Can lessons with Elaine help me with my specific health, wellness, or performance concern?
Only you can determine that. Talk with me or, better yet, come in for a lesson to see if the Alexander Technique offers what you're looking for.
As a reference, here are some of the specific conditions that I have helped my students to alleviate or overcome:
- back pain, scoliosis, and hyperlordosis
- shortened stature due to stooping or other habits
- tension (neck, shoulder, back, hip, knee, ankle)
- pain, fatigue, or instability when standing or walking
- seemingly uneven legs or a protrusive belly or rear
- flat feet (fallen arches), bunions, and plantar fasciitis
- tendinitis and RSI from computer or phone use
- tension headaches, TMJ syndrome, and teeth grinding
- hoarseness, shortness of breath, and sleep apnea
- trouble hitting high notes (vocalists and instrumentalists).
Am I a good candidate for Alexander lessons?
If you are willing to learn and open to change, then yes.
How is the Technique different from yoga, physical therapy, and chiropractic treatment?
When students use the Alexander Technique, they learn to carry out the everyday activities of life in a way that is healthier for their body as a whole. What's more, consistent use of the Technique leads to finer attunement to the way they use their bodies, so they can make progress even without an Alexander teacher.
I possess only cursory knowledge of the other modalities; here are my impressions of them:
- Yoga is wonderful for increasing flexibility, fitness, and mental focus, but doesn't aim to build skills directly transferable to everyday life.
- Physical therapy lacks attention to the body as a whole, an approach that oftentimes fails to address the true source of the pain or other recurring problem
- Chiropractic treatment allows its patients to be passive recipients of care, and thus does not empower them to take charge of their own health.
How come I've never heard of the Alexander Technique before?
The Alexander Technique has been around for over a century, but it's a very small field: there are only about a thousand certified Alexander teachers and two dozen certified training courses in the U.S. This is due in no small part to the length and the rigor of the training process: 1,600 hours of mostly hands-on learning over a minimum of three years.
In recent years, growing interest in wellness and in disease prevention has led to greater recognition of the Technique. For example, world-renowned alternative medicine expert Dr. Andrew Weil describes the Technique on his website, while the April 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine includes an article about the Technique entitled "A Dramatic Cure for Back Pain."
Who was Alexander?
F. Matthias Alexander (1869 – 1955) was an Australian actor who suffered from hoarseness while reciting Shakespearean plays. His doctors’ orders to rest his throat between performances brought only temporary relief: after days or even weeks of rest, he would lose his voice again midway through his next performance. Alexander realized that his hoarseness must be caused by something he was doing while reciting—that is, his manner of reciting.
To uncover what was harmful about his recitation technique, Alexander observed himself in a mirror while variously reciting and speaking normally, the latter of which did not cause him hoarseness. He spent years carefully studying the way he used his head, neck, and back—and his body as a whole. His systematic research led him to discover the innate internal organization of the body and the key concepts that together constitute what we now call the Alexander Technique.
By consistently using his Technique, Alexander so improved his voice that he became renowned for it. Other actors began coming to him for lessons in voice production and in his Technique, and doctors from all over began sending their patients to him. For over sixty years, Alexander shared his remarkable discovery by teaching his Technique, by training others to become teachers, and by writing and lecturing.
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