The Alexander Technique is sort of a re-education in movement for both the client and the massage therapist. It teaches the client to rid their body of harmful tension by relearning natural ways to sit, stand and move in order to reduce physical stress on the body; while it teaches the massage therapist to make use of their body during therapy so that giving massage is less painful on them.
The Alexander Technique was named for Frederick Matthias Alexander, the massage therapist who created and first used this method during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Alexander created his massage method in order to teach clients and therapists to think consciously about the movements they make to perform everyday activities.
Alexander realized that we all have unconscious habits that expose our bodies to unnecessary pain and tension when we perform regular movements without thinking about it. For example, we often use more strength then we need to when lifting or pushing objects which puts us at risk for back, shoulder and neck strain.
Alexanders techniques re-educate the body to use only the appropriate level of effort for a given activity. This is so the body has enough strength and energy to perform all the necessary activities without putting undue stress on overworked muscles and joints. Once the Alexander Technique is learned, it can be applied to any simple activity that you do everyday sitting, lying down, standing up, walking, lifting, pushing and pulling. In addition to conserving necessary energy for tasks, the Alexander Technique will improve the bodys range of motion, balance, support and overall coordination.
Alexander Technique massage practitioners use gentle manual guidance and verbal cues to coach their clients' through proper posture and movements. A typical Alexander Technique class will re-teach basic movements - sitting, standing, walking, bending down, reaching, pushing, pulling, carrying objects and even how to sit and lie down.
If you come to the class with underlying conditions carpal tunnel syndrome or lower back pain the practitioner will help you identify how the movements you use everyday contribute to your painful condition. By closely examining the way you move your body, you will be able to pin-point bad habits and consciously work to move more naturally and with less tension to lessen your symptoms.
Once learned, the Alexander Technique has been known to improve bad backs, necks, knees and ankles; to reduce lower back and shoulder pain; to free breathing airways and blood circulation; and to improve overall balance and coordination.