View Full Version : Alexander Technique???
12th February 2009, 11:52 PM
I hope you all are well.
I have been doing some reading on the Alexander Technique and have found a few ladies who have clinics near to where i live. As you guys know Sarah suffers alot from back pain and i would really really like to help her instead of watching her suffer. On everything that i have read on AT, it doesn't once mention scoliosis it primarily helps back pain. I wanted to ask if there is anyone who has any experience with AT who could give me some advice. I tried to search it on this forum but didn't get anything so i don't know if this has been discussed before or not.
Thankyou for all your help
13th February 2009, 05:48 AM
I would recommend trying Alexander Technique for Sarah. I'm one of the fortunate people who has never had much pain from my scoliosis, and I started learning AT to improve my breathing for singing. However after a few lessons I found I was much more aware of my body, and could adjust my posture so that I no longer ached after driving long distances.
There are some other threads about AT in here, but I'm no expert with the search function.
Here is a link to an account of someone with kyphoscoliosis who used Alexander Technique to reduce pain
And this link is to the UK society of teachers of the Alexander Technique
And this one about AT for children - mentions scoliosis
13th February 2009, 10:11 AM
Hi Sarahsmum. I am a HUGE fan of the Alexander Technique - I have been doing it now for about a year and it has definitely helped me. The thing to remember is that it is not a 'therapy' in the way that physio, chiropractic etc is, and it will not do anything to cure the underlying problem. It is also very much a long-term thing - it takes quite a few lessons before you really 'get it' and it is something that you need to put into practise for the rest of your life.
What it does do is help you make the best of what you have, and it helps you deal with the pain. My posture has changed completely since I've been taking AT lessons. I used to stand with my pelvis tipped backwards, which flattened my back (and added to the pressure on my already squashed lumbar discs). I also had a forward head posture, which was putting strain on my cervical discs (I don't suffer with neck pain, but was told I soon would with my head in that position!).
But now I have a much more balanced posture - my pelvis is level, I have the proper natural curve in my lower back and my head sits nicely balanced above my shoulders, rather than stuck out in front. I have also learned how to move and bend without changing this alignment of my spine, so that has made everyday life much easier to deal with - I can carry on with normal life much better now I know I can move without injuring myself further. I have even 'grown' an inch in height because my spine is less 'crunched up' than it used to be. :D
As well as helping in a physical way by making sure I'm not putting additional pressure on already wonky discs and joints, it has also helped me deal with the psychological effects of pain. I'm still not sure exactly how this works, but I believe this is fairly common - people start doing AT to help with a physical problem, and they find it has the additional benefit of helping them with depression, anxiety, self-confidence etc. The main focus is learning to 'let go' of muscle tension, so maybe this also has a calming effect on the mind. And the other thing I liked about it was it was something I could do for myself - not like being 'treated' by a physio or chiropractor. It helped me feel more in control of my life again.
Its certainly not a miracle cure and it hasn't got rid of my pain - I'm on tramadol and I have regular acupuncture sessions to help with the pain. But there is no doubt that the Alexander Technique has helped me a lot - I'm sure my pain would be much worse if I wasn't doing the AT, and I wouldn't have the confidence to get on with my life and make the best of things.
So its definitely definitely worth trying - I think everyone should do it, whether or not they have back pain! It is a good way of preventing problems from arising as well as helping deal with current pain. And I think its especially important for anyone with scoliosis to try to get their posture as balanced as possible to prevent further damage.
Let me know if you have any questions, I'm only too happy to promote it at every opportunity since I know it has helped me so much :D
13th February 2009, 11:24 AM
Thankyou for your advice.
I have booked an appointment with a Dr Miriam A Wohl for next Wednesday, she said she had been doing this for the last 20 years and has had teenage children in the past that have had scoliosis. It is quite expensive!!! She charges £52 for the first appointment which is for an hour, and then the appointments are for 30 mins costing £36!! (I would pay any amount of money as long as it helped Sarah) She said that Sarah will need 20 - 30 sessions and she will have to have 2 sessions a week to start off with.
A question - Does it help the scoliosis in any way??? with the curve or the rotation???
13th February 2009, 12:27 PM
Thats brilliant - I'm glad you are going to give it a go with Sarah. There is no doubt that it IS expensive, but then you have to think she will be learning something that should benefit her for the rest of her life. And the intensive sessions will only be for the first while, and then you should be able to drop it down to once every couple of weeks, once a month etc...
That sounds something fairly similar to what I pay - my first session was £45 and £35 after that, although my teacher tends to go on for as long as he thinks is necessary in the sessions, rather than have a fixed time. I've had sessions that last an hour and a half - but he still charges the same amount. My teacher is amazing - he is fantastic at what he does, and he is such a lovely guy. It is so obvious that he really believes in what he does and wants to help, he is not just in it for the money. I'm sure they aren't all like that though! I would say the teacher you get makes a huge difference to how successful it is too, so don't be afraid to try someone else if Sarah doesn't 'gel' with this person.
I would say thats a fairly accurate estimate of 20 -30 sessions, which I know sounds daunting at the start. Don't be put off though, I promise it IS worth sticking with it. And although it may take this number of sessions before she really gets it, Sarah should start feeling some benefit fairly quickly. Its just a very slow, gradual process and nothing will change overnight - but bit by bit, she will unlearn bad habits, and the 'good' habits will start to take their place. The other thing to remember is that it is not a steady progression - sometimes there are quite dramatic changes in your posture, and then you will hit a 'plateau' for a few weeks and it feels like you aren't improving. So tell Sarah not to get frustrated if she feels she isn't getting anywhere - my advice is just to keep with it and things will start to settle into place.
I would equate it to learning a new skill like driving - its impossible to learn it overnight, it takes time and lots of practice, and you get days when it just doesn't seem to go right at all! After your first driving lesson, you will know a bit about driving, but it will take lots more lessons and lots more practice before you really 'get it' and it starts to come naturally...just the same with AT! And of course, there is always scope for being a better driver, and there is always scope for being better at doing the Alexander Technique. I take monthly lessons now to keep me on track, and I know there is still room for improvement. My AT teacher joked that the Alexander Technique is a 'life sentence' because once you start it, you just keep wanting to pursue it further!
I have read that it can actually improve compensatory curves - this sounds logical because it is concerned with relaxing muscles that pull your body out of alignment. I have to say that I personally haven't noticed any difference in my alignment from that point of view though - I am much more balanced when viewed side-on, but I am still wonky when you see me from the front and back. I don't think this has changed at all, although I've never had my curves measured so don't know for definite.
I'll be really interested to hear how Sarah gets on - do keep us informed!
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