The Alexander Technique is a practical method of self-help, developed by Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869 -1955), which you can learn to use for your health and well-being.
It can help you prevent and alleviate conditions associated with stress, tension and poor posture, e.g. muscle, joint and back pains. The Technique can aid rehabilitation after illness, injury or surgery and it can provide coping skills for chronic conditions.
F. M. Alexander, known as FM, was an actor who had vocal problems, which interfered with his work. As a result, he spent several years researching how and why this happened, observing himself when reciting. He discovered he had habitual reactions to situations, in which he tensed his neck - which resulted in his hoarse voice.
After many hours of research, FM realised this was related to a generalised 'mis-use' of his whole body and thought patterns. When Alexander taught himself to 'inhibit', to stop these habitual reactions, his vocal problems ceased and he found an improvement in the functioning of his whole body. He noticed similar reaction patterns of tension in most adults, whereas many children maintained a free and easy poise and use of themselves. This indicated to Alexander that we tend to lose the freedom of movement that we had as children, partially because we develop habits that interfere with the natural way our bodies wish to move.
FM gradually believed that the relationship and use of our head, neck and back acts as the 'primary control' of our whole body. Most children move freely and fluidly but because we 'translate everything, whether physical or mental or spiritual, into muscular tension' we gradually develop unconscious habits of 'mis-use'. These habits interfere with the fine tuning of the body's primary control, resulting in a general loss of poise and vitality, plus disorders such as backache, repetitive strain injury (RSI) and headaches. Alexander's first pupils began to report that not only were vocal problems improving but other aches and pains were also vanishing, so Alexander began to develop the Technique that we know now, for the whole body-mind organism.
His work is respected worldwide and in Australia, where he was born, he ias been voted as one of the top '200 Australians who made Australia great'!
Alexander started his first teacher training course in London in February 1931. After his death in 1955, some teachers he'd trained got together and formed the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, STAT (1956) in order to maintain a high professional standard of teaching and training in the Technique. STAT, which is the oldest and biggest of the affiliated Alexander Technique professional societies, developed the criteria and rigorous standards by which their recognised AT teacher training courses are now run. By 2017 there are many STAT recognised training courses both in the UK and throughout the world.