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Encyclopedia > Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique is a form of education that is applied to recognize and overcome reactive, habitual limitations in movement and thinking. This page is under construction. ...


The Alexander Technique is usually learned from individual lessons with a teacher using specialized hand contact and verbal instructions. The Technique is also taught in groups, often using short individual lessons which in turn act as examples to the rest of the class.[1] The Technique takes its name from F. Matthias Alexander, who first observed and formulated its principles between 1890 and 1900.[citation needed] Frederick Matthias Alexander (January 20, 1869–October 10, 1955) was an actor who developed the educational process that is today called the Alexander Technique—a method of helping people learn to free habitual reactions of moving, learned by improving ones kinesthetic judgment. ... Year 1890 (MDCCCXC) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar). ... Ğ: For the film, see: 1900 (film). ...

Contents

History

Frederick Matthias Alexander (18691955) was a Shakespearean orator who developed problems with his voice. After doctors informed him there was no physical cause, he carefully observed himself in multiple mirrors. This revealed that he was needlessly stiffening his whole body in preparation to recite or speak. It took eight years to successfully apply his empirical observations on himself to solve his own voice problems. 1869 (MDCCCLXIX) is a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... Year 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1955 Gregorian calendar). ... Look up orator in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A central concept in science and the scientific method is that all evidence must be empirical, or empirically based, that is, dependent on evidence or consequences that are observable by the senses. ...


Alexander regarded the empirical scientific method to be the foundation of his work. He used self-observation and reasoning to make the physical performance of any movement easier: sitting, standing, walking, using the hands and speaking. He designed his methods to make experimentation and training deliberately repeatable, and to learn in a way that would allow continuing improvement from any starting point. F.M. Alexander trained educators of his technique mainly while living in London, UK from 1931 until his death in 1955, except for the wartime period between 1941 to 1943 which were spent teaching with his brother Albert Redden Alexander (1874–1947) in Massachusetts, USA. For the scientific journal named Science, see Science (journal). ... Reasoning is the mental (cognitive) process of looking for reasons to support beliefs, conclusions, actions or feelings. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ...


The Technique

Basic Premises

The Alexander Technique teaches the ability to make a new choice in spite of established habitual patterns by studying the kinesthetic evidence of how thinking is expressed in movement. The values of efficiency and effortlessness are the preferred criteria used to evaluate the often unfamiliar results of progress gained through guided experimentation. Among the methods taught are established forms of structural anatomy, characteristics of proprioception, how habits may be well formed and refined, practical self-observation and the strategic use of empirical reasoning. This study may also demand re-evaluation of self-limiting assumptions and conclusions Alexander Technique teachers believe have led to a student's general misuse. // Proprioception (PRO-pree-o-SEP-shun (IPA pronunciation: ); from Latin proprius, meaning ones own and perception) is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body. ... Human heart and lungs, from an older edition of Grays Anatomy. ... // Proprioception (PRO-pree-o-SEP-shun (IPA pronunciation: ); from Latin proprius, meaning ones own and perception) is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body. ...


Benefits

Applications are subjective by nature; many testimonies exist on the Internet. Alexander Technique is regarded to be a helpful adjunct to traditional medical treatment regimens and not as a substitute.


Some regard the Alexander Technique as a first-hand experience of the reality of body/mind unity. Proponents believe that its practice results in improved awareness and descriptive ability, as well as improved ease of movement, improved balance, stamina and less muscular tension. Additionally, those who practice it often report that Alexander Technique gives them an enhanced ability to clarify their thinking, gain objectivity about themselves and free themselves from unintentional self-imposed limitations. Further, proponents see Alexander Technique as a way to use less effort for movement and thus perform more efficiently, feeling younger and moving gracefully.


It is curriculum in performance schools of dance, acting, circus, music, voice and some Olympic sports. Suitable for those starting at any fitness level, it is also used as remedial movement education to complete recovery and provide pain management. For other uses, see Dance (disambiguation). ... Acting is the work of an actor or actress, which is a person in theatre, television, film, or any other storytelling medium who tells the story by portraying a character and, usually, speaking or singing the written text or play. ... The Big Top of Billy Smarts Circus Cambridge 2004. ... For other uses, see Music (disambiguation). ... Harry Belafonte singing, photograph by C. van Vechten Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice, which is often contrasted with speech. ... Archery competition at the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics. ...


Although the Alexander Technique is considered by those in its field to be primarily educational — taught in a student/teacher relationship as compared to being a treatment regimen between client and practitioner — it is regarded by the United Kingdom National Health Service to offer an alternative and complementary management for many medical complaints. A partial list is: back problems, unlearning and avoiding Repetitive Strain Injury, improving ergonomics, stuttering, speech training and voice loss, coping with mobility for those with Parkinson's disease, posture or balance problems, or to complete recovery from injury as an adjunct to Physical therapy. “NHS” redirects here. ... A repetitive strain injury (RSI), also called repetitive stress injury, cumulative trauma disorder or occupational overuse syndrome, is any of a loose group of conditions from overuse of the computer, guitar, knife or similar motion or tool. ... Physical therapy (or physiotherapy[1]) is the provision of services to people and populations to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan. ...


Alexander Technique has also been known to help performers with getting past the plateau effect (despite trying, no improvement), performance anxiety, getting beyond a supposed "lack of talent" and to sharpen discrimination and descriptive ability. It has also helped people control unwanted reactions, phobias and depression.


