Learning the Alexander Technique is a life enhancing experience. You will learn how to look after yourself better in daily life, finding a more joyful and less effortful approach to your everyday activities. People begin Alexander lessons for many reasons, some of the most common are to help:
- Alleviate back or neck pain and associated incapacity
- Release muscle tension and stiffness to allow greater and easier freedom of movement
- Improve balance and coordination
- Develop calmness of mind for coping better with the stresses of work and daily life
- Undo unwanted postural habits
- Enhance presentation and business skills
- Improve performance in playing sport, music or acting
Two major clinical trials involving people with back pain or neck pain have demonstrated long-term reductions in pain levels, as well as improvements in quality of life and associated incapacity following Alexander Technique lessons with a STAT-registered teacher. Other research has demonstrated significant benefits from Alexander Technique lessons in reducing the level of disability in people with Parkinson’s disease. As a result of this research, the National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE) states in its latest guidelines: ‘Consider the Alexander Technique for people with Parkinson’s disease who are experiencing balance or motor function problems’.*
In addition, some small studies suggest that Alexander Technique lessons may help in improving posture, balance in older people, breathing, stuttering and reducing performance anxiety in musicians. Reduced muscle tension and stiffness, and improved balance and coordination have been seen in individuals after Alexander Technique training. This may help explain why people with a wide range of chronic conditions can benefit from learning the Technique because, while it does not act on the underlying medical condition, people find carrying out the tasks of daily life to be easier and more enjoyable.
The Alexander Technique is not a ‘quick fix’. By gradually developing a new way of thinking and learning through hands-on experience, you improve the use of yourself, allowing your natural mechanisms of coordination and balance to function as they should. This reduces the usual strain on your back and joints, which can otherwise slow down healing. You are also less likely to develop future problems that are caused by misuse. Over time, an improved use of yourself also generally leads to better posture.
While the desire to help deal with an existing medical or other physical problem is probably the most common reason for beginning Alexander lessons, the Technique offers much more than this. You can become more effective in your daily life, whether this is in a busy and stressful job, playing sport or a musical instrument, or doing the housework or gardening. At the same time, through working with the Technique, people can find their attitude to life change, becoming more open and positive, and less stressed.
Further details and a full list of the published studies described here can be found under Research.
* NICE. Parkinson’s disease in adults. July 2017. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng71.