Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique is a skill for self-development, based on a concept of the inseparability of mind, body and emotions (we call this psychophysical unity).  Whatever your age or ability, the Technique can help boost your performance in any activity and relieve the pain and stress.

It is a method for identifying habitual patterns of use (nervous responses) and through the guidance of the teacher’s hands, learning to release these and relearn more efficient ways to use ourselves in every activity.

With the Alexander Technique we learn how to consciously re-educate the nervous system and improve the use of all aspects of ourselves. We explore the body's anatomical structure, and become mindful of how to use it in the most efficient way.

By learning how to connect our mind with our body,  and to the freedom of our breath, we achieve effortless movement and enjoy physical vitality with a calm, aware and centred state of mind.

Is It for Me?

The Alexander Technique aims at awakening the sensory mechanisms and reconnecting one’s thinking with the body.

It is for everyone aged 3 to 100!

 We learn to perceive the way the body is supported by its anatomy and train the nervous system to be able to stop any misuse and release unnecessary tensions.

 In this way, no matter the disability present, the Alexander Technique helps the person meet and perceive their own body in a new way. By connecting these new skills of perception with conscious awareness, the use of one's self evolves.

In this way, everyone can learn how to change old unnecessary habits, develop new skills and improve their performance in any activity.

When injuries have caused the temporary disability, the Alexander Technique teaches how to turn every possibility of movement into a self- physiotherapy session!

Alexander Technique helps in the recovery, improvement and prevention of:
 

  • Neck pain, RSI

  • Lower Back pain, knee problems

  • Headaches

  • Musculoskeletal injuries

  • Parkinson's Disease


Becoming a Better You

Finding a new way to move with Ease

Improve vocal/breathing issues

Release stress and manage anxiety

Enhance Performance in Arts and Sports

 

Prevent Injuries

 

52 Reasons To Try
Alexander Technique in 2017


A great article on the benefits of the Alexander Technique,

published by My Ergonomic Chair Blog, Read it Here.

Being in good terms with ourselves where we are
 

“The cure comes from learning.”

Patrick McDonald

Stress Managment

In the fast paced urban environment we are living the question is more and more how to stay in touch with one's own center, how to keep a calm inner center that remains uninfluenced by the external situations. In order to be able to manage well the tasks that are changing us, do we need to be in an aggressive or stressed mode? Of course not and that is the main problem that adrenaline style reactions or patterns in our behaviour ( anger, over excitement, overworking) eventually cause misuse of our body in some way or another that usually, we don't become aware of until symptoms appear.
With the Alexander Teacher's guidance, the person learns how to inhibit the stressful patterns of reaction to stimuli, how to stop, pause and rethink. Then the Alexander Technique provides new ways on how to stay in contact with our breathing and body and thus acquire a new sense of balanced self. A new sense of awareness gradually develops that has its unique rhythm which is uninterrupted by external tensions while we remain open and interactive with the world around us.

 

Professional Development
It is not what you do, but How you do it

As we learn to acquire Freedom of movement, Clearing the mind and Freedom of Voice and Breathing, together with a recognition of our functional limits and the way to improve them, the Alexander technique guides us towards a state of being that empowers us and enables us to be more and more independent in our choices of means of action, thus improving our use throughout the demanding professional tasks and provides us with a clearer awareness on how to remain centered in ourselves and avoid the negative effects of stress. Overall, offices with more awareness of their employees’ well-being are yielding higher profits.

 Wherever your career demands intense concentration, public speaking, long hours on the computer or on the phone, through the lessons in the Alexander Technique you can manage to keep in contact with your centre and avoid misuse that would have consequences in the long run. 

In these pictures observe how the neck and head are used differently in good vs. bad ways.

 

 The head finds balance atop of the neck and the spine is able to support the body’s weight without collapsing.

 The weight distribution allows for balance, the bones to support the body properly and the breath is able to flow freely through the whole body.

 

 

Performance Enhancment

For actors, singers, dancers, acrobats and athletes the body is their performing instrument.

The Alexander Technique helps maintaining a good condition of coordination of the body and mind.

Performing of any kind means being out there in front of an audience.

The Alexander Technique can help you overcome ‘stage nerves’.

For Musicians the Alexander Technique helps to improve their skills, avoid performance related ailments and manage stress levels during performance, resulting in better use of themselves and their instrument. 

