Alexander Technique and Physical Therapy
The Alexander Technique


 
 
 

THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE
AN INTRODUCTION FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
By Idelle Packer, MS, PT, CTAT

The Alexander Technique is a learned method to minimize postural and movement dysfunction and improve the student (patient)'s effectiveness in all areas of life. The individual learns to recognize habits of thought and muscular response that compromise optimal performance of daily activities. In a series of one-on-one lessons with a certified teacher, a student of the Alexander Technique develops skills to inhibit unwanted muscular engagement and execute any action with minimized strain and maximized balance/efficiency.

BENEFITS:
The Technique has been found to significantly

  • reduce pain
  • improve overall functional strength and mobility
  • modify stress responses
  • enhance breathing coordination

    THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE PROFESSIONAL:
    An AmSAT-certified Alexander Technique teacher is a highly trained professional who has completed a 1600-hour training program over a minimum of three years. The training's emphasis is on observation and modification of human movement patterns to identify and eliminate sources of movement dysfunction. In a process of psycho-physical reeducation, the teacher uses specific clinical skills, including manual guidance and verbal cues, to improve each student's postural and movement patterns.

    HISTORY OF THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE:
    F.M. Alexander (1869-1955) developed the Alexander Technique more than a century ago. An Australian actor who lost his voice while reciting, he observed misuse of the body as a fundamental cause of maladaptive functioning. The approach he created to solve his own physical problem focuses on correcting misuse of the interrelationship and neuromuscular activity of the head, neck and spine.

    RESULTS OF A UNIQUE SELF-MANAGEMENT PROCESS:
    The Alexander Technique has been beneficial to people with a wide variety of neurological and musculoskeletal problems. The Technique provides an index for observing and improving human movement and a means to gain proficiency in basic movement skills such as walking, bending, squatting, lunging, moving in bed or transferring to and from seated surfaces. The Technique also addresses habits of muscular response by offering a unique approach to neuromuscular re-education. The result is a more upright posture and less muscular tension in the neck, back and shoulders.

    In the case of repetitive stress or traumatic injury, a primary benefit is that students learn proper use of the peripheral joints involved in the injury. Most importantly, they learn a unique self-management process that directly affects the function of those joints: an understanding of balance and dynamic postural control.

    Written for the American Society of the Alexander Technique (AmSAT), by Idelle Packer, M.S., P.T.; Copyright AmSAT 1997.
    THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE
    APPLICATION TO MEDICAL REHABILITATION

    People with the following diagnoses and pathologies have found the Technique to significantly increase range of motion, reduce pain, enhance breathing coordination, and improve overall coordination, functional strength, and mobility:

    Pain management

  • Lyme disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Fibromyalgia

    Traumatic injury

  • Orthopedic auto, sports & work injuries

    Back, neck and hip dysfunction

  • Spasm
  • Disc herniation
  • Post-laminectomy
  • Stenosis
  • Sciatica/rediculopathy
  • Scoliosis
  • Dorsum rotundum
  • Scheuermann's disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Neck and low back syndrome

    Repetitive stress/strain injuries
    .of performing artists, computer users, industrial workers, aerobic and weight training, exercisers, etc.

    Neurological dysfunction

  • Parkinson's disease
  • Dystonia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke

    Respiratory dysfunction

  • Asthma
  • Paradoxical breathing
  • Shallow breathing

    Posture & balance disorders

  • Parkinson's disease
  • Vertigo
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Brain tumor
  • Cerebellar dysfunction

    1997, Idelle Packer

British Medical Journal Study on back pain and the Alexander Technique
Oprah Magazine's March article on Back Pain and the Alexander Technique.
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