Even best office chairs are not capable of saving your back and neck from deterioration…fact.
And this is when Alexander Technique comes in.
Well, since you are here reading this, it is likely you already have an idea of what this is.
If however you do not know what this is, we will provide a little background to help you understand this very important article better.
Alexander technique is widely seen as a series of lifestyle modification techniques passed across through lessons.
However, it is also a mental discipline that enables one to progressively undo one’s lifelong accumulation of habits of body misuse.
These lessons help a participant achieve a higher level of conscious control.
The result is a myriad of benefits which include better:
- Musculoskeletal system and more.
These improvements result in a generally improved all-round wellness and performance.
This practice has been on for over a century and has continued to gain ground as a viable solution to a lot of wellness issues.
It starts by helping you identify force of habit and how it can trigger faulty sensory awareness.
We also learn how to inhibit our automatic response to stimuli so we can respond consciously and choose the direction we want to take.
In addition to these, it teaches Primary Control – the interaction that takes place among the head, neck and back.
This is a technique that delivers holistic results.
Does this sound too good to be true?
If you think it does, this article is exactly what you need.
We will give you 52 reasons (backed by studies or professional opinion) why you should try Alexander Technique.
If nothing else can convince you, this would!
Don’t forget to thank us later. 🙂
Here are the subcategories – the areas where AT proved its efficacy.
Some of them are quite obvious, whereas others are more surprising.
- For Pains and General Wellness
- For the Elderly
- For Professionals
- For Musicians and Singers
- For Public Speakers
- For Actors
- For Athletes and Sports People
- For Dancers
- For General Application
- BONUS: Expert Corner
52 Reasons to Try Alexander Technique
For Pains and General Wellness
#1: It Helps with Back Pain
The number of people who suffer from back pain today is alarming.
Even sitting in a comfortable office chair is not an insurance against it (here are top rated office chairs for you – check them out).
Tons of material has been dedicated to this subject as has a whole lot of research. One such research is the randomised controlled trial of Alexander Technique lessons, exercise and massage for patients with low back pain by Little P, Lewith G, Webley F, et al.
In this study, 579 patients with recurrent or chronic low back pain were studied. 144 had normal care, 147 were treated with massages, 144 had six Alexander technique lessons and 144 had 24 Alexander technique lessons.
Each group was split into two halves, with one half prescribed an exercise regimen.
The result showed that patients who got 24 Alexander Technique lessons recorded the most success.
Over a period of one year, they had pains for an average of 3 days every month while those who had normal care recorded an average of 21 days of pain every month.
The group that had Alexander lessons was also able to do more daily without being restricted by the pains.
The addition of simple aerobic exercises like walking when combined with 6 lessons of Alexander Technique achieved 70% of the increased capacity recorded with the 24 lesson treatment and was 65% as helpful in the reduction of pain days.
#2: It Helps with Neck Pain
Neck pain can be very disturbing, greatly reducing one’s ability to perform regular duties.
To say that finding a lasting solution has been the subject of many a study will be over-simplifying things.
One study sought to compare the effect of Alexander technique and acupuncture in the management and treatment of neck pain.
The study – Alexander Technique lessons or acupuncture sessions for persons with chronic neck pain: A randomized trial by MacPherson et al – included 517 who had had neck pains for an average of 6 years.
For the study, they were split into three groups.
One group had Alexander Technique lessons plus normal care, the second group had acupuncture treatment plus normal care while the last group had only normal care.
Groups one and two both had 600 minutes of either Alexander technique lessons or acupuncture sessions.
The result showed that after a period of 1 year, those who had Alexander lessons and normal care, recorded an average reduction in neck pain of 31%!
You are free to imagine what the outcome will be when the practices learnt become a lifestyle, stretching over years.
#3: It Helps With Chronic Pain
Cases of chronic pain is said to cost the UK NHS about half a billion pounds every year.
This goes to show how widely spread this is.
About 1 in 3 people in the UK suffer from chronic pain, making it an issue worth receiving serious attention.
To this end, a study was carried out to see the effectiveness (health-wise and cost-wise) of Alexander technique in the management of chronic pains.
The study which was conducted by McClean, S. and Wye, L. involved a total of about 43 persons of ages between 24 and 81.
