Alexander technique

1

Alexander technique
The Alexander technique is an education/guidance system to "improve posture and movement, and to use muscles efficiently"[1] as defined by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). The "Alexander technique" denotes both the educational methods used by Alexander teachers and the individual bodily awareness methods taught. Students practice the technique to recognize and become free of habituated limitations in their manner of movement as well as for other benefits. The technique takes its name from F. Matthias Alexander, who, in the 1890s,[2] developed its principles as a personal tool to alleviate his breathing problems and hoarseness. He credited the technique with allowing him to pursue his passion for Shakespearean acting. The technique is usually learned from an Alexander teacher in one-to-one sessions using specialized hand contact and verbal instructions. While the technique is often seen as and classified with "bodywork", Alexander teachers take pains to distinguish it from those practices. The technique involves the training of the student's reactions to internal and external stimuli, and was referred to by Alexander as "The Use Of The Self".

History
Alexander was a Shakespearean orator who developed problems with losing his voice. After doctors informed him they could find no physical cause, he carefully observed himself in multiple mirrors. His self-observation revealed that he was needlessly stiffening his whole body in preparation to recite or speak. Further, Alexander observed that many individuals experiencing breathing and voice problems commonly tightened the musculature of the upper torso, especially the neck, prior to phonation in anticipation of the act of vocalising. He suggested that this habitual pattern of pulling the head backwards and downwards in relationship to the neck needlessly disrupted the normal working of the postural, breathing and vocal mechanisms. After innovating new substitution strategies that included sharpening his ability to 'inhibit' the habitual undue tension in his neck, he found that his problem with recurrent hoarseness was resolved. Whilst on a recital tour in New Zealand (1895) he began to realise the wider significance of head carriage for overall functioning. Alexander believed that his work could be applied to improve individuals' health and wellbeing, and would contribute to the increasing role of consciousness in human evolution. He refined his "work" (termed the Alexander technique after his death) so as to make his process of self-observation and re-training repeatable. He recorded his experiences in four books (1918, 1923, 1931 (1932 UK) and 1942). He also trained 'teachers' of his technique while living at 16 Ashley Place, London from 1931 until his death in 1955. Teacher training was interrupted during World War II between 1941 and 1943, when Alexander accompanied children and teachers of the Little School to Stowe, Massachusetts.

The technique
The Teaching Process The Alexander technique is considered to be primarily an educational process to be practiced by the student, rather than a curative treatment or therapy. Generally, it does not consist of routine exercises, but is meant to be applied in any moment when quality improvements are desired during action. For this reason, F.M. Alexander preferred not to recommend exercises for his students to perform, and most Alexander teachers follow this intent. Alexander's approach was to emphasize the use of freedom to choose beyond conditioning in every action. Teachers use demonstration, explanation, and repeated re-examination of a student spontaneous reactions. Light hand contact by the teacher is most often used to detect and deal with the student's unnecessary stress. In the context of everyday motions such as using one's hands, sitting, standing, walking, and speaking, the teacher's suggestions are student-specific guidance and not a series of recommended exercises suitable for anyone. Assistance with any

