Health and well-being

Lisa Brocklebank (English Professor)

When Gaby told me that I could expect to feel a difference after the preliminary lesson, I was skeptical. After five years of trying every therapy from mainstream physiotherapy to osteopathy to energy healing, I landed on Gaby’s doorstep, prepared for yet another dead-end. I left that first lesson a convert. The Alexander Technique is different from other healing modalities in that it teaches you how to feel, work with, and optimize your unique body, as opposed to trying to force your body to fit a specific mold or follow a set protocol. Each lesson, I can feel something shift in my body, or I make a new discovery about what it can do and how it can feel. I walk into the office a two-dimensional being and walk out a three-dimensional one. I feel like Clarke Kent entering the telephone booth as a puny human and flying out as Superman.

Alice K (Business Analyst)

Beginning in 2008 I started having severe pain in my jaw. At first I was diagnosed with TMJ / TMD (jaw joint deterioration) but after seeing a series of dental specialists and having an MRI it was determined my cause was not from the joint. But I was still left me with jaw pain and knew that I had to find the root cause so I could lead a productive and active life. After 2 years of pain and no known cause, I happened to come across Gaby. Gaby taught me to be body and posture aware. She taught me how to sit, stand and walk in a more efficient manner; hence, decreasing the strain on my muscles. Within 6 months my pain had disappeared. Now 2 years later, I still see Gaby every week so I can learn more and more about myself and my body. Thanks to Gaby and Alexander Technique.

Cheryl Steinhauer (Teacher, Recreational dancer and Musician)

I came to the Alexander Technique looking for support to get me out of a cycle of chronic pain, fatigue and greatly reduced activity. Because of persistent inflammation from arthritis, as well as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, I had gradually dropped all my hobbies and recreation, including walking. I had an excellent physiotherapist who had structured therapeutic exercises for my abdominal core and legs. But I could see that I had also developed a closed, hunched posture which was difficult for me to correct. My first lesson with Gaby was a positive and uplifting experience. I felt a buoyant energy move along my spine as I responded to her verbal and hands-on directions. At the end of the first lesson, I was amazed to see a long supple back in the mirror, so different from the tensely held one I had entered the room with. For nearly two years, I had a private lesson a week. Gaby explored with me many ordinary movements... reaching for an object, opening a door, going up the stairs, executing a dance step, walking...and showed me how my instinctive habits of bracing myself for action created tension. Tense muscles moving tense joints had, over decades of use, contributed to exhaustion. With Gaby's direction, I learned to apply the principles of the Alexander Technique to my daily activities. I found that by freeing my neck, I experienced a lightening-up throughout my body. I learned that when I directed myself up along the spine, I exerted less force on my joints, and had more energy. Both my physiotherapist and massage therapist commented on the positive changes they could see, particularly the lengthening of my calves and back. My goal was to return to as many of my previously enjoyed activities as possible. Re-entry into activity with chronic health conditions needs a gradual, patient approach, and it also takes teamwork. As my physiotherapist moulded footbeds with metatarsal pads for my shoes, and as my active release practitioner freed up adhesions, Gaby directed me into the best use of my body while exercising and building up endurance. I go for walks again, I cycle, and after 30 long months, returned to dancing. I can paddle in a kayak for a couple of hours without being exhausted the next day. My goal for the summer is to reacquaint myself with my hiking boots, and learn to move easily with their extra weight on my feet before I attempt a short, moderate hike for the first time in four years. I know that, with my teacher's guidance, I will find once again that the principles of the Alexander Technique will make all the preparation and training more effective and efficient. Four years ago, I experienced a frightening low in my health and physical condition. Today, I still experience the waxing and waning of arthritis and fibromyalgia, but I take the ups and downs with greater equanimity. I know I have to monitor myself, and keep moderation in mind always. But I now believe it is possible for me to age gracefully and to stay active, supported by the Alexander Technique and enthusiastically guided by my teacher.

Ullrich Schade (Graphic Designer and Branding Specialist)

About 10 years ago I had constant chronic lower back pain for over four years due to a few nasty falls. This was aggravated by the fact that I was born with a slightly deformed spine. I think my condition is called Schoerman's Disease (sp?). I was 47 years old at the time. My lower back pain was so severe that when I was walking down the street, if there was a slight shift in the height of the sidewalk (a bit higher or lower) and my next step landed to short or too far, I would double over in pain. Also I could no longer ski, even on easy intermediate slopes. Being a pretty good skier, as I mostly skied double black diamonds, this was very annoying for me. After being in almost constant pain for four years, my wife finally convinced me to visit this lady that ran the Alexander Technique Centre. Previously we had tried acupuncture, chiropractors, even physio therapy, and I wasn't very hopeful. After much nagging by my wife, I reluctantly went. I visited Gaby for about three months, initially twice a week, then after a month or so, once a week, then twice a month. Gaby was great! While she trained me and I did the exercises, she would also double as my shrink..."So how was our week, what did you do?" she would say. Well one time after a few months, I said..."Great, the other night I went skiing at Cypress. There was tons of fresh powder and I skied down under the chair. That's a double black diamond and it was so neat going from bump to bump in the powder." Gaby responded with "Do you remember what you told me when you came here?" I said no. She said "What did you say about wanting to do", she said. I said "I wanted to get rid of my back pain." And she replied "And?". "Oh, yeah, and I wanted to be able to ski again", I responded. So after visiting her for just three months, she helped me get rid of most of the lower back pain and I was able to ski again. I continued to see her about once a month for another couple of years. I highly recommend Gaby for helping you deal with most of your physical pain. She's a delightful person, who chats with you while your taking your lessons and getting worked on. It's almost like getting a package deal - you get a shrink and a pain specialist all wrapped up into one, for a very low price. Feel free to call me if you want to ask me personally about my treatments 604-644-4914.

Kirsten W (Optometrist, Equestrian)

I had a very interesting moment towards the end of the session where after I felt that I was balanced without stiffness, I opened my inside rein to just flex and soften Riley and was surprised how easily the aid went through and how receptive he was to the aid. Very cool moment! Definitely gives us a glimpse in just how incredibly our bodies affect theirs, and our communication. I know we "know" this, but to feel it was so awesome. Thanks again for finding space for me in the clinic. I'd love to work with Gaby again in the future! We could all benefit from this heightened awareness of riding!

Mauro F. (17 years old; started AT lessons at age 15)

Gaby calls her sessions lessons because she teaches you how to teach yourself.