Alexander Technique and Physical Therapy
The Alexander Technique


By Idelle Packer, MS, PT, CTAT

Taking lessons in the Alexander Technique is a way of taking care of yourself.

One of my students, a 60 year-old businessman, spoke of his lessons as his insurance policy. He wanted to know what he could do to promote healthy bones, muscles, and joints.

He wanted to avoid the typical postural problems that might result from unconscious slumping and malcoordination in moving. And he appreciated time to recuperate from the stress of his job; time to focus on the mind-body learning experience of the Alexander Technique that quieted his mind and relaxed his body.

He also took delight in his new-found control over his posture and movements that he could bring back to the work place.

I consider the study of the Alexander Technique to be a key to health and performance, a way to improve the quality of life. After all, we move and use our bodies every day. Why not learn how our bodies work best?

The Alexander Technique:
An Effective Approach to Patient Self Care
by Idelle Packer

As a primary approach to self care, the Alexander Technique produces substantial benefits. Over a course of lessons, the student acquires a new index of postural awareness. The student can simply and effectively modify his/her muscular response to stress, initiating new pathways of behavior at will.

As the student's independence increases, accurate proprioception (awareness of joint/muscle position and movement) is heightened and functional strength and overall flexibility increases. The body's carriage is consistently more upright with decreased effort in the musculature of the neck and back. Improved general coordination in daily activities and work efforts results in increased safety and energy conservation.

In addition, the Technique maximizes the benefits of therapeutic and recreational exercise for overall health.

Indications and contraindications

  • People with neurological or musculoskeletal dysfunction have effectively managed chronic pain and repetitive strain injuries by applying the principles of the Technique in daily activity and to their home exercise programs.
  • The Technique is particularly effective for neck and back disorders because of its emphasis on spinal decompression and balancing of the trunk musculature.
  • The Technique can improve the respiratory mechanism.
  • The Technique can improve functional mobility.
  • The Technique can successfully relieve the psychological states of depression and anxiety that frequently accompany chronic pain and disease.
  • There are no known contraindications. Students must be conscious, willing, and beyond the level of pain or dysfunction that precludes learning.

    The Alexander Technique promotes patient independence and is cost effective.

  • A course of lessons is not a passive treatment but an educational program tailored to each student's individual needs.
  • The recommended course is 30 lessons, depending on the student's participation and initial level of functioning.

    The Alexander Technique promotes independence. It does not require special equipment or prescribed exercise, but can be done anywhere, in any activity. A student, therefore, directly activates the Technique's benefits throughout his/her day. Idelle Packer 1997

    Back Care


    Mini-Alexander lesson with Elizabeth Buanano:

    "The great phase in man's (woman's) advancement is that in which he passes from subconscious
     to conscious control of his own mind and body."
    F.M. Alexander: Man's Supreme Inheritance (E.P. Dutton & Co., 1919)