Each of these participants had been referred by their GPs with chronic pain.
For a period of six weeks, a certified Alexander Technique instructor gave each of them lessons weekly.
After the six week period, a modest improvement was noted in their pain levels.
Much more than just the improvement, it was also noticed that there was a marked change in the way the participants responded to pain and its management.
Actually, over half of them either totally stopped or reduced their intake of pain medication.
#4: It Helps with Knee Osteoarthritis
According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, osteoarthritis is easily the most common joint disorder in the United States.
10% of men 60 years and older have this condition while 13% of women 60 years and above have the condition.
In the UK, over 10% of the population is said to suffer from knee osteoarthritis.
This condition causes immense pains and greatly impairs the patient’s ability to function well.
A study by Preece SJ, Jones RK, Brown CA, Cacciatore TW, Jones AKP sought to establish the impact of Alexander Technique on this condition.
For the study, 21 patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis were gotten.
Each of these was given 20 Alexander Technique lessons by a certified teacher.
After the lessons, knees pains were reported to have reduced by about 56% and this was a long term improvement.
Pain and stiffness were reduced and functions were increased.
Similarly, 10 out of the 15 who were on pain medication when they started the lessons either stopped or reduced their pain medication intake.
This study presents Alexander Technique as a viable alternative for those suffering knee osteoarthritis.
#5: It Enhances Respiratory Muscular Function
To establish the connection between an Enhanced respiratory muscular function in normal adults and lessons in proprioceptive musculoskeletal education without exercises Austin JH1 and Ausubel P. carried out a study which included 20 subjects.
The subjects were grouped into two groups of 10 each.
Group 1 received 20 weekly Alexander Technique lessons and were assessed before each lesson while group 2 (which consisted of 10 participants similarly matched for gender, age, weight and height as group 1) did not receive any lessons and were assessed at the same interval as group 1.
The result showed that participants in group 1 showed an enhanced respiratory muscular function even without exercise.
#6: Helps with the Management of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a well-known progressive condition of the nervous system.
Usually associated with it are: muscular rigidity, sluggish and imprecise movement and tremors.
To try to establish the effect of Alexander Technique lessons on those suffering from Parkinson’s disease, Stallibrass C, Sissons P, and Chalmers C. of the School of Integrated Medicine, University of Westminster, London, UK carried out this study.
In the study, 93 patients with Parkinson’s disease were randomly split into 3 groups.
Aside from their regular medication which everyone continued with, one group had 24 Alexander Technique lessons in addition to the medication, the second group had 24 massage sessions in addition to the medication while the third group just remained with their regular medication.
At the end of the study, it was shown that the group that had Alexander Technique lessons showed a marked increase in their ability to execute their daily activities when compare with the other two groups.
This improvement was sustained even 6 months later.
Another interesting discovery was that unlike what is generally the case with progressive illnesses where dosages of the medication always needs to be increased, the group that received Alexander lessons recorded a very much lower rate of dosage change in their medication.
After these findings, the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended that persons suffering from Parkinson’s disease could receive Alexander Technique lessons as a way of helping them the necessary adjustments that will improve both their condition and response to it.
#7: It Helps In the Management of Ménière’s Disease
Ménière’s Disease is an inner ear condition that often triggers vertigo, pressure, pain, fluctuating hearing loss and more.
Unfortunately, this condition is not curable but can be managed.
Andrew Weil, M.D. in his article titled “Mastery Over Meniere’s Disease? What is Meniere’s disease? What treatment do you recommend?” recommended Alexander Technique as one of the possible ways to manage the condition.
#8: It Helps with High Blood Pressure
Nikolaas Tinbergen, of the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, England gave this personal account based on his personal experience.
According to him, he felt the claims made by Alexander Technique followers were too extraordinary.
He however felt that he could at least give it a try to really ascertain the veracity of these claims.
He, his wife and one of his daughters decided to get some lessons.
They went to different instructors so as to get a better understanding of what the technique is all about.
According to his testimony, the three of them noticed immediate improvement in different areas including high blood pressure.
#9: It Helps with Sleep
Another thing that Nikolaas Tinbergen noticed had improved after he started taking Alexander Technique lessons was his sleep.