Reported Effects

Evidence of change is sought in verifiable outside feedback; using a mirror; by noting, comparing, or describing differences of the relative location of one's eyes, balance or weight changes; a change in the sound of one's voice or the effects on one’s objectives, props or environment.


Students often describe the immediate effect of an Alexander lesson as being an odd feeling. During hands-on lessons, most pupils report an immediate result of feeling less weighted down, despite their inability to evoke or sustain this state by themselves. Other reported experiences include altered perception of their voice or environment, noticing a change in self image, or having temporary disorientations of where their body is located spatially.


Disadvantages

Alexander Technique may not be effective for everyone. Most teachers consider twenty to forty lessons to be required. Learning requires the student to work at a somewhat paradoxical goal that is, at first, based on the teacher's (or classmates') perception of success. In rare occasions, undoing old habits may trigger possibly unpleasant "unresolved" emotions that originally justified the habitual remedies, perhaps requiring additional professional help. Some ingrained habit patterns seem to have a sense of self-preservation that objects to its possible lack of importance.


Practicing Alexander Technique cannot affect structural deformities, (such as caused by arthritis or other bone problems,) or other diseases, (such as caused by Parkinson's, etc.) In these cases, Alexander Technique can only mitigate how the person compensates for these difficulties, which can be significant for them. Arthritis (from Greek arthro-, joint + -itis, inflammation; plural: arthritides) is a group of conditions where there is damage caused to the joints of the body. ... Parkinsons disease (PD; paralysis agitans) is a neurodegenerative disease of the substantia nigra (an area in the basal ganglia of the brain). ...


Scientific Evidence

The effectiveness of the Alexander Technique has not been thoroughly verified in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Lengthy learning time seems to be a drawback in testing for short term results.


In 2005 Cacciatore et al. found the technique improved a single patient's posture thereby reducing their lower back pain.[2]


In 2004 Maher concluded that "Physical treatments, such as (list with many others)... Alexander technique ... are either of unknown value or ineffective and so should not be considered" when treating lower back pain with an evidence-based approach.[3]


In 2002, Stalibrass et al. published the results of a significant controlled study into the effectiveness of the technique in treating Parkinson's disease. Four different measures were used to assess the change in severity of the disease. By all four measures, Alexander Technique was better than no treatment, to a statistically significant degree (both P-values < 0.04). However, when compared to a control group given massage sessions, Alexander technique was only significantly better by two of the measures. The other two measures gave statisticially insignificant improvements (P-values of approximately 0.1 and 0.6). This appears to lend some weight to the effectiveness of the Technique, but more studies and data are required.[4]


Frank Pierce Jones' articles detailing his research have been collected in a 1997 edition, detailed in references below.


Results for Alexander Technique in neuroscience and current gait lab research on the effects and function of body motion have yet to locate funding. (See additional current research at the UK STAT online website.) While the UK medical communities are convinced of the effectiveness of the Alexander Technique, it is still often classified as pseudo-scientific in other countries.


Notes

  1. ^ Arnold, Joan; Hope Gillerman (1997). Frequently Asked Questions. American Society for the Alexander Technique. Retrieved on 2007-05-02.
  2. ^ Cacciatore, TW; FB Horak, SM Henry (June 2005). "Improvement in automatic postural coordination following Alexander Technique lessons in a person with low back pain". Physical Therapy 85 (6): 565-78. Retrieved on 2005-05-01. 
  3. ^ Maher, CG (January 2004). "Effective physical treatment for chronic low back pain". The Orthopedic clinics of North America 35 (1): 57-64. ISSN: 0030-5898. Retrieved on 2007-05-01. 
  4. ^ Stallibrass, C; P Sissons, C Chalmers (July 2002). "Randomized Controlled Trial of the Alexander Technique for Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease". Clinical Rehabilitiation 16 (7): 695-708. Retrieved on 2007-05-01. 

For the band, see 1997 (band). ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... May 2 is the 122nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (123rd in leap years). ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 121st day of the year (122nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 121st day of the year (122nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 121st day of the year (122nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

References

  • Alexander, F. Matthias (1932). The Use of Self, 1985 Edition, London: Orion Books Limited. ISBN 0752843915. 
  • Jones, Frank Pierce (May 1997). Freedom to Change; The Development and Science of the Alexander Technique. London: Mouritz. ISBN 0-9525574-7-9. 
  • Jones, Frank Pierce (1999). in ed. Theodore Dimon, Richard Brown: Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique. Massachusetts: Alexander Technique Archives. ISBN ATBOOKS058. 

Frederick Matthias Alexander (January 20, 1869–October 10, 1955) was an actor who developed the educational process that is today called the Alexander Technique—a method of helping people learn to free habitual reactions of moving, learned by improving ones kinesthetic judgment. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Alexander Technique - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4973 words)
Alexander Technique is also taught in groups, often using short individual lessons in turn as examples to the rest of the class.
The Alexander Technique educates the student's sense of kinesthesia or proprioception.
Alexander Technique is difficult to describe and teach in words because it requires description of subjective kinesthetic sensations and momentary situations, as well as the ability to perceive them.
Alexander Technique Simplified: The Complete Encyclopedia Definition (3727 words)
The '''Alexander Technique''' is a study of freeing response that is taught by studying one's own mannerisms of posture.
Alexander Technique is an educational discipline practiced to prevent the physical decline caused by habituated mannerisms.
Although the Alexander Technique is considered by those in its field to be primarily educational, it is regarded by the National Health System in the United Kingdom to offer an alternative and complementary management for many medical complaints.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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