What is the Alexander Technique?


Do you feel tense at the end of the day with neck, back or shoulder pain? Keep getting the same sports injury? Do you wake up stiff? Are these recurrent problems? We all have habits around the way we stand, sit, walk or even work out. Some of these postural habits are less than ideal and cause strain and tension in our bodies. The problem with muscular tension is that very quickly, it starts to feel the “norm”, we don’t realise that it is happening and it causes us discomfort. The Alexander Technique can help…

What can cause tension?

  • Pain 

Often our response to the stimulus of pain is to tighten. We also try to protect the area that hurts and start to compensate. The effect of this is to make our bodies unbalanced and uncoordinated, which in turn means we have to use more effort and tension to keep ourselves upright.

  • Stress and anxiety

How often do you find your shoulders up round your ears when you are upset or anxious…you get a tension headache and a “pain in the neck”! This tension distorts our structure.

  • Poor body “use” e.g.

At work – when we are concentrating on the job in hand we forget about how we “use” our bodies. So for example even the best ergonomic workstation setup will make very little difference if you are sitting poorly for long periods of time.

Sport – We get fixated on the end goal, at getting a better result but often at the expense of how we achieve it.

How does the Alexander Technique work? 

The Alexander Technique (A.T.) helps to re-establish the natural relationship between the head, neck and back, which is the “core” of the body. The head is pivotal to this… Have you considered how heavy it is? An adult head weighs roughly 4kg (8.81lbs). Therefore if it is not balanced freely on top of your spine you will have to use much muscular tension, particularly in the neck to hold it up. Unbalanced, it has the effect of pushing the head and neck down, which compresses the spine. It pulls us down and narrows us, constricts movement and creates tension throughout the body but when it is balanced, you get a lengthening up and opening out of the body, lightness and far more freedom of movement.

The A.T. is a self-help technique so in sessions you will learn –

  • How to be more aware of how you think and move
  • How to monitor and release tension before it builds to become a problem
  • To improve balance and posture, initially when standing and sitting to counter slouching
  • How to improve body “use” in movement by refining both coordination and balance
  • Body mapping i.e. being more aware of where and how your joints work, which makes a big difference to natural movement 

The A.T. reminds our bodies of the good poise and posture that is inherent in all of us and can be seen naturally in small children. From the first session you will be able to take away “tools” to use in your everyday life that will make a difference. You can regain control of your body to alleviate pain, improve posture and enhance performance.