The term misuse, as applied in the Alexander Technique, is a person’s inappropriate use of their body, involving poor muscle tone and co-ordination. This disturbs the body’s intrinsic poise and balance and the whole way in which it functions.
As Alexander researched the reasons for his vocal problems he found that ‘this new piece of evidence suggested that the functioning of the organs of speech was influenced by my manner of using the whole torso, and that the pulling of the head back and down was not… merely a misuse of the specific parts concerned, but one that was inseparably bound up with a misuse of other mechanisms which involved the act of shortening the stature.’
Common examples of misuse are:
- Slouching and collapsing
- habitual tension and stiffening
- fixing or locking your joints, for example your knees
- crossing your knees when sitting
- standing on one leg
- contracting the neck muscles, so that you pull the head back and down
- thrusting the head and neck forwards beyond the central point of balance
Overuse is also a type of misuse. This creates increasing levels of pain and tension, resulting in problems such as Repetitive Strain Injury, RSI.