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Alexander Technique - Benefits and Disadvantages

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The Alexander technique improves the way you feel and helps you move in a more relaxed and comfortable manner. Read this article to learn more about Alexander’s technique, principles, and benefits.

Medically reviewed by

Mohammed Wajid

Published At May 23, 2022
Reviewed AtDecember 14, 2022

What Is Alexander Technique?

The Alexander technique teaches better posture and mobility, which is believed to aid in the reduction and prevention of issues caused by unhelpful habits.

What Are the Core Principles of the Alexander Technique?

It mainly focuses on:

  • The way you move, sit, and stand affects your function.

  • The mind and bodywork together as one, constantly influencing each other.

  • Ways you could become more mindful of carrying out your daily activities. These changes are necessary to achieve the benefits.

  • The relationship of the head, neck, and spine is essential for efficient functioning.

Can Sedentary Lifestyle Habits Be Changed With Alexander Technique?

Our posture, breathing patterns, how we do our daily tasks, and, ultimately, how we live our lives are all influenced by how we move. A coordinated and strong body is required for a pleasant, effortless posture. A sedentary lifestyle, on the other hand, promotes muscle strain. Slumping in a chair for long periods compresses the spine. Learning the Alexander technique can help you become more aware of how you hold, move, and use your body, particularly your back, in harmful ways. Bad posture and repeated muscular usage can result in a variety of musculoskeletal issues, including:

  • Head, neck, and back pain.

  • Muscle aches and spasms.

  • Bursitis.

  • Repetitive strain injuries.

The Alexander technique can also help you in the following cases:

  • Repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome.

  • Stiff neck and shoulders.

  • The uncomfortable feeling you get when sitting at your computer for long periods of time.

  • When a singer, musician, actor, dancer, or athlete feels they are not performing at their full potential.

What Areas Are Benefited From the Alexander Technique?

Most of us use excessive force in our motions, causing damage to the nerves, muscles, and joints. The Alexander approach emphasizes that movement should be efficient, requiring the least energy and effort possible. It is possible to adjust postural patterns and redistribute muscle work more evenly and gently across the body by being more aware of them.

The Alexander approach can help you in a variety of situations, including:

  • Posture and balance.

  • Sporting performance.

  • Back pain management.

  • Stress management.

  • Increase in confidence and self-esteem.

The Alexander approach is primarily concerned with making you aware of how you move and think, which we all do on a daily basis. Here are a few simple ideas:

  • Sitting - Most of us have a habit of sitting in a certain posture, such as crossing one leg all the time. What is it like to sit the opposite way around? Put both feet flat on the floor and position the torso over the pelvis for the most comfortable sitting position.

  • Standing - Most of us have a habit of standing in a certain way, such as putting all of our weight on one leg. What is it like to stand the other way, putting weight on both the legs and maintaining balance?

  • Walking - Does your chin, stomach, or pelvis lead the way when you walk? Taking Alexander classes is the simplest way to learn to walk with ease. You will learn to loosen your neck so that your head can move forward and up, and your back can lengthen and widen. The movement then turns into a joyful experience.

How Is the Alexander Technique Taught?

Teachers use frequent hand contact during lessons to notice and analyze tiny changes in muscle tone and coordination, as well as to convey nonverbal information. This was combined with information and guidance that will be given orally and in writing.

Teachers first look if there is some underlying habit that worsens the condition, such as a particular habitual manner of standing, sitting, or moving. Habits that limit the freedom of movement of the head and neck, create stiffness and shortening of the spine, and usually result in discomfort were prioritized and gradually eliminated.

Hand contact was also used to help people to,

  • Direct their attention where needed.

  • To become aware of and release unwanted head, neck, and spine muscle tension.

  • Gain immediate feedback.

  • Allow lengthening of the spine.

  • Improve axial muscle tone and coordination.

  • Facilitate the dynamic inter-relationships of the head, neck, and back.

  • Improve musculoskeletal use.

  • Maintain improvements during activity.

The topic of each class differs based on the individual's observed and reported requirements and limits. All are urged to practice the Alexander technique in a semi-supine position (laying on the back with head supported, legs bent, and feet flat on a supporting surface) for 15 to 20 minutes each day and incorporate the Alexander technique into their daily routines.

The framework of the physiotherapy exercise classes was based on the biopsychosocial model to assist participants in overcoming any fears or avoidance of movement and help them return to normal activities.

What Is Included in the Alexander Technique Exercise Package?

The exercise package's content is based on earlier editions and in accordance with modern recommendations and systematic reviews. It includes the following:

  • Stretching and mobilizing.

  • Motor relearning, balance and coordination.

  • Strengthening.

  • Activity modification exercises.

  • Cardiovascular exercises.

  • Exercise for rehabilitation of deep abdominal and lumbar paraspinal muscles.

  • Customized exercises specifically for all individuals that may be performed at home.

  • One initial assessment, an individual follow-up session to tailor the exercise program, and 12 group sessions, each lasting for 90 minutes.

What Schedule Is Followed in Each Alexander Technique Session?

  • Cardiovascular warm-up for five minutes.

  • Stretches for the major muscles.

  • A circuit with ten different tailored exercises, each for two minutes, is chosen by the referring physiotherapist.

  • Cool-down time and 5 minutes of light aerobic exercise.

