No, the Alexander Technique is not a form of bodywork. It’s an educational method that’s taught through a series of lessons by a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique. As with any kind of education, the student is an active participant in the learning process.
Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955) was a Shakespearean actor challenged by a recurring voice problem. Chronic hoarseness interrupted his burgeoning career and he frequently lost his voice while performing. Because doctors found nothing wrong with his vocal mechanism, he reasoned that the cause might be related to how he was using his voice.
The Alexander Technique teaches constructive conscious control of functioning. With a teacher’s guidance you develop increased awareness of habits of thought and habits of posture and movement.
As you learn how to refrain from - or inhibit - habitual patterns which are not useful to you, you'll become more aware of tendencies towards unnecessary muscular patterns of tension or collapse. Undoing these habitual patterns provides the opportunity for something new to occur: natural movement and spontaneity.
Recognition of the force of habit We develop many habits over the course of our lifetime, some of which are helpful and some of which are not. Our habits come to feel right or normal. Recognizing habitual reactions is a first step in enabling change. Your Alexander teacher will often recognize your habits before you can.
Faulty sensory appreciation The force of habit interferes with the accuracy of our kinesthetic feedback. This often results in a faulty sense of how we are functioning and limits our ability to make productive change.
The Alexander Technique is an educational method used worldwide for over 100 years. By teaching how to change faulty postural habits, it enables improved mobility, posture, performance and alertness and relief of chronic stiffness, tension and stress.
People study the Technique for a variety of reasons. The most common is to relieve pain through learning better coordination of the musculoskeletal system.