We are seldom taught what good posture is. The consequences of modern day life, hunching over computers and leading a very sedentary existence are stiff necks, shoulders hunched forward or pulled tightly back, restricted breathing, and tightness in the thighs, legs and ankles, backaches, headaches, and other painful symptoms.
The Alexander Technique
The Alexander Technique was discovered by Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), an actor who began his career as a Shakespearean orator and developed chronic laryngitis while performing. He became obsessed to get his voice back. He started observing himself while speaking and observed that undue muscular tension made him have a vocal problem. He sought a way to eliminate that restriction. Over time, he discovered and articulated a principle that profoundly influences health and well being to this day: When neck tension is reduced, the head no longer compresses the spine and the spine is free to lengthen.
Alexander restored his own natural capacity for ease of movement by changing the way he thought while initiating an action. From this work on him and others, he evolved a teaching method that encourages all the body’s processes to work more efficiently – as an integrated and vibrant whole.
How the Alexander Technique is Taught?
The Alexander Technique is an educational method and teachers use a combination of verbal instruction, along with a guiding touch, to convey their message to the students. There are certified teachers to teach this technique. A few teachers have also trained on an apprenticeship basis and have learnt the craft informally.
Benefits of the Alexander Technique:
Therapy Relieves Tension?
It has been recognized that excess tension in your body can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms and it can interfere with your ability to perform activities well. Most persons who seek this therapy come for the relief of backaches, sore necks, shoulders and rarely for carpal tunnel syndrome. It is very useful in helping dancers, actors and singers to improve their stage performance. Sir Paul McCartney, the famous musician and singer, is known to practice the Alexander technique to help him perform better on stage.
Alexander technique can help overcome fears of falling
Studies show that 30 to 50 percent of elderly people fear falling. Elderly persons are afraid of falling and often this fear imposes a certain degree of immobility that they impose on themselves. As they do less physical activity, their physical condition deteriorates and makes them even more prone to falls. More falls make them more afraid and a vicious cycle is induced.
The Alexander Technique teaches head, neck, eye and inner ear co-ordination and the excessive tension in the body is released, and the elderly are made to feel more confident and less prone to falls.
This technique can even help athletes who have frequent sports injuries. It also helps musicians who have bad posture, which results in severe pain, fatigue and decrease in the quality of their performance. Besides helping the elderly and the stressed-out persons, Alexander technique is a safe and effective non-pharmacological therapy which can help a wide variety of individuals from various walks of life.
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Dr. Rajesh Vishwanathan, MBBS, became disillusioned with the impersonal and aggressive allopathic system and trained and qualified in Yoga, meditation, Naturopathy and Homeopathy. He dreams of Integrating Allopathic medicine with the Alternative systems of healing.