"Judgement must always be made upon the human creature’s intelligent activities on a general basis in the process of living and all-round usefulness.”
Why should I try the Alexander Technique - I've tried alternatives...
The Alexander Technique is unique, practical and effective.
Scientific studies are extremely valuable in many ways – both of us having originally studied engineering we do not need convincing of this. The recent scientific study printed in the British Medical Journal proving the efficacy and cost effectiveness of the Alexander Technique in helping chronic back pain sufferers is groundbreaking and has led to The Alexander Technique being taken more seriously by the Medical Profession, scientists and the NHS. However, scientific studies take a lot of time, money and resource as well. They are at times limited with respect to the number and complexities of variables that can be taken into consideration at any one time. At the end of the day we have to think for ourselves, form our opinions and be prepared to change our minds if new evidence appears. Below you can read our ‘opinions’, based on our experiences up until now.
Often, clients will come to see me once they have tried alternative routes to getting better or improving their health, well-being and performance. I myself only began to have Alexander Technique lessons once I had sought specific medical advice and several ‘expert opinions’. Due to the clear therapeutic benefits of the Alexander Technique, it often gets grouped together with Alternative or Complimentary Healthcare. As it is currently neither directly funded through the NHS or part of a Doctor’s core medical training, this is not illogical. For some, they see the Alexander Technique (incorrectly) as an exercise method comparable with for example pilates or yoga. Others (including Alexander Technique teachers) might argue that the Alexander Technique sits better in the field of education than medicine. However, this can make it confusing for you to decipher all of the information in the ‘Alternative or Complimentary Healthcare market’ as well as other Educational or Exercise methods to discern what will work best for you. Hence, I have included the ‘Top 15 reasons to learn the Alexander Technique’ below.
Top 15 reasons to learn the Alexander Technique
1. The Alexander Technique is based on ‘Common Sense’ ... when you think about it.
• The Alexander Technique is based on the principle that our ‘use’ - the way we do what we do - affects our functioning (mentally and physically) in all of the activities in our lives. It does not require a stretch of the imagination to realise that the way in which we, for example, stand, walk, bend, sit at our computers - affects our health, performance and well-being, but we are often so busy getting things done that we don’t think about how we are doing them. The Alexander Technique is about re-discovering our natural poise, the poise that we are born with and you see in young children. It is, one of the foundations for good health – alongside nutrition and exercise.
2. Links with the medical profession for over 100 years!
• Dr McKay (1866-1948) senior surgeon, scholar, author of medical works experienced, witnessed and endorsed Alexander’s work and insisted that he must go to London in 1904 and build up a practice.
• In 1924 nineteen doctors jointly submitted a letter to the British Medical Journal stating that medical diagnosis is incomplete unless a doctor takes into consideration Alexander’s work, and requested that the knowledge and experience of the Alexander Technique be included in the curriculum for medical students.
• In 1928 four further letters were written to the British Medical Journal re-iterating the need for the Alexander Technique to be incorporated within the medical profession.
• In 1973 Dr Wilfred Barlow published The Alexander Principle informing, explaining and endorsing the value of the Alexander Technique
• In 2008 Randomised Controlled Trial of the efficacy and cost effectiveness of the Alexander Technique on Chronic and Low Recurrent Back Pain was published in the British Medical Journal.
3. Alexander Technique is scientifically proven to work:
• Significant long-term benefit from Alexander Technique lessons for low back pain sufferers has been demonstrated in a major study published by the British Medical Journal on 20th August 2008:
British Medical Journal BMJ Randomised controlled trial of Alexander Technique lessons, exercise, and massage for chronic and recurrent back pain
• To summarise
• 24 Alexander Technique lessons proved to be most beneficial
• Six lessons followed by exercise were about 70% as effective as 24 lessons
• Long-term benefits unlikely to be due to placebo effect
• Lessons were one-to-one, provided by experienced STAT teachers
• This was a randomised controlled trial
• 579 patients with chronic or recurrent low back pain; 144 were randomised to normal care, 147 to massage, 144 to six Alexander technique lessons, and 144 to 24 Alexander technique lessons; half of each of these groups were randomised to exercise prescription.
4. Alexander Technique gets at a root cause, it does not just treat symptoms – thus saving you time and money, as well as enabling you to reduce medication and in some cases avoid surgery.
• The need for services from health practitioners such as physiotherapists, osteopaths, massage therapists, chiropractors will probably reduce or even disappear as you learn how to stop causing the problems in the first place. In some cases, surgery may also be avoided. You may also find that you are less reliant on medication, such as painkillers, anti-inflammatories and anti-depressants.
