Alexander's Universal Use Test

Alexander does give a precise, if bizarre, method by which he claims allows one to measure the condition of use (in his words, “ index to imperfect muscular co-ordination”) of anyone we encounter. It can be found in Chapter VII, Section III of MSI (“What are the outward signs of improvement to be noted during treatment?”) - about 3 pages from the start of that section:

“Another curious and interesting test of the co-ordinated person who is attaining conscious control of the uses of his body is obtained by observing his hands when they fall to his sides in the position which comes naturally to him. One may say that here are three main stages to be observed in man’s development in this particular, though the gradations are many and not, perhaps, always strictly progressive. The first stage may be observes in the lowest savages, the Hottentot, the Australian aboriginal, and many races at an early stage of development. Such examples stand with the body thrown back from the hips, stomach protruded, and - here is the test - with the palms of the hands forward, the elbows bent into the sides, the thumbs sticking out away from the body. The second stage is evidenced in the averaged (sic) civilised man of to-day who stands as a rule with the palms of his hands towards his body, his elbows to the back, his thumbs forward. In the third stage, the properly co-ordinated person stands with the back of his hands forward, the thumbs inwards, and the elbows slightly bent outwards. This is a curious but little known test, which, in my experience, has never failed as an index to imperfect muscular co-ordination.”

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