Top 15 Benefits of Learning the Alexander Technique (AT)
Posted on 17th April 2012 at 22:05
The Alexander Technique is ‘Common Sense’; it helps us to look, feel and perform to our best – male or female; is scientifically proven to work; 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; is a technique you learn for life; is an investment – scientifically proven to be cost-effective; has no need for special exercises; is not about doing more in our already busy lives, but learning to do less; helps us whatever our job, interests or activities; helps all aspects of our lives; helps us to avoid aging before our time; works indirectly; can help us manage a disability; where benefits are experienced from day 1; helps with clarity of thinking with all aspects of life.
1. Alexander Technique is ‘Common Sense’ … when you think about it.
AT 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 AT 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. 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 AT helps us feel more confident about ourselves and our abilities, and makes us more attractive to others. We come across better.
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 at Link to British Medical Journal BMJ Randomised controlled trial of Alexander Technique lessons, exercise, and massage for chronic and recurrent back pain
24 AT 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. No need to rely on Alexander Technique teacher indefinitely
The AT 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.
6. Learning the Alexander Technique is an investment – scientifically proven to be cost-effective
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.
You identify the root cause of problems while learning this skill which allows you to understand the means to apply it in all activities for the rest of your life.
7. No need to do special exercises:
We learn to think during our activities, not simply repeat old ways.
We can learn to apply the AT to sport / exercise /dance – activities of interest to us – enhancing our whole well-being rather than having to do boring exercises and find the time to fit them in.
8. 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 not necessary in the present, and un-do the unnecessary habits of the past to allow our natural poise to shine through and improve our performance.
9. Universal Appeal – helps us whatever our job, interests, activities
Because the AT works at a fundamental level of being a human being, it helps us regardless of our occupation, interests, profession, gender.
10. Helps all aspects of our lives.
It affects all areas of your life because it works at the level of your co-ordination in all that you do.
11. Doesn’t matter about age, helps us all avoid aging before our time.
We will all die, but surely it would be good to live fully until we do! The AT 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 AT can reverse this trend enabling us to live fuller lives and be far more optimistic about the future. AT gives you back hope.
12. Alexander Technique works indirectly rather than directly / specifically
AT, 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 manage a disability
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 AT 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.
This education 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 give clarity of thinking and deal with all aspects of life
As we become more practised in observing and becoming aware of how our habits may be detrimental to us, and practised at how to change 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 AT improves the quality of our lives – and we each only have one of them – and this is it!
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