What is the Alexander Technique?

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.

Why do people take lessons in the Alexander Technique?

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 their performance and to 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. Yet most individuals come to the Technique because of pain in some form or another. Often, people come to the Technique when they have exhausted all other alternatives. In some ways, it is unfortunate that the Technique has become a method of last resort, but on the other hand, it is gratifying as individuals come to understand the way in which their own particular habit patterns have created their difficulties. Armed with this knowledge, they are able to unravel these patterns and learn how to use themselves more efficiently.

Is the Alexander Technique a form of massage or massage therapy?

To the casual observer, lessons in the Alexander Technique may resemble massage in that the teacher makes use of his or her hands to give manual guidance in assisting the student through different ranges of movement. But just as a medical doctor uses palpation to assess certain muscles and organs during a routine exam, the skilled Alexander Technique teacher makes use of his or her hands in a dual role: as a tool of observation like the doctor and additionally as a tool of guidance for the student in changing the habitual patterns of use that may be maladaptive.

While the Alexander Technique may have therapeutic benefits, the purpose of the Technique is that of re-education, 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 is allowed a greater freedom to choose more effective, more efficient and more enjoyable ways to learn new skills and accomplish daily routines.

How long does it take to learn the Alexander Technique?

The length of time needed to learn and to apply the principles of the Technique will be on an individual basis and will depend somewhat on the conditions that the person comes with to lessons. Generally, an initial series of 30 lessons should be adequate to develop a grasp of the principles involved. These initial lessons will be most beneficial if they can be taken as closely together as possible. The student will benefit more from a closely spaced series of daily lessons than from a single lesson a week or every several weeks. After a 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.

What is the cost of Alexander Technique lessons?

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.

How do I choose an Alexander Technique teacher?

Teachers with greater experience generally charge higher fees. Beyond fee structure, choosing a teacher is very individual-based. 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 some 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.