He, his wife and daughter noticed that the slept more deeply after they started taking lessons.
#10: It Improves Postural Tone
Postural Tone simply refers to the way the brain regulates muscle tension to be able to support the body against the force of gravity.
To establish the effect of Alexander Technique on postural tone, Cacciatore TW, Gurfinkel VS, Horak FB, Cordo PJ, and Ames KE. of the Neurological Sciences Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Beaverton, OR, USA carried out a study.
In this study, 14 pain-free Alexander instructors and 15 pain-free other participants were chosen.
Both groups were matched for age, weight, gender and height.
The result showed that the Alexander instructors had a significantly lower resistance to twisting than the regular group.
In fact, the average stiffness of the regular group when compared with that of the instructors was more than twice.
This covers neck, trunk and hips.
In the three different methods used to measure how adaptive their postural tone was, the instructors scored higher than the regular group.
This showed that the postural tone of the instructors was more adaptive hence the lower stiffness recorded.
#11: It Helps in The Management of Hypermobility
Hypermobility also known as double joint is a condition that results in a higher level of flexibility in those with this condition.
This increased flexibility arises from the fact that the patient’s body’s collagen is more elastic than normal.
This may seem like a good thing especially considering the advantage it gives gymnasts, musicians, dancers and sports persons.
However, people with this condition are prone to injuries like dislocations and sprains.
Alexander technique helps with this condition.
Though no actual study has been carried out to prove this, the personal experience of professionals like Dr Bull lends credence to this claim.
Dr Bull is an NHS consultant at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent who recorded significant success while treating patients with this condition alongside an Alexander Technique instructor.
With this professional endorsement from Dr Bull, it is easier to believe that Alexander Technique has a positive effect on the management of hypermobility.
#12: It Helps Relieve Stress
The pace of the world we live in today promotes stress.
Everyone is stressed, at work, at home and even at play.
This is certainly not healthy for anyone.
The continued presence of adrenaline in our systems for days on end as we try to beat one deadline or the other is not healthy.
Alexander Technique can help relieve stress by helping us control the way we respond to these external stimuli.
Rather than respond automatically, we respond deliberately thereby cutting off the factor that promotes stress.
#13: It Helps In The Management of Asthma
Nikolaas Tinbergen had in his book listed Asthma as one of the ailments that Barrow had
claimed Alexander Technique could help with.
Though this has not been fully studied and verified, reports of personal experiences can at least provide some insight into the veracity of this claim.
According to a personal account by Chris Broom, he said among other things:
After some months of seeing my Alexander teacher I no longer require my steroid inhaler for asthma either.
With this, cannot just put this off as mere claim.
#14: It Will Help In The Management of Scoliosis
By now we already know that this technique will help with different kinds of pains.
However, mentioning different conditions helps put things in better perspective.
Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve to the side. It can be very painful and difficult to live with.
Lyndsey Hayes, a Social Sciences teacher however had this to say about the effect of Alexander Technique lessons on her ability to manage the condition :
I started the Alexander Technique due to slight scoliosis and a stretched nerve in my left lower back and I thought it would improve my posture which could only help my injury! I’ve got far more out of the technique than just improved posture! The first thing that I’ve learned is how to work with my Alexander Technique teacher and my body to control the pain!
#15: It Will Help With Headaches
We know that headaches are usually an indication something wrong in the body.
The headache we feel is just an outcome of whatever is wrong.
With Alexander Technique lessons, a lot of wrong things are fixed, resulting in the cessation of a lot of those nasty headaches that keep us down.
Chris Broom a beneficiary of the effects of Alexander Technique lessons said:
I started the Alexander Technique because of headaches and lower back pain. Both of these are almost eradicated…
#16: It Helps In Pregnancy
A lot of pregnant women complain of backache arising from their posture as they try to compensate for the weight of the baby in their womb.
Bad postural habits can have terrible effects during pregnancy and childbirth.
Thankfully, Alexander Technique lessons can help you correct these.
The lessons will teach you to release muscle tension in the front and the back so you are able to better support your unborn child.
The lessons learnt from Alexander Technique will serve you well during pregnancy through to delivery and child care.
