The word 'Technique' isn't indicative of the process devised by F.M. Alexander (1869-1955) early in the 20th century. In actuality, it wasn't known as the Technique until after his death in 1955, before which it was referred to as 'The Work'. The word 'Technique' usually brings to mind a certain routine or procedure. There is nothing routine about the Alexander Technique. In fact, the application of the principles that underlie Alexander's discoveries can be called nothing less than revolutionary.
The Alexander Technique has been an integral part of the performing arts community for nearly a century. Musicians, singers, dancers, and actors have embraced the Technique as a process to enhance performance and overcome injury. So what about the rest of us?
The Alexander Technique is a formula for improving general well-being with implications beyond pain relief. While many individuals come to the Technique because of pain and when they have exhausted other options, it is gratifying as individuals come to understand how their own habit patterns have created their difficulties. Armed with this knowledge, they begin to unravel these patterns and learn how to use themselves with greater ease and efficiency.
While the Alexander Technique does involve touch, it is not a form of massage or physical therapy. Rather, the Alexander Technique is a comprehensive approach to movement education that teaches individuals how to move with greater efficiency, balance, and ease. The skilled Alexander Technique teacher makes use of their hands in a dual role: first, as a tool of observation to more directly understand the students' use and second, as a tool for directed guidance to help the student become sensitized to habitual patterns of use that may be maladaptive.
While the Alexander Technique may have therapeutic benefits, the purpose of the Technique is educational, assisting the individual to an improved general co-ordination in all activities of their daily lives. By improving co-ordination in general and developing a greater sense for acquired habit patterns, the individual learns a greater freedom to choose more effective, more efficient and more enjoyable ways to learn new skills and accomplish daily routines.
The length of time needed to learn and apply the principles of the Technique is very individual and depends on the initial conditions the person comes with to lessons. Generally, an beginning series of 6 - 8 lessons is helpful to develop a grasp of the principles involved. These initial lessons are most beneficial when spaced as closely together as possible. After this period of more closely spaced lessons, the student can then decide how continuing lessons in the Technique can be of benefit and on what frequency of schedule.
While it is recommended that individuals seek out certified teachers of the Alexander Technique in order to ensure they are receiving high-quality instruction, there are also many books, videos, and online resources available that can provide a basic introduction to the technique.
The cost of lessons tends to vary regionally and is also dependent on the experience of the teacher. Generally, lessons tend to be from 30-40 minutes in length. Lesson fees are $70 (30 - 40 minute). An Introductory Package of 3 lessons is available for $180. Lesson fee adjustments are available.
Teachers with greater experience generally charge higher fees. Beyond fee structure, choosing a teacher is a very individual choice. Don't hesitate to try lessons with several teachers. Lessons are tailored to each student and there is no 'set' curriculum. Choose the teacher who best suits you and with whom you feel the most rapport. It is important to give lessons a chance. The Technique isn't a quick fix, and it's probably something different then anything you've tried before.
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