A beginner’s introduction to the Alexander Technique

A beginner’s introduction to the Alexander Technique
In 1890, Frederick Matthais Alexander pioneered the Alexander Technique after developing a serious case of voice loss that doctors found impossible to diagnose. After exploring several theories, Alexander realized that he himself had been unknowingly damaging his vocal chords while speaking due to the particular ways in which he stood, moved his head, or tensed his body while using his voice.

The Alexander Technique, therefore, evolved as an educational process that teaches its practitioners to avoid reverting to harmful and habitual muscular tensions by retraining their physical movements and postures. This technique aims to make individuals more aware of the subconscious habits they have built up over time that are causing them physical strain and pain. 

The Alexander Technique is often specifically used by vocal coaches to guide their students towards better ways of using their bodies, which in turn improves their vocal tones and level of skill and improves their breathing techniques.

Other common practitioners of this technique are sportspersons, actors, public speakers, musicians, or people who spend most of their working day at a computer.

Normally, the Alexander Technique is taught in ten to forty one-on-one lessons. Instructors will first observe their patients performing actions or activities that feature regularly in their lives and will pinpoint what actions, postures or uses of muscle-strength are problematic. Thereafter, instructors will help their patients unlearn harmful habits and teach them better ways to use their bodies. Exercises are often done in chairs, in front of mirrors, lying down, or while moving in certain positions.

Evidence from scientific research suggests that the Alexander Technique aids those who suffer from chronic back and neck pain and those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Research also indicates that the Alexander technique could be helpful for the elderly in terms of improving balance skills, the onset of stammering and speech difficulties, and long-term pain symptoms. To find instructors who specialize in the Alexander Technique, check out Health4you’s directory.