Alexander Technique

Alan

Healthworks Practitioner: Alan Massey (MSTAT)

Tel: 01309 691545
E-mail: [javascript protected email address]

The Alexander Technique is a series of individual lessons in which we learn a more ‘body-friendly’ approach to life. The way we use our body affects not only our appearance and performance but also our general health. Good use means co-operating with our body’s natural design and functioning and allowing its subtle ‘automatic’ reflexes to give us the proper support in sitting, standing and moving. Over the years many of us learn unconscious habits which interfere with this natural co-ordination, and the aim of the Alexander Technique is to recognise and release this interference so as to restore natural poise.

In the lessons you will learn some “functional anatomy” regarding the position and movement potential of different joints and about the appropriate alignment and co-ordination of your body. Alongside this the teacher will help you, with a combination of verbal explanation and gentle touch to be aware of and release unnecessary tension and to experience healthier and more natural patterns of movement. You will also be shown the Alexander Rest Position which you will be encouraged to use for yourself on a daily basis, both to release accumulated tension and to become used to your body being more open and balanced whether at rest or in activity. Bit by bit your ability to be aware of and improve your co-ordination whatever you are doing expands and you will have more choice in how you respond to different situations.

As the Alexander Technique is something you learn, rather than a treatment, it complements other approaches and is often suggested by doctors and other health professionals. In particular osteopaths, chiropractics or physiotherapists, having alleviated severe symptoms of mis-use, may then recommend the Technique to prevent further problems occurring.

The Technique is concerned with general co-ordination and quality of movement and can benefit anyone motivated to apply it in their life. Personal reasons for taking a course of lessons include health problems, to be free from pain, injury prevention, posture, presentation and appearance, and also performance in sport and the arts.

Particular Applications

Health Problems

Many complaints such as back and neck problems are strongly influenced by poor posture and excess tension and unless these causes are addressed removal of symptoms by drugs or manipulation may be short lived. Even when the Technique on its own does not relieve pain, the release of tension and improved use will always be helpful and tend to support other approaches.

Injury Prevention

Mis-use and bad co-ordination over a period of time produce many physical complaints and can lead to back and other injuries whether it be while gardening or doing housework at home or when lifting at work. For office work, good ergonomic layout of desks, chairs and keyboards is important but it needs to be supported by good posture and co-ordination.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy, birth and adapting to a new baby can place great strain on the mother’s body and if mis-use is already present then this can lead to back ache and other problems. Lessons in the Technique can be a great support throughout.

Posture, Appearance and Self-Awareness

Allowing yourself to be physically open and expanded not only improves appearance, health and confidence but can also give a sense of being more fully your self. It enhances self-expression and presentation skills.

Performance in Sport and the Arts

The major music and drama schools in Britain and America have had Alexander Teachers on their staff for many years since they realise that any unnecessary tension interferes with performance and expression. The same principles apply in sport and result in improved performance and less injury.

Professional Organisation

The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT)
Linton House
39 – 51 Highgate Road
London, NW5 1RT
Tel: 0207 482 5135

Further Reading

“Body Learning : An Introduction to the Alexander Technique” – By Michael Gelb
“How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live” – By Missy Vineyard
“The Alexander Technique in Everyday Life” – by Jonathan Drake
“The Alexander Principle” – by Dr. Wilfred Barlow
“Back Problems” – by Deborah Caplan (AT Teacher and Physiotherapist)
“The Alexander Technique Birth Book” – by Jonathan Drake & Ilana Machover

For further information or to make an appointment, please contact Alan as above.