For The Elderly
#17: Improves Balance and Motor Functions
As people grow older, they tend to begin to find it more difficult to maintain their balance.
This is one very serious health risk faced by older persons because of the increased likelihood of falling.
Alexander Techniques help with this and this study supports this claim.
O’Neill MM, Anderson DI, Allen DD, Ross C, and Hamel KA of San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA undertook a study to show the effects of Alexander Technique training experience on gait behavior in older adults.
To carry out this study, 6 certified Alexander Technique instructors and 7 regular adults were selected.
All the participants were between the ages of 60 and 75.
During fast paced walks, the instructors showed a reduced medio-lateral center of mass displacement when compared to periods of normal paced walks.
This was not present in the other group.
The study concluded that the instructors appeared to have better control of dynamic stability during gait.
This in turn reduces the risk of falling.
#18: Improves Balance and Mobility in Older Adults with Visual Impairments
It is one thing to have issues with balance as one grows older but when combined with visual impairments, it becomes an even more serious issue.
Alexander Technique helps with this as shown in this study by Gleeson M, Sherrington C, Lo S, and Keay L.
In the study, the aim was to determine if Alexander Technique can improve balance and mobility in older adults with visual impairments.
For the study, 120 individuals aged over 50 years and with visual impairment were chosen. These were broken into two groups.
Individuals in one group were to receive 12 one-on-one weekly Alexander Technique lessons while individuals in the second group were to continue with their regular care without any lessons.
The result of the study showed that those who received lessons exhibited some level of increased confidence while standing or walking.
It also showed that was a higher reduction in falls for this same group.
The study found this promising and suggested that further investigation be carried out on this.
#19: It Improves Functional Reach in Older Women
Since Functional Reach (FR) refers to the clinical measure of balance and Alexander Technique deals with the improvement of body mechanics, a study was carried out to ascertain the relationship between Functional Reach performance and Alexander technique lessons.
Participants in the study were aged 65 and above and were given 8 Alexander Technique lessons over a 4 week period.
The result of the study showed that those who received Alexander Technique lessons showed an increase in functional reach after the lessons.
They reported improvements in posture, balance, ease of movement, self-confidence and body awareness.
#20: It Improves Quality of Life Even with Aging
A lot of people expect that as they grow older, they will begin to live lives that are sickness, pain and stiffness ridden.
Alexander Technique shows that you can age well if you learn the lessons of this technique.
A study carried out by Kate A. Hamel, Ph.D., Christopher Ross, M.S., Brooke Schultz, M.S., Matthew O’Neill, M.S., David I. Anderson, Ph.D. of the Department of Kinesiology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA USA showed that the participants (aged between 61 and 75) who were certified AT instructors walked with a gait pattern similar to those of much younger adults.
With this finding, it was recommended that AT should be further looked into as a way of minimizing the effects of aging. Another Doctor said of an elderly patient who had taken AT lessons:
There is no known medical procedure that would have resulted in the remarkable rehabilitation that he had shown progressively during the past seven or eight years. He has had a steadily increasing well-being and interest in living, especially during the past two years… From the medical standpoint he has really shown a reversal of the aging process and his performance has been quite contrary to what one would have predicted for him nine years ago. His blood pressure has been lower, and he has lost angina symptoms that he had nine years ago.
#21: Improves Posture and Surgical Ergonomic Skills
With the increased reports of work related injuries among laparoscopic surgeons, which injuries are related to ergonomic challenges and posture during surgery, a study was carried out to show how Alexander Technique can be used in such situations.
For this study, 7 trainee surgeons were chosen.
Each of the 7 received Alexander Technique lessons and was assessed before and after the lessons.
The result showed that each of the 7 trainee surgeons recorded improved ergonomics and posture and an increased ability to perform fundamental laparoscopic surgery.
#22: Improves Spinal Coordination While Moving From Sitting to Standing
Alexander Technique teaches that there is a proper to move from standing to sitting and from sitting to standing that will enhance spinal coordination.
Achieving this will lead to a reduction in a lot of the aches and pains associated with sitting.
To establish the effect of Alexander Technique lessons on spinal coordination during sit-to-stand, a study involving a total of 29 volunteers was carried out. The study group included 15 certified Alexander Technique instructors and 14 regular participants.