5. The Alexander Technique helps us to look, feel and perform to our best – male or female.
• As a woman, it helps us reveal our natural beauty, grace and elegance. As a man it helps us to be our naturally handsome selves with an assured presence. Male or female you may find that you are calmer, more composed and deal with difficult situations better – and that people notice.
• This is not something which is superficially achieved with a combination of stress, strain, pulling in stomachs, plastic surgery, and expensive make-up and clothes. It is the ‘looking good in whatever you wear’. Onlookers may wonder how you do it, or what it is about you that they can’t put their finger on. After lessons, friends may say. “you look well”, or ask “Have you lost weight?”
• In essence it could be said that the Alexander Technique helps us feel more confident about ourselves and our abilities, and makes us more attractive to others. We come across better.
6. No need to rely on Alexander Technique teacher indefinitely
• The Alexander Technique is taught – clients are students rather than patients. As a student you gradually learn to become aware of habits that might be getting on your way and how to prevent them. Thus you are empowered and able to take responsibility in a positive sense and means that you are not forever reliant on external support.
7. Learning the Alexander Technique is an investment
• An economic evaluation published in the British Medical Journal BMJ (11th December 2008) has concluded that Alexander Technique lessons are an effective and cost-effective option for the NHS. BMJ Randomised Control trial of Alexander Technique Lessons – Economics Paper
• The evaluation found that a series of six Alexander Technique lessons followed by an exercise prescription is more than 86% likely to be a cost effective option for primary care providers treating patients with chronic non-specific low-back pain.
• Through an awareness of the root causes of problems and learning how to prevent them, it allows you to understand the means to apply it in all activities for the rest of your life.
8. No need to do special exercises:
• We learn to apply our thinking during all of our daily activities, and hence special exercises are not required.
• We can learn to apply the Alexander Technique to sport / exercise /dance - activities of interest to us - enhancing our whole well-being rather than having to simply do and find time for exercises which we find boring.
9. Not about doing more in our already busy lives, but learning to do less
• It is not so much about doing more on top of what we are already doing, but about learning to become aware of, and not do what is unnecessary. Through learning to ‘not do’ unnecessary habits of the past, we allow our natural poise to shine through.
10. Universal Appeal – helps us whatever our job, interests, activities
• Because the Alexander Technique works at a fundamental level of being a human being, it helps us regardless of our occupation, interests, profession and gender.
11. Doesn’t matter about age, helps us all avoid ageing before our time.
• We will all die, but surely it would be good to live fully until we do! The Alexander Technique helps us do that and learning helps us whatever our age. George Bernard Shaw started his lessons with Alexander aged 78 with extremely beneficial results and I have clients in their 80’s who are delighted by their improved health and well-being and their ability to be more active and be in less pain.
• On the other hand I have clients in their twenties who have already experienced debilitating pain and feel that they are aging before the time. In fact, I was in this situation too and know the feeling! Learning the Alexander Technique can reverse this trend enabling us to live fuller lives and be far more optimistic about the future. I have seen many cases where learning the Alexander Technique gives us hope.
12. Alexander Technique works indirectly on the whole rather than directly / specifically
• Learning the Alexander Technique, through helping us to re-discover our natural poise, provides a general improvement in our health and well-being through an improvement in the way we work. Thus the cause of specific problems may go away. In fact, health problems that we weren’t even aware that we had may go away indirectly, such as poor digestion.
13. Can help us deal with a disability or chronic condition
• If you are in the situation where you have a disability or disabling condition eg through polio, thalidomide, Marfan’s syndrome or through previous surgical intervention, learning the Alexander Technique can still help you to become the best you can be by learning how to use yourself most efficiently. This can make a significant difference to one’s quality of life.
14. Benefits are experienced from day 1 and throughout learning.
• Learning the Alexander Technique provides therapeutic benefits and often people begin to feel better from their 1st lesson, as well as having a transformation in their attitude through the realisation that it makes a difference.
15. Helps all aspects of our life
• Learning the Alexander technique positively affects all areas of our lives because we bring our habitual co-ordination and tension patterns into all that we do.
• As we become more practised in observing and becoming aware of how our habits may be detrimental to us, and at how to prevent them, we are able to be more honest with ourselves, more reasonable and better able to make positive choices. In short, it helps us be more aware of our choices and increasingly more able to make better ones. In conclusion, learning the Alexander Technique improves the quality of our lives – we each only have one of them – and this is it!
Can you help with back pain, neck pain and RSI?
The Technique is clinically proven to help chronic and recurrent back pain sufferers – long term. This links to neck pain and RSI...