For Singers, through the lessons, all issues that affect performance levels such as vocal hoarseness, limited vocal range, recurring throat ailments, and breathing issues, can be healed and the pupil can learn how to avoid suffering from them again. At the same time enjoying more practicing their art and improve in all levels.

 

Hypermobility Syndromes

Hypermobility is a connective tissue condition (usually inherited) in which the body’s collagen is more elastic than the ‘norm’, leading to increased flexibility.  For some people, notably musicians, gymnasts, dancers and sports people, this natural flexibility gives a very useful advantage, though it leaves them more prone to injuries such as sprains and dislocations. In others it can cause clumsiness, lack of spatial awareness and joint pain.

Sometimes hypermobility can lead to debilitating chronic pain, known as Hypermobility Syndrome (HMS) / Ehlers Danlos Syndrome – Hypermobility (EDS-HM).

Amongst health care professionals, the Alexander Technique is increasingly recognised as helpful in developing strategies to deal with HMS and other hypermobility problems.

Having been diagnosed with EDS myself, I am a professional member of HMSA, dedicated in helping people within the spectrum of Hypermobility disorders.

With the Alexander Technique you can learn:

  • How your body is designed to function so that you can work with the design rather than against it.

  • How to be comfortable in your body, whether at rest or in movement. With hypermobile joints, sitting and standing often involve ‘locking’ joints at one end of their range of movement as a way of stabilising them. This is bad news for your ligaments and tendons, and actually weakens them over time. The Alexander Technique teaches you how to avoid the locking and yet be able to sit or stand comfortably, in balance, with much less effort.

  • How to prevent misuse and overuse - such as overstretching when doing exercises, or holding excessive muscular tension - and how to move with ease in daily life.

  • How, as tension reduces, your balance and co-ordination can improve.

  • To develop a reliable body awareness.

AT lessons may also contribute to an improved postural muscle tone (the normal state of balanced tension in the postural muscles) which can help to stabilise the torso. To find out more about research on the effect of Alexander Technique lessons on muscle tone, click here.

In cases of severe EDS-HM the Alexander Technique may work best alongside a structured exercise programme to gently build strength and stamina. The two work very well together.

For more information on EDS-HM please visit the Hypermobility Syndromes Association.

" ..a patient could think of themselves as a car: the physiotherapist could be seen as the mechanic, i.e. the person who optimizes the joints and builds up core stability, whereas the Alexander technique teacher can be likened to the driving instructor, i.e. teaching them how to drive their body with more skill. "

Dr Philip Bull FRCP, Consultant Rheumatologist, SPIRE St Saviour’s Hospital, Hythe, Kent.

 

Nikolaas Tinbergen Nobel Prize Speech on Alexander Technique

Scientific Evidence

Nikolaas Tinbergen, awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning organization and elicitation of individual and social behaviour patterns". He devoted a significant portion of his Nobel prize lecture in 1973 to talking about F. M. Alexander, the Alexander Technique, and the importance of Alexander's discoveries and the benefits he and his wife experienced from lessons.

 

Contact me to book an Alexander Technique session or with any questions you have about your situation. Start experiencing the benefits for yourself ...

ATLAS - Neck Pain Trial at the University of York - comparing Alexander Technique, acupuncture & GP care  - research results due 2015 

A large randomised clinical trial involving 517 participants is investigating how effective Alexander Technique lessons are, compared with acupunture and usual GP care, for people with chronic neck pain. The 3-year trial, which began in October 2011, is being conducted by the University of York and is funded to the tune of £720,000 by Arthritis Research UK.  

 

In this trial, people with chronic neck pain have been randomised to one of three groups: 

Alexander Technique lessons from STAT-registered teachers (total time 600 minutes across 20 lessons), with continued GP care 

acupuncture sessions (total time 600 minutes across 12 sessions), with continued GP care 

continued GP care alone 

 

Pain and disability associated with neck pain will be assessed over 1 year, along with measures of quality of life, participant beliefs and experience, cost effectiveness and safety. The trial is not designed to be a direct comparison of Alexander lessons and acupuncture, rather it will compare each of these with usual GP care. Further details can be found in the published trial protocol 2

 

Patient interviews

Some patients have taken part in in-depth interviews on their perceptions and experiences of Alexander Technique sessions, acupuncture and usual GP care. The researchers are also exploring patients' preferences, beliefs and understanding of their neck pain and the impact these factors might have on their experience of treatment and the subsequent outcome. 

