Frederick Mathias Alexander (1869-1955) was a Tasmanian born actor who developed throat and vocal problems that threatened to end his career. Facing hoarseness and a failing voice during performances, he consulted doctors who could find no physiological reason for his symptoms. Vocal coaches and medical specialists prescribed rest, but Alexander found this to be a temporary cure, as the hoarseness persisted when he returned to elocution. Being a practical man, he decided that there might be something that he was doing himself to create the problem. He set himself up in a room surrounded by mirrors and began to observe how he actually went about reciting. He noticed that as soon as he went to recite he would stiffen his neck and pull his head back and down. This resulted in a compression of the larynx, a narrowing of the back and shortening of the stature. He suspected that this compression might be contributing to his going hoarse and that if he were able to prevent it, he might be able to overcome his problem. He eventually broadened his field of experimentation and found the same harmful patterns of contraction were present in and interfering with all his activities.