Alexander in The News

Alexander Technique has been in the news a lot in the last few years. The publication of a study on back pain published in the British Medical Journal in 2008 showed that "one to one lessons in the Alexander technique from registered teachers have long term benefits for patients with chronic back pain."
The study has helped the Technique gain more visibility as a highly effective alternative therapy for back pain and chronic pain. Although AT has been helping people for over 100 years, it's nice to see it getting the recognition it so clearly deserves.

The latest news story is an article in the Huffington Post today:
Mix and Match Several Alternative Therapies to Ease Back Pain
"Non-invasive alternative therapies are often compatible with conventional treatments for back pain, have a relatively lower cost and can sometimes be done at home. ...the Alexander technique works through release of tension, decompression of the spine, more balanced muscle activity and improved flexibility. " Read the complete article


Awareness Week / Special rate for a first lesson

Awareness Week is October 10-16. It's an annual event and this year's theme is:
Pain Relief & Prevention-Learn it for Life

Here's a great supporting quote:

"If you have chronic back pain and you find that pain medication, physical therapy 
and regular exercise don't provide you with sufficient long-term relief, 
you may want to consider an alternative 
movement therapy called the Alexander Technique".

It's from The Alexander Technique, An Alternative Therapy for Chronic Back Pain, Johns Hopkins "Health After 50" Newsletter (Aug 2011). The article highlights a clinical study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2008. The study concluded that:

"One to one lessons in the Alexander Technique
from registered teachers have long term benefits
for patients with chronic back pain."

Read the BMJ study & watch the companion video

Of course, the Alexander Technique is an effective tool for living for everybody. All can benefit from using less tension and moving more fully, easefully and mindfully.

Try a lesson
An introductory lesson is just $60 during the month of October (individual lessons are regularly $75). New students only.


VIDEO: "Experience Speaks for the Alexander Technique

Watch the video by Thomas Glen Cook
I just discovered this video and think it's great. It's a little longer than the average but certainly worth watching. This 22 minute video is a series of short interviews with students and teachers of Alexander Technique including very clear and intelligent explanations by an AT teacher who is also a physicist of how the release of muscle tension in the neck and head positively effects the whole system.

More links to videos on the Alexander Technique can be found at: http://alexandervideo.net/online/


Read about an Alexander Teacher's own journey with Chronic Pain

Karen Krueger, a lawyer, struggled with chronic pain. Her pain issues led her to study the Alexander Technique. Now a teacher of Alexander, she writes about her own journey and how she approaches students dealing with similar issues.

"I first took lessons in the Alexander Technique to help me deal with severe, chronic headaches that were making it impossible for me to continue working as a partner at a large New York law firm. I found the Technique after years of struggling, without success, to solve my problem through conventional medical approaches."
Read the full article: Alexander Technique and Chronic Pain
From the latest issue of the AmSAT News (AmSAT is the American Society for the Alexander Technique).

The AmSAT News is a journal about The Alexander Technique that comes out 3x per year. For more information about AmSAT and the News go to: www.amsatonline.org
(You'll find featured articles on the right side bar of the home page).


Great article on Alexander Technique in the NYTimes today

To Relieve Tension, Mind the Spine but Do Not Relax
"Improvements: My posture improved. And my piano playing. I trained as a classical pianist when I was younger; my shoulders were always killing me. When I get out of bed in the morning now, at age 55, I don’t have aches and pains."


Special summer rates for private lessons


Make the Alexander Technique a part of your summer. For a limited time I'm offering special rates for private lessons. Wouldn't it be nice to thoroughly enjoy outdoor activities this season without strain or pain? Whatever your preferred activity, from gardening to kayaking, the Alexander Technique can help you find and maintain your natural ease and coordination, making life simply more fun!

$60 introductory lesson rate.
For new students only.
Save $15 off the regular lesson rate of $75

$15 off a 3-lesson series
3-lesson packages are regularly $210

10-lesson series + 1
Receive one additional lesson at no charge when you purchase a 10-lesson series.
10-lesson packages are $650

*All the above offers are good through August 20th, 2011. 3-lesson packages are good for 60 days from date of purchase.10-lesson packages are good for 4 months from date of purchase.


Alexander Technique in the News - New York Times and Dr. Weil

A quote from the NYTimes article reads: "If you want a more systematic, long-term approach to posture change, consider the Alexander technique, a method that teaches you how recognize and release habitual tension that interferes with good posture. Not all doctors in the United States are familiar with the technique, but recent research suggests that it can help with lower back pain as well as posture. A study published in The British Medical Journal found that lessons in the technique helped patients with chronic back pain. A 2011 study published in Human Movement Science concluded that the Alexander technique increased the responsiveness of muscles and reduced stiffness in patients with lower back pain." Sit Up Straight. Your Back Thanks You. - NY Times June 24, 2011

Here's another recent news item about Alexander from Dr. Weil.com:
"What is Dr. Weil's opinion of Alexander Technique? Dr. Weil is a proponent of good body posture and alignment. He believes that chronic pain often stems from habits of poor posture and movement, and may be significantly relieved with this type of therapy."
Alexander Technique - Dr. Weil's Therapies


Great new video about the Alexander Technique

Very instructive (and only 2 minutes long)!
Watch this new short video about the Alexander Technique made by journalist Channon Hodge as part of a feature about effective methods for dealing with back pain. It features one of my former teachers, Brooke Lieb (Director of the American Center for The Alexander Technique) and Karen Krueger a former lawyer and now a teacher of AT who describes her own history with pain that led her to study and then train in the Technique. She also gives a great description of her first lesson.


