Who can benefit from lessons ?


Am I too old to learn the Alexander Technique? 

Alice* phoned me with the question: "Am I too old to learn the Alexander Technique?" It transpired that she was 84, and had been meaning to find out more about the Alexander Technique since hearing about it 30 years ago! However, she had only recently started to have real problems with her walking, and thought it was now time to have some lessons. I explained that the lessons suited anyone who was willing to learn, and as she was very keen, we began a course of lessons. She had recently broken her leg, and although it was now healed, she felt she was walking strangely. Although she had been told that there was no difference in her leg length, she walked as if one leg was much shorter than the other. The lessons enabled Alice to find out what it was like to stand and walk "normally" again, and therefore to be able to continue the process on her own. She said that before the lessons, she had no idea how twisted she had become, and it was only other people's comments about her posture that had led her to realise that all was not well. She is now able to recognise when she is getting twisted, and to stop and return to a more upright stance before proceeding.

Whiplash

When I first met Paula at an introductory workshop, she had been unable to work for some months due to severe neck and back pain. She was a professional woman, and the inactivity as well as the physical distress was really getting to her. She had had several car accidents, and had tried a number of treatments for whiplash. They all seemed to exacerbate her condition. After the workshop, she decided to try some lessons in the Alexander Technique.
She slowly began to get better, as the lessons helped her to see how the way she was "holding" her neck to try to avoid pain was actually causing even more pain. She also realised that her "bad back" was connected to the neck problem. Working with the simplest movements of sitting and standing, Paula learned how to move with much less effort, and to sit and stand in a balanced way that didn't stress her neck. She returned to full-time work, and tells me that learning the Alexander Technique has enabled her to work in a high-demand job without fear of the neck and back problems recurring.

12 Year old violin player

Sandra was a concerned mother who rang me regarding her 12 year old daughter Anna. Anna had been playing violin for several years to a high level, but had stopped playing because of continuous pain in her shoulders and neck. Sandra was at her wits' end, having spent a lot of time and money taking Anna to all kinds of specialists with no result. When Anna came to see me I noticed how she had become very stuck in a kind of hunch from all the violin playing, and had "forgotten" how to stand upright. I was very quickly able to help her regain a free and upright movement pattern.  Sandra told me that the change in Anna was remarkable, and in a very short time she was able to return to playing and also to find a lot of other activities much easier. Anna delights in telling me that she now notices how slumped and hunched her friends are, and how she feels so much taller than them!

30 year old manual worker

Matt had an industrial accident several years ago and sheared both of the bones in his lower right leg, just above the ankle. Following surgery and rehabilitation he was left with a limited range of movement in the ankle and was not able to rely on it to take his weight. 
After returning to work and whilst driving a fork lift a sudden jarring caused by the road surface caused extreme pain in his thoracic spine, so much so that he had to be lifted out of the fork lift.
We worked together initially to ease the pain in his upper back, mainly with a great deal of "table "work. This proved to be quickly effective - the more so because of Matt's enthusiasm to put into practice what he had been learning in the lessons. Gradually we explored the influence which his earlier injury had had on his general pattern of movement. This revealed a tendency to "hold" himself up, off of his damaged ankle, by fixing through his thoracic spine. We discovered that it was possible to not do this and still be able to stand! By the end of his lessons Matt's back pain had gone, he had slightly improved mobility in his ankle and a greatly enhanced confidence in his ability to balance and move. He was also able to return to full time work.

Helping with Pregnancy

Rebecca came for some Alexander lessons because she had heard that it might help her with back pain during pregnancy. Her first pregnancy had been difficult  because she had experienced a lot of pain, particularly in later pregnancy, in her lower back. She wanted to see if she could find better ways of moving and carrying her second child, as well as dealing with her active toddler.

Rebecca came for regular lessons from quite early in her pregnancy, and was very happy with the results, being able to continue lessons until a week before the baby arrived. She noticed how much less strain she had in her back, and that dealing with her two-year-old was not as difficult as it had been. She could pick him up without fear of her back going in to spasm. She was able to learn some techniques for resting, so she could get comfortable and relax during the day, and she also found she was sleeping better at night. She said she didn't know how she would have coped with the second pregnancy without the Alexander Technique, as she had had back problems for many years and realised that being pregnant could have made them much worse.

*(all names have been changed)

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