 

The results will provide robust evidence on whether there are: significant worthwhile benefits to patients; economic benefits demonstrating value for money; and sufficient levels of acceptability and safety. 

 

Chronic neck pain is a common condition in the adult population. As well as being painful and disabling, it is associated with significant costs to the individual, their families, the NHS and society in general. As the optimal care for chronic neck pain has not yet been established and with patients commonly self referring for acupuncture and Alexander Technique sessions as treatment options, more research on the effectiveness of these interventions is needed. 

British Medical Journal (BMJ) Study on Alexander Technique  - Significant Benefits for Back Pain Patients 

 Impressive 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. 

Compared with usual GP care, trial participants who undertook 24 Alexander Technique lessons with a registered teacher, experienced significantly: 

- less pain (average 3 days of pain per month versus 21 days) 

- less incapacity (able to carry out three more types of daily tasks without being limited by back pain) 

Trial participants who undertook 6 lessons had an average of 10 days of pain per month versus 21 days for the control group. 

Alexander Technique Improves Postural Tone  

Scientific findings indicate the Alexander Technique changes how anti-gravity muscle tension is regulated and that it reduces stiffness along the spine and hips. 

Find the paper: "Increased dynamic regulation of postural tone through Alexander Technique training". by T.W.Cacciatore, V.S. Gurfinkel, F.B. Horak, P.J. Cordo, and K.E. Ames, study published in Human Movement Science - Feb 2011. 

Picture to right shows Claire Rennie taking part in Alexander Technique research conducted by Dr. Tim Cacciatore 

 

NHS Choices​
 

Since the beginning of the 20th century there has been enough scientific evidence to support the effects of the Alexander Technique in the improvement of Neck and Lower Back pain, Parkinson’s disease and many other ailments.

 

Once the beginning of the 20th century there has been enouSince the beginning of the 20th century there has been enough scientific evidence to support the effects of the Alexander Technique in the improvement of Neck and Lower Back pain, Parkinson’s disease and many other ailments.gh scientific evidence to support the effects of the Alexander Technique in the improvement of Neck and Lower Back pain, Parkinson’s disease and many other ailments.the beginning of the 20th century there has been enough scientific evidence to support the effects of the Alexander Technique in the improvement of Neck and Lower Back pain, Parkinson’s disease and many other ailments.

Since the beginning of the 20th century there has been enough scientific evidence to support the effects of the Alexander Technique in the improvement of Neck and Lower Back pain, Parkinson’s disease and many other ailments.

Proactive Selective Inhibition Targeted
at the Neck Muscles

Proactive Selective Inhibition Targeted at the Neck Muscles

Article by 

Ian D. Loram, Member, IEEE, Brian Bate, Pete Harding, Ryan Cunningham, Member, IEEE,

and Alison Loram

'Proactive Selective Inhibition Targeted at
the Neck Muscles: This Proximal Constraint
Facilitates Learning and Regulates GlobalControl'

 

Effect of tai chi versus aerobic exercise for fibromyalgia: comparative effectiveness randomized controlled trial
egrgr.JPG
Research
Effect of tai chi versus aerobic exercise for fibromyalgia: comparative effectiveness randomized controlled trial

Tai chi mind-body treatment results in similar or greater improvement in symptoms than aerobic exercise, the current most commonly prescribed non-drug treatment, for a variety of outcomes for patients with fibromyalgia. Longer duration of tai chi showed greater improvement. This mind-body approach may be considered a therapeutic option in the multidisciplinary management of fibromyalgia.

 

Alexander Technique for Children

​ Teaching in small groups, I combine aspects of Alexander Technique, Tai Chi and QiGong with physical theatre games, to invite children into a movement exploration that helps them use their imagination to connect with their body though motion.

My aim is to train children in mindfulness through motion, establishing awareness of their body and teaching them how to manage their energy in a non stressful way.

We play games of body mapping and anatomy to improve balance, breathing games to help manage stress and create stories with our movement to explore new body -mind connections!

In my class I encourage a non competitive attitude, promoting self- centredness and respect for each others personal space. It aims to help children discover their unique way of connecting to the use of their body, and how to treat it gently while having fun!

While they they express their creativity they also playfully train their mind to be aware and learn how to manage different qualities. 

