The History: The Technique was developed by an Australian actor who suffered from recurrent vocal failure. As medical attention provided only temporary relief, F. M. Alexander (1869-1955) began a process of self-experimentation with the aid of mirrors. This led to the observation of certain habitual behaviors and mannerisms which, he inferred, were interfering with his voice production. Learning to stop these actions led to the development of a technique for changing interfering habits and the discovery of a way to promote better self-use. The noticeable improvement in his skill and overall health led others to seek his help. Alexander soon discovered that the best way to teach others what he had learned was to use his hands to prevent students from their habitual actions and guide them to a new experience of working according to design (even if accommodations must be made for congenital or extraneous limitations). Over time, the new experience can help restore the natural poise which is, as Alexander put it, our Supreme Inheritance.

In 1904, Alexander moved to England where his technique was endorsed by the medical establishment. It gained popularity amongst leading performing artists and intellectuals who appreciated the technique’s capacity to promote self-control and acuity. Amongst his students, John Dewey, George Bernard Shaw and Aldous Huxley were all enthusiastic advocates. To meet the growing demand for lessons, Alexander began training others to teach his technique in London and the United States. Today there are dozens of teacher training schools and thousands of teachers worldwide.

Alexander Technique Lessons and workshops in Cincinnati and the Tri-State area with Claire Rechnitzer

What it’s about: Used correctly, our bodies are able to sit, stand, move, breathe, get and give attention with economy, vitality and poise.  As infants, we figured out the best way to support our own weight and get about with grace and good humor (and to get and give attention with ingenuity and good manners). Over time however, many of us begin to unwittingly misuse our bodies. This misuse limits our potential and is often the cause of pain, tension, low energy, burnout, or a proclivity to injuries.
Alexander Technique teachers use verbal instruction and gentle hands-on guidance to help students avoid unnecessary effort and to experience natural postural support and an easy composure. As students learn to independently apply basic principles of movement, bearing and coordination, many types of discomfort and stress are relieved and a heightened sense confidence and buoyancy may be experienced.

Alexander Technique Advantages: There are many approaches to better movement and tension-relief; these are the advantages that differentiate the Alexander Technique from other disciplines:

  • You can practice it concurrent to any activity. The technique is taught during a lesson, but you can practice it anytime, without stopping what you are doing. If you are experiencing pain, discomfort or stress, you cannot always drop everything to take a warm bath or hop on the treadmill. Instead, you will find you are able to attend to your condition while gardening, driving, at work or on stage.
  • Independence. Like learning to drive, you work with an instructor until you feel competent on your own. With symptoms alleviated and the ability to meet new challenges with what F.M. Alexander called constructive conscious control, you will not have to rely on a practitioner to apply treatment or physical manipulation (such as a chiropractic or massage therapist).
  • No physical requirements. The Technique is suitable for everyone including people with physical challenges. There are no exercises, homework or dietary requirements.
  • No necessary equipment or special apparel. The teacher will use a table for her own convenience during a lesson, but the floor is equally functional. Loose fitting garments are best during a lesson but are not essential. The technique can be practiced in a suit and tie, uniform, or period costume if needed.