This is a review of the Alexander technique. A therapy and self-help method developed by Frederick Matthias Alexander in the 1890s to alleviate breathing problems and hoarseness during public speaking.
It is an educational process or a method of bodymindfulness. It makes you aware of your habitual misuse through getting bodymindful again. You reprogram yourself and regain the ability to realign posture and balanced gracious movements. It is the homeopathy of manual therapy or the manual therapy equivalent to patient centred therapy. Let me explain through my experience.
He kindly offered me to try some sessions to see if it could help my pain and discomfort after an injury to my head and neck. So I decided to give it a try. Let me share my experience and reflections on the Alexander technique (AT).
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, is a well known saying. And this review is based on the experience of tasting the pudding, or the technique rather than searching the evidence base. The last is a contemporary misconception about the best ways of reviewing some of the most valuable therapies (see postscript).
I had no idea or preconception of what was to be expected. I knew it had to do with posture, body alignment and how you used your self and your body, nothing else.
After the first session I became worse!
It was the same feeling I had felt the weeks just after the accident.
This initial aggravation is something I knew could happen when the body is stuck or has been suppressed. Pills taken just to relieve symptoms can suppress the healing. Being a homeopath myself, I have seen this initial aggravation many times and it is also a known phenomenon in many natural healing disciplines. It comes within days, is often mild and does not last long. It is quickly followed by an improvement.
What struck me was the subtle touch, with no pushing or pulling, no manipulation, just kind hands indicating a movement, a direction or the opposite, just gently holding me back, asking me to wait. It was just like “the magic of the minimum dose” so well known from my own field of therapy.
The main principle in homeopathy is that when you select the remedy that creates the same symptoms as you have, a remedy that can give a kind of resonance, the body will respond even to the least amount. It is like hitting the bulls eye, or the mastering of martial arts, where you turn the attack to your own benefit by the least action with highest precision.
When the information or healing impulse is precise it represents that exact little input the body needs at that very moment and state, to start it own healing. Under these conditions it does not take much to perform magic. Your whole bodymind system is so keen on healing, advancing and mastering that it can use many kinds of input as long as they resonate closely enough with what is needed (Read about what drives your healing forward here). It is like the intervention of no intervention.
“Small is beautiful” is the same kind of awareness. The nice touch of the farmers own cheese, the little factory brewing their special beer or your own mother´s cooking and home made bread, they all have that personal touch of love and care, that awareness and presence which so easily gets lost on the way to mass production.
Rather than showing and explaining something to a child, say try it, see if you can make it, try again, I am sure you will make it. That stimulates mastery, autonomy and confidence. In a very gentle, subtle and nice way, it is like the bodymind is silenced so it can listen to the noise it creates, feel the tension it holds, and regain balance and peace.
This subtle attitude towards healing and teaching, rather stimulates your own mastery than forcing things upon you, and that pretty much sums up how AT is experienced. It is experienced as the same “magic of the minimum dose” as you see in homeopathy.
If your body is trying to talk to you; see here, feel this, would you not like to be able to … or any other way you can imagine it is trying to communicate to you through pain, discomfort, stiffness, weakness etc. , then I would recommend you to consider trying the Alexander technique.
Did it work for me? Absolutely!
But as with all natural therapies it is not a switch between ill and well, it is rather a process of continued education, continued improvement that involves your whole being.
With the improving of the neck pain, the location of the pain moved down. This is a good sign, well known in homeopathy as a sign of healing (See direction of healing – above downwards). But the treatment has also involved the rest of my spine, how I use my limbs, how I stand, sit, bend down or lie down. It is like a reprogramming that takes place but needs practice. Drop by drop it grows or like an acid solution that with one alkaline drop each week is getting closer and closer to become an alkaline solution.
The AT is a journey that brings you back on track, it a reminder of how you are meant to be or used to be before you lost track.
In this time and these days of quick fix, taking a pill for all kinds of conditions, accepting the intrusion and over running of the system, the Alexander technique is a sanctuary, it is like visiting church or the temple and getting in tune with your inner core again.
It is the homeopathy of manual therapies. It is like yoga or Tai Chi but given to you through a therapist.
I feel grateful to have this opportunity and to have experience this gentle touch towards a better way of treating my self. I also feel the joy of realizing that life long education or life long healing is not only an option it is a must.
Postscript about evidence:
All therapies that focus on your own ability to heal from within or gaining awareness and mastering of your life are showing the limited ability of the scientific method to confirm the experiences of the user.
To investigate the amount or level of evidence of such therapies is the approach of a reductionist, you would most of the time do better by listening to the experience of others. People that have eaten the pudding.
If you learned to bike, if you fell in love, if you learned to swim, or mastered diving and I told you the evidence is really lacking in this field, would you care or doubt the ability or effect? Would you stop biking, falling in love, swim or dive?
It reminds me of the scientist who said that; my extensive searches through scientific publication show that there is no solid scientific evidence that parachutes save lives. I have not been able to find even one scientific paper!
Such a life claiming method, needs to be backed up with research!
So he suggested that everybody that believes in the scientific double blind method, and that it is the best or even only way of getting the truth about what works, should do something.
They should offer to be voluntaries for the blinding group (jumping without a parachute) so we can get the evidence needed in such an important life saving measure!
So I rather check how it works on me, than checking the limited research!
You can read more of what I have written about healing and therapy here:
Above downwards one of the healing principles
Holonistic therapy – about the driver and connector
Holonity – healing from within
Or explore my blog