COMPANION

Science and medicine

‘Alexander and Chinese Acupuncture – Different approaches to similar conclusions’ by Nilly Bassan; on the similarities between Chinese medicine philosophy and the Technique.[1] References [1] ‘Alexander and Chinese Acupuncture – Different approaches to similar conclusions’ by Nilly Bassan in The Congress Papers 1988: Towards Unity edited by Jeremy Chance (Direction, 1994), pp. 40–54.
F. M. Alexander F. M. Alexander discusses the nature of addiction in MSI, referring to the examples of drugs, tea, alcohol, wine, sugar.[1] It is important to keep in mind that different men and different women fall victims to some particular stimulant or drug, whilst they are in absolute mastery of themselves where other seductive influences are concerned.[2] He discusses the following examples . . . A became addicted to a certain drug habit, but although he had taken alcohol from an early age he never became an immoderate drinker. It was not until he came into contact with...
The benefits of the Alexander Technique for aging and older adults have recently been more well documented. The term ‘older adults’ refers to people in what is also termed old age, the elderly, or senior citizens (US: seniors). F. M. Alexander F. M. Alexander does not specifically address aging, but does reproduce a doctor’s letter as a case history of ‘old age’ (‘Mr A.’ who died age 81) in UCL.[1] General Agility at Any Age by Mary Derbyshire uses the Alexander Technique for a range of simple-to-do exercises and explorations for...
F. M. Alexander F. M. Alexander made many grand claims for his technique, but he did not advance the argument that it was scientific. Alexander wrote, however, that his technique did not contradict contemporary science: The physiological side of my technique has been the subject of friendly discussion between medical men and physiologists, and I am not aware of any physiological findings having been advanced which are at variance with any of its procedures.[1] Alexander, however, did consider his work met the standards of operational verification, meaning stating the process, the...
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the spine. Ankylosing spondylitis symptoms include pain and stiffness from the neck down to the lower back. The spine's bones (vertebrae) fuse together, resulting in a rigid spine. Two teachers, Margaret Edis and Ruth Murray, who were both diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis at an early age, have reported how they have been able to live an active life and continue to teach the Technique. ‘Extracts from an interview with Margaret Edis’ by David Clark tells the story of how the Alexander Technique helped...
Anorexia Nervosa, often referred to as anorexia, is an eating disorder characterised by low weight, fear of gaining weight, and a strong desire to be thin, resulting in food restriction. Writings ‘Anorexia Nervosa and the Alexander Technique’ by Briar Maxwell tells her own story of her improving her condition with the Technique.[1] A letter by Dorota Kedzior in STATNews is on her book,[2] in Polish, on overcoming anorexia thanks to the Alexander Technique.[3] ‘Mindful recovery practices’ by Becca Ferguson reports on three teachers using the Technique to...
F. M. Alexander F. M. Alexander made several references to a number of conditions, including asthma, which were relieved or ‘eradicated’ (in the sense of disappearing) as a result of the general level of health from better use and functioning. Alexander in his writings also blamed the cause of asthma (as well as several other breathing related problems) on the ‘sniffing’ and ‘gasping’ modes of breathing,[1] [2] and the ‘disorganization and consequent strain in the region of the throat’.[3] See also several references to asthma in MSI.[4...
‘Ambient awareness’ by Kay S. Hooper; on training children with ADD using sensory awareness games.[1] References [1] ‘Ambient awareness’ by Kay S. Hooper in Direction vol. 3, no. 8 edited by Paul Cook (Direction Journal, 2010), pp. 9–13.
Books Autism and Alexander Technique by Caitlin G. Freeman argues that the Alexander Technique is ideally suited for helping people with ASD form sensory integration and body awareness, and comprises a system of physical training that is especially beneficial for people on the Autism Spectrum.[1] Articles ‘Taming to touch’ by Caitlin Freeman reports on using the Alexander Technique for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); the author is also a person with ASD and she presents her own case history.[2] References [1] Autism and Alexander Technique by...
The term ‘back problems’ here includes back pain, disability, injury, and deformity. History Alexander only makes passing reference to back problems, mainly because Alexander emphasizes the educational aspect of the Technique, but probably also because historically low back pain only became a prominent problem after World War II.[1] Since the 1990s most introductory books to the Alexander Technique would mention the Technique as a beneficial component for people with back problems. The ATEAM study published in 2008 in the British Medical Journal was an important milestone...
