Alexander Technique

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Alexander Technique

Postby carolad » Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:12 am

I mentioned the Alexander Technique in another post and thought you may be interested in this link (there are links to further articles within this page):

http://www.alexandertechnique.com/articles2/fibro/

If you haven't heard of the Alexander Technique, it is a method of retraining your body to remove muscle tension and so improve your posture. Well, it actually does a lot more than that, but it is difficult to describe! I first went to an AT teacher about 5 years ago, on the recommendation of a friend who has the same spinal condition as me (scoliosis). It was the first thing I tried which lessened my pain. It may also be helpful for people with fibro, as this article suggests.

The worst thing about it is that it is not funded by the NHS so you have to pay for it yourself. It doesn't happen overnight so you would need quite a few sessions - this can make it quite expensive. But if you do have the money, I can thoroughly recommend it :)
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Re: Alexander Technique

Postby zappa20 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 5:33 am

Agree it can be really helpful to learn, it was suggested to me by the. Fibro clinic but I'd just had my driving licence revoked at the time for medical reasons which put paid to that idea. But a work colleague who was having dreadful problems with her shoulder tried these classes when suggested by her GP and found it resolved her problem over time. She also roped her mother who was in her late 60s at the time into attending just to keep her supple and mobile.
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Re: Alexander Technique

Postby denys » Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:49 pm

Hopefully will prove beneficial to some thanks for the link :-D :-D :-D :-D
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Re: Alexander Technique

Postby *Lisa* » Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:12 pm

I took these sessions many years ago to try and help my posture. I had to lie flat on a mat on the floor with a book as a head rest :yikes: nice and relaxing mentaly but fidgeted in pain constantly then couldnt get up! and neck was in agony after :crazy:

We had to work in pairs also which i didnt like as you had to let a stranger put there hands all over you.

With all therapy i found this the same in the way of its beneficial for a short period of time. Worth a go like all the others :-D
As a Public Moderator & Admin of this forum my opinions/views expressed are personal and are no more valid than those of other members and not necessarily those of UKFibromyalgia...Lisa
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Re: Alexander Technique

Postby carolad » Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:45 pm

*Lisa* wrote:I took these sessions many years ago to try and help my posture. I had to lie flat on a mat on the floor with a book as a head rest :yikes: nice and relaxing mentaly but fidgeted in pain constantly then couldnt get up! and neck was in agony after :crazy:

We had to work in pairs also which i didnt like as you had to let a stranger put there hands all over you.

With all therapy i found this the same in the way of its beneficial for a short period of time. Worth a go like all the others :-D



Ooh I wouldn't like that contact with a stranger either! That is a very odd way of teaching the Alexander Technique though so I'm not surprised you didn't get much out of it. And it most definitely shouldn't cause you pain :( I had an excellent teacher and I saw him on a one-to-one basis, so there was no-one else in the room. I did the 'constructive rest' too, but the teacher was making subtle changes to my position and talking me through some ideas to help my muscles relax. I don't think you would get anything out of it if you didn't have that. So please don't be put off because of a bad experience - this would not happen with a good teacher :)

It isn't a 'therapy' like physiotherapy, you don't actually 'do' anything...it is about NOT doing :) The worst thing you can do in an AT lesson is try too hard because once you start trying to get it right, this automatically causes tension in your body! So it is more about changing your state of mind than anything. And it isn't a quick fix. I think it probably took about 10 sessions before my body started to get the hang of it! But that isn't surprising really. We develop bad habits over many years...so those habits aren't going to be corrected overnight.

But once you start thinking the Alexander Technique way, it is with you always - now every time I walk, stand, sit, lie, move, I do it the AT way ie check I'm not tensing muscles or using more force than I need to, thinking all the time of letting go and standing tall and balanced. A good tip for everyone is to get into the (good) habit of using as little force as possible in everything you do. So don't grip the steering wheel, hold it lightly. Don't thump down on the computer keyboard, just use a light touch...you get the idea :) Once you become aware of it, you will realise you are putting far too much effort into things that don't require that much effort! So that is the first step in the process of letting go of all that tension in your body...

