- Physical Therapy and the Alexander Technique

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Physiotherapy and the Alexander Technique
by Elke Rudolph

One of the key concepts for Physiotherapists to realize about the Alexander Technique is that it focuses on how we use our whole physical bodies, and that incorrect "use" can result in pain/discomfort in specific parts of the body. Physiotherapists can therefore think of The Alexander Technique as a sophisticated form of whole body Neuromuscular/skeletal movement re-education. With good use, the body moves easily - with balance and coordination.

However, we frequently and unconsciously hold excessive tension in our musculature, especially in our large peripheral muscles. Without the experience of ease that can be provided by an Alexander teacher, we think of this tension as normal. The physical and mental stresses and strains of everyday life (and our individual reactions towards these) result in tension throughout our bodies. This tension interferes with efficient muscular recruitment patterns, and can lead to the establishment of a series of inefficient movement patterns: the habitual recruitment of excessive muscular tension to carry out daily activities such as walking, running, cutting vegetables or performing a mobilization technique.

The Alexander Technique uses an educational process to retrain these inappropriate Neuromuscular patterns. On one hand clients are assisted in developing their sensory awareness, which allows them to really feel how they are moving, both within their bodies and in relation to the environment. On the other hand it focuses on the way they THINK about and perform their activities. Specific aches and pains are "treated" by changing the client's "use" of his total self.

The Alexander teacher does not want clients to strengthen, stretch or hold specific muscles to achieve a desired anatomical posture. Instead clients are guided into seeing and feeling how little muscular effort is really required to dynamically balance their skeletons. Often these new movement patterns initially feel unfamiliar to the client, because the new patterns allow the client to move with more ease and grace. It can come as a complete surprise that we are able to move and use our bodies more effectively, without resorting to our habitual muscular tension patterns.

The Alexander Technique is a powerful way of eliminating harmful habits that cause physical stress and discomfort, while bringing about improvements in overall health, alertness and performance for both clients and their treating practitioners.

Elke Rudolph has been running her own private Physiotherapy practice for more than 10 years. She is now studying to be an Alexander Technique Teacher because she can see the value of adding this new dimension to her physiotherapy treatments. If you would like to contact Elke you can send her an email at

For more information about the Alexander Technique visit: The Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique

Go Back to Home is a service of Alexander Technique of Lincoln, Nebraska and Toronto, Canada and Life Bridge Coaching.