Using the Alexander Technique Helps with Accidents and Shock
Two of my pupils have. unfortunately, had accidents recently in which they fell and experienced shock as a result. Sensibly, both of them used the Alexander Technique to help them handle the situation and found that it was very beneficial and reassuring to use.
Concussion and Shock
The first to fall was a woman in her 60s, who who fell in the Paris metro and the doors struck her head, giving her concussion and she experienced a shock reaction. However, whilst she was receiving first aid and then whilst waiting in A & E, she began to use the AT in order to help herself return to a calmer state and to avoid tension building up. The AT helped when she was left alone for some long time, as she waited for a consultant to examine her and she was wondering just how bad her injury was.
She was diagnosed with a sub dural haematoma, which is a serious condition as it is a bleed between the brain and the surrounding membrane, so she was kept under observation in the intensive care unit for a couple of days. During this time she was propped up in a sitting position in her bed and was unable to move around. However she often reminded herself to allow her neck and body to freely release and lengthen out again and she used the AT to help her to be more comfortable.
Once out of hospital, my pupil experienced a number of headaches and was unable to lie down or bend over for some time, but she could keep working on herself with AT whilst sitting up and she found she could comfortably and safely use monkey position instead of bending right down, which would have put pressure on her healing wound. I am glad to say that she has made a full recovery and has been given the ‘all clear’.
Falling from a Bike
My second pupil had a fall from her bike – on the way to her AT lesson with me! Her face was bleeding, her head had been knocked and she felt shocked and ‘shaken up’. Unfortunately she had to miss her lesson as she needed to go home and possibly the doctor. I encouraged her to use the lying down procedure when she got home, in order to both calm her nervous system and to help her re-align herself. I was glad to hear later that lying down in ‘semi supine worked wonders’ and she was later able to take herself into work.
Using the AT in this way, immediately after an accident, can be really valuable. I remember one of my AT teachers telling me how he had been thrown from a horse and he was very worried about the impact the fall had had on him. As soon as he got home he lay down and worked on himself in semi supine for an extra-long time and when he got up, he found he actually felt OK once again.
Alexander Technique as part of Your First Aid Kit
As Alexander teachers, we are used to working with people who are recovering from accidents, injuries and illnesses and we know that AT lessons can help people a great deal. It is also important to remember that we can use the AT as part of our first aid kit and that using the lying down procedure, or simply using the AT in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, can immediately begin to calm the nervous system and we can use AT to help our body to re-align itself – and in so doing, we can aid our recovery.
It is also reassuring to know that we have a tool that we can use to help ourselves with, both in emergencies and in the long term – and this can help to empower us in crisis.
Great post. As an Alexander student, found the Technique invaluable after I fractured my ankle, had surgery and needed to be non-weightbearing on crutches for three months. I used the “up direction” which saved me.
Thank you Wendy! Yes, the AT is also great for people uses crutches.
I have a pupil who was waiting for a knee replacement op and we explored how she would use crutches both beforehand in preparation and again after the operation. She found that giving herself ‘up directions’ and using inhibition in order to stop pulling over to one side too much, really helped her to re-align herself whilst she was healing and so avoided lower back pain from returning.