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What is The Alexander Technique All About?

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The Alexander Technique was invented by a man named F.M. Alexander. He lived from 1869-1955. He was an actor, touring Tasmania and Australia with a Shakespearean troupe. He began to have problems with his voice, and the rest is history.

When Alexander’s throat became extremely hoarse, he made the rounds of all the doctors where he was at any given time. None of them could help him. They could not find any physical reason for the problem. The Alexander Technique came about because the man would not take no for an answer.

Since there was no one to come to his aid, Alexander began watching his every move. He spent much time looking into mirrors, trying to determine what he might be doing wrong. Over a period of nine years, he came up with a solution: the Alexander Technique.

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The system Alexander designed did the trick of restoring his voice. This was nothing short of a miracle for him. His voice was of utmost importance to him as an actor. He did not name the system the Alexander Technique, though. He named it primary control.

The hypothesis of the Alexander Technique is that the head, neck, and torso are the primary factors in determining function, movement, and posture. In other words, these body parts control these features of the human anatomy.

Through his observations, he learned that by compressing these body parts, the body did not work in accordance with its design. In his case, this led to poor posture, which resulted in the hoarseness of his voice. For others, he saw that there were other problems that the Alexander Technique, or primary control, could help.

Primary control, as Alexander used it was the correct positioning of the head, neck, and torso so that the body worked normally. Now, the Alexander Technique is being used in clinics around the country. It is taught to people who are young and people who are old. It is taught to anyone comes to be taught.

Alexander Technique practitioners usually work with people on an individual basis. Groups can sometimes be taught the Alexander Technique, but this is not standard practice. The key is for the practitioner to employ physiotherapy techniques and education to help the person to use their body better and function better overall.

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.

The Alexander Technique is a highly specialized area of physiotherapy. This technique addresses issues that are related to posture only, albeit there are many problems that are. It is generally not used for people with major disabilities or illnesses. Other forms of physiotherapy are better for those patients. However, for people with minor problems, the Alexander Technique has been known to work wonders.

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4 Comments
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  3. Robert Rickover says

    The Alexander Technique is a teaching method, not a therapy – something that was not made clear. Also, it is not at all a type of physiotherapy and Alexander Technique teachers do not “provide physiotherapy”. It is, however, a powerful way to learn how to look after yourself and often there are what could be called theraputic benefits of the Technique. It has, to cite just one example, a long history of helping people with back pain and a major UK study, conducted by the National Health Service in England, has confirmed that to beyond a doubt. I suggest providing your visitors with accurate information about this 125-year old method.

    1. Dr Frank Dartey says

      Thank you for your submission. However, it is a therapy (whether taught or practiced) as defined here
      “The Alexander Technique, named after its developer Frederick Matthias Alexander, is a popular type of alternative therapy based on the idea that poor posture gives rise to a range of health problems” – Wikipedia

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