Alternate Medicine – The Alexander Technique
The Alexander Technique of stress alleviation is one of the many alternate medicines that are available. It is a way to solve bodily problems in an intelligent way. Many people view the problems in their muscles or joints as structural and therefore unchangeable and are often mystified by the occurrence of back pain, lack of coordination, tension and stress. The Alexander Technique is a way of learning how to get rid of these pains, tensions, and stresses. It is an educational discipline that focuses on bodily coordination and also includes psychological principles and helps a person recover freedom of movement, general self improvement affecting poise, attention and the control of impulsive actions.
The technique takes it name from F. Mathias Alexander, who in the 1890s developed this technique to alleviate his own sufferings from hoarseness of voice and helped him to become a Shakespearean actor.
All of us have some unconscious habits of movement and we also put unwarranted pressure on ourselves. We slouch, stoop as we walk, use unnecessary force while doing mundane things. We blame these problems on the activities that we carry out such as carpal tunnel syndrome on the use of computers etc. The point is that it is how we do things that creates the problem.
The basic idea of the Alexander Technique is that when there is no overworking of the neck muscles, the head balances lightly at the top of the spine. This is of prime importance as this relationship has implications on the way the rest of the body performs. It coordinates, by and large, the quality of the body’s coordination. Gravity and our neuromuscular system work together. The head’s delicate poise initiates the anti-gravity response of the body and invites the spine to lengthen and as such, instead of slouching or maintaining a inflexible position, we can stand straight and become flexible and supple.
The flexibility of the body can be seen in toddlers. Observe an infant and see how erect his spine is, how free his joints are and how his head balances lightly on its little neck. It has a regal poise. But over the years, by acquiring certain unconscious postures we lose this erectness and this flexibility.
The Alexander Technique is primarily an educational process to be practiced by the patient in contrast to curative therapy. There are no routine exercises and are meant to be applied when quality movements are desired. The technique does not recommend any exercises. the emphasis is on using freedom, in every action, to choose beyond conditioning. The only exceptions are two exercises that are prescribed and should be done separately. One is to lie in a semi-supine position – a position in which a person lies on his/her back with his hands behind the head or neck. The other is called the “Whispered Ah”, and it is used to remove unnecessary effort in the use of voice. These are taught by the practitioner of the Alexander Technique.
Prescribed values in life are patience, efficiency and freedom. Those proscribed are mistaken assumptions, self-limiting habits and unnecessary effort. The learner of the Alexander Technique are taught to change their preconceived notions, habits and predominantly automatic routines that are structurally inefficient and physically limiting. Verbal coaching and hands-on assistance is given while monitoring and guiding to prevent unnecessary habits and the practitioners of this technique demonstrate it on themselves to communicate its efficiency to the student.
By the use of this technique, you can learn to remove harmful habits, restore your poise and heighten your sell-awareness. You are, in actual fact, reinforcing what your body already knows but has forgotten due to long use of harmful practices. Your internal resources come to the fore and you are on the way to the enhancement your pleasure in all your activities and your comfort.