When I show clients this cartoon, they often give a bitter-sweet laugh because the slumped character on the right hand side with his head pulled back, his neck and shoulder girdle collapsed is such a familiar sight in our offices today. I was just like this before I had Alexander Technique lessons.
It does not require a stretch of the imagination to understand that the way we go about our basic activities such as sitting, standing and bending will have an impact on neck and back pain and, when combined with computer use, Repetitive Strain Injury.
Learning the Alexander Technique, through helping us to re-gain our natural poise in movement can help us to eliminate habits which are directly causing our pain. Significant long-term benefit from Alexander Technique lessons for low back pain sufferers has been demonstrated in a major study published by the British Medical Journal on 20th August 2008
British Medical Journal BMJ Randomised controlled trial of Alexander Technique lessons, exercise, and massage for chronic and recurrent back pain.
In not all cases is back and/or neck pain a precursor to Repetitive Strain Injury. However, although Repetitive Strain Injury sufferers often have symptoms of pain, burning, pins and needles and weakness in their arms, wrists and hands, the cause links indirectly to the head-neck-back poise. Treatments, steroid injections or surgery which focus solely on the area of pain are largely ineffective long term when the underlying causes are related to the head-neck-back poise. To understand how you might be affected do contact me to discuss it or book an Introductory Session.
How can I improve my confidence & performance in making presentations?
I'm in the Public Eye. Can you guarantee confidentiality and privacy?
Absolute discretion guaranteed. Private entrance can be used. Home visits by arrangement.
If you are in the public eye – high level politics, top business, high society, music, film, TV or are a top sportsman it is easy to feel trapped. We may have achieved a great deal but also be aware that not all is well. We would like to seek help but where can we turn? The media are ready to pounce and who can we trust not to publish ‘snippets’ if not immediately, then later when we are least suspecting.
I can assure you that my sincere interest is to help all people be the best that they can be, and have no desire to gain in any way from the perceived status of a client. You will note in the testimonials that, intentionally, no client is mentioned by name and I would be happy to sign any confidentiality agreement that you may have. The testimonials printed have been with the consent of each client concerned
At 10 Harley Street there is a private entrance that can be used to increase security and confidentiality, but if you would rather home visits can be arranged by arrangement. So contact me to discuss your situation or to book an Introductory Session.
I'm considering Plastic Surgery - would the Alexander Technique be useful?
Firstly, may I categorically state that I am in no way maligning the anyone’s decision to have plastic surgery, but I would like to make you aware of observations that I have made as an Alexander Technique Teacher.
Plastic Surgery is on the increase, it is becoming more and more ‘normal’, both for men and women and at younger and younger ages. This concerns me – surgery is irreversible. Often, the choice for plastic surgery is for cosmetic / self-esteem reasons especially in the light of media pressure to be beautiful and handsome, with a certain breast size, flat stomach, and an absence of double chins and wrinkles etc.
I have seen in my clients that:
• The reasons why we might consider plastic surgery may go away with sessions. For example, a double chin may be caused by unduly pulling the head and chin into the body; a protruding stomach the result of an unduly collapsed and hollowed back; and facial wrinkles due to sub-conscious facial tension.
• When we become more naturally poised, mentally and physically, our acceptance of ourselves as we are tends to increase. We are all unique and I have found that everyone is their most beautiful and handsome when they are naturally poised being all that they are. If we start the Plastic Surgery route – there is always the difficult question – ‘Where do we stop?’
• We cannot shortcut, good diet, exercise or the poise gained through the Alexander Technique with surgery – there are no short cuts to sustainable health.
Hence, before you embark on the plastic surgery route perhaps try a course of Alexander Technique sessions first. Do contact me to discuss your situation or book an Introductory Session?
How can I make a good first impression?
Exude a natural confidence and captivate your audience
We always get a first impression of someone. We instantly put together a whole combination of details and deduce the character and aptitude of a person. We may be proven wrong with more time spent ‘really getting to know that person’, but it would be hard to deny that we draw conclusions very quickly and that ‘body language’ gives the game away.
Natural confidence comes from being poised and at ease with oneself, confident of one’s subject matter and neither arrogant nor apologetic. This is vital for success in interviews, making presentations and business in general. Self Improvement books often stress the need for ‘good posture’ and positive body language, but they don’t have effective methods for achieving it other than the advice to ‘stand up straight, pull your shoulders back and give a firm handshake’. This method is neither natural (both to us and our audience) or sustainable – we quickly collapse into our habitual way of being and tend to feel anxious when we are putting on an act.
With the Alexander technique we are able to develop a congruent, natural poise without stress and strain which underlies our being such that we bring our best self to all of our business encounters. In addition, working with the breathing and voice can make a huge difference in our projection and consequent reception.