'The Alexander Technique makes a real difference to my often tense and busy life. It's thoughtful approach has made me calmer, improved my concentration and given me a clearer sense of my own wellbeing.'

Joan Bakewell

email: sheila@alexandertechniquehenley.co.uk
phone: 01189 402069

What is the Alexander Technique?

Who's Alexander?
Frederick Matthias Alexander was an actor who had developed problems with his voice projection. Observing the way he was using his own body, he came to realise the wider significance of people's habits of posture and movement, and to develop what we now know as the Alexander Technique.

What is the Technique?
As we grow up and throughout our lives, we all develop habits of posture and movement in response to the demands and stresses that life throws at us. Over time, these can contribute to and even be the cause of stress and pain. The Alexander Technique works by helping you to recognise and change your own habits and so allow your body to work naturally.

How is it taught?
Alexander Technique is taught in one-to-one lessons. In a lesson, the teacher uses verbal instruction and touch to guide the pupil's awareness of faulty patterns of body use that have overlaid their natural poise and ease of movement. Bit by bit, the pupil learns how to give attention to how they use their body in even the simplest of daily tasks, and later in more complex activities.

What are the benefits?
With the Alexander Technique, you can alleviate the effects of stress and anxiety - the aches, pains and tension caused by poor postural habits. A study published in the BMJ in 2008 concluded that "One to one lessons in the Alexander technique from registered teachers have long term benefits for patients with chronic back pain".

More generally, people find that it brings improved co-ordination and mind-body functioning. You find yourself moving more nimbly, with less strain and waste of energy. Your body becomes a more sensitive instrument through which you can adapt more effectively to change.

We have a rich and powerful method of self-help that remains a resource to be tapped for the whole of our lives.

So what's new?
There are common threads in other studies and disciplines, such as Yoga or the Chi Gong practices of Tai Chi. Alexander discovered these threads from his own observations and developed his Technique from his own Westernised background, in which mind and body are often treated separately and there is a tradition of goal-oriented striving.

More ...
For an in-depth account of the Alexander Technique, to find out how it is taught and to see how it has helped other people, click here for the STAT website - that's the Society of the Teachers of the Alexander Technique.