Proscribed are unnecessary effort." As unnecessary habits are prevented or interrupted.M. M." Primary control This innate coordination that emerges is also described more specifically as "Primary Control". According to Alexander teachers. End-gaining Another example is the term "end-gaining"." it is recommended to repeatedly suggest. Directions To continue to select and reinforce the often less dominant "good use. stop or entirely prevent an unnecessary habitual "misuse. Alexander's term.[4] Alexander developed his own terminology to talk about his methods. self-limiting habits as well as mistaken assumptions. not a truthful indicator of fact. the principle of "inhibition" is considered by teachers to be the most prominent. Alexander's selection of this word pre-dates the modern meaning of the word originated by Sigmund Freud. What expands the qualities of further response is a very subtle nod forward to counteract backward startle pattern. which is usually impatience or frustration. A procedure recommended to all students is lying semi-supine as a means for effective rest. however inefficient. End-gaining actions are usually carried out because a more imperative priority justifies it. Students are led to change their previous habitual and largely automatic routines that are interpreted by the teacher to currently or eventually be physically limiting and structurally inefficient. by thinking to oneself. such as a hobby. Students learn to include their whole body toward their intention of purposeful motion. This is because when freedom is the objective. This specialized assistance requires Alexander teachers to demonstrate on themselves the improved physical coordination they are communicating to the student. Alexander insisted on the need for strategic reasoning and "Constructive Conscious Control" because kinesthetic sensory awareness is a relative sense. outlined in his four books. "debauched sensory appreciation" describes how the repetition of a circumstance encourages habit design as a person adapts to circumstances or builds skills. The current postural attitude is sensed internally as a normal state of affairs. will stop after learning to perceive and prevent them. completed habits may be activated without feedback sensations that these habits are in effect. "Directing" is suggestively thought. The Alexander teacher provides verbal coaching while monitoring. Sensory appreciation F. The body's responses are determined by the qualities of head and eye movement at the inception of head motion.[5] Short-sighted habits that have become harmful over time. Freedom. experienced by the student as a state of "non-doing. rather than willfully accomplished.) "Giving Directions" is the term for thinking and projecting an anatomically corrected map of how one's body is designed to be used effortlessly. coupled with an upward movement of the head away from the body that lengthens the spine. These terms were created to describe the sometimes paradoxical experience of learning and substituting new improvements. sports or an artistic performance may be requested as further topics of personal interest. such as restriction of breathing or other poor postural attitudes that limit freedom of movement & shorten stature. just by thinking about them. efficiency and patience are the prescribed values. "end-gaining" increases the likelihood of selecting older or multiple conflicting coping strategies with the potential for needless cumulative.[3] The exceptions are two prescriptive forms or exercises intended to be done in separate but brief practice times. the 2 . Once trained and forgotten.Alexander technique activity. releasing muscular tension and as an opportunity to use the conscious mental "Directions" Alexander devised. which means to focus on a goal so as to lose sight of the "means-whereby" the goal could be more appropriately achieved. Inhibition In the Alexander technique lexicon. a freer capacity and range of motion resumes. Inhibition describes a moment of conscious awareness of a choice to interrupt. ongoing self-injury. neck and spinal relationship. This is a key head. guiding and preventing unnecessary habits at their source with specialized hands-on assistance to show what is meant. F. a tailored series of "orders" (also termed Directions. The other procedure is termed a "Whispered Ah." used to subtract unnecessary effort from the use of the voice.

