Frequently asked questions

Who was Frederick Matthias Alexander?
As a young man, F.M. Alexander (1869-1955) was a shakespearean actor touring in Australia and Tasmania. A chronic hoarse voice interrupted his burgeoning career, consequently losing his voice while performimg. When no medical treatment helped him, he looked at his own use for the source of his vocal problem. After nine years of rigorous self-observation and experimentation using 3 way mirrors, he not only solved his problem, but developed a full, rich voice and discovered what he named the Primary Control.

What is Primary Control?
Alexander observed that the relationship between the head, neck and torso is primary in controlling movement and function. Compressive movement habits interfere with the body's ingenious design. Learning to consciously master the primary control restores the innate postural reflex- a natural, dynamic force that counters gravity and easily guides the spine to lengthen upward, facilitating release of undue tension and economical motion.

Is The Alexander Technique Scientifically valid?
Leaders in the field of mind/body medicine and behavioral science throughout the twentieth century have supported Alexander's innovative research. Clinical studies have shown that the Technique improves breathing capacity and posture, modifies stress responses and is, for those who suffer from chronic pain, the preferred method for long term relief. Neuroscientists today continue to conduct research on the Technique: A 1999 controlled study in The Journal of Gerontology (Medical Sciences) showed it improved both balance and functional reach in a group of older women (Dennis). In another controlled study of breathing function in healthy adults, 20 Alexander lessons improved chest muscle function (Austin). In an Uncontrolled study that year, participants in a multidisciplinary pain management program said The Alexander Technique helped more with chronic pain than several other relaxation or exercise programs they had tried (Fisher). Overall, The Alexander Technique is currently the best documented and the most thoroughly researched of all the Mind/Body disciplines.

 

What happens in a lesson?
In a lesson, the objective is to first observe your habitual movement patterns in simple daily activities such as sitting, sit to stand, stand to sit and walking. I will then help you to understand how your movement style may be interfering with your Primary Control, causing you undue tension and pain. My use of intentional verbal and tactile cues serve to elicit a new, greater ease of movement experience. In time, you can learn how to function painfree and with minimum effort on your own.

How many lessons do I need? What does it cost?
Studying the Technique is rather like learning to play a musical instrument. Thus, how long you study depends on your initial condition, personal goals, motivation and above all practice and patience. However, a recommended course is 20-30 private lessons. Each Lesson is 60 minutes. The cost is $120.

Will I always need lessons?
NO! The Goal of The Technique is to give you a tool for life. What you learn in a lesson you can apply independently with all your activities.

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One has to make the discovery for oneself, starting from scratch, and to find what old F.M. Alexander called "the means whereby," without which good intentions merely pave hell and the idealist remains an ineffectual, self destructive and other-destructive " end gainer" - Aldous Huxley