Sharon Baddeley, Photographer − came for lessons because of neck and upper back pain and for posture
‘I decided to try Alexander Technique lessons after suffering from neck and upper back pain for over a year. I was also concerned about my posture; I had always ‘slumped’ a bit, but I felt that it had become worse with my neck pain. I chose to learn the Alexander Technique with Julia as I liked her science background and thought her website was informative.
Once I began lessons, I found that my pain level reduced quite quickly. I now rarely suffer from pain in my neck or back. I have returned to college as a mature student and I think I would have really struggled to sit through lectures, etc without the Alexander Technique. My posture has also improved noticeably. I have continued to have lessons as I find the Alexander Technique as benefited me in other ways that I had not expected, for example, I have more balance walking down steep hills, I no longer get cramp in my hand when writing essays and I feel less scared when going to the dentist!’
Mike Cribb, Company Chairman − came for lessons because of stress and anxiety
‘Alexander Technique lessons have slowly helped me to become aware of how much unnecessary physical tension is constantly wound-tight in my body. We have it drummed into us as children that if we work hard we will succeed – but this doesn’t work for stress. I cannot try harder to be less tense. The harder I try, the more I ratchet up my already over-wound anxieties.
One of Alexander’s deceptively simple ideas is that the ‘right thing does itself’ if we release our habitual, tense, reflex-to-do. This letting-go requires a change in thinking and the inhibition of long-standing physical habits. This in turn takes time and patience and the ability to laugh at yourself.
Telling myself to ‘just do my best’ and ‘I won’t let it stress me’ never helped. Allowing the simple tools of the Alexander Technique to change the way I use my body and the way I attend to the world around me is starting to…
I thoroughly recommend the Alexander Technique, which in the hands of a good teacher is a common sense, practical, potentially life-changing discipline.’
Charlie Mulcaire, Medical Writer − came for lessons because of RSI and a desire to make life changes
‘I first contacted Julia partly because I was concerned about repetitive strain injury, which I was starting to develop in the wrist and shoulders through my (primarily desk-based) job as a writer. I was also making a series of lifestyle changes, and was looking for ways to develop a calmer life.
The results of Julia’s work were powerful. The practice of repeating everyday movements (getting in and out of a chair, walking, standing) seemed so simple, yet my aches and pains vanished quickly. Just as valuable to me was the fact that, by changing the way I use my body, I became less prone to stress. For example: my usual response to a phone call had been to lurch instantly across my desk, wedging the phone between my ear and shoulder while responding to emails at the same time. By making a different initial reaction, taking a second to pause, my stress levels have reduced significantly. This sounds like a small change, but altering an habitual behavioural response and learning how to take a step back in life has proved invaluable.
Benefits of the Alexander Technique are sometimes hard to quantify, because they often come from preventing problems before they start. But I believe these are just as significant. I am now in the third trimester of pregnancy, and Julia’s teaching has helped me to avoid much of the back pain, loss of mobility and general aches about which I’d heard so many dire warnings. I’m delighted to say that I can move around easily with my (ever-increasing!) bump, and that, without too much effort, I’ve been able to adapt to my changing shape without problems.’
Carole Grundy, came for lessons because of back pain
‘I am in my mid-fifties and have suffered from back pain for six years. Tests have shown this to be caused by disc and vertebrae deterioration in my lower back and there is no medical solution. The impact on my everyday life has been considerable and I have relied heavily on painkillers. My G.P suggested trying the Alexander Technique when all other obvious possibilities had been exhausted.
Initially I visited my Alexander teacher twice weekly, then weekly and now, nine months on, when I feel that extra support is needed- it’s my comfort blanket. The Alexander Technique has not been a ‘quick fix’, improvement came gradually and now I am no longer so reliant on painkillers and flare-ups are less frequent.
The Alexander Technique is very different in approach to anything I have tried before. It has given me the tools to manage my life with more confidence and I am now much more self-aware. Many small day-to-day problems are no longer the same worry as I know either how to deal with them or how to avoid them. There is still improvement to be made and I intend to continue looking to the Alexander Technique for help, which is quite reassuring.’
Nadia Danaos, Copy Writer − came for lessons because of whiplash
‘I had known of the Alexander Technique for several years, but it was only after I was involved in a car accident in December 2010 that I took it up. The accident had left me with pain in my neck and back, but by gently applying this Technique I feel lighter and uninhibited to do certain movements that caused me significantly more pain and discomfort before.
Unlike Pilates or yoga, it doesn’t promise that you’ll be able to put your leg behind your head, because the Alexander Technique is not an exercise. But it does allow less or no pain when using your body to do practically any natural movement. It simply works because the very essence of its philosophy is based on logic.
Of course I can’t speak for other people, but I have felt a sort of spiritual sense to the Alexander Technique. I feel immensely relaxed during my sessions (I also have a wonderful teacher in Julia), but in implementing the Technique, I don’t feel the burdens and stress of everyday life. Everything around me is as it was, but I’m dealing with it slightly differently. And this makes all the difference. This Technique has taught me to think, for just a second, before I go to do practically anything: standing, sitting, lying, driving, reaching for something… everyday things. And in doing so, my body and mind feel more balanced.
The Alexander Technique has been teaching me to undo habits I’ve formed over the years, as well as overcoming post-traumatic pain from my accident. We all develop bad habits, which have negative effects on our health. So this Technique teaches a way of unlearning them. Choosing to implement this Technique is definitely a lifestyle choice, not a passing fad like many exercises can be.
In taking up the Alexander Technique, it has also made me question why I hadn’t done this earlier. It shouldn’t necessarily be used as a ‘cure’, once something (in my case, a car accident) has happened to you. It’s how everyone should be using their bodies all the time: in the harmonious basic way we used our bodies as babies and children.
As clichéd as it may sound, the Alexander Technique has the power to save you from yourself. I totally believe in it. No pain and everything to gain!’