This technique is a century old process that was developed by the Australian actor Frederick Matthias Alexander. This technique was developed during a critical time in his career, when he kept losing his voice. He found that even when following his doctors advice, he continued to loose it so he decided to observe himself. This was done for over a decade and due to this self-observation he identified previously unconscious, habitual patterns of head movement, back compression, neck tension and forceful breathing that caused a lack of sufficient breath support for his voice and a destructive pressure on his vocals. He corrected this problem by becoming more self-aware of his movements, which brought on better vocal quality, evident change in his physical stature and respiratory function and less tension and more balance throughout his body and an increased improvement in his general health. The technique teaches students to identify and exercise control over physical habits of excess tension, posture, internal stress, breathing and movement and habits of thinking that interfere with natural ease and flow in everyday activity and skilled performance.
Balance and Posture.
Balance is an extremely important factor to have for successful integration of movement. Humans are designed to move in such a way that the head leads our movement along the spine, and the body follows, this movement is an upward, vital direction in response to gravity. When we are born the balance of our head to our spine is innate, however as we grow we tend to lose this delicate balance due to constant stress and mal-adaptive accommodation to our environment. Now the Alexander technique focuses on restoring a balanced and dynamic posture. Posture is often thought of as a position in which to sit or stand, a dynamic posture is one that maintains a relationship between the head, neck and torso while in motion and continually changes in response to the demands of the activity, while maintaining an underlying integrity or principle.
How it Works
The Alexander Technique is an entirely safe process of re-learning balance. The process of this technique is neuro-muscular and it refers to the central nervous system, which also includes the brain. This system transmits signals through the spinal cord and nerves to the musculature for balance and movement, as well as transmission in the opposite direction, by sending sensory-motor information from muscles and joints back to the brain in an ongoing feedback loop. These signals are all a form of unconscious thought. Many people only become interested in the Alexander Technique when needing relief for physical or psychological symptoms or problems. Practitioners of the Alexander technique are unable to treat or diagnose problems, so it is best to consult your doctor before beginning this therapy. Eventually the patient becomes so involved in the technique that they begin learning how to stop doing certain things that aggravate the problem and how to reduce stress. There are 7 stages of learning.
Who can benefit?
People of all ages and walks of life can be helped by this technique. It improves health, emotional well-being, mental alertness and resistance to stress. Many of the people who benefited from this technique have found that as a result of improved posture they have become taller. The performance of athletes, public speakers and dancers has been improved by this technique. The Alexander Technique has also successfully treated depression, exhaustion, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and many more.
Research By Body and Mind