The Alexander technique was developed at the beginning of the 20th
century by an Australian actor, Frederick Mathias Alexander, who began to
experience problems with his voice when he was performing on stage in
front of an audience.

After a great deal of trial and error and self-observation Alexander
discovered that the problems he was experiencing with his voice stemmed
from muscular tension throughout his body. He also identified that
unhelpful thought patterns contributed to the muscle tension.

As a consequence of these findings Alexander developed his technique,
which is based on ensuring that an individual’s head, neck and spine are
correctly aligned and that the breath is properly controlled.

The Alexander technique consists of gentle correction of body posture and
realignment of the head, neck and spine so that the client learns to sit,
stand and move in ways that have been slightly modified and changed.
These changes and realignments allow the client to use muscles in a much
more relaxed and fluid way.

The Alexander technique is normally taught on a one-to-one basis. It
involves lying on a couch or massage table whilst the teacher very gently
uses their hands on the client’s clothed body to correct any imbalances or
misalignments in body posture.

In some instances the client may be asked to move around the treatment
room, so it’s important to wear loose, comfortable clothing and be prepared
to remove your shoes.

The key aims are to ‘Free the neck, let the head go forward and upward and
let the back lengthen and widen.’ Each session usually lasts for between
thirty and forty minutes, and in most cases a course of fifteen to thirty
sessions is recommended.

The Alexander technique can be learned at any age and is particularly good
for back, neck and shoulder pain. It is can also be used to help with RSI,
respiratory problems and chronic fatigue. Many clients also report that the
technique helps with stress, depression and other emotional disorders.

People who use the technique on a daily basis report that they experience
less pain, are able to move more easily and in a more co-ordinated manner,
and that they feel calmer and more balanced within themselves.

What are the side effects and when should it be avoided?
Because the therapy focuses on making minor changes to the way in which
the client sits, stands and holds their body, it is highly unlikely that the
Alexander technique will produce any negative effects. However, if you have
any neck, back or spinal problems, be sure to discuss these with the
practitioner before the treatment starts.
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