Jane Brody on the Alexander Technique

(Exceprts from an article which originally appeared in the New York Times' 'Personal Health' column on June 21, 1990)

It would come as no surprise to teachers of the Alexander technique, a method of adjusting body postures to relieve damaging stresses, to hear that my neck is plagued by perpetual tension, occasional pain and even crippling spasms.

Alexander teachers say the demands of modern life have fostered a virtual epidemic of neck, back and other problems related to misaligned posture and improperly tensed muscles. Their technique is finding an ever-widening role among people with chronic pain and tension. Basically, it helps people shed long-established habits and relearn how to use their bodies with ease and grace as they once did in childhood.

While not construed as a therapy, the Alexander technique has nonetheless proved therapeutic for countless people, most of whom seek help only after they are in pain or unable to perform their usual activities properly. "By teaching people better body mechanics," said Dr. Jack Stern, professor of neurosurgery at the New York Medical College, "it frequently enables patients to do away with pain -- even the pain of a herniated disk -- without having to undergo surgery."

The technique has long been appreciated by performing artists ...who use it to counter occupational tightness and injuries and to produce more fluid performances. In the last few years the technique has gained the attention of a growing number of ordinary people, many of whom have failed repeatedly to get permanent relief from conventional health professionals.

Hundreds of therapist in North America have completed long courses to become certified Alexander teachers, and the technique is now part of required course work in an number of schools for performing artists.

To find out more about the Alexander Technique, click here:

The Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique Web Site