What is Alexander technique?
The Alexander technique teaches you to improve your coordination by breaking your habits and reorganising your thoughts so you can move more freely and efficiently. Leaving alone the relationship between your head, neck and back is crucial in this.
You don't so much learn how to do things, but which things to leave out, so they're not in the way of what you'd like to achieve. You start from the question “what do I do which makes my performance suboptimal?”. Therefore you become the instrument to improve yourself.
F.M. Alexander (1869-1955) was an Australian actor who kept losing his voice. When the doctors could help him no further, he discovered a method which not only gave him back his voice, but which proved to be the key to better overall health, through a much more efficient use of his whole coordination.
He then set up a practice in London where he taught his method to people with widely varying complaints: people with breathing problems, vocal problems, problems with their intestines, metabolism, back pain, stuttering, concentration problems and more.
He could help these people, not because he was some kind of wonder doctor, but because the impact of how we use ourselves on our functioning, health and wellbeing is much greater than we often realise.
By focusing on this you get the tools in hands to solve all sorts of problems, to move and breathe more freely and to feel lighter and more balanced.
People from widely varying backgrounds profit from using the Alexander technique: (professional) musicians who want to play without injury or pain, sportspeople who want to move more efficiently, office workers who want to work without back- and neckpain, factory workers who want to get rid of RSI, people who want to lose their breathing problems, people who want to move less heavily, singers who don't want to force their voices, presenters who want to speak in public more freely, people who want to keep moving fluently as the years flow by.
The Alexander technique takes a whole different approach to how we usually take on problems:
- from the whole, not the parts;
- from what we can leave out, rather than what we should do;
- from what we can do for ourselves , not what others should solve for us;
- from prevention, not from cure.
Over the last few years more and more solid research has been done into the effectiveness of the Alexander technique. Lower backpain currently forms the greatest source of 'lost health hours'. In a big study, published in the British Medical Journal (2008) the Alexander technique proved to be very effective against lower back pain (an improvement of 85% in relation to the control group, the most of all the included methods of treatment), and moreover proved to be the most cost effective of the compared treatments. The results turned out to be lasting, when measured a year after the Alexander technique lessons. Click here for more info.
Alexander technique on the work floor
More and more companies discover the effectiveness of the Alexander technique to prevent employers' illness and work-related complaints (back- and neckpain, RSI, unnecessary muscle tension). Companies and organisations like Victorinox (of the Swiss army knives), Siemens, Chevron Texaco, BBC, Lausanne city council, the Israeli airforce, the UK's National Health Service structurally applied the Alexander technique UK to managing their businesses.
Case study: Victorinox
At Victorinox the Alexander technique is at the root of a large program to decrease RSI, shoulder complaints, migraine and stress of both production workers and office workers. Over the more than 10 years this program has been in place, absence through illness at the company has decreased by 30% and many work related complaints have diminished. Click here for more info.