Back pain, hip pain, neck and shoulder pain…these are all a part of daily living for many people, but they don’t have to be. An alternative therapy known as the Alexander Technique teaches proper posture and body usage to effectively minimize or eliminate chronic pain.
The technique was designed by F.M. Alexander, an Australian actor who suffered from laryngitis during performances. Multiple doctors failed to help him, and his search for a cure lead him to discover the primary cause of his symptoms was tension in his body while performing. He developed a technique to alleviate his body tension, curing his laryngitis. At the request of friends and doctors, Mr. Alexander spent the next several decades perfecting his technique and teaching it to others.
Today the Alexander Technique is widely recognized by European physicians as an effective treatment for back and shoulder pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and general body tension issues. Thousands of people, including many prominent performers, have benefited from taking lessons in the technique.
Instructors of the Alexander Technique teach that over a lifetime we have learned improper methods of walking, standing and sitting. These methods may be sloppy and poor or they may be an attempt at “correct posture” as often taught by adults to children. The results are tension in multiple locations of the body, especially up and down the spine, resulting in pain and diminished performance in many individuals.
The position of the head relaxes or strains the entire spinal column. Holding it in an awkward position, or holding it too far back or too far forward, results in strain and compression from the head to the tail bone. The Alexander Technique teaches to keep the head in its natural location, uncompressing the spine and positioning the body appropriately.
During initial Alexander Technique lessons, the instructor observes the movements of the student as they perform typical functions like sitting and walking. If the student is a musician, artist, actor, athlete or other performer, the instructor will observe these actions as well. Part of the observation usually involves the instructor placing their hands on different locations, such as the neck and back, of the student to feel how muscles are tensing during movements.
Once the instructor has seen the typical movements of the student, he or she is able to teach the student better ways of moving that are more natural and will reduce the tension in their body. When the tension issues are resolved, the movements and performances of the individual will be improved and their pain may even vanish.
The Alexander Technique is a method that helps reduce tension from the head to the spine, improves performance and body posture and reduces pain and other tension induced symptoms. When an individual takes the time to learn the proper ways his or her body should be used, the need for medically intrusive procedures and medication may be greatly diminished.