Both groups were as closely matched for age, gender, height and weight as possible.
The study result showed that the instructors had a minimal bending of the spine during movement while also having a smoother movement.
Weight was shifted smoothly and gradually to the feet which was not so with the other group.
This fluid movement seen with the instructors was attributed to their adaptive postural tone and lack of stiffness in the hip joints.
#23: It Will Reduce Repetitive Strain Injuries
To show that Alexander Technique can help reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury, a study was undertaken by Elyse Shafarman, M.A. and Mark W. Geisler, Ph.D. of the Department of Psychology San Francisco State University.
In this study, 16 well experienced Alexander Technique practitioners were matched with 16 participants without AT training.
Both teams were given a click and drag task with a regular computer mouse.
At the end of the study and after analyzing data gathered from the study, the researchers came to the conclusion that Alexander Technique lessons can indeed be used to prevent repetitive strain injuries.
#24: It Helps with Mental Alertness
As a reputable Academic, Nikolaas Tinbergen account of his personal experience (and that of his family members) lends a lot of credence to the benefits of Alexander Technique.
One of the other results he and his family members that started taking lessons noticed was that they became more mentally alert.
For someone in the academic world to notice an increase in mental alertness after taking some lessons, it surely bears a closer look.
#25: It Helps In Dealing with Outside Pressure
Practicing the lessons learnt in Alexander Technique promotes self-confidence which in turn makes an individual better able to face external challenges.
This is one of the things Nikolaas Tinbergen noticed after he and his family members started taking lessons.
In his own words, he called it “resilience against outside pressures”.
This of course can only come from a place of inner calm and confidence that results from the practice of Alexander Technique.
For Musicians and Singers
#26: Improves the Musical and Technical Quality of Performance in Musicians
Anyone who has ever performed on stage understands what performance anxiety can do to a performance.
Alexander Technique lessons offer some help with the musical and technical quality of performance as seen in this study.
25 musical performance students were selected and randomly split into two groups.
One group was to receive 15 lessons in Alexander Technique while the second group was to receive no lessons.
The study result showed that the group that received 15 Alexander Technique lessons recorded an improvement in overall music and technical quality, self-rated anxiety, heart rate variance and positive attitude to performance.
#27: It Will Help Singers Develop Correct Posture
Wrong posture can easily become the foundation of every wrong thing a singer will experience in their singing career.
If this is not nipped in the bud, that singer won’t be able to achieve their full potential.
With Alexander Technique lessons, singers can learn correct posture by first realizing that what they thought was correct posture was wrong.
The process starts with unlearning what has been previously learnt and then learning to allow the body flow naturally.
Once this is achieved, correct singing posture will become a second nature.
#28: It Can Help Free Singers of Vocal Pain
Many singers have experienced vocal pain at one time or the other.
Some have in fact have had their singing career cut short because of this dilemma.
The practice of Alexandra Technique can help the singer identify the habitual patterns that restrict the free flow of their vocals, resulting in vocal pain.
When these habits are identified, the lessons will help the singer overcome them, making singing once again fun and exciting.
#29: It Helps Singers Release Tension and Constrictions
One thing that will greatly hamper your ability to sing well is tension and constrictions in the neck, jaws and other essential areas.
Like Sally Porter Munro noted, it is one thing to know this and another to know how to correct these bad habits that lead to tension and constrictions.
Using Alexander Technique lessons, one becomes more aware of the body and habits that are interfering with the proper usage of its different parts.
With this clarity, the singer is able with the help of Alexander Technique; free him/herself from these tension and restrictions, resulting in a tension free performance as suggested by Paul Moore.
#30: It Will Help with Singing Stamina
Vocal stamina stems largely from a singer’s ability to breathe and support well.
A singer needs to be able to breathe well and make judicious use of every breathe taken.
When a singer can do this easily, the singer will be able to sing for long periods without getting tired of having vocal issues.
This is what is called vocal stamina.
The lessons taught in Alexander Technique will help singers achieve this level of vocal stamina.
#31: It Will Help Extend a Singer’s Vocal Range
The range of a singer’s voice gives that singer more or less room for dexterity.
The wider the range, the more the dexterity and vice versa.