Psycho-physical unity Global concepts such as "Psycho-physical Unity" and "Use" describe how thinking strategies and attention work together during preparation for action. Otherwise. the Alexander technique can only mitigate how the person copes with these difficulties and may help with other related problems. and it's used as a self awareness discipline and a self-help tool to change specific habits. Along the application of self-help. people with asthma. 2008. Benefits The Alexander technique is used remedially to regain freedom of movement. but usually do not last long enough to fulfill educational requirements for most students. and rehabilitation following surgery or injury where compensatory habits that were designed to avoid former pain need to be revised after healing. and to increase skill repertoire. which is the duration most Alexander teachers recommend that is required to gain proficiency. or other diseases. tuberculosis. the technique is used and taught by classically trained singers and vocal coaches. there is some coverage of the costs for Alexander lessons through the Complementary and Alternative Practitioners Directory. If a student must halt lessons at an awkward stage. and the technique's effectiveness is also not yet recognized. They connote the general sequence of how intention joins together with execution to directly affect the perception of events and the outcome of intended results. Inexpensive classes are rarely available. This challenge can result in unanticipated defensiveness and resistance.Alexander technique appropriate responses cannot be anticipated but can be observed and chosen in the moment. and panic attacks have also found benefits. These first application areas include alleviating pain and weakness as a result of poor posture or repetitive physical demands. Workshops do exist. individuals must pay for their Alexander technique education out of pocket. Outside of the United Kingdom there is little or no insurance coverage. and chronic pain because using its principles can improve stress management abilities. It is suggested that A. this can leave them without practical solutions for the "bad" habits they have just learned to sense.) In these cases. singers are said to be better able to exercise proper vocal technique and tone. It is used to undo the establishment of nuisance habits by performers. The Alexander technique has been shown to be an effective treatment for chronic or recurrent back pain in a randomized study published Aug. 19. can be an adjunct to psychotherapy for people with disabilities. improving pain management for chronic disabilities. panic attacks. advocates of the technique claim that athletes. [6] 3 Disadvantages In the United Kingdom. Private lessons usually cost in a similar range to private music lessons. proponents of the technique suggest that it can help performers manage stage fright. The learning process often demands giving up "favored" ways of thinking and acting. etc. (such as Parkinson's. become more spontaneous. Because the technique has allegedly been used to improve breathing and stamina in general. Practicing the Alexander technique cannot directly affect structural deformities once they occur (such as arthritis or other bone problems).[8] [9] .[7] As an example among performance art applications.T. Its advocates claim that it allows for the proper alignment of all aspects of the vocal cords and tract through consciously increased air flow. With this increase of breathing capacity. stuttering. who must then attend additional private lessons if they want to gain proficiency. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Those who are used to getting instant results may complain at a commitment of twenty to forty private lessons.

1 and 0.6). By all four measures. who originated Gestalt Therapy. However.[] A subsequent analysis and comparative study of the economic implications concluded that "a series of six lessons in Alexander technique combined with an exercise prescription seems the most effective and cost effective option for the treatment of back pain in primary care. Stalibrass et al. in the form of study previous to the originators founding their own disciplines. Dewey wrote the introduction to Alexander's Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual. Teaching The technique is most commonly taught in a series of twenty to forty private lessons which may last from thirty minutes to an hour."[18] In 1973 Nikolaas Tinbergen referenced scientific evaluations of the Alexander technique in his Nobel prize acceptance speech. Fritz Perls. Outcomes were also measured by Roland disability scores.04).) In 2002. often using short individual lessons demonstrated in turn which act as examples to the class.98.[15] Further. The cohort receiving 6 lessons had a reduction of ten days in days-of-pain reported. when compared to a control group given massage sessions.Alexander technique 4 Influences of Alexander's work The English novelist Aldous Huxley was influenced by F. and stress symptoms largely improved during the time he used Alexander's exercises to correct neck posture. are either of unknown value or ineffective and so should not be considered" when treating lower back pain with an evidence-based approach. blurred vision..[13] The Feldenkrais Method and the Mitzvah Technique were both influenced by the Alexander technique. This appears to lend some weight to the effectiveness of the technique. but more studies and data are required.) Dennis concluded that additional "robust.[17] With regard to the claims made for reducing the need for medication in patients with asthma. to a statistically significant degree (both P-values < 0. (in 1999. M. 24 lessons reduced this by 4. well-designed randomized controlled trials are needed..1.[11] In 1923. such as . Alexander technique ."[14] In 1999. Alexander technique was better than no treatment. his ideas influenced many originators in the field of mind-body improvement. Its principles have also been adapted to be taught in groups. in 2004 Maher concluded that "Physical treatments.[3] Scientific evidence A 2008 randomised controlled trial published in the British Medical Journal found marked improvement in addressing back pain with this technique. He observed a significant improvement in performance after 8 sessions.[19] . published the results of a significant controlled study into the effectiveness of the technique in treating Parkinson's disease.[16] (Note that Alexander technique teachers recommend more than three times or more as many lessons than 8 to retain educational benefits. but this improvement was not maintained in a one-month follow-up. 18 days less than the control median of 21 days.[12] Since Alexander's work in the field came at the turn of the century. with a control baseline of 8. a measure of the number of activities impaired by pain.14 points.. The other two measures gave statistically insignificant improvements (P-values of approximately 0.. Alexander and the technique to the extent he included him as a character in the pacifist theme novel Eyeless in Gaza. Dennis ran a controlled study of the effect of Alexander technique on the "Functional Reach" (associated with balance) of women older than 65. credited Alexander as an inspiration for his psychological work. Alexander technique was only significantly better by two of the measures. Four different measures were used to assess the change in severity of the disease. while six lessons combined with exercise produced a reduction of 2. Those receiving 24 lessons had 3 days of back pain in a four week period.[10] The American philosopher and educator John Dewey became impressed with the Alexander technique after his headaches. neck pains.

