Tag Archives: Alexander Technique

Alexander Technique

Alexander Technique

Alexander Technique - postural realignment of the neck

Named after Frederick Matthias Alexander (20 January 1869 – 10 October 1955), the Alexander Technique teaches the practitioner methods that enable the improvement of, detrimental, physical postural habits that may have become ingrained or have become conditioned responses. It is claimed that the technique can improve performance, Proprioception and relieve chronic stiffness, tension and stress.

It was in the 1890’s when Alexander developed the principles of the technique as he battled to alleviate breathing problems and hoarseness during public speaking as he pursued his passion for Shakespearean acting. It is a form of education that is applied to recognize and overcome reactive, habitual limitations in movement and thinking.

When Alexander’s throat became extremely hoarse during his orations, he sought medical advice but the doctors could find no physical cause. Deciding on self-help, Alexander began observing his posture and movement, looking in mirrors at his posture, while trying to diagnose what was causing his problem.
Over the next nine years he developed the Alexander Technique. He felt that the
restoration of his voice was nothing short of a miracle for him and he decided that his system could work for others, naming it “Primary Control”.

The hypothesis is that the head, neck, and torso are primary factors in the determination of function, movement, and posture. Through observation and trial, he learned that by compressing any of these, the body did not function efficiently. He noted that in his own case, this had led to poor posture, resulting in the hoarseness of his voice. He also realised that his new system would be beneficial for others with different problems.

Alexander Technique is usually taught, or worked, on a one to one basis. It is occasionally taught in group sessions although this is not standard practice. The Alexander Technique usually requires the practitioner to employ physiotherapy techniques in addition to postural education in order for the client to have more efficient use of their body.

The idea of the Alexander Technique is to provide a physiotherapy that will allow muscles to become relaxed. This is said to give people back the posture they should have had all along. The body is worked with the human form as a whole, and so doing the Alexander Technique is said to have effects for all parts of the body.

Alexander’s technique addresses postural issues, alleviating the symptoms relating to them and is, generally, not used to treat major disabilities or illnesses.


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Alexander Technique - Postural realignment



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The Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique was developed, more than a century ago by F.M. Alexander (1869-1955).  After losing his voice he attended physicians who were unable to diagnose the source of the problem.  Alexander developed his own theory as to the cause of the hoarseness, deciding that misuse and misalignment of the body was to blame.  From his observations, he created an approach to solving his own physical problem by focusing on correcting postural alignment.  He then went on to further develop his technique and pass his knowledge and experience onto the next generation of practitioners/teachers.

The Alexander Technique is usually taught on a one to one basis using specific instructions and assisted (using hand contact) realignment of the posture.  It involves the re-education of what Alexander called “The use of the self” (the re-education of the student’s reactions to internal and external stimuli, rather than something “done to” the student).  The resulting postural realignment leads to a reduction in postural and movement dysfunction, improving the student’s effectiveness in all areas of life.  Through this re-education of the muscular system, the body learns to eliminate poor posture and eliminates excess strain from the body’s structure.  In a series of one-on-one lessons with an Alexander teacher, a student can develop the skills to execute any physical action with minimal strain, resulting in more mobility, less muscular tension, and decreased pain.
Alexander Technique has been found to significantly

  • reduce pain
  • enhance breathing coordination
  • improve overall functional strength and mobility
  • modify stress responses

The Technique is recognised as being beneficial in treating a broad spectrum of neurological and musculoskeletal problems.