlete, much like the performing artist, depends upon the integration of mind and body for a successful outcome. The Alexander Technique is a highly practical way for the athlete to learn to improve mechanical efficiency, enhance balance, become aware of and decrease unnecessary muscular effort, manage performance anxiety and prevent injury. The Technique has been successfully applied to athletic activities such as swimming, running, equestrian, cycling, martial arts, tennis, and golf, to name but a few. It is also helpful in any fitness endeavor: helping you avoid injury while exercising while optimizing results. If you’re interested in starting an exercise program through the principles of the Alexander Technique, please visit my other Website www.billplakefitness.com
Stress management - Because the Alexander Technique is primarily concerned with how we react to a stimulus, it can be very effective in helping to manage stress. In applying the Technique we are always brought back to what we are doing with ourselves in the present moment, observing breathing, balance, muscular response, thought and emotion. Instead of reacting to a situation in a habitually tense manner, we learn instead that we have more choices in how we react, that we can respond with ease, expansion and clarity. The Alexander Technique also offers practical procedures such as constructive rest and breath work that can be applied regularly to help restore energy and calmness
Balance and Mobility - The risk of falls is a genuine concern for many older adults. With advancing age, it is not unusual for most people to begin to lose the capacity to maintain balance and stability. This loss in balance has a profound affect on mobility as well (not to mention its affect on self-confidence and overall health). Typically this occurs as a result of the degeneration of the various sensory systems (visual, somatosensory and vestibular) that work together to maintain balance (and thus support good mobility). Though it is natural for these sensory systems to change as you grow older, the good news is that it is possible to improve your balance. By gaining a more accurate sense of the most crucial component in maintaining an upright posture (i.e., the orientation of your head on your spine), you can improve your overall balance and mobility. Lessons in the Alexander Technique help you to restore the optimum dynamic relationship between your head, neck and torso, helping you to control your center of gravity with greater precision, ease and self-confidence. Watch this video demonstration
Public Speaking - Speaking effectively before a group of people involves more than just delivering interesting information. What you say is colored by what you do with yourself as you speak. Confidence, clarity, power and brilliance are all amplified or diminished by such things as your voice, your posture and your mannerisms. The Alexander Technique is highly effective in helping you to become aware of and eliminate the unconscious postural, movement and voice habits you might have that reduce the impact of your message. You can learn to calm yourself and connect with your audience with ease, poise and positive energy.