The Alexander Technique 101
The Alexander Technique is part of what is known as Alternative Complementary Medicine, a body of treatment options that are outside of traditional medical care.
The Alexander Technique is an approach to mindfulness that focuses on improving your posture and the strength of the muscles that support your spine. The practice reinforces the best use of your neck muscles and spine, ensuring the natural, proper, and efficient alignment of your body.
Named for its creator, Frederick Mathias Alexander, this practice was developed to help people re-educate their bodies and develop the habit of proper posture and movement.
Benefits of the Alexander Technique
The Alexander Technique can deliver multiple long-term benefits by helping you transform the way you live and manage your daily life. It is an excellent way to feel better and move through the world a more natural and relaxed way.
Alexander’s Four Concepts of Good Use
Alexander’s theory encourages you to be purposeful or mindful of your body’s responses and movements in the world—rather than moving and responding habitually. In essence, students are trained to be purposefully directional. Alexander identified four components of good posture that can help you make an enormous change in your body:
1. Let your neck be free so that your head is far enough away from the spine
2. Allow your torso to lengthen and fan into it
3. Permit your legs to release away from your hip joint
4. Allow your shoulders to release out to the side and float on the rib cage
These four actions will enable you to move in a way that is directional, and this will have a significant impact on your entire body.
Below are a few additional positive effects of the Alexander Technique.
It’s very easy to forget that your posture plays a vital role in the way you move in the world. Poor posture can slow you down and create a great deal of pain. Not having proper posture can also reduce the stamina you need to perform everyday activities. The Alexander Technique goes a long way to help you improve your movement, feel lighter, and be more confident and mindful of your coordination, balance, and stability.
Improvement in Muscle Function
According to Anxiety.org studies show that consistent practice of the Alexander Technique improves muscle tone, thickness, elasticity, and the ability to contract. It is particularly helpful to individuals who experience issues with their posture or have episodic neck and back pain.
The Alexander Technique can be complementary and supportive therapy for conditions like Parkinson’s disease, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease. Enhancing posture and muscle activity helps people navigate the complexities of such conditions. When the Alexander Technique is accompanied by other forms of relaxation therapy, such as biofeedback, meditation, and hypnosis, patients have lowered their blood pressure and controlled their breathing patterns.
The Alexander Technique can help you control neck and back pain. Studies demonstrate that with consistent practice of the Alexander Technique people’s pain levels have decreased and the overall cost of their care has been lowered dramatically compared to those who have not practiced this method.
Alexander Technique Lessons
What should you expect when taking Alexander Technique lessons? To begin with, there is no special attire for training. During your first lesson, the trainer will observe how you move about in your day to day life. How do you stand up? How do you sit down? How do you walk? How do you use your joints, neck, and spine to complete each of these activities?
For the best results, you will need to take classes regularly two or three times per week for as long as necessary.