  • Relaxation period.

  • Group discussion.

Who Can Be Benefited by the Alexander Technique?

People of different ages, levels of physical fitness, and backgrounds can benefit from the Alexander technique. The Alexander technique is likely to help with the more frequent types of neck, back, and other muscle and joint discomfort if the condition is caused or exacerbated by faults in coordination, such as posture and balance. Better posture, balance, and management of forces in movement may help relieve symptoms associated with illnesses of systemic origins or as a result of injury.

What Are the Disadvantages of the Alexander Technique?

This technique uses simply light touch and does not manipulate your body in any way. However, the treatment may not be appropriate for some people, such as those with specific spinal disorders such as a slipped disc or an injury. These issues will require medical attention from an expert.

Conclusion:

The Alexander technique is a way of regaining natural balance and posture. We may improve the quality of our lives by paying attention to the smallest details. By learning this technique, you will learn to be more aware of your body, improve and change poor posture and unhealthy habits, and move more effectively. Seek the help of a physiotherapist if you want to learn this technique and apply it in your day-to-day life.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

What Is the Alexander Technique Used For?

Benefits experienced by people who study the Alexander technique include:
- Improved posture.
- Greater ease and comfort before, during, and after childbirth.
- Pain relief.
- Improved ability to deal with stress.
- More comfortable computer use.
- Skill enhancement.

2.

What Are the General Principles of the Alexander Technique?

Principles of the Alexander technique include:
- Recognition of the force of habit.
- Inhibition and non-doing.
- Recognition of faulty sensory awareness.
- Sending direction.
- The primary control.

3.

What Exercises Are Present in Alexander's Technique?

The exercises are:
- Stretching and mobilizing.
- Motor relearning, balance and coordination.
- Strengthening.
- Activity modification exercises.
- Cardiovascular exercises.
- Exercise for rehabilitation of deep abdominal and lumbar paraspinal muscles.
- Customized exercises.

4.

What Is Alexander Technique with Massage?

Massage teaches clients how to actively stay in postures of postural readiness, which helps them change their unconscious natural habits and motions. In addition, the Alexander technique offers great long-term back pain relief when paired with massage and exercise. This therapy has been demonstrated to help those who have been suffering from persistent back pain for years.

5.

Can You Do the Alexander Technique on Your Own?

Although taking lessons with an instructor is the best way to learn, you can make significant progress by self-studying first and then deciding whether or not to take lessons afterward. By watching some of the videos available online, you may understand the foundations and explore some of the learning exercises that are commonly utilized in lessons. However, a teacher's guidance is extremely useful due to the nature of habit and our incapacity to acquire reliable sensory input in the early stages of learning.

6.

Why Is the Alexander Technique Used in Dramas by Actors?

The Alexander technique was taught alongside voice classes at theatre school because their voices could not resonate to their greatest potential when their body was rigid. It would be exceedingly difficult to speak if they tried to tense every muscle surrounding the neck. It is a highly effective body-mind integration technique that benefits actors on multiple levels.

7.

Can Alexander Technique Help to Manage Sciatica?

Many persons with chronic spinal diseases like sciatica have found that the Alexander technique has helped them reclaim their lives. Sciatica is a pinched nerve that radiates down one or both legs, generally from the back of the pelvic. The Alexander technique can help relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve by assisting in the release of vertebral bones in the spine.

8.

Is Alexander Technique Effective?

There is strong evidence for the usefulness of Alexander technique classes in the treatment of chronic back pain and moderate evidence in the treatment of Parkinson's disease-related impairment. Alexander technique classes may enhance balancing abilities in the elderly, chronic pain, posture, respiratory function, and stuttering, according to preliminary findings. However, there is inadequate evidence to support recommendations in these areas.

9.

How Does Alexander Technique Help in Improving Posture?

The Alexander technique teaches better posture and mobility, which is thought to aid in the reduction and prevention of issues caused by unhelpful habits. The teacher will watch your movements and demonstrate how to move, sit, lie down, and stand more comfortably. They will use their hands to gently assist you through your movements, as well as to relieve muscular tension and establish a healthy relationship between your head, neck, and spine.

10.

What Are Bowen and Alexander's Techniques?

A series of smooth-rolling moves with frequent pauses between moves constitute these techniques. This allows the body to benefit from each set for a longer period of time. Practitioners might treat the entire body or focus on a specific issue. They are able to identify and alleviate tension build-up in muscle groups. The key distinction between the treatments is that a Bowen therapist will treat your current pain and dysfunction, while an Alexander therapist will analyze your postural habits and help you unlearn negative behaviors so that the injury does not return.

11.

How to Practice the Alexander Technique?

It is crucial to practice under the supervision of a trainer since they will show you how to utilize it to lessen the severity and frequency of bad habits, as well as enhance coordination, muscle tone, and musculoskeletal use. Patients were told not to compete with one another and that repetitions and exercise progression should be done at their own pace.

12.

How to Practice the Alexander Technique?

It is crucial to practice under the supervision of a trainer since they will show you how to utilize it to lessen the severity and frequency of bad habits, as well as enhance coordination, muscle tone, and musculoskeletal use. Patients were told not to compete with one another and that repetitions and exercise progression should be done at their own pace.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Mohammed Wajid
Mohammed Wajid

Physiotherapy

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