medicine, science and the alexander technique
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Medicine, Science and the Alexander Technique
The Alexander Technique has long been outside the mainstream of science and medicine. The benefits of lessons in the Technique have been dismissed as merely "anecdotal." That is beginning to change. Neuroscientists and medical researchers have taken an interest in the method. Following are three citations including two recently published studies that examined the use of the Alexander Technique in cases of chronic back pain, plus an interesting video of Nikolaas Tinbergen's Nobel Prize acceptance speech in which he speaks of his experience with the Alexander Technique. Lastly, below there is a link to an illustrated paper by Dr Theodore Dimon, Jr. where he very clearly explains the physiology behind why Alexander Technique teachers teach us to free the neck, lengthen the spine and widen the back.
Excerpt from the British Medical Journal:
Lessons in the Alexander technique offer an individualised approach designed to develop lifelong skills for self care that help people recognise, understand, and avoid poor habits affecting postural tone and neuromuscular coordination. Lessons involve continuous personalised assessment of the individual patterns of habitual musculoskeletal use when stationary and in movement; paying particular attention to release of unwanted head, neck, and spinal muscle tension, guided by verbal instruction and hand contact, allowing decompression of the spine; help and feedback from hand contact and verbal instruction to improve musculoskeletal use when stationary and in movement; and spending time between lessons practicing and applying the technique.
Excerpt from Physical Therapy:
The AT's aims are broader than improving pain or even the control over tonic muscular activity and coordination. Alexander taught that learning to control tonic muscular activity through inhibition and direction conveys the close relationship between mental and physical processes, which leads to a specific type of self-awareness and control that can be applied to the whole range of human activities.
Nikolaas Tinbergen, a Dutch-born British biologist and Nobel Laureate, devoted a significant portion of his Nobel lecture to talking about F. M. Alexander, the Alexander Technique, the importance of Alexander's discoveries, and the benefits he, his wife and daughter experienced from lessons:
The Alexander Technique is itself based on rational premises:
Part 1: The Architecture: How Muscles Work in the Context of the Skeletal Framework, published in the AmSAT Journal, Spring 2013, Issue No. 3 and on The Dimon Institute website, www.dimoninstitute.org.
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