The book "Body Mechanics" by medical doctors Goldthwait, Brown, Swain and Kuhns, Chapter 1: "The Problem of Chronic Illness" states:
"An individual is in the best health only when the body is so used that there is no strain on any of its parts. This means that, when standing, the body is held fully erect, with no strain on the joints, the bones, the ligaments, the muscles or any other structures. There should be adequate room for all the viscera, so that their function can be performed normally unless there be some congenital defect."
In a very unique and effective way, the Alexander Technique provides the tools to keep an individual in best health. It teaches the skill to observe and handle yourself with more ease and wisdom. By studying with a teacher, you can better understand the unconscious attitudes in the way you move, think and carry yourself, and how these attitudes and believes directly influence the way you feel and act. Your health is directly linked to the way you use yourself, and you can change it if you want.
Chronic Pain Relief/Prevention
Injury or the effect of stress overload can lead to chronic pain. Clinical studies have shown that the technique improves breathing capacity and posture and provides long term relief for those who are suffering from a variety of neurological and musculoskeletal problems, including:
neck and back pain
traumatic and repetitive strain injuries
chronic pain and arthritis
breathing and coordination disorders
stress related disorders and migraines
painful joints and bones
depression and anxiety
Preventing further misuse due to poor postural habits is an ultimate skill you will learn in lessons.
In this study, 579 subjects with chronic and recurrent back pain were randomized to receive massage, six Alexander Technique lessons, 24 Alexander Technique lessons, or no intervention. In addition, half of the subjects were encouraged to walk regularly. A year later, the group with no intervention had 21 days of pain per month. The group with massage had 14 days of pain per month. The group with six Alexander Technique lessons reported 11 days of pain per month, and the group with 24 Alexander Technique lessons reported three days of pain per month. There were no adverse effects.
Click here to download the BMJ study (pdf). Below is a two part video about the study.
F.M. Alexander And His Discovery
The Alexander Technique describes and teaches a very unique holistic process concerned with the individual and the control of unwanted, habitual patterns of movement.
This process was developed by F.M. Alexander (1869-1955). Through many years of self-observation after no doctor could help him solve a problem with his voice, he discovered a deeply ingrained pattern of interference with his general human functioning in daily and specialized activities.
Alexander dedicated more than 60 years of his life to the understanding of how conscious awareness and poise influence general functioning of the human organism. The resulting learning process was later named the Alexander Technique. Alexander discovered that poor habits of use developed over time can come to dominate an activity, and that we are rarely aware of them.
These habits continue long after the initial reasons for developing them have gone and can result in unnecessary muscular efforts and a depletion of our energy with possible long term consequences - back strain, postural and balance problems, neck pain, migraines, high blood pressure etc.
He observed that all civilized people have one major habit in common, although manifested in many different ways: When we get the idea of moving, we tend to tighten our necks, which pulls our heads back and down and leads to spinal compression, affecting the entire body.
The habitual pattern of tightening the neck muscles is such a familiar feeling that it is usually unnoticed by our sensory awareness. Alexander pointed out that the way we react to the demands of the world originates in subconscious patterns of habitual attitudes and tensions which develop and strengthen during the course of life, and are no longer consciously perceivable.
The problem is that all habitual patterns tend to interfere with an integrated function of the whole self, with balance and well-being. When we are no longer able to release daily stress and to return to a relaxed and engaged state of being, we begin to function in a constant state of increased neuromuscular tension and stress. Stress and tension are often seen as common precursors to dis-ease. The Alexander Technique teaches you principles of a proper internal tune-up before you start moving into the activity, thus enabling you to prevent further misuse. It gives you the means to reconnect to the innate grace and balance of your body, both in stillness and in movement.
Contrary to other methods, the technique is not about learning something new, but about unlearning that which is counterproductive to our well being or even potentially harmful to us.
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