What is it?
F Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), an Australian actor and reciter, developed the technique to save his voice. He’d noticed he became hoarse as a result of muscular tension in his neck while performing.
The technique involves hands-on assistance in performing common movements, such as getting in and out of a chair, to increase awareness of poor postural habits and retrain the body to move in a relaxed way without strain. Sessions last 30 to 60 minutes and a series is required to complete this ‘re-education’ process.
What’s it used for?
The technique is especially popular with musicians and actors but can benefit anyone. It’s particularly effective for treating stress, muscle tension, neck, back and joint pain, digestive disorders and anxiety.
If you’d like to learn more about the Alexander technique and its uses, the following organisations and publications may help:
The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique
1st Floor, Linton House, 39-51 Highgate Road, London NW5 1RS
Tel: 0845 230 7828
The Professional Association of Alexander Teachers
18 Hilton Avenue, Birmingham B28 0PE
Tel: 0121 745 7707
The Alexander Principle: How to Use Your Body Without Stress by Wilfred Barlow
The Alexander Technique Manual by Richard Brennan
Teach Yourself Alexander Technique by Richard Craze
This article was last medically reviewed by Dr Stephen Hopwood in April 2009.
First published in October 2002.