Alexander Technique lessons are not a medical treatment as such. Nor is it a particular form of exercise, like Pilates or yoga. Instead, Alexander Technique principles are a way to re-educate your body into the grace and simplicity of movement you had when you were a small child. The aim is to bring your head, neck and spine into alignment; to change the way you move and alleviate those tedious, or even debilitating, aches and pains that may plague you if your posture is habitually poor. But how do classes run? What should you expect if you sign up for lessons, and how can it help conditions such as back or neck pain?
Firstly, you should not embark on a class in which you hope to learn the Alexander Technique for neck pain or back pain without being sure you have a properly qualified teacher. On average, qualification to become a recognised practitioner is rigorous, taking around three years and over 1,600 hours of supervised training. It helps if you have also had a chance to review testimonials from previous clients. Alexander Technique back pain or neck pain lessons usually take place on a one-to-one basis and last between 30 minutes and an hour; typically, around 45 minutes. You don’t have to remove your clothing, apart from shoes, or wear any particular sports or gym wear, although it helps if you wear loose-fitting trousers. This is because you will be asked to move around freely between positions throughout the lesson. Together with your teacher, you will view your usual manner of moving, sitting, standing, lying and so on, often with a mirror before you so you can observe your actions. The practitioner is looking for tensions in muscles that should not be there and that may be adversely affecting you. If you are worried about painful manipulation of joints and limbs during the lesson, don’t be! The teacher will, however, gently place her hands on your back, shoulders, neck and other key areas, both to gather information about how you currently move and to help guide your head, neck and spine into better positions. You will also be given a series of helpful exercises to practise in your own time. These will improve your balance and reduce strain on muscles and joints.
In all, you may need around 20 or more Alexander Technique lessons for full effectiveness. Often, the positive effects begin appearing soon after classes commence. However, only practising what you learn and incorporating it into the way you move on an ongoing basis will offer the full benefit of the technique. To see how the Alexander Technique for back pain works, we must look in a little more detail at back pain and how the exercises address it. Backpain is said to affect nearly 70% of people at some stage in their lives and can drastically impact quality of life. Recent medical advice suggests taking to your bed won’t help; but staying active will. The Alexander Technique assesses the individual’s usual movements and their posture; and then suggests improvements to reduce inappropriate tensions on the body. For instance, if you sit in a slumped position much of the time, some muscles are being overworked while others are under-utilised. Changes in the way you sit, and indeed move, can bring your head, neck and spine into the correct alignment, creating a more harmonious balance. But does it work? Alexander Technique professionals don’t profess to work miracles in curing severe medical complaints. But a 2008, study for the NHS did test the efficacy of the Alexander Technique in relieving backpain symptoms. The results were extremely positive, with many of those having received 24 back pain Alexander Technique lessons showing substantial improvement in their numbers of pain-free days. If you’d like to find out more about this treatment for your own backpain, Susanna Scouller at Alexander Principle would be delighted to help.
My name is Susanna Scouller. As someone who benefitted from Alexander Technique lessons personally, I trained as a teacher to help others understand how re-educating the body to move more naturally can pay dividends. By recapturing the natural grace and poise of a small child, you can overcome neck and back pain; but there are plenty of other benefits besides. Why not look at the information on the Alexander Technique principles on my website at http://www.alexanderprinciple.co.uk? If you’d like to speak to me about how I work or what conditions the technique could help with, please do call me on 020 7821 0007 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be delighted to talk you through the process.