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The Alexander Technique is not massage or manipulation. It is a subtle form of postural re-education that helps us rid ourselves of our unconscious habits of downward and inward compression, which is the culprit in much of the pain we experience in our bodies.
The Alexander Technique is unique, because it teaches us a different way of being and moving. If we become aware of the way we use our bodies, we can learn to function more freely, without the tyranny of self-imposed tension.
We humans move and think by force of habit, despite our best intentions. What we think of as "normal movement" is often a state of chronic contraction and exaggerated effort, leading to feelings of anxiety, exhaustion, and pain. Any effort to "straighten up" and "use good posture" ends up causing even more fatigue and frustration.
In an Alexander lesson students learn a new, coordinated relationship between the head, neck, back and limbs. The ground becomes your ally, providing the stability and security that allows for balance. Nature designed the body to reflexively elongate and expand in opposition to gravity. The Alexander teacher's hands give the student the experience of that organic expansion and the ease that accompanies it. It results in a more confident, graceful and integrated way of being in the world. The breath deepens; the senses sharpen. Mind and body experience a greater calm. "Equilibrium" reflects both the physical and the mental.
An Alexander lesson consists of gentle hands-on guidance, accompanied by verbal instruction in routine movements such as sitting down and standing up, walking, reaching, bending down, and so on. Students are fully clothed; the process is relaxing and easy. Lessons build upon one another to reprogram the nervous system, providing tools and practical ideas that students can apply to everyday life.
People with specialized jobs or avocations can also receive instruction in the most efficient and balanced approach to the movements required, including assistance in the ergonomic design of workstations.
For more information on the Alexandar Technique, visit www.alexandertechnique.com.
For a short video explanation of the recent scientific findings about the positive effects of Alexander treatments for back pain reported in the British Medical Journal: http://www.bmj.com/site/video/alexander_technique.xhtml
For a short radio segment on Alexander Technique on NPR: http://www.npr.org/2011/03/28/134861319/alexander-technique-a-balm-for-back-pain?sc=emaf
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