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Alexander Technique - Ireland

The Alexander Technique - about F M Alexander

The Alexander Technique is a holistic complementary therapy that was developed by Frederick Matthias Alexander in the 1890's. Alexander who was Australian was beset by frequent hoarseness and back problems.

This was of particular concern to Alexander as he was an actor by profession. Mainstream medicine was unable to cure his ailments so Alexander set about developing an alternative therapy.

By using an array of mirrors he studied his own movements and discovered that his body involuntarily stiffened as he prepared to recite text. The muscles in his neck were tightening thereby creating pressure on his spine and affecting his voice.

Over a period of years Alexander developed and perfected this alternative therapy that, after his death in 1955, became know as the Alexander Technique.

What Conditions can Alexander Technique Treat ?

The main aim of the holistic technique developed by F M Alexander is to relieve pain and discomfort caused by poor body posture. Bad posture and other daily stresses can lead to a build up of tensions and strains that are detrimental to the body. If this goes untreated for significant periods of time this can lead to a myriad of medical conditions including neck pain, backache, arthritis, severe headaches including migraine, sleeping problems, high blood pressure, sciatica, and even psychological disorders. By retraining the body using the Aleaxander Technique all of these conditions can be cured and indeed prevented.

What is Involved in practising the Alexander Technique ?

The Alexander Technique involves practitioners observing the posture and body movements of pupils (as they are referred to). It does not involve removing any clothing however as it can involve some table work women are advised to wear jeans or a track suit for comfort.

The technique does not involve any physicality or discomfort however there is some gentle hands-on contact with the neck and back. The therapist may also retain gentle contact with the pupil's body while he or she stands, walks or sits. This is necessary so that the teacher can develop a better understanding of the pupil's posture and breathing issues. Further gentle contact may be necessary as the teacher helps the pupils to correct and improve their posture and movement.

How Many Lessons does it take to Perfect the Alexander Technique ?

Lessons usually last about 45 minutes but can be shorter or longer. Pupils are required to attend lessons until they have perfected the technique. The exact number of lessons depends upon the proficiency of the teacher and the ability of the student to absorb the lesson content. Because the Alexander Technique involves unlearning the habits of a lifetime it is unlikely that any lasting success will be achieved in less that 30 lessons although there are always exceptions.

It is recommended that pupils attend lessons frequently (two or three time per week) at the start in order to establish new posture and movement as rapidly as possible. Once this has been achieved pupils can attend Alexander Technique lessons once per week. Pupils are encouraged to return occasionally for refresher lessons in order to ensure that old and damaging postures and movements do not re-establish themselves.

Many people find that the Alexander Technique is a highly successful non-invasive holistic alternative therapy and for some people it can be totally life-changing.

Irish Representative Body for the Alexander Technique

The main representative body for the Alexander Technique in Ireland is The Irish SocIET®y of Alexander Technique Teachers (ISATT). Contact details for the Institute are as follows:

The Irish SocIET®y of Alexander Technique Teachers
62 Broadford Rise
Dublin 16
Tel: 086 2228229

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