F. M. Alexander F. M. Alexander mentions a number of breathing problems in his early writings. ‘Excessive and harmful lowering of the air pressure in the respiratory tract’ tends to ‘cause congestion of the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract on the sucker system, setting up catarrh and its attendant evils, such as throat disorders, loss of voice, bronchitis, asthma, and other pulmonary troubles’.[1] In ‘Details of some Cases sent by Doctors’ in a 1906 flyer Alexander lists that he successfully dealt with pupils who were suffering from laryngitis...
Articles ‘Working with a cancer support group’ by Penny Ingham; on working with a local cancer support group since 1988, seeing pupils referred by medical staff, around 16 people a week, about two thirds of whom are cancer patients, the rest supporting partners and bereaved.[1] ‘Teaching cancer patients’ by Hélène Corrie reports on teaching the Alexander Technique to cancer patients at Mount Vernon Hospital.[2] ‘Give it a go!’ by Ute Schlegelberger; the author is a GP in Kiel, Germany, who endorses the Alexander Technique for helping...
The ability of a falling cat to turn in the air, from whatever starting position, to land on its feet has been used in the Alexander Technique by some teachers to illustrate 1) the righting reflex existing in most mammals and some other animals, and, in some cases 2) the ‘head leads and the body follows’ principle. (The righting reflex corrects the orientation of the body when it is taken out of its normal upright position.[1] See Rudolf Magnus’ reseach. Today the reason for the cat turning in the air is referred to as the ‘air righting reflex’.) The...
Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, aka Hereditary Motor and Sensory Neuropathy. Writings ‘Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease’ by Claire Quinn writes on how the Alexander Technique is helping her manage her condition.[1] References [1] ‘Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease’ by Claire Quinn in STATNews vol. 6, no. 26 edited by Ann James (STAT, September 2008), p. 22.
Christopher Stevens wrote on the science of the Alexander Technique and related science. This entry only covers Stevens’ own research into aspects of the Technique. Stevens’ own research broadly covered the following topics: sit-to-stand movements; postural sway; height and shoulder width changes; and stress related increase in blood pressure. Below is a summary of the studies. 1. A study examined the influence of the leg position upon sit-to-stand, using photography and a force platform to record the difference between starting with the legs at a 90 degrees angle and having...
Chronic fatigue syndrome also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Writings ‘The Alexander Technique and M.E.’ by Jan Ellan describes how she developed ‘illness management’ over some time, coping with ME while teaching the Technique.[1] ‘Chronic fatigue syndrome and the Alexander Technique – the next research project?’ by Annie Whitehead is on her own experiences of having CFS and recovering from it.[2] ‘Curing ME by coming to quiet’ by Penelope Easten tells her own story of recovery by using the instruction by...
Cranio-Sacral therapy uses gentle touch to palpate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium,  spine and pelvic bones to help regulate the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Writings ‘The Cranio-Sacral System’ by Hil Boode is an introduction to Cranio-Sacral therapy.[1] ‘The Cranio-Sacral System’ by Hillegonda Boode relating on her own case history of breaking her upper arm to illustrate how she could heal better through the CSS, concluding that connective tissue is the main organ of the body.[2] ‘Alexander Technique and craniosacral therapy’ by...
David Garlick’s research papers ‘Observations on the use of respiratory muscles in posture’ by David Garlick, et al. The breathing measured using a bellows pneumograph system for measuring the frequency and size of respiratory movements and the relative contributions of the rib cage, abdominal-diaphragm to tidal breathing. 51 subjects participated, of which 9 were involved in Alexander Technique, and 11 in the Feldenkrais method. Preliminary findings include that respiratory muscles, in their role of raising intra-abdominal pressure, are used to assist in maintaining...
Dementia is a collective term used to describe various symptoms of cognitive decline. Writings ‘Alzheimer’s-related dementia’ by Ulli Pawlas reports on how the author works with people with dementia.[1] ‘Does Alexander Technique have a role to play in dementia care?’ by Charlotte Woods relates on her experiences of caring for her mother who had dementia, how it led to her doing a pilot project with the AT at a care home and argues for the importance of the AT for carers.[2] Research papers ‘Does Alexander Technique: A role in dementia...
The Alexander Technique does not advocate a certain diet. However, it can be inferred from Alexander’s writings that he was in favour of wholesome and nourishing food, and against foods which could adversely affect use and functioning. F. M. Alexander F. M. Alexander used the example of people’s addiction to certain food as proof that people are still controlled by sensory experiences rather than reasoning: The fact that civilized human beings will take wine or sugar or drugs, when conscious that it is gradually undermining health and character, is proof positive of the...

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