As it has potential for reducing healthcare costs, by reducing pain, some NHS trusts now offer Alexander technique lessons as part of their outpatient pain clinics. Your GP will be able to tell you whether it’s available through the NHS in your local area.
According to the NHS, the main principles of the Alexander technique are:
“how you move, sit and stand affects how well you function”
“the relationship of the head, neck and spine is fundamental to your ability to function optimally”
“becoming more mindful of the way you go about your daily activities is necessary to make changes and gain benefit”
“the mind and body work together intimately as one, each constantly influencing the other”
Learning and applying the Alexander technique is also thought to help improve balance, co-ordination and breathing.
The Alexander technique is taught by a qualified teacher.Lessons take place in a studio or clinic and usually last 30-60 minutes. Youll be asked to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing so that youre able to move easily.
The teacher will observe your movements and show you how to move, sit and stand with better balance and less strain. Theyll use their hands to gently guide you in your movements, with your head leading and your spine following.
During the lessons youll be helped to explore the way you go about everyday activities. You’ll practise applying the Alexander technique while standing, sitting, walking and lying down, maintaining a better relationship between your head, neck, spine and back.
You’ll need to attend a number of lessons to learn the basic concepts of the Alexander technique. Proponents say that once you’ve gained an understanding of the main principles, you’ll be able to apply them to everyday life. For example, they say that after developing better balance and co-ordination, you will be able to sit and stand using less muscular effort than you did previously.
It’s obviously not suitable for everyone and people with a specific spinal injury or severe pain from a herniated (ruptured) disc, severe spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine), or a fracture of the vertebrae (the bones in the spine).