You may have heard about the Alexander Technique in health circles or read about it in magazines, but how many of us can honestly say we know what it is, what it entails and what it is for? Lots of people could benefit from the Alexander Technique but may just know nothing about it, so it’s important that we educate ourselves on this useful form of therapy which can be used to treat a number of health conditions to improve a patient’s quality of life and reduce pain and anxiety.
The Alexander Technique uses gentle guiding touches and instructions to help patients suffering from a range of conditions to improve their posture and correct their breathing technique to help reduce pain and make every day living more comfortable. It can be beneficial for all sorts of people, from pregnant women to people suffering from Parkinson’s disease to musicians who find themselves with aches and pains from constant playing.
The therapist will instruct you to perform a range of breathing and gentle stretching exercises to help you correct your posture and loosen up the body. Stress and ongoing tension of the muscles can lead to stiffness in the body, and this technique helps to relax the muscles to decrease pain in the back, neck or any other part of the body.
Furthermore, this technique can be used to improve balance. If you play a lot of sport or spend a lot of time standing on your feet, you may find that poor posture means you are constantly slumped to one side or distributing your weight unevenly between feet which can lead to pain and spinal curvatures over time. This helps to readdress that balance so that your weight is spread evenly through the body, using similar practices to yoga.
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is becoming more and more common these days as more of us spend time working at computers in the same position for hours on end. The Alexander Technique is a good way to ‘reset’ the muscles and help them relax into a position that won’t cause you any further discomfort.
When you’re pregnant, your stance naturally changes as you have to readjust the balance of your body to accommodate your growing stomach, so you need to learn to shift the weight appropriately to help you move around more easily and manage the extra weight. When the body fails to do this in a safe, comfortable way, some help from a therapist skilled in the Alexander Technique can help you to learn a safe posture to keep you comfortable throughout the pregnancy.