Frequently Asked Questions about the Alexander Technique
Q: What is the Alexander Technique?
A: A method that shows you how to release unnecessary tension, the Alexander Technique enables your natural postural support to work for you, instead of using excess tension and strain to keep yourself upright. It frees your mind and your body.
Q: How is the Alexander Technique different from yoga, massage and other types of bodywork or somatic work?
A: While most bodywork or somatic techniques involve either exercises or a practitioner giving you a treatment, the Alexander Technique is about undoing layers of habit that you no longer need. Instead of adding something, it shows you how to do more with less. It is also different in that you are an active participant in the process, using your thoughts and awareness along with the gentle touch of the Alexander Technique instruction to find a place of more ease and less effort.
Q: What happens in a session?
A: In an Alexander lesson, Nadia will use her hands to gently guide you a place of greater ease, both in movement and stillness. We will use habitual actions such as sitting and standing as a laboratory for noticing how your postural habits may interfere with your natural support and breathing. You will also do some lying-down work on a table. The whole time you will be fully clothed. As you become more experienced in the Alexander Technique, lessons begin to include other activities that are part of your life, such as walking, speaking, physical activities or art forms, working at the computer, and anything else of interest to you.
Q: who can benefit from the Alexander technique?
A: Do you want to have a better understanding of how your body's natural support mechanisms can help you to feel more easily upright? Do you have pain or tension that you would like to let go of? Do you have an activity you would like to refine and execute with greater mind-body coordination? If so, the Alexander Technique can help you.
In broad categories, the Alexander Technique is useful for:
- Individuals interested in wellness, conscious living and self-help
- Individuals with pain, injury or fatigue (the Alexander Technique can help, among other maladies: arthritis, scoliosis, repetitive strain injury, tendonitis, stress- and anxiety-related conditions, and asthma and other breathing-related conditions)
- Individuals desiring a higher quality of the use of the self, either to feel lighter and more expansive in daily living or to enhance performance in the dramatic, musical, vocal and dance arts and athletics.
Q: Can I really improve my posture for the better in a long-lasting way? I've tried so many times and always end up back where I started.
A: Yes! When you learn the Alexander Technique, you are re-educating your sensory register so that you will have the capacity to notice when you are veering off course posture-wise. Then, instead of trying to fight it, you will be given the tools to let go of and release whatever tension is contributing to the misalignment and redirect your energy in a more coherent manner. One of the best things about the Alexander Technique is that it is a learned skill that, when applied, simply and directly in your daily living, is highly effective.
Q: Has the Alexander Technique been scientifically studied?
A: Many studies have been conducted regarding Alexander Technique and its benefits. One study of particular interest, published in the British Medical Journal, details how lessons in the Alexander Technique provided long-term benefits and relief for back pain sufferers. Other studies have examined its benefits for groups as wide-ranging as surgeons and musicians. Click here to find a list of these studies and many more, all published in peer-reviewed scientific journals or presented at conferences with peer-reviewed abstracts.
Q: how many sessions do i need?
A: In general, to have a basic understanding of the Alexander Technique and apply it to your daily life, 15-20 sessions is a good place to begin. Depending on your reason for lessons, your condition (mind-body) and your interests, the number of sessions can be highly variable (fewer or greater than the above guideline). It is always based on your individual needs. At your first session or over the phone before we meet, Nadia can discuss this with you.
Q: What do I need to do or bring for my Alexander Technique session?
A: Mostly, just yourself! Please wear comfortable, relatively loose clothing (not restrictive at the knees, hips or shoulders), and bring or wear a pair of socks as you will need to remove your shoes for the session. If possible, please don't wear strong perfumes or colognes. Lastly, if you're a musician, you are welcomed to bring your instrument.