If the answer is YES, the Alexander Technique could help.
In a series of sessions, muscles that have been substantially misused or underutilized are gradually re-trained and strengthened. A typical Alexander Technique lesson has several components, including:
Chair Work. The student is gently guided by the teacher while sitting and standing.
Table Work. The student’s neck, spine and limbs are gently guided by the teacher while laying on a raised flat surface.
Walking and other habitual movement. The teacher gives real-time feedback regarding the student’s “use” of their body during everyday activities.
Alexander Technique Lesson Format
Of course each individual presents different issues, but below is a typical course of study with Thom Lemens:
Getting started: First, you'll schedule a 1-hour Initial Evaluation, and a half-hour Follow-Up the next day. ($450 total cost.)
Initial Series: At first, sessions are scheduled 3 times per week for 2 to 3 weeks ($150 per half-hour lesson).
Ongoing Care: Depending on your level of pain or discomfort, sessions are scheduled 2 to 3 times per week for the next 20 weeks. Frequency gradually moves to once a week.
Maintenance Sessions: Going forward, sessions are scheduled on an "as needed" basis.
Implementation in Daily Life: You will become more aware of how they sit, walk, use the computer, talk on the phone and even lay down. Your "homework" — much of which consists of the Alexander Rest Position for 15 minutes a few times a day — provides a welcome break for most people.
George Bernard Shaw
About the Alexander Technique
What is the Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Technique is an education rather than a form of therapy. First developed by FM Alexander over 100 years ago. It enables improved movement, posture and relief from pain by teaching the student how to change improper posture.
Most people study the Alexander Technique to relieve pain, but others do it for better performance, balance and vitality. Some study it for more conscious control of their body and their reactions.
Through studying the Alexander Technique, you will learn how to go about your daily life with more ease and less effort. You’ll learn how to undo poor postural habits and create new patterns that promote health and well being.
Why is so much of the work done on the stool?
In any lesson, your instructor will give you manual and verbal guidance to correct improper posture. Using the stool is a very effective way to do this because standing and sitting are ubiquitous postures that we all engage in daily. And by using a stool, the student is able to rely on their own musculature to learn the correct alignments. As well the stool allows the instructor to provide more effective manual guidance for the student.
While standing and sitting are, of course, among the more common states of being for the human body, you might also engage in other common movements such as lifting, carrying, talking on the phone or sitting at a computer.
Why does it take so long? Why isn’t it over with in 3 sessions?
It takes a long time to build up a bad habit and it’s not cured overnight. As you continue your study, you body will adapt and relearn over time. It is also a good reminder that the Alexander Technique are lessons — not therapy.
How long will it be before I see results?
Depending on the level of pain or discomfort, sessions are scheduled 2 to 3 times per week for 20 weeks. Frequency gradually moves to once a week. Maintenance Sessions are then scheduled on an “as needed” basis.
What does science say about the Alexander Technique?
Besides the numerous proponents of the Alexander Technique, many of them famous celebrities, several studies have backed up the effectiveness of the Alexander Technique including this one from the British Medical Journal which found that the Alexander Technique decreased chronic back pain by 85%. From the Journal:
“Lessons in the Alexander Technique offer an individualized approach designed to develop lifelong skills for self-care that help people recognize, understand, and avoid poor habits affecting postural tone and neuromuscular coordination.”
"I had back problems all my life, including long hospitalizations during my childhood. In my 40s I had a slipped disc that partially paralyzed my foot, which made it impossible to ride or train dressage horses for quite some time. After a recurrence of this condition in 1995, I was introduced to Thomas Lemens and the Alexander Technique. Thomas treated me over a period of several months and completely eliminated any physical problems and pain. He has kept me away from any surgical procedures and I will be forever thankful for that. I can highly recommend Thomas as a practitioner of the Alexander Technique."
- Ronald J. Postleb,
"Thirty years as an auto technician left me with severe pain in my back and legs due to improper use of my body. Thom has shown me how to use my body more efficiently, which has eliminated most of my discomfort."
- Michael Tiffany