The ability to sing very low or very high depends on the singer’s ability to allow the vocal cords expand or relax quickly and with ease.
Alexander Technique teaches awareness of the body and habits that inhibit the free movements of its different parts.
Taking these lessons, a singer will be able to increase his or her dynamic range by learning to allow the body work fluidly.
#32: It Will Help Boost a Singer’s Confidence
Nothing gives a singer – or anyone for that matter – confidence like being certain in their ability to deliver whenever they are called upon to do so.
Taking Alexander Technique lessons will improve a singer’s all round performance and by so doing, also boost the singer’s confidence.
For Public Speakers
#33: It Helps with Stuttering
Stuttering can be annoying inconveniencing.
Many people who stutter have gone for different kinds of therapy sessions that yielded varying levels of success.
Alexander Technique shows an even better success level with stuttering.
A study by Schulte, D. and Walach, H. which had as its subjects a 47 year old male who had been stuttering from age 5 and a female subject who had been stuttering from age 3 sought to show the effect of Alexander Technique in the treatment of stuttering.
After about 14 AT lessons, the males stuttering reduced from 5.24 and 8% to 0.64 and 2% while that of the female reduced by 2.5 and 4.6% to 0.3 and 0.74%.
#34: It Will Help Improve Voice Quality
No one wants to listen to a squawky, breathless and tired voice. In public speaking, your voice should be soothing and your breathing should be controlled.
When you use your voice, a lot of muscles come into play.
These many muscles need to all be used right for the voice to come out right.
Taking Alexander Technique lessons will help you remove tension and constrictions that can make your voice sound strained and forced.
It is interesting that in the history of Alexander Technique, we learn that the inventor of this technique Frederick Matthias Alexander developed this as he sought to overcome a recurring vocal problem that threatened his career as an actor.
It is therefore almost needless to say that this technique will do wonders for the public speaker.
#35: It Will Help Prevent Voice Loss
Some public speakers find that they easily lose their voice after a session of speaking.
This was the exact same problem that the inventor of Alexander Technique had that led to these lessons.
This voice loss is usually the result of bad postural habits that constrict and cause tension.
With the techniques developed by F.M Alexander, you can learn to speak without these bad habits that lead to voice loss and other vocal problems.
#36: It Will Help You Control Your Breathe While Speaking
We already know the importance of breathing in everyday life.
Without breathe we won’t be alive how much more making a speech.
When a person speaks or sings, it is the air that was taken in that carries the sound we hear.
Wrong breathing puts a lot of strain on the speaker and can lead to gasping or even voice loss.
Alexander Technique can teach proper breathing habits that will help a public speaker breathe well and also manage every breathe properly so the speech is smooth and steady, without unintended gasps for air between words.
Mary Naden explains this further.
#37: It Will Help You Overcome Speech Difficulties
We presented above a study that showed how Alexander Technique can help with stuttering.
Aside from stuttering, Alexander Technique has proven to be helpful for other forms of speech difficulties.
Sheila Pehrson carried out a study with 4 patients with different kinds of voice disorders to ascertain this.
At the end of the study, the patients showed improvement in their voice quality and also a general sense of well-being.
#38: It Will Help You Speak In Public with Confidence
Needless to say, when the inhibitions that lead to voice loss, poor vocal quality, poor stamina and other things that affect speaking have been properly handled through Alexander Technique lessons, a new level of confidence is achieved and public speaking ceases to be a source of nightmares.
With the added confidence of knowing you have your voice under perfect control, you can concentrate entirely on the content of your speech.
#39: It Will Help Manage Performance Nerves
It is interesting that the whole point of Alexander Technique was the improvement of the inventor’s acting career.
The lessons learnt in Alexander Technique help calm the nerves through proper breathing.
An increased self-awareness and confidence that comes from being in control serves to reduce performance nerves which primarily arise from the fear of failure.
Being fully self-aware and in control, every other thing flows naturally.
#40: It Will Help Improve Clarity of Perception
There has to be a reason why every major drama school in the UK teaches Alexander Technique to its students.
Lenny Henry who played Othello for the Northern Broadsides Theatre Company in 2011 took Alexander Technique lessons prior to his award-winning performance.
Alexander technique really helped my posture and focus during my stint as Othello with Northern Broadsides theater company.
