The British Medical Journal concludes that Alexander Technique is more effective than massage or physician-prescribed exercise for relieving chronic back pain, measured a full year after intervention. AT is about changing movement patterns that cause pain, restriction, poor performance, frustration, depression.
Alexander Technique does help people stand and move with greater alignment and grace, but through changing the thought patterns that cause you to stiffen, strain, depress, and restrict yourself—not by advising you to add more tension, to tuck this or lift that.
Consider posture as a verb. When someone is posturing, there’s a sense of force—and of pretense. They’re not actually present, or confident; they’re attempting to appear that way. Without pretense, without effort, with an experience of yourself as whole and complete and fully present, “posture” makes no sense. You always have access to a more expansive, easier you. Alexander Technique is the practice of choosing that above all else.
“Amazingly easy to quickly experience greater ease in movement, as well while sitting and standing. Michèle has a magic touch! The love, compassion, subtle awareness, and light in her touch catalyzed my own awareness as well and created profound changes in my body’s relationship with gravity, in just a few sessions! I’ve experienced a lot of different types of body work, movement education, and healing modalities, over the years, but Alexander created lasting improvement, more quickly, than anything else.” – Sajit Greene, Expressive Arts Facilitator and Empowerment Coach
We all know there is a physical corollary to every mental state—movies, theater, and our language demonstrate this common knowledge. Not many realize, however, that there is a window of choice in how we think and move, and that in fact we can change one by changing the other. When we learn to stop engaging in patterns that are based on remembering or projecting from the past, we are free to be in the present moment, awake and available to whatever may transpire. The wonder and flexibility exhibited by small children is evidence that this is our natural state, one that remains accessible at every stage of life.
Research demonstrates that qualities associated with happiness are exactly those that characterize the Alexander Technique: lightness, horizontal and vertical expansion, and upward-oriented movement. Exhibiting the physical characteristics of happiness is a reproducible, reliable means of experiencing that mental/emotional state.
“The Alexander Technique is an amazing gift in my life! Although I went into it to work on thoracic outlet syndrome, and it did heal that, the Alexander Technique addressed low back pain issues that I’d had for decades. I experienced my first extended period of time with significantly reduced lower back pain beginning with my very first treatment. Whereas good posture used to always make me tired and achy; now, sitting and standing with good posture is the most relaxing way to be and does not sap me of energy. The Alexander Technique is also a contribution to my spiritual life. I have discovered, on my ever learning curve to cease judging myself, that the Technique helps me to be curious about life and my place in it. This frustrated perfectionist is sort of naturally relaxing around the edges and down into the core of her being. I am so very grateful I was led to the Technique and to Michèle Drivon in particular. She is a welcoming, gifted, and inspiring partner on this path to wellness!” – Sarah Elizabeth Malinak, M. Div., co-founder Creating Ideal Relationships
Performance Pain Posture Presence and Joy
Surgeons, musicians, actors, athletes, emergency personnel, fighter pilots, public speakers — anyone who strives for superior performance can benefit from learning to moderate their response to stress, move with dynamic coordination, practice easy and full breathing.
Alexander Technique is taught in conservatory and university programs around the world, including: The Juilliard School, Ohio State University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, New England Conservatory of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, American Dance Festival, Yale School of Drama, San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.
Respected musicians, actors and writers who have praised the Technique include:
Scientists Nikolaas Tinbergen, Nobel Laureate in Physiology/Medicine, 1973 (video of his Nobel lecture, the last third of which is devoted to the AT); Sir Charles Sherrington, Nobel Laureate in Medicine, 1932; George Coghill, Biologist, Anatomist, member of National Academy of Sciences
Writers George Bernard Shaw, Nobel Laureate in Literature, 1925; Aldous Huxley; Robertson Davies; Roald Dahl; John Dewey, Educator and Philosopher
Actors John Cleese, Lynn Redgrave, Annette Bening, Hilary Swank, Paul Newman, Julie Andrews, Robin Williams, William Hurt, Christopher Reeve, Maggie Smith
Musicians Paul McCartney, Sting, James Galway, Madonna, Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Colin Davis, conductor