September 22, 2009

What Is the Alexander Technique

Do you struggle from constant pain or injury? Some people seem to always struggle with knee injuries and pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, stiff neck or back pain and many other issues. Others don?t necessarily suffer from pain but feel as if they could be performing better either physically or as a performer. The Alexander Technique is designed to help you if you suffer from constant pain or feel you could be performing better.

The Alexander Technique is a therapy method designed to change movement habits. It?s designed to re-educate your mind and body to move differently and thus eliminate pain as well as enhance performance.

A Little History

F. Matthias Alexander is the father of the Alexander Technique and designed this modality in the late 1800s. He created it to help reduce breathing problems he had, which he felt were holding him back as a Shakespearean actor.

Today, practitioners are certified in this modality after completing a 1600-hour three-year course designed by Alexander. It is recognized by the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. However, the Alexander Technique differs from other alternative modalities like chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage in that it isn?t something that is done to you but rather something that teaches you how to move differently. It?s learned by taking classes with a practitioner or teacher.

For example, if you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome your teacher would watch you typing or performing whatever action causes your pain to worsen. Using a mirror, they would help you understand what movements are causing your problem and then guide you on how to modify the movement to move optimally and reduce or eliminate pain. Additionally, your teacher would also likely perform some body work on you, helping you to release muscle tension.

Basic Principles

There are four basic principles of the Alexander Technique. They include:

* Primary control ? The principle is that the relationship between your head, neck and spine determine your overall movement and ability to function.

* Awareness ? Alexander practitioners/teachers help you to become aware of how you move and to understand how a body functions optimally.

* Inhibition ? Tension and the resulting compression interferes with optimal movement. Alexander teachers teach you and your muscles to relax.

* Direction ? The theory is that everyone has the ability to visualize movement and mentally guide flow through their body.

Benefits of Alexander Technique

Proponents of the Alexander Technique say that the most profound benefits include self-care skill enhancement and better mental health, which we all can benefit from. That being said, if you?re an athlete or performer you may find tremendous benefit from the Alexander Technique. Additionally, people who are on the computer often and pregnant women can really reap the benefits from this technique.

If you?re suffering from chronic pain or simply wish to perform at a higher level than you?re currently performing at, the Alexander Technique may be exactly what you need. While you may see results immediately it is recommended to complete approximately thirty lessons over the course of several months to receive the maximum benefit.

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Alexis Rodrigo

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