org/ reviews/ en/ ab000995. Thieme Medical Publishers. Clinical Rehabilitation 16 (7): 695–708. [3] Arnold. Voice and Speech Trainers Association.1016/S0030-5898(03)00088-9. co. C. ISBN 978-9543522-6-4 • Alexander. 11 December 2008. . Mouritz (UK. John Dewey and the high tide of American liberalism. and massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain (http:/ / www. M. [17] Stallibrass. html). reprinted 2002. Sports Illustrated Golf Plus 35 (1): 57. org/ cgi/ content/ full/ 85/ 6/ 565) [5] Body_Learning . 2000) ISBN 091311118X.1191/0269215502cr544oa. . and by 1894. M. and that using the term Primary Control. [15] Dennis.Alexander technique 5 References [1] "Manipulative and Body-Based Practices: An Overview" (http:/ / www. Alexander began teaching some of his early discoveries.W Cacciatore et al. doi:10. Retrieved 2010-09-29. doi:10. 1941). Dutton (New York. Bloch goes on to suggest that although Alexander began publishing in 1900. 1910).Physical Therapy (http:/ / www. nih. [7] Paul Little et al.W. an article in New Scientist by Professor John Basmajian entitled "Conscious Control of Single Nerve Cells" [6] McEvenue.S. . 1942). revised 1946. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2): CD000995. 14. pdf) (PDF). Inc. nlm. com/ cgi/ content/ full/ 337/ dec11_2/ a2656). British Medical Journal. com/ cgi/ content/ full/ 337/ aug19_2/ a884). Retrieved 2007-05-01. Dutton & Co. ed. 2001. Dutton (New York. ptjournal. 1996). bmj. ISBN 0-913111-11-2 [13] http:/ / www3. ISBN 0312295154. Mouritz (UK. 1932). see p. "Voice and Gender and other contemporary issues in professional voice and speech training". FM Man's Supreme Inheritance. [4] Improvement in Automatic Postural Coordination Following Alexander Technique Lessons in a Person With Low Back Pain . School of Social Sciences. Retrieved 2007-05-02. ISBN 0-9525574-0-1 • Alexander. Centerline Press (USA. [9] Vigeland. mentalhelp. "Effective physical treatment for chronic low back pain" (http:/ / www. AE (1990). 1957. [10] Aldous Huxley. P Sissons. P.1002/14651858. ISBN 0865773378. exercise. 1946. New York: Macmillan.. [8] Aronson. doi:10. E.. republished by Orion Publishing. August 19. . C (December 2000). [18] Dennis. New York: W. PMID 10796574. Harper and Brothers. pp. wiley. Ruth (September 2007). 123 Further reading • Alexander. [16] Maher CG (January 2004). 2008. American Society for the Alexander Technique. org/ nobel_prizes/ medicine/ laureates/ 1973/ tinbergen-lecture. Clinical Voice Disorders: An Interdisciplinary Approach. the underlying principle of the work. Kelly (2002). ISBN 978-0752843919 • Alexander. PMID 10026656. 187–188. Joan. gerontologyjournals." his ideas were still not fully developed (p. P. Eyeless in Gaza. was not named in print until 1924). "Frequently Asked Questions" (http:/ / www. Alexander. Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual. Randomised controlled trial of Alexander technique lessons. 74. RJ (1999). net/ poc/ view_doc. Norton. 164: A review of introductory articles on the Alexander Technique shows a variation in the length of time — either three or nine years — as the time it took Alexander to develop his technique. ISBN 0-7528-4391. 2004) ISBN 0-9543522-6-2. occurred in the second half of 1892. quote p. Cincinnati.. html). 1996 ISBN_0805042067. 1986). cochrane. [19] http:/ / nobelprize. Voice and Speech Review. Clin. FM The Universal Constant In Living. Chaterson (London. . 1923. exercise.). pdf. [12] F. PMID 12428818.M8.1. Centerline Press (USA. "p. J. North Am. org/ misc/ faq. "The Answer to a Stress Test". ncbi. ISBN 978-0913111185. com/ books?id=ixvTPRlcSMoC) (1st Palgrave Macmillan ed. org/ cgi/ content/ abstract/ 54/ 1/ M8).1923). google.1093/gerona/54.. Hope Gillerman (1997). Irvine [14] Sandra Hollinghurst et al. Alan (1997). "Alexander technique for chronic asthma" (http:/ / www.34-36). Methuen (London. Mouritz (UK. uk/ CR544[1]. . the hoarseness — catalyst to his experiments — that Alexander refers to in The Use of the Self.". Cates.CD000995. later editions 1941. "Randomised Controlled Trial of the Alexander Technique for Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease" (http:/ / www. ISBN 0-393-31550-9. bmj. University of California. php?type=doc& id=8929& cn=15). gov/ pubmed/ 15062718). The Actor and the Alexander Technique (http:/ / books. U. According to his biographer. com/ journal/ 112411834/ abstract?CRETRY=1& SRETRY=0 A note on the influence of F. OH 35 (1): 164–170. "Functional reach improvement in normal older women after Alexander Technique instruction" (http:/ / biomed. revised and enlarged (New York. 35 (1): 57–64. 1936 [11] Ryan. Updated March 2007. 85 (6): 565 . Alexander on the development of gestalt therapy by Roger Tengwall. 1946. "almost a decade after he embarked on that process. E. Mandy Rees. alexandertech. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health. Jane A (2000). and massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain: economic evaluation (http:/ / www. Randomized controlled trial of Alexander technique (AT) lessons. Christopher J. Macmillan. pp. . PMID 15062718.An_Introduction to the Alexander Technique. Journals of Gerontology Series a : Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 54 (1): M8–11. Dennis. Michael Bloch. interscience. londonalexander. ISBN 0-9525574-4-4 . [2] Rootberg. British Medical Journal. later editions 1943. doi:10. FM Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual. 1918). C Chalmers (July 2002). Orthop. FM The Use of the Self. 1941.