Other actors and actresses who recommend Alexander Technique include Stephen Dillane, Kenneth Branagh, Dame Judi Dench, Alan Rickman, Lenny Henry, Jesse Eisenberg, Hilary Swank, Julie Andrews, Jennifer Saunders, and Sir Ian McKellen.
For Athletes and Sports People
#41: It Promotes A Greater Kinesthetic Awareness
One of the greatest assets that Alexander Technique offers athletes is a heightened awareness of their bodies.
Knowing what you are doing wrong and how to correct it. Understanding exactly how to get the best from your body with the least effort.
The lessons taught here help the athlete constantly evaluate what they are doing.
This is like thinking about what you are doing while doing it.
This serves to help you effect immediate corrections where necessary so you are consistently at your optimum.
This level of awareness will shoot any athlete to the very top of their performance.
#42: It Will Help You Run Better
Running better means optimizing the body.
Sometimes a runner gets important tips from his or her coach but cannot really implement these because they don’t understand how to.
The self-awareness that Alexander Technique lessons bring about will help you quickly implement helpful tips that will improve your performance.
This is because you know and can feel your body while running.
#43: It Will Help You Keep Running Even In harsh Weather
Alexander Technique lessons will teach you “Intelligent Running” which will make you listen to your body and adjust your schedule and goals to suit the moment.
With your awareness of your body, you will be less concerned about fixed external targets like running 5 miles every day and more concerned about hitting internal targets.
While practicing intelligent running, you will be able to run with the same level of enthusiasm and interest regardless of the season and how long you’ve been at it.
#44: It Will Help Runners Raise Their Performance
Jason Pufahl had this to say about his running after he started Alexander Technique lessons:
I have been doing the Alexander Technique for ~2 years now… and am a lighter and faster runner than I was 10 years ago!
Alexander Technique lessons will help you make your running more purposeful and fun.
#45: It Can Improve A Swimmer’s Performance
Experienced and new swimmers can benefit from Alexander Technique lessons.
For beginners, the lessons will help you overcome your fear of water. For both the beginner and experienced swimmer, the lessons will help you develop a better relationship with the water, allowing it support you so that the effort you put into moving in the water is greatly reduced.
It will also help you breathe and manage your breathe better, while also improving your stamina.
#46: It Will Improve Your Golf Game
The Alexander Technique helped me release tension which I was previously unaware that I had, in particular when standing at the tee.
In the past my mind would have been elsewhere and my thoughts made me more tense.
Applying the Technique I discovered relaxing the jaw, feeling my socks in my shoes, sensing the ground beneath my feet and just being there really helped.
My drive distance improved and I cut 5 shots in one game.
I now play much more relaxed by applying these principles and am more aware of the moment and less focused on the outcome (what Alexander Technique teachers call end-gaining) and my drive distances have improved through being more relaxed and having greater freedom of movement.
This is a personal account from someone you will think is past improvement.
AT changed all that.
#47: It Helps Prevent Injuries
Your body is your best warning system.
With Alexander Technique, an athlete will know immediately something starts going wrong and will be able to quickly correct it before it escalates.
An athlete that can manage to avoid injuries is already a world apart from others.
#48: It Helps With Recovery
If you are an athlete who has suffered an injury, Alexander Technique lessons can facilitate recovery.
Many times, injuries take longer to heal because of actions we take that slow down the recovery process.
With the heightened self-awareness that Alexander Technique teaches, you will understand your body better and will always know how to help it heal itself faster.
#49: It Will Improve Your Dancing Skill
Dancing requires fluidity and coordination.
Stiffness and pain will surely hamper this.
Using Alexander Technique lessons, you can eliminate every tension and unnecessary effort that can lead to stiffness and even injury.
With a body freed of tension, you can easily focus on the real task which is the dance.
#50: It Improves Presence and Depth In Movement
The practice of Alexander Technique lessons offers a holistic overhauling that cannot but result in improved performance.
For General Application
51: It Improves Overall Cheerfulness
Aside from a more acceptable blood pressure and increased depth of sleep which occurred after they started taking Alexander Technique lessons, Nikolaas Tinbergen also testifies that they noticed they had an overall cheerfulness about them after they started taking these lessons.
