For over 100 years, the Alexander Technique has helped many people to retrain their physical movements to filter out redundant tension within the muscles. There are a number of benefits that can come from learning how to properly enact Alexander Technique posture processes. Here are five of the top benefits that the technique can provide:
The first benefit can be felt by those who suffer from neck, back and joint pain. This isn’t just for those who suffer from these aches and pains now and then, but for those who suffer from long-standing issues. The positive effect of using Alexander Technique posture movements has been reported by many. This has led to the NHS recognising the benefits of the technique to those with long-term back pains and neck pains, as well as those who are living with Parkinson’s disease. The second benefit of Alexander Technique is that it can dramatically reduce tension and stiffness felt within muscles. It does this via a retraining of the movements that create muscular tension. This is achieved by creating a much healthier relationship between key points in the body such as the neck, spine and head. Teachers of the technique help the learner achieve this via gentle guidance through the movements required to alleviate this tension. Performers such as actors, musicians and professional athletes may benefit greatly from reducing stiffness and improving their form. This leads us onto the next great benefit from the technique: improved posture.
The creation of the Alexander Technique for better posture was due to its ‘inventor’ (or perhaps observer) Frederick Matthias Alexander, an actor with a passion for Shakespeare, desiring to better his own posture. The famous social reformer and pragmatist John Dewey was so impressed by the effect the Alexander Technique for posture had on him that he wrote the introduction to Alexander’s 1923 book ‘Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual’. Dewey claimed that once his posture had been corrected via the technique, it alleviated his vision problems, neck pains, headaches and even the symptoms of stress that he felt. In fact, this is a fourth benefit that many people feel when they learn the technique: a reduction of stress. The feeling of being physically relaxed has been observed by practitioners as a by-product of improving posture. ‘Psycho-physical’ was a term used by Alexander to describe the improvements that would be felt by those practising the technique. He was keen to stress the relationship between the body and mind at a time when many were still debating the philosophical impact of Cartesian Dualism (the separation of body and mind). Last, but not least, the technique benefits those with vocal and breathing issues. Alexander himself developed voice loss when public speaking and he credited the technique he developed with allowing him to recover his voice well enough to become, of all things, an orator.
These are some of the most commonly reported benefits felt by those practising Alexander Technique posture behaviours. If you feel that your posture could be contributing to your pains and problems, consider taking Alexander Technique lessons from a registered teacher.