“We take ourselves wherever we go.” So many times we have heard this statement. But what is “ourselves”? Is it our personality or our whole psycho-physical make-up? F.M. Alexander (1869-1955) believed in a holistic approach to health: that the whole person must be dealt with in order to make the person whole.

     When we are young we don't worry about the various aches and pains bothering us. Soon they go away. As we age these tensions become more pronounced, telling us something is not right. They begin to demand that some action be taken. Before we know it, we are consulting a myriad of mainstream and/or alternative therapies, always with a cure in mind.

     Alexander did not believe in cures. In the preface to the new edition of his book, “The Use of the Self” he states: “The real solution of the problem lies in the wide acceptance of the principle of prevention instead of cure, and the realization, at long last, that the most valuable knowledge we can possess is that of the use of the self and of the means whereby the human individual may progressively raise the standard of his health and general well-being.”

     When he developed voice problems in the 1890's he searched for a cure. Finding no remedy from traditional medicine, he embarked on a journey  to discover what was the cause. He discovered principles which led to a process of change for his habits of poor body use. This involved a new way of thinking and responding to life. So the focus of the Alexander Technique is on process rather than a “cure.”  Alexander felt such cures only led to dealing with specific parts of the body. By working with the total pattern of his habits, he not only resolved his vocal problems but also improved his well-being on all levels.

     The Alexander Technique provides tools to improve the entire structure and tone of the body. Modern civilization has, according to Alexander, made our kinesthetic sense unreliable. Such inventions as chairs, soft couches and  car seats encourage a collapse in the lower back without our conscious recognition of the state. From that may follow many nerve-related  and skeletal injuries.  When a person comes to an Alexander Technique teacher with a specific complaint such as sciatica, tendinitis, deteriorating posture, headaches, neck problems, etc., he is guided towards overcoming the ailment by means of a re-education of total body use and as a result, gradually learns to personally apply the principles of the Technique. Therefore, the Technique is a genuine instrument of self-help.

     The process of restoring improved co-ordination is best learned through a series of  private lessons with a qualified teacher who, using gentle non-invasive touch, gives the pupil the necessary experiences. Students are encouraged to observe the thought processes and tensions associated with their activities in everyday life. As the principles are assimilated, the student begins to develop the capability to make his/her own discoveries leading to greater freedom of movement, poise and less stress.