The Henry Moore exhibition at Kew Gardens in 2007, still leaves me with a wonderful memory. How exciting that Henry Moore returns to Kew this September – I really look forward to that.
Moore’s Mother and Child, although very abstract, evokes a strong sense of calm tenderness. Mother is portrayed holding the baby in a way that allows a safe, intimate connection with her.
I can also see the sculpture from an Alexander Technique perspective, as illustrating a common habit that many men and women have: contracting down on one side of the body and looking down with the head and neck to one side. Such patterns of contraction and mis-use can also develop when breastfeeding, writing, playing the violin or guitar, using a mouse and using a car’s gear stick, for instance.
If people habitually assume lop-sided positions, an imbalance in muscle use occurs, subjecting the vertebrae and intervertebral discs to an uneven, downward compression. This can cause neck and back pain and can eventually result in problems such as scoliosis and sciatica.
So do continue to keep a tender intimacy when you hold your child but remember to look after yourself at the same time. It is possible to learn
how to protect your back whilst performing everyday activities and observing how we are using or mis-using our bodies is a good place to start – and if a great work of art can also remind us to be aware of our own body use
, that is an unexpected bonus!
Individual AT lessons for both men and women are available on a regular basis.
Henry Moore ~ Mother and Child ~ Kew Gardens 2008
New US Guidelines for the Treatment of Lower Back Pain
These new guidelines are medically-based, as would be expected but there is a welcome emphasis on encouraging the reduction of invasive procedures and the use of steroids and narcotics to reduce the symptoms.
I haven’t read the whole paper but I thought it was unfortunate that this abstract makes no mention of the use of the Alexander Technique to treat back pain – which has been shown in a major Research Trial published in the BMJ in 2008, to be more effective in helping people with chronic lower back pain than were massage or even a Doctor’s standard back care regime!
I was one of the STAT registered teachers selected to teach on the ATEAM trial and have worked with many people with back pain amongst other problems that bring people to me to learn the Technique. In Alexander lessons, people learn to use their bodies in a more balanced and less tense manner whilst performing ordinary activities, so that their backs are more aligned and able to lengthen out, which gradually reduces problems such as lower back pain.
The fact that the AT really can help reduce back pain on a long term basis was scientifically proved in the research study and the conclusions of the ATEAM Research Trial were that ‘One to one lessons in the Alexander technique from registered teachers have long term benefits for patients with chronic back pain’.