What Is The Alexander Technique?

“You translate everything, whether physical, mental or spiritual, into muscular tension.” F M Alexander (1869-1955)

Watch my 1 minute video on this page for a quick introduction.

Human beings are amazing machines.  We’re built to move freely.  However, we develop unhelpful habits as we negotiate our way through the stresses and strains of modern life.   Just as a car will deteriorate unless it is carefully driven and maintained, so we can find ourselves out of balance, bent out of shape, in pain and unable to help ourselves.

The Alexander Technique is a practical self-help method that increases awareness of how we use ourselves in our everyday lives.  Using ordinary activities such as standing, sitting and walking, a qualified Alexander Technique teacher is trained to show the pupil ways to unravel old patterns of muscle use.

The Technique involves no specific exercises, requires no special equipment, and can be practised wherever you are. It is suitable for people of all ages and levels of physical fitness.

Because it is educational in nature, we refer to ‘lessons’ and ‘pupils’ rather than ‘appointments’ and ‘clients’. The number of lessons you take can be discussed with your teacher and depends on your particular needs and goals.

Benefits Of The Alexander Technique

Watch the British Medical Journal’s video (below) about their 2008 study which showed that people with chronic back pain can find long term benefits from the Alexander Technique.

For more information about the study, its full text and links to newspaper articles about it, click here.

Although it’s often connected in people’s minds with ‘good posture’, the Alexander Technique is in fact a powerful tool for change for anyone who wants to improve their general well-being and functioning.

It is an accepted part of the curriculum in music colleges and drama schools all over the world. It helps actors, musicians and sportspeople undo harmful patterns of tension and thereby improve their ability to express themselves with greater freedom of movement, confidence and poise.

Some other specific conditions which can be helped are :

  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Back pain
  • Shoulder and neck pain
  • Sciatica
  • Whiplash
  • Postural problems
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Welfare in pregnancy and preparation for childbirth

There’s no better way to find out about the Technique than to have a lesson – for more information, call me on 07722 047 576 or email kate@bristolalexandertechnique.org.uk.


The British Medical Journal’s 2008 study

Trials published in the British Medical Journal in August 2008 showed that people with chronic back pain can find long term benefits with lessons in the Alexander Technique compared with normal care such as painkillers, physiotherapy, GP referral or massage.
> Read the full text at BMJ.com
> Watch the BMJ’s video about the study, below

News articles about the BMJ report:

The Times:
Alexander Technique ‘more effective at treating backache than conventional treatments’

The Daily Telegraph:
Alexander Technique ‘Most Effective At Reducing Back Pain’

The Guardian:
Alexander Technique ‘does ease back pain’

Daily Mail:
An old cure for a modern malaise: Alexander Technique CAN beat chronic back pain


BMJ Video Introduction to the Alexander Technique:

As part of their report, the BMJ produced this video, which makes a good introduction to the Technique:

(click here for more links to Alexander Technique videos)