The Alexander Technique is a practice of self care that can relieve pain from any condition that has to do with compression. The Technique’s approach to pain relief is education, not treatment. People who use chiropractic, drugs, surgery, physical therapy or any other therapy can benefit from learning the skills taught by an Alexander teacher.
Pain is your body’s signal that an illness, injury or tension needs your attention. An instinctive reaction to pain is muscular compression, which lessens sensation. As important as this reaction is during an initial injury, if left to continue, it has negative affects on the body’s ability to heal itself and can even make the problem worse.
In Alexander lessons, you bring more awareness to what is happening inside your body, and learn how to reduce muscular tension and compression through conscious guidance from your brain to your nervous system to your muscles. As your tension lessens and your muscles ease their contracted state, your ability to direct your body into balance and ease continues to increase, breaking the pain cycle and allowing the body to heal. You are able to move beyond temporary pain relief into long-term pain management and prevention.
The British Medical Journal Published a Study on the Effectiveness of the Alexander Technique for the long-term relief of Back Pain
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Arthritis: Many people who suffer from arthritic pain don’t realize that the way they use their bodies and think about their movement can profoundly increase mobility and range of motion, as well as lessen pain. By learning how to de-compress joints in stillness and in movement, balance and energy increase.
Back Pain: One of the most effective approaches to chronic back pain, the Alexander Technique teaches a student how to move through daily routines and/or exercises with less tension, strain and compression. Understanding what is happening anatomically and how to move with a lengthening spine gives students new skills in self care.
Postural Problems, especially Parkinson’s Disease: An Alexander Technique teacher uses a gentle guiding hand to help students into a healthy relationship of the head, neck and back. Getting a new kinesthetic sense experience from the teacher, and clear instructions to take into daily life, the student learns to activate their own postural reflexes into a more open and expansive coordination.
Repetitive Strain Injury: An excellent tool to learn in recovering from (or preventing!) RSI and carpal tunnel syndrome, the Alexander Technique teaches refined awareness of the excess strain that people unknowingly add to repetitive movements, and teaches how to perform those movements with comfort.
Respiratory Issues/Digestive Issues: Rarely do people think of posture as a contributing factor for breathing or digestive issues, yet a long spine and a wide back allow for full breath and more space for the peristalsis process.
“I found the Technique to be so beneficial in alleviating my own condition that I have been referring some of my patients for Alexander lessons for several years.”
Howard L. Rosner, MD
Director, Pain Management Service
The New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center
New York, NY