Update 11th June 2017:
#52: It Helps Children to Maintain Healthy Posture at School
Children who have some Alexander Technique input at school help them to maintain a healthy posture which gives them more confidence and helps them to avoid back pain in the future.
Good Posture is important and it is all too often that by the teenage years the wonderful grace and ease of movement that we all had as children is lost.
By providing good chairs and teaching children to sit in a balanced way can help them to breathe more fully so that their brain can function better.
In a recent research study conducted by the Alexander Technique teacher training college in Galway Ireland in a short few months a class of ten year olds were noticeably sitting more upright and comfortable in a short few months (click here for more info).
The Class teacher of the children involved in the study remarked:
It was when colleagues from other classes came into my room during the year, and noticed the remarkable difference between the posture of the children in their own rooms.
BONUS: Expert Corner
Research above is certainly very reassuring, but…that’s not everything.
The real life perspective.
This is why I reached out to the best Alexander Technique practitioners in order to directly ask them regarding the benefits of the practice.
Here is what they say (the list is updated every once in a while):
Bonus #1: Build Deep Self-Awareness
It is more than the purely physical technique or discipline that it is widely made out to be.
It is an all-embracing **mental** discipline that enables sufficiently clear-minded and aware people to progressively bring about fundamental positive change in every aspect of their lives.
Indeed, that most fundamental use of it can lead sufficiently deeply-aware individuals directly into enlightenment, without their ever needing to do formal meditation for that to happen.
I know about this directly because that is how it worked out for me.
It was my thoroughgoing use of the AT at its most fundamental level that opened and deepened my awareness enough that only a small trigger was required for me to become enlightened – and I do mean the latter in the strict sense (as understood in high levels of Buddhism), not in any of the usual loose meanings of that term.
Bonus #2: Walk Better
When properly integrated into one’s life it is brilliant for making walking minimally arduous / stressful and letting gravity do an amazing amount of the work.
Even when walking up steep mountain slopes I am proceeding in such a manner that gravity assists me in making my upward progress minimally stressful and effortful.
This is not about any sort of magic but about simple biomechanics and getting the most efficient leverage at each of the leg joints at each stage in the walking process.
On any more or less level ground I have a sense of rolling or gliding forward, with minimal up-and-down or side-to-side oscillation – thus conserving energy and making it all the more efficient.
Bonus #3: Improve Spinal Troubles
In my 70s in 2017, I still have better back and neck function than I ever did before I took up the AT at the end of 1992.
I’ve always had a weak spine, and my very normal poor spinal alignments up to my taking up the AT had led to a quite serious degree of vertebral wear, and all the medics could do was diagnose ‘advanced cervical spondylosis’ and say “It’s just wear and tear – you’ll just have to live with it!”, and, at my persistent request, to give me a physiotherapist appointment that really only encouraged the harmful things I was already trying, like holding ‘correct’ postures and using the actually harmful McKenzie exercises and back / neck support regime.
Once I took up the AT I’ve never had cause to go to medics or therapists of any sort for my spinal issues.
Although the odd relatively minor painful flare-up does occasionally happen, nowadays I know how to handle that myself and clear the trouble generally within a day or so if not even just a matter of minutes.
Bonus #4: Better Functionality
The Alexander Technique is one of the best ways to learn to take charge of the way you function in the world.
Bonus #5: Overcome Chronic Back Pain
The Alexander Technique has a long history – and the medical research to back it up – of helping people overcome chronic back pain.
Almost everyone who has had Alexander Technique lessons testifies to seeing immediate results.
What we have listed above only covers the information we could get.
We have no doubt that this technique offers a lot more than is listed above.
The Nobel Laureate Nicolaas Tinbergen noted that:
The importance of the treatment has been stressed by many prominent people, for instance John Dewey, Aldous Huxley, and – perhaps more convincing to us – by scientists of renown, such as Coghill, Raymond Dart, and the great neurophysiologist Sherrington.
Yet, with few exceptions, the medical profession has largely ignored Alexander – perhaps under the impression that he was the center of some kind of ‘cult’, and also because the effects seemed difficult to explain.
It is now clear that Alexander Technique is something to consider if what you are looking for is results and not explanations.