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Alexander Technique

Alexander Technique Guide

What is on this page:

What I the Alexander Technique ?

How Does the Alexander Technique Work ?

The Treatment

Who would benefit from the Alexander Techqnique ?

How long will it take to learn the Alexander Technique

Learn to Teach the Alexander Technique

Alexander Technique Therapists

Alexander Technique Guide

 

What I the Alexander Technique ? Back to Top

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 ? Back to Top

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.

 

The Treatment Back to Top

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 ? Back to Top

  • People who carry excess tension in their body.

  • Athletes.

  • Performing artists.

  • 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 raising children.

  • 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 periods .

How long will it take to learn the Alexander Technique ? Back to Top

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.

 

Learn to Teach the Alexander Technique Back to Top

The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT)
The world's oldest and largest professional body of Alexander Technique teachers

 

All STAT registered teachers have completed an approved three-year full-time course. There are currently 18 teacher training courses in the UK which are regulated through a system of external moderation, and five STAT regulated courses outside the UK. All these courses are listed below.

Applications for teacher training are invited from individuals who are already committed to learning the Alexander Technique for their own personal development; prior experience of individual lessons would usually be expected. Prospective students are encouraged to visit training courses by arrangement and to have lessons with the course director(s) before considering a formal application.

 

 

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 Alexander Technique Therapists In Manchester  Back to Top

 

James Crow

Tel 0161 4316977
3 Ronan Court
Parsonage Road, Heaton Moor
Stockport, Cheshire, SK44JZ

Email: james@alexanderstuff.com

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

01457 834961   
Complementary Clinic, 28 Croft Bank Rd   
Urmston M41 0UH
  
Mr Malcolm Williamson

0161 224 1112   

Royal Northern College of Music, 124 Oxford Road   
Manchester M13 9RD

 

 

Ms Pauline Leng

0161 445 8530    

14 Raynhem Avenue, Didsbury
Manchester M20 6BW

Mr Robin Todd

01457 810 270    07970 951715  

8 Moorgate Street, Uppermill   
Oldham OL3 6DE

Mrs Shirley Duckworth Oates

0161 773 3395    07729051938    

17 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

 

 

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