The Alexander Technique is a way of becoming more aware of muscle tension, balance, posture and movement in everyday activities. When the subconscious mechanisms for balance and posture are disturbed by habitual misuse or injury, our functioning can be adversely affected.
The mechanisms for support and balance can be seen working beautifully in most small children, but they are very delicate mechanisms and are easily interfered with. Emotional and physical strains accumulated as our lives go on can soon become fixed in the form of chronic muscle tension and reaction patterns of distortion throughout the musculoskeletal system.
Learning and applying the Alexander Technique can help alleviate conditions such as back and neck pain, shoulder problems, tenosynovitis, stress related symptoms, some breathing and digestive problems and any condition where excessive muscular effort or tension is a factor. Many private medical insurers reimburse lessons where these are prescribed by a consultant.
The Alexander Technique is also a valuable tool in improving performance for singers, dancers, actors and horse riders. It is taught in all the major dance and drama schools and a new drama school cannot get accredited unless it has an Alexander teacher on the staff. The role of the Alexander teacher is to use gentle guidance with the hands (as well as verbal instruction) to help unravel the distortions and encourage the natural reflexes to work again. This enables a balance to be found between necessary muscular effort against the pull of gravity and the degree of mobility necessary for unrestricted movement, breathing, circulation and digestion.
Pupils are taught how to become conscious of their own patterns of interference and learn how to project messages from brain to muscle that will help the natural mechanisms of poise to function more freely. This is why we call our work reeducation and describe ourselves as teachers.