Lessons and Q&As

Where and when?

My main practice is in Joppa, Edinburgh. There is a frequent bus service close by and ample on-street parking, so it is convenient for access from Musselburgh and East Lothian, as well as from the rest of Edinburgh. I also work in Portobello in Edinburgh on Wednesday afternoons and some evenings at Portobello Natural Health.

Appointments are available every weekday (Monday to Friday), from 10am to 8.00pm.

Please contact me to book an appointment.

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What happens in a lesson?

A typical session will explore common activities like how we sit, stand or walk. I will work with you one-to-one, using gentle, hands-on contact and simple explanations to guide you through these movements. I will also work with you while you are lying down. Because we will be engaging in everyday activities, your usual clothes will be the best thing to wear. You may just want to remove your shoes.

In a lesson you will be actively engaged in a process of learning, which people generally find enjoyable and relaxing. Through the hands-on work, people are usually able to let go of excess muscle tension, leading to a sense of well-being. What is learnt in the session can be applied to any activity — from sitting at a computer with less tension, to exercising or gardening without strain, or to responding more calmly to your work environment and other stressful situations.

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How long does a lesson last and how many will I need?

Lessons are about 45 minutes each. New clients have the choice of a full introductory lesson lasting 1 hour, or a taster session of 30 minutes.

The number of lessons required will depend on what you want to achieve and this will be different for everyone. After 5-6 lessons you will have a good idea of what the Alexander Technique is all about and how it can help you. You are also likely to start to notice some benefits. For many people, particularly those with a long-standing issue, 15-30 lessons may be needed for beneficial changes to continue to occur and become fully integrated. We know from a major clinical back pain trial (in which people attended 6 or 24 Alexander lessons) that the best results were found with 24 lessons; people who had taken 6 lessons did, however, experience significant benefit.

Since the Alexander Technique cannot be adequately described in words but is something that needs to be experienced, having an introductory lesson or a taster session is the best way of finding out if it is for you.

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What is the best frequency of lessons?

If you decide to continue after your introductory lesson, you may wonder about the optimum frequency of lessons. In the beginning it takes time to assimilate the work, so to get you off to a good start it is ideal if you are able to come about twice a week for the first few weeks. However, many people will only be able to fit one lesson a week into their schedule. You can be reassured that you are still likely to progress well at this frequency if you are keen to start applying the Technique to your life in between lessons, for example in practising the daily ‘active rest’ procedure that I recommend for everyone.

Once a week remains a good frequency after your first few lessons and the lessons can gradually be spread out further as you progress. Some people then continue with a monthly lesson or just come back for a refresher as and when they feel they need it. Once you’ve had some lessons you are likely to know what frequency and total number of lessons is right for you.

In the back pain trial the lessons were spread out as two lessons per week for the first 6 weeks, then one lesson per week for 6 weeks, then one per fortnight for 8 weeks, and then one refresher lesson at 7 months and finally at 9 months (total of 24 lessons).

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What does it cost?

A standard lesson is one-to-one, lasts about 45 minutes and costs £40.

I am also happy to offer some further options:

  • New clients have the choice of either a full 1-hour introductory lesson (£40), or a 30-minute taster session (£20).
  • Some people may prefer to come with their partner or friend. A shared introductory lesson for two lasts about 1 hour 15 minutes and costs £55. Subsequent joint lessons are 1 hour (also £55).

Gift vouchers are also available. Please contact me for further details.

If you hold private health insurance, it may be worth enquiring whether your policy will cover Alexander Technique lessons. Some companies will reimburse the cost of a course of lessons when taken to address certain health problems (in these cases, sometimes the recommendation of a consultant or other healthcare professional is required).

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What should I consider before starting lessons?

Alexander Technique lessons can benefit people of all ages and any level of physical fitness or health.

The Alexander Technique is not a quick fix but if you want to take responsibility for your health and wellbeing, and are open to new ways of thinking, lessons can empower you by giving you the tools to make the changes that you want.

In a lesson you will be practising everyday activities no different to those in your daily life and I will be using gentle, light touch (not manipulation) and explanation to help guide you through these activities. After an Alexander lesson people generally feel relaxed and more in control of life. It is very unlikely that you will experience any untoward effects. Occasionally, however, people may experience tiredness, aches similar to those following exercise or, rarely, temporary light-headedness. Please tell me if any of these occur, or if you experience any discomfort during or after a lesson. Before beginning lessons, please let me know if you have any pain or conditions that may affect movement, if you are pregnant, or have low blood pressure.

Please note that Alexander Technique teachers do not give medical diagnoses. If you have any health concerns it is important that you discuss these with your GP.

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What if I need to cancel a lesson?

In the event that you need to cancel a lesson, I ask that you give at least 24 hours’ notice to avoid liability for payment for the cancelled session. In the unlikely event that I need to cancel a lesson, I undertake to give you at least 24 hours’ notice, or I will offer your next lesson free of charge.

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How can I find a teacher who suits me?

Since you are reading my website, I hope that I might be on your list of teachers to consider smiley. However, to ensure you get the most out of your lessons it is important that you feel comfortable with your teacher and like their style of teaching, as we are all very different. So it may be a good idea to find out which teachers are within travelling distance of you and make your choice after calling them up, looking at their websites, or going to one of their group introductory classes. Don’t be afraid to try out different teachers to find out who suits you best and bear in mind that, once you’ve got the basics, you may gain further insights through some lessons with other teachers.

Whoever you choose, it is important that they are fully trained, competent, regulated and insured. Using the STAT and CNHC directories is a good way of ensuring this.

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