 
'Sed ut perspiciatis, unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam eaque ipsa, quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt, explicabo'
Lorem Ipsum

Alexander Technique for Injuries and Disabilities

Through teaching the Alexander Technique I help people with disabilities can benefit and achieve an easier use of the body through movement. By respecting and acknowledging the limits in a person's motion, the purpose is to help the pupil be in good terms with themselves as whole.

 Having frequent Alexander Technique lessons can speed up the recovery process after an injury and can work well alongside physiotherapy sessions.

In the case of disabilities the way is to meet the anatomical situation as it is and through the acceptance of its uniqueness give the mind and the body the time and space to breathe and release.

 Depending on the condition, different movement games are practiced, and with the Teacher's help, the pupil can have a new experience of their own weight and use of gravity. Through the process of the lesson new connections develop that create new neurological pathways and open new possibilities of sensory appreciation.

 

The Alexander Technique has been greatly recognised for the improvement it can bring about in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. For detailed studies on the effects of the Alexander Technique in Parkinson's see Here.

People with disabilities can also benefit and achieve an easier use of the body through movement. By respecting and acknowledging the limits in a person's motion, the purpose is to help the pupil be in good terms with themselves as whole. In the case of disabilities the way is to meet the anatomical situation as it is and through the acceptance of its uniqueness give the mind and the body the time and space to breathe and release.

Depending on the condition, different movement games are practiced, and with the Teacher's help, the pupil can have a new experience of their own weight and use of gravity. Through the process of the lesson new connections develop that create new neurological pathways and open new possibilities of sensory appreciation.

 The updated NICE guidelines contain the following statement in the section called 'Non-pharmacological management of motor and non-motor symptoms':

'1.7.4 Consider the Alexander Technique for people with Parkinson's disease who are experiencing balance or motor function problems.'

To see the new guidelines, 'Parkinson's disease in adults' visit: www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng71

 

Being influenced by this holistic mind/body approach to movement and being a performer myself, I was drawn by Butoh's unique coaching for performers, which keep the dialog with my inner self while performing for an audience, how to explore different experience of performing time and qualities and how to condense the energy, keeping the balance between giving outwards and connecting inwards

However, my professional career later required me to partake in much more demanding types of performance and in a stressful way, (during for example the days of the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, where I was performing theatre on stilts for 8 hours for 15 days) which caused injuries such as broken ribs, bunions etc.  Not wanting to take the time to heal and guided by doctors, I instead took anti inflammatory medication which in addition to stress factors, caused the development of lupus SLE (an autoimmune disease).

The doctors were unable to help me, but I did find some relief (although not a cure) through Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  However, to be able to put up with my performing demands, I had to visit regularly chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists in order to get physically in balance again.

Believing that one should not need a constant external aid to maintain the optimum physical and mental health, I was thrilled when starting Alexander Technique lessons showed me a way to live without this constant readjustment.  The effects of the continuous practice technique on my life inspired me to train as a teacher.  During my training, my lupus symptoms disappeared, to the doctor's surprise, but I believe this was a direct consequence of the practice of the technique.

It is my firm belief that stress (in all levels), which is not kept in safe distance, can cause disharmony in all levels. I owe the Alexander Technique the skill I learned that enables me to observe the way stress is triggered in my system and allows me to consciously process it without losing my integrity. I look forward to sharing this life transformative process with all who can understand it's value.

Me and Alexander Technique

Coming together again

As a child I had always been active, moving freely most of my time, enjoying dancing, climbing, swimming etc. Since my early school years and through my ballet, gymnastics classes it was obvious that my body was genuinely flexible in a way that allowed me to perform contortion tricks others would hard work to achieve. I used this feature as a talent throughout my youth but it was not until a lot later when I found out I have what is called Hypermobility Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

I started performing at school and became a professional performer at age 17 in singing, acting, aerial acrobatics and stilts.  From age 15 I started experiencing problems with my body that doctors did not know how to treat e.g. achilles tendonitis, therefore I was looking for a way to exercise that would not make me feel tired or stressed and to help me find my natural strength and find peace within myself.  In the search for this, I found Tai Chi and Qi Gong, and through the regular practice of these I managed to find a way of healing my tendonitis and alleviating stress. At the age of 29 I became a qualified instructor and started teaching.

 
Let's connect

Email: roxani1@icloud.com

Phone: 0 77 072 26 871