Alexander Technique featured in Spine Health

From December 2010- a great short interview with one of my Alexander mentors about the effectiveness of Alexander Technique in treating back pain, spinal conditions, and repetitive strain injury.

Spinal Health: "Would you call the Alexander Technique an “alternative treatment”?"
Judy Stern: I call it “Integrative Medicine.” It is not a treatment, nor a therapy, it is an educational process with therapeutic results.
Read the full Interview with Judith Stern, Alexander Teacher and Physical Therapist


Alexander Technique in New York Press

Body Movement without Stress. April 27, 2011 Click here to read

"Martin points out that the Alexander Technique is not goal-oriented, an aspect that separates it from other exercise systems. "Trying too hard with anything just produces more tension and rigidity," Martin explains. "The hallmark of the Alexander skill is not to do something, but rather recognizing what it is that is getting in your way and letting it go."

"With Alexander, you don't have to put on special clothes, set an hour aside, go to the gym and sit on a mat," Connington said. "You can do it whenever—driving a car, sitting at a computer or singing."


Spring Classes in the Alexander Technique

Free Introductory Class
Thursday May 5th from 6-7:15pm
Advanced registration required

This class will introduce the Technique with hands-on demonstrations, discussion, observation, and group activities. A great introduction to Alexander and a wonderful way to get more information on how Alexander Technique might be of benefit to you. 

5-Week Small Group Class
This class is now full. This group series will be offered again in Fall 2011 - get in touch for more info and/or join the mailing list by clicking on the link under CONTACT (I send out emails only about classes, private lesson specials and workshops).
Thursday evenings May 12-June 16 (no class 5/26) from 6-7:15pm
Fee: $195 (includes one 45 minute private lesson)
Enrollment limited. Advanced registration required

The 5-week class is a wonderful learning environment for new students and a great opportunity for returning students to deepen their understanding. In addition to group activities and discussion, the small group format allows for hands-on individualized attention. Students also benefit from the chance to observe others in the process of change. Each week we'll work with a different aspect of the Technique and its application to a range of activities.  

Contact me for more information and to register. rachelbernsen@gmail.com
All classes will take place in New Haven at Erector Square - 319 Peck St. Directions


Article in Psychology Today about the AT

"Back and neck problems account for a huge percentage of visits to health care providers, according to a 2008 study published in the "Journal of the American Medical Association"; this in turn results in over $100 billion spent on treatment and evaluation, and billions more in lost workplace productivity. The Alexander Technique has been viewed as a cost-saving alternative...the Alexander Technique works through the release of tension, more balanced muscle activity and improved flexibility. Advocates thus emphasize it is more than simply changing postural habits; the technique is more about moving. Ideally, this reduction in tension will minimize its corrosive effect on muscles and other structures of the spine."

Read the full article:
Overcoming Pain:
Why people experience chronic pain, and the power they have to de-intensify it.
by Dr. Mark Borigini


The Alexander Technique on NPR!

Click here to read the npr story which aired on 3/28/11

I love this quote from the teacher interviewed in the article: 
"The whole point is that you understand the process so that you can arrive there yourself."  
Alexander Technique is meant to provide you with the tools you need to make lasting changes on your own and be able to improve the quality of your life!


Improving Posture with the Alexander Technique

It's a question that has been coming up a lot recently in my practice, and it's an important one: How can I improve my posture? And, how can the Alexander Technique help with that? This article goes a long way in explaining how Alexander Technique benefits postural alignment.

Posture and the Alexander Technique
By Joan Arnold and Hope Gillerman with Terry Zimmerer
The posture problem
You look in the mirror and you're not happy with what you see. Maybe your shoulders round forward. Your butt sticks out. Your knees point in. You don't like your walk. You can't stand that stoop. Maybe you try to fix the problem by listening to the familiar voices in your head — "Stand up straight!" "Tuck your pelvis!" "Pull your shoulders back!" "Hold your head up!" You try arranging body parts.You tuck your pelvis. You straighten up. It looks better, but feels like so much work.You let go, and there's the same old posture again. You figure you're lazy or too tightly wound or out of shape. Maybe you think your posture runs in the family.

How you move affects how you look
Though you may not realize it, what you do and how you do it affect the shape, tone and feel of your body. We are constantly in motion, even while sitting, and posture is like a still photograph of the way we move. By changing the way you perform ordinary activities with the Alexander Technique, your posture naturally improves — not from artificial, external stiffening, but from ease and inner expansion.

You can change
You can change your posture. By refining your overall body awareness with the Alexander Technique, you start to recognize when your alignment is out of balance. You learn a manageable, sustainable way to restore it. With the teacher's gentle hands-on guidance, you let your neck and shoulder tension go. You allow an easy relationship between the head, neck and spine. You learn to elicit what Alexander called the primary control: the tendency of the spine to lengthen in motion. With it, you relieve tension and discomfort while streamlining your movement.

Your internal support system — the primary control
What appears as lazy or stiff posture is really a lack of central coordination: some muscles work too hard while others barely engage. Alexander Technique lessons will change how you perceive and experience your body's support system.You see that it functions not in segments but as a whole. Your teacher provides a model of graceful body management, and helps you marshal the ideal relationship between head and spine. You come to understand that you are not held up by an outer shell of tension, but are motivated from within. You learn how to engage your internal support system, to release and direct your own internal dynamic energy.

The benefits of ease & poise
As you restore your natural poise, you find greater stability, balance and fluidity. Good posture is the contour of improved functioning: your stance looks better because your body feels good and works well. Regaining your full stature has other implications.You learn to handle stress with more calm.You bring to your personal and work life greater confidence, improved concentration, better endurance. And you understand that you have more control than you realized over how you look and feel.

copyright: Joan Arnold and Hope Gillerman