A general introductory article by Jeremy Woolhouse published by the Burwood Bulletin, issue 153, Winter 2019.
Available online via https://burwoodbulletin.org/bulletin/issue-153-winter-2019/
(text reprinted below)
A technique for healthy living.
Jeremy Woolhouse, 2019.
A good technique is the mark of a skilled artist or craftsperson. We think of technique in relation to mastery in music or sports. Have you ever considered the technique with which you use your own body?
A good technique would make your activities functional and comfortable. You could sit and stand with greater ease and walk with more grace. There would be less tension in work, less pain in lifting shopping, children or your toolbox. Alexander Technique teaches a way of using yourself well. It aims for improved ease, poise and efficiency - in work, play, ordinary life or specialised skills.
People come to Alexander Technique to improve breathing and posture, manage chronic pain, repetitive strain injuries, headaches, tension, degenerative disorders and a host of other conditions. Sports people and artists use it to better their confidence and performance. Alexander Technique helps people of all ages and backgrounds improve on comfort, balance and mobility.
It is a common idea that ‘wear and tear’ is something we must accept as we age. We may believe there is nothing we can do about grumpy joints or limited movement. However, recent research reveals that mental and physical change is possible at any age.
Using Alexander Technique, you learn to be aware of yourself, your thoughts and your way of doing things. You learn constructive thinking in relation to movement and poise.
Researchers doing clinical trials on Alexander Technique have been impressed that a year after having lessons, participants had independently sustained their improvements in pain management and functioning.
In my first Alexander Technique lessons, I discovered my ‘bad back’ and chronic pain were caused by the way I sat and moved. My teacher used gentle manual guidance to show me what I could do about it.
I learned to change my habitual movements and posture into something more sustaining. As I gained more comfort, my RSI symptoms also resolved and I was able to engage more in my work as a musician.
As a teacher of Alexander Technique for over a decade, I am inspired every day by my students who are on similar journeys - moving from pain and frustration towards comfort and inspired living.
Jeremy Woolhouse is the Chair of The Australian Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique. Visit www.austat.org.au for information on learning Alexander Technique.