What I the Alexander Technique ?
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The Alexander technique aims to improve your body movement,
balance and posture, with bad posture comes long term joint damage
cramped internal organs, round shoulders, respiratory ailments,
muscle stiffness, and slouching. Bad posture becomes such a long
term bad habit we often don't even know we are doing it!
The technique was devised by Frederick Matthias
Alexander 1869-1955, he was an actor who through illness suffered voice loss, he
discovered that his voice improved with correct posture and relief of muscular
tension in the neck. He went on to develop a complete body balancing technique,
which many people in performing arts seem to find beneficial.
How Does the Alexander Technique Work ?
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The Alexander Technique is not so much something you learn as
something you unlearn. It is a method of releasing unwanted muscular tension
throughout your body which has accumulated over many years of stressful living.
This excess tension often starts in childhood and, if left unchecked, can give
rise in later life to common ailments such as arthritis, neck and back pain,
migraines, hypertension, sciatica, insomnia and even depression.
Vast amounts of money are being spent on the treatment of these illnesses (to
say nothing of the pain and discomfort that is endured by the sufferer), yet the
number of patients continues to increase. With the right education, however,
many people could be helped to understand the causes of their problems and be
taught to help themselves, so that their aches and pains may either be relieved
or avoided altogether.
The Alexander Technique can help us to become aware of balance, posture and
co-ordination while performing everyday actions. This brings into consciousness
tensions throughout our body that have previously gone unnoticed, and it is
these tensions which are very often the root cause of many common ailments. This
is exactly what Frederick Matthias Alexander, the originator of the Technique,
discovered when trying to get to the bottom of his own voice-related problem.
When applying the Alexander Technique you will learn how to release unnecessary
muscle tension. As most of this tension has built up very gradually over a
number of years you are unlikely to be award that it is even there at all. You
will also learn new ways of moving while carrying out everyday actions which
cause far less strain on the body, and discover ways of sitting, standing and
walking that put less strain on the bones, joints and muscles, thus making your
body work more efficiently.
In fact, many people who practice the Technique experience a general feeling of
lightness throughout their bodies and even describe the sensation as being like
‘walking on air’. Since our physical state directly affects both out mental
and emotional well-being, people often say that they feel much calmer and
happier even after just a few Alexander lessons. This often results in less
domestic tension and a greater ability to cope with life in general.
The Alexander Technique also involves examining posture, breathing, balance and
co-ordination. As children our posture and ease of movement are a joy to watch,
but as we start to tense our muscles in reaction to many of life’s worried and
concerns, our posture deteriorates into what can border on deformity.
Yet this is not the case with people outside Western civilization - many of the
indigenous races who still live on the land, such as Native Americans, the
Berber people from North Africa and the Aborigines in Australia, retain their
natural posture throughout their lives. Their upright posture is considered to
be a reflection of their human dignity and integrity.
We have a series of reflexes throughout the body that support us and naturally
co-ordinate our movements, yet we interfere with these natural reflexes to such
an extent that many of us often hold four of five times more tension in our
bodies than is really necessary. In fact, we often make life much harder for
ourselves that it really needs to be, although of course we are completely
unaware that this is the case. Our shoulders become permanently hunched, our
necks become stiffer and stiffer, and we sit either slumped or holding ourselves
in a very rigid fashion, as our minds become more and more concerned with the
future and the past and our awareness of the ‘present moment’ diminishes.
Over the years we become accustomed to the ways in which we sit and stand
without realizing that if is often these very positions that are putting strains
upon our body - no matter how uncoordinated these positions are, they will
always feel right to us. When we perform everyday activities it is amazing how
frequently we subject our bodies to undue tension simply by not being aware of
what we are doing; this tension spreads throughout the muscular system, even if
it is triggered in one particular area of the body.
It may be many years before we start to suffer from aches and pains or
restriction of movement. Many of our modern methods of combating such problems
involve powerful painkilling drugs that block out the body’s warning system,
whose function it is to tell us that something is wrong. Often, doctors can
offer little advice as their training revolves around the treating of symptoms
rather than uncovering, and also rectifying, the causes of such problems. The
Alexander Technique, however, does just this; it shows you the underlying cause,
enabling you to eliminate the tension responsible for so many of the ailments
that we mistakenly put down to the aging process.
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This more of a training method rather than a treatment, the
aim is to relearn how to stand sit and lie down correctly, you do not need to
undress, the teacher uses there hands to asses where the muscle
tension is located in your body and what bad postural habits are causing it. The
teacher gently moves you into the correct postural position and you are given
posture exercises to practice on your own.
You may be asked to practice this~ lie on the floor with enough
books under your head to keep your neck parallel with the floor so you can
comfortably swallow, raised knees, feet hip width apart on the floor, and hands
on the stomach, you hold this position for 20mins.
It is up to you how quickly
you progress, once you are posture re-educated it is up to you to sustain it there is no
need for ongoing treatment. This technique is very popular with actors and musicians
who want to improve there performance with better posture.
Who would benefit from the
Alexander Technique ?
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People who carry excess tension in their body.
Psychotherapy clients, or anyone who suffers from stress.
People who have suffered any type of emotional trauma or
who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
People who meditate.
People who do martial arts or tai chi.
Pregnant women preparing for childbirth, and those who are
People who have suffered any type of physical trauma, such
as a car accident, etc.
People who suffer from chronic pain resulting from
arthritis, repetitive motion injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine
headaches, fibromyalgia and other conditions.
People who work at a computer, or who sit or stand for long
How long will it take to
learn the Alexander Technique ?
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The Alexander Technique
involves an educational process in which the student learns a set of skills that
he or she can practice at home, and then apply in all aspects of life. Thus it's
difficult to quantify how long each student will take to learn it. The
benefits of the technique emerge gradually, over a period of time. In this
sense, studying it is like learning to play a musical instrument or undertaking
psychotherapy. All of these processes require motivation and a commitment of
time and energy, yet their benefits last long after the lessons or sessions. If
you are someone who enjoys a challenge of this kind, and finds self-examination
valuable, then the Alexander Technique might be ideal for you.
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Technique Therapists In Manchester
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Tel 0161 4316977
3 Ronan Court
Parsonage Road, Heaton Moor
Stockport, Cheshire, SK44JZ
Mr Charles Tully
0161 947 9184
Stillpoint Clinic 13a Hyde Road
Denton M34 3AF
Mr Jan Dames
36 Oxford Road,
Altrincham WA14 2EB
01457 834 961
Ms June Gill
Complementary Clinic, 28 Croft Bank Rd
Urmston M41 0UH
Mr Malcolm Williamson
0161 224 1112
Royal Northern College of Music, 124 Oxford
Manchester M13 9RD
Ms Pauline Leng
0161 445 8530
Raynhem Avenue, Didsbury
Manchester M20 6BW
Mr Robin Todd
01457 810 270 07970 951715
Moorgate Street, Uppermill
Oldham OL3 6DE
Mrs Shirley Duckworth Oates
0161 773 3395 07729051938
Sandy Meade, Prestwich
Manchester M25 9PR
Ms Trish Baillie
0161 832 5721 07773 339 562
411 Canon Green Court, West King Street
Salford M3 7HB
If you are qualified in the
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