Zappa - that is very enlightened of that GP for suggesting AT! Though it is gaining more popularity within the medical community because there was research done a few years ago which showed AT was effective in dealing with back pain. It is just a pity it isn't funded by the NHS! But yes, very good for elderly people too. A lot of the hunched over type postures you see in elderly people can be prevented by leaning AT. If you have good posture too, you are less likely to wear out joints and get arthritis....and there is even evidence it can prevent falls in older people because they become more balanced.

The only downside really is the cost. But if you can afford it, it is worth a try :)
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Re: Alexander Technique

Postby Gracious » Thu Nov 06, 2014 1:32 am

Carolad, completely agree with the effectivness of the AT. Definately best to have one-to-one sessions. In my first session we looked at three things, sitting, standing, getting between the two and the "Constructive Rest". Even just one session was invaluable. You certainly get to experience and become aware of the strain we put our bodies under.

When I was place and manipulated into my correct standng posture it felt so weird and alien. I felt I was all swinty, he got a full mirror to show me I was standing perfectly straight, and I was. I had been walking and standing my whole life swinty and putting lots of strain on my neck, lower back and my shoulder blades were over extending.

Your also right, that the only way to do the technique is to be relaxed. I recall being asked to sit as he held my head and neck in alignment. I found it impossible, as I had my whole life habitually sat down crushing my neck backward every time, so when he stopped me from being able to do that, I couldn't figure out how to sit down or get up....so big learning curve to retrain that.

I loved the constructive rest, and still use it daily, once in the morning and evening and anytime I have been standing, walking or straining my back muscles. Its what I use as part of my pacing. I also use this position for long meditations. Best thing I ever learned.

I would definately recommed the Alexander Technique.

With loving kindness
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Re: Alexander Technique

Postby carolad » Thu Nov 06, 2014 2:14 am

Gracious wrote:Carolad, completely agree with the effectivness of the AT. Definately best to have one-to-one sessions. In my first session we looked at three things, sitting, standing, getting between the two and the "Constructive Rest". Even just one session was invaluable. You certainly get to experience and become aware of the strain we put our bodies under.

When I was place and manipulated into my correct standng posture it felt so weird and alien. I felt I was all swinty, he got a full mirror to show me I was standing perfectly straight, and I was. I had been walking and standing my whole life swinty and putting lots of strain on my neck, lower back and my shoulder blades were over extending.

Your also right, that the only way to do the technique is to be relaxed. I recall being asked to sit as he held my head and neck in alignment. I found it impossible, as I had my whole life habitually sat down crushing my neck backward every time, so when he stopped me from being able to do that, I couldn't figure out how to sit down or get up....so big learning curve to retrain that.

I loved the constructive rest, and still use it daily, once in the morning and evening and anytime I have been standing, walking or straining my back muscles. Its what I use as part of my pacing. I also use this position for long meditations. Best thing I ever learned.

I would definately recommed the Alexander Technique.

With loving kindness


Yes, that was exactly my experience too! I used to stand with my hips pushed forwards, tucking my pelvis under and flattening my lumbar curve. I also pulled my ribcage up and my shoulders back (very common since we are always told to stand up straight and pull your shoulders back - worst advice ever!). So when my AT teacher corrected all these faults and balanced me out, I felt like my butt was sticking out and that my upper body was tipping forwards - but when he showed me in the mirror, I could see I had this lovely balanced posture!

And I had the same thing too of not knowing how to do things I've been doing all my life! I found is that when I managed to persuade my body to adapt this correct posture, that was ok for standing but I just couldn't work out how to walk. I figured out pretty quickly how to walk starting with my right leg, but starting with my left leg took longer to work out! This probably sounds really strange to other people but it is all to do with changing your bad habits - your brain really has to be rewired to fit your new posture so this is why it feels like it is something new to you.

I use AT on a daily basis too - especially if I'm in pain, I will focus in on my body and concentrate on 'letting go' and letting the tension drop away. And constructive rest is great for rebalancing the body and promoting relaxation.

So pleased to have found another AT fan :) It is helpful for a huge range of medical conditions, from chronic pain to asthma to anxiety. Definitely one to think about for anyone looking for an alternative method of managing their symptoms.
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