Find out about this under-utilized yet extremely effective technique in tackling lower back pain
The Alexander Technique was designed to help people with musculoskeletal pain and mobility issues to move more efficiently and with less effort and strain on muscles and joints. It also assists those with certain neurological conditions to live better lives and to manage their symptoms.
In short, the Alexander Technique is a way of learning how you can rid harmful pains and tensions from your body.
Typically, a Medical Doctor (MD) will suggest The Alexander Technique to a person suffering from chronic disease, to help them manage their symptoms.
This article covers everything you need to know about The Alexander technique and how it may benefit you. Read on to see if it’s right for you!
Are Alexander Technique Practitioners Doctors?
Alexander Technique practitioners aren’t doctors but are teachers who teach their ‘students’ how to stand, walk, sit, lie down, and move in ways that are more efficient. By improving your function, you may lessen stress on your musculoskeletal system, resulting in less pain.
Lessons are taught in a clinic, studio, or the teacher’s home office, usually in a one-to-one setting. However some outpatient clinics in the UK have group sessions and participants may be at various stages of the training, making it interesting to compare results with the other people. This group approach is definitely not what goes on in a traditional medical practice.
How is the Alexander Technique different from Physical therapy?
Physical therapy disciplines, such as chiropractic and physiotherapy, address health issues that arise from loss of function and restriction in movement. This usually related to the musculoskeletal system. Physical therapists tend to use ‘hands-on’ approaches such as chiropractic adjustment or muscle activations.
Although similar, the Alexander Technique focuses on teaching people to change dysfunctional biomechanics via adopting better movement and posture habits.
What does an Alexander Technique lesson involve?
Each lesson takes approximately 30-45 minutes and you’ll need loose-fitting clothing to allow you to move more easily through the range of movements. Twenty, weekly lessons or more are required to learn and properly implement the techniques.
Remember, the Alexander Technique is not a treatment. It’s an instruction: one that teaches you how to move differently and in ways that are less harmful to your body.
You may wish to consult with your Medical Doctor (MD) or specialist to check if the Alexander Technique is right for you and try to get a referral to one recommended by your MD.
But will it Help MY Back Pain?
If you suffer from fibromyalgia, you will see the benefit in the Alexander Technique if you’re committed to implementing the techniques. If you suffer from chronic musculoskeletal conditions caused or aggravated by repetitive motion, or if you feel the pain caused by injury, you may see some benefit in the Alexander Technique.
The more closely you follow the teachings, the better your results will be. It may not revolutionize your life, but for some people, even a 25% reduction in pain makes it worth it. For others, an improvement of 25% in their mobility makes the time and effort invested, worthwhile.
After twenty weeks of instruction, you’ll notice that you can take fewer pain medications, or be more active – or both.
Likely, you won’t be signing up for any marathons, but you’ll be able to move better and feel less pain.
What about practitioner qualifications?
In the UK, the organizations that self-regulate teachers of the Alexander technique are:
• Alexander Technique International (ATI)
• Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CHNC)
• Interactive Teaching Method Association (ITM)
• Professional Association of Alexander Teachers (PAAT)
• Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT)
In the United States of America, practitioners do not have to be licensed and are not required to undertake the same level of training as physical therapists.
There are no laws or regulations that regulate the training of the Alexander technique, but organizations teach the teachers about the Alexander technique and award membership once a teacher has successfully completed the course.
Teachers must comply with their code of ethics and agree to remain members in good standing.
If lowering the amount of pain medication taken, or allowing those with neurological symptoms to cope with their illness better, try The Alexander Technique.
If you want to lessen feelings of pain caused by repetitive movements over many years or to improve your overall biomechanics and posture, give the Alexander Technique and try and see if it will work for you.