LIBRARY - Reference(s)

On the Development of Habit

From the viewpoint of the Alexander Technique and early neuromotor patterns of development
Material type: 
AT Focus: 
Alexander Technique
210 x 148 mm.
Additional notes: 
Republished in 2005.
Mouritz Bibliography
Cover image: 
Biblio ID: 
Base ID: 
Short Description: 
Considers to what extent the persistence of early reflexes influences habitual use and to what extent the Technique can affect such early reflexes.
Mouritz description: 
This thesis gives an outline of the Technique and early (‘primitive’) reflexes, i.e. motor reflexes which occur in utero and the first years of life as part of the organism’s normal development. If some of these reflexes are not inhibited/integrated as part of healthy motor development, but persist, they can interfere with voluntary motor activity. To maintain balance and behave ‘normally’ the adult might enforce control by increasing muscular tension. In considering to what extent the persistence of early reflexes influences habitual use and to what extent the Technique affects habitual use, the author argues that the Technique, in only releasing a compensatory tension, does not deal with the persisting early reflexes. The author gives an overview of neuro-motor development and a suggestion for the development of habit in general. Basic knowledge of anatomy is an advantage.


This book was written as a thesis accepted as part of her study towards an MA degree at the University of Copenhagen. The book is aimed mainly at teachers and students of the Alexander Technique and addresses a two-fold issue:

“1. In what way can the persistence of one or more of the early reflexes influence the creation of habit or habitual use?

2. If there is a connection between habit and reflex influence, can the Alexander Technique possibly make an impact on this habitual use founded on persisting early reflexes?”

The Alexander Technique is now well established and the author has added to this in the first part of her book with a well written description of Alexander’s discoveries and key concepts.

Early reflexes are at the heart of sensory-motor integration and development. Alexander work deals with effecting beneficial sensory-motor changes and therefore investigation into these reflexes is to be welcomed. The subject of neuromotor reflexes at all levels is difficult and Gitte Fjordbo has done well in her research and thinking to emerge with a coherent description. What makes this book unique is the attempt, not only, to relate the Alexander Technique and early neuromotor patterns of development, but to ask about the effectiveness of the Alexander Technique where pupils or students have a background of persistent primitive reflexes and learning difficulties. Due to limited time and money, the author’s practical research was restricted to only two of the several early reflexes. This has been acknowledged and other projects have been suggested for further investigation.

This is an important book, which I whole-heartedly recommend.

© Raymond Evans. Reproduced with permission.

This edition © Mouritz 2005-2014. All rights reserved.