Alexander technique

Most people tend to sit or stand in postures that impose unnatural strains on their bodies, and on the spine and neck in particular

This can result in all manner of physical tensions, which can cause physical discomfort and limit your freedom of movement, as well as triggering symptoms such as headache and indigestion.

The Alexander Technique involves re-learning the right way to use and move the body and developing a physical awareness and ability to co-ordinate movement to minimise unnecessary effort.

Origins of the Alexander Technique

An Australian actor, called Frederick Matthias Alexander, developed the technique around 100 years ago. Initially, he was looking to solve the problems he experienced on stage with breathing and hoarseness.

Following the publication of his book revealing the solution he devised - the Alexander technique - he treated many others with similar posture-related problems, and his methods are those used today by teachers of the technique.

Attending a class

Ideally, you will be taught on a one-to-one basis, although some teachers hold group classes.

By placing his or her hand gently on your body, the teacher will help you to feel where your body is under strain as a result of postural stress and tension, and show you how to 'inhibit' this tension.

The aim is to enable you to 'direct' your body into more natural and harmonious positions and ways of moving. This approach is applied in different situations: standing, sitting and lying down - including the way you sit down on and get up from a chair or bed.

Each lesson normally lasts around 30-40 minutes and, as will as the giving the physical demonstrations, explain how you can practise applying what you have learned at home and when you're out and about.

Most people need a course of lessons - usually up to 25 - before they can overcome the habits of a lifetime. At the end of this period, however, you should feel healthier and energised and you may also find that minor aches and pains you'd learned to live with have disappeared.

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