Alexander Technique

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Unlike, most of the exercise technique the Alexander technique is not a form of physiotherapy exercise. It involves postural and proprioceptive re-education and hence focuses on learning what not to do as a first priority, that is, learning to become aware of, release and refrain from harmful habits of muscle use and improve coordination of movement, which sets it apart from specific exercises. [1]

It can be incorporated during simple activities of daily living, such as walking, sitting, standing and bending. The technique aims to teach and educate the correct use of the postural mechanisms that regulate upright support and locomotion. These mechanisms involve coordination of the trunk, head and limbs, and motor control of postural muscles. Mostly habitual and unnoticed, an individual can be taught to become more aware of these mechanisms and make different choices about movement, coordination and locomotion. In particular, the Alexander technique the co-ordination of the trunk and head as a core relationship for good movement. It is taught by specialist gentle touch and verbal instruction and an individual learns self-help through the combination of these methods.

Physiotherapy aims to strengthen, stretch, increase aerobic capacity and improve motor control and uses specific supervised exercises that are then practised at particular times. In contrast, the Alexander technique involves teaching the awareness of and release of harmful muscle tension; involves proprioceptive re-education; concentrates primarily on the key relationship of head–neck–back; uses the semi-supine position as a core technique; involves guiding and assessing movement and co-ordination; and is practised during activities of daily living.

  1. Little P, Lewith G, Webley F, Evans M, Beattie A, Middleton K, et al. Randomised controlled trial of Alexander technique lessons, exercise, and massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain.