Is there scientific research to support the Alexander Technique?

Yes. The biggest medical study was published in the British Medical Journal in 2008 on chronic low back pain. For more information click here». For an overview of all scientific studies that have ever been done go to www.alexandertechnique.com/research.htm»

Typically, simple activities such as standing, lifting, sitting, and walking, are explored in each lesson.

What happens during the lesson?

During a lesson Alexander Technique teachers use their hands and give verbal instructions to guide everyday movements such as sitting down on a chair and getting up, bending over, walking and lifting. Every lesson the student also lies down on the table and learns to let go of unnecessary tension. Ultimately, besides everyday movements, more complicated matters can also be dealt with, such as working at the computer or playing an instrument.

How much does a lesson cost?

A lesson costs between 50 and 60 euro incl. Dutch VAT, depending on your financial situation and who is paying for it. A lesson is of 45 minutes’ duration. A reduced rate of 43 euro applies to students. My teaching days are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. In exceptional cases I also teach in the evenings but not during the weekend.

How many lessons do I need?

A single lesson is enough in order for you to decide whether the Alexander Technique appeals to you. If you wish to continue, a shorter series of about ten lessons is sufficient for some people; others have more complicated problems requiring more time to deal with. Still others are keen to explore the Technique’s possibilities in depth and take lessons over a longer period for this reason. In the beginning it is advisable to take lessons twice a week, if possible. This considerably speeds up the process and ultimately saves time and money.

What can I already start doing?

It is impossible to learn the Alexander Technique without a teacher. That would be like describing the colour red to a blind person. However, there is something that you can already start doing, which has already been of benefit to thousands of people: the lying-down exercise. Its positive effects include:

  • the release of excessive muscular tension
  • an alert, calm, strong and positive feeling
  • alleviation of neck-back-shoulder pain and RSI
  • alleviation of stress or nervousness

The lying-down exercise

Make sure that you are lying down on a firm, warm surface, for instance, on carpet or a rug (not on a bed or sofa). Your head rests on a pile of books and your knees point towards the ceiling. You can do the lying-down exercise in the mornings to have a fresh start to the day, during a work break or in order to recover after a stressful day, Ideally, one does the lying-down exercise at least once per day for about 10 to 15 minutes. In your spine there are intervertebral discs between the vertebrae, which give the spine elasticity. During the day some of the fluid is gradually squeezed out of the intervertebral discs as a result of gravity and the manner in which we move. During the lying-down exercise the intervertebral discs reabsorb fluid like sponges. During the lying-down exercise gravity no longer has the effect of applying vertical pressure on the spinal column. This gives the spine the opportunity to recover its optimum state.

How does the Alexander Technique differ from other therapies that are focused on posture and movement?

Wonderful, that freedom of movement!

An important difference with the Alexander Technique is that one accomplishes the desired changes by releasing excess muscular tension, and not by directly strengthening or adding tension to muscles by means of exercises. For instance, if somebody has a sway back the usual advice is to tilt the pelvis and tighten the stomach muscles; thus adopting the ‘correct posture’ by tensing extra muscles and doing exercises. But unfortunately this standard method has negative side-effects (just try it out for yourself): • restricted breathing as a result of excess tension of the stomach muscles • inability to maintain the new posture due to the fact that creating and sustaining more muscular tension is extremely tiring • reduced flexibility of movement after adopting the new posture because it involves more muscular tension • The uncomfortable feel of the new posture, which makes it more difficult to maintain The fact is that, aside from these negative side effects, this method fails to address the root cause of the problem. The Alexander Technique takes a very different approach. It views a sway back as the excessive tensing or contracting of the lower back, which is part of an unhealthy, habitual pattern involving the whole body. This is often accompanied by poor coordination and too much tension in the neck, shoulders and legs. Read more»