Wellness lexicon

Alexander technique - therapeutic body training to improve the posture and body movement

The Alexander Technique is therapeutic body training, which focuses on loosening tension in the body by improving the posture and giving maximum flexibility with a minimum strain on the body.
The method was developed by the Australian actor Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955) after he kept losing his voice on stage. He started searching for a solution because no treatment had yet helped him. Relaxation exercises solved the voice problem, which then led to an improved posture. Through his own personal experiences, an extensive training for the body was born.
The Alexander Technique focuses on posture. The therapist looks for any existing tension in the musculoskeletal system by analysing the posture whilst sitting, standing and walking and how movements are made, which then highlights any bad physical habits that can obstruct movement.

During an Alexander Technique session, the therapist teaches the patient how to notice any tension by gently laying a hand on different areas of the body and will show the patient how to perform the movements correctly. The exercises developed by Matthias Alexander are mostly performed in front of a mirror. In particular, elements like holding the head straight, keeping the shoulders wide and smiling are practised over and over again in front of the mirror. After about five to ten exercise hours the patient becomes more aware of how they are using their body and can then make changes so that the posture becomes more aligned and movement becomes easier.  

The Alexander Technique is especially useful for people who have a professional interest in good posture and improving the voice, like actors, musicians, dancers etc, but it is also beneficial to professionals who may develop bad posture, e.g. nurses and people who work in front of a screen.

The Alexander Technique is also used to treat back and shoulder pain, headaches, as well as helping to alleviate stress, vegetative and psychosomatic disorders, anxiety and depression.

Related topics: Feldenkrais