Tag Archives: back pain

Alexander Technique Brighton Hove – Photo Album

In a previous post I mentioned how I used to get tongue-tied or overly enthusiastic when someone asked the question “What is the Alexander Technique?”

Of course, it’ll always be difficult to describe an activity, any activity, that has such a large sensory component. So I promised to put up some photos, with comments, so you can at least get a fly on the wall perspective of what a typical Alexander Technique lesson might look like.

As a general rule, Alexander Technique teachers tend to work from the core of the body — neck, head and back – out towards the extremities ie the arms and legs. The major muscles that move the limbs, however, have their origins in the torso. So working with the neck, head back relationship automatically influences the movement of the arms and legs. The converse is also true – working with the arms and legs will reinforce release and expansion through the neck, head and back.

hnique Brighton BN1

“Allow your neck to be free”

Brighton & Hove Alexander Technique Hand on Neck

“Allow your neck to be free in such a way that your head can go forwards & upwards”

Hand on head. Brighton & Hove Islington Alexander Technique

“Allow your neck to be free & your head to go forwards & upwards so that your back can lengthen & widen”

Hands on the back. Brighton Hove Islington Alexander Technique

In practice most Alexander Technique teachers do not recite these directions parrot-fashion. The words and language tend to be naturalistic and tailored to fit the individual.

Arms & Legs– Although there are specific directions for the arms & legs often the teacher will ask the pupil to continue focussing on their neck, head and back relationship as they work with the arms and the legs.

Alexander Technique Brighton Hove London Islington. Taking arms during table work.JPG”

Legs

Alexander Technique Brighton Hove london Islington__Taking arms during table work

Chair-work

Alexander Technique Brighton, Hove & London chair work 

Alexander Technique Brighton & Hove - Helping pupil with bending. Also known as “Monkey”.
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Alexander Technique Brighton & Hove. The deep squat.

It’s difficult to really capture the living, dynamic quality of an Alexander Technique lesson on a photograph. Young children often embody that Alexander quality unconsciously.

It isn’t just about moving in and out of a chair. It’s a convenient way of learning to move easily and efficiently. A convenient method that can be transferred into all sorts of everyday movements and activities. It’s a great method of learning to suspend habitual muscular and even emotional responses.

Alexander Technique Brighton Hove – BMJ back pain video

The BMJ Back Pain Trial video

British Medical Journal trial- Alexander technique relieves low back pain…

Trial participants were taught the Alexander Technique to improve muscle tone, coordination, balance and movement skills. Participants were helped to recognise and avoid habits that caused or aggravated their pain.

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All Alexander Technique lessons were provided on a one-to-one basis. Teachers used both hands-on teaching and adequate verbal explanation.

All the Alexander Technique teachers had been teaching for at least three years and were members of STAT, the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique


Brighton, Alexander Technique, BMJ, back pain, Hove, Sussex, fitness, posture

Alexander Technique Brighton – low back pain relief

Alexander Technique relieves low back pain…

Significant long-term benefit from Alexander Technique lessons for low back pain has been demonstrated by a major study published by the British Medical Journal on 20th August 2008

  • 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 scientific 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.

Link to BMJ trial

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What is the Alexander Technique?

“The Alexander Technique teacher uses their hands to lengthen your spine; they coax you into moving lightly and easily; this induces a sense of calm and well being; the teacher accompanies these wonderful experiences with careful verbal directions!”

Back in 1982, when I qualified as an Alexander Technique teacher, there was nothing I hated more than being asked “What is the Alexander Technique?”. Especially at a party or other social event. But I’d launch into my enthusiastic little rant regardless (see above). The hapless questioner would look longingly across the room for more mainstream company.

It’s much easier nowadays. People are more likely to have heard about the Alexander Technique. If they haven’t they are more likely to be open minded or curious than they were in 1982.

Nowadays when someone asks “What is the Alexander Technique?” I’m more likely to respond with something general like “People find it really useful for dealing with bad backs, stiff necks and assorted stresses and strains.” or “Actors and singers find that it frees their voice and reduces stage fright.”

Mostly this leads toquestions like “Have you worked with anyone famous?” At which point I look knowing and smug and reply “Oh I couldn’t possibly say. Confidentiality and all that!”

If the questioner is genuinely curious and asks “OK but how, specifically , does Alexander Technique help bad backs; free the voice; reduce stress?” I will then probably give them a potted history of F.M. Alexander and his discoveries.

So that’s exactly what I’ll do in my next posting. If you’d like to find out a bit more about what an Alexander Technique lesson looks like click the link below. Happy reading!

Alexander Technique photo album