uk/5. Freedom to Change.mouritz.FMA.Bibliography. The Development and Science of the Alexander Technique. ed. • Jones. htm) . Theodore Dimon. Frank Pierce (1999).html) • The Monkey Squat (Position of Mechanical Advantage) (http://www.Alexander technique • Brennan. ed. Richard (May 1997). London: Mouritz. The Alexander Technique Manual. London: Connections UK. Richard Brown. Frank Pierce (May 1997). ISBN ATBOOKS058.M. Massachusetts: Alexander Technique Archives. • Jones. 6 External links • Mouritz: F. Alexander Bibliography (http://www.easyvigour.co.net. ISBN 1-85906-163-x. Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique.nz/fitness/h_monkey. ISBN 0-9525574-7-9.01.

Penbat. org/ licenses/ by-sa/ 3. Alexanderteach. Can't sleep. CA387. BullRangifer. Tkdman589. Edward. User86654. Wiki Raja. Apers0n. Conversion script. Epbr123. Free. CiaranG. BenFrantzDale. KaySL. Css. Hexatic. AJR. Horkana. Cathmadden. Mdebets. Lizundp. Tannit. Elwikipedista. Qwerty Binary. Ian Page. Teawaste. Deegee. P0mbal. Azaiez. Michael Hardy. Dhodges. Darrelljon. Chamness439. Vannin. Sietse Snel. RK. GB fan. Trevyn. Zenohockey. The Anome. AHABMCGEE. Hopie. Davidm617617.200. Nick Number. Romit3. TonySever. ATBS. Hmains. Bobo192. Michael Tall. Mcdgal03. Marcika. Wetaman. Franis. Esanchez7587. Nuttah. Sarefo. Verbal. BremenTownMusician. Logan. Neotap. LA2. DiiCinta. Nivix. Uberblue. Guanaco. Mebden. 0/ . DavidWBrooks. Pwqn. Lpgeffen. Tskaze. Tracygil. AED. Grover cleveland. Ronz. Iamwaggle. RayBirks. LizardWizard. Xcrivener. Campingcar. Trip6. Karada.org/w/index. Courtneyb2. JayJasper. Rich Farmbrough. Tohd8BohaithuGh1. Bossrat. Pearle. GeorgeStepanek. Altenmann. MLAvedon. Chrislk02. Tlevine. CDN99. SDC. Chrissie j. Rahzel. Daniel M. Bradtcordeiro. Fdacosta. Jasoneth. GlassFET. Mr-Natural-Health. clown will eat me. Dodger160. Phil Sandifer. Defenestrate. Bethdon. Tarquin. John Gohde. Derild4921. DunstanRamsay. Pmj. Novangelis. ImperfectlyInformed. Zeraeph.188. CesarB. Vipul. Andonic. Army1987. Dysprosia. Al B.xxx. Mclowes. JIP. Rjwilmsi. VeronicaruthP. Jcw69. Topbanana. Graham87. Atteacher. Bronayur. Dkasak. Scolaire. Alexanderteacher. Tyciol. DCDuring. Juliathemuse. GoodSir. LoopTel. Argyriou. Heathert. Jj137. Nonquotidian.Article Sources and Contributors 7 Article Sources and Contributors Alexander technique  Source: http://en. Everyking. Delta Trine. Lord Chao. NicholasTurnbull. Bob103051. Mais oui!.0 Unported http:/ / creativecommons. Sebbi. Mattisse. Shadowjams. LoopZilla. Scott Burley. Mporch. Silent badger. Zipperer. Xinit. Gautier lebon. Cindyclayton. Wx8. Aiki Patrick Parker. Kbdank71. VoiceScientist. Skittleys. MHz. Martpol. Timothy Campbell. Geni. James Baldwin. Ooooooooo. Reedy. Fratrep. Kccole01. Centrx. J. Template namespace initialisation script.php?oldid=427252142  Contributors: 205. Daf. Shantavira. Marcinbrz. Bogey97. Jinlye. Ben St. Anothergareth. Muskrat Collective. Prolinol. Gak. Kcordina. Klonimus. Pro crast in a tor. AndreK. VanishedUser314159. Alksub. Ohnoitsjamie. Introspective Perspective. Hans Joseph Solbrig. Janeky. Fmwik. Roymstat.delanoy. Itai. Cff12345. Queenmomcat. 603 anonymous edits License Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3. Ward20. LarryGilbert. Technopat. Tweeq. Dmcq.wikipedia. NawlinWiki. Jmnbatista. Closedmouth. Markjaye. Ceyockey. Java7837. AxelBoldt. Jmofischer. Notch. Shadowlynk. Marysunshine. JDPhD. Bellagio99. 2over0. Stevenfruitsmaak. Bmclaughlin9. Franis Engel. Hilaire. Shockeroo.

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