ALEXANDERSENTER.NO   -   ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE IN OSLO   -   BACKTROUBLE, NECKPAIN, HEADACHE, TENDONITIS

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

This is a page where I try to answer some of the questions I am asked about the Alexander Technique. Any further questions please address to tlf. 22 43 63 83 or post@alexandersenter.no.

Why do you call the sessions, - ‘lessons’?

Because we are teachers. We teach people the techniques of body use (movement and alignment) that Alexander discovered and worked out, and which we claim are more natural for us. Techniques our ancient ancestors probably used and which we once knew as little children. Techniques which we can learn again for ourselves.

Can you cure my ..shoulder pain, …back ache…..whiplash injury etc.?

I can never be sure of a complete cure but the technique can be a great help. I can almost certainly teach you a better body use, which in turn very often speeds up healing. Many aches and pains come directly from unconscious and habitual misuse, and these have a very good chance of improving once we attack the problem at source and correct the misuse.

Why do you call it the Alexander Technique? Why not a more descriptive name?

Alexander called it that and the name stuck. Many teachers like it. It gives a certain freedom of interpretation just because it isn't so descriptive. We are happy to keep the name also out of respect and gratitude to Alexander.

What clothes do you need for a lesson?

Comfortable and fairly loose, if possible. Maybe that's what we should always wear in fact! Many modern clothes restrict our movements.

How many lessons do I need?

A common question. Always a little difficult to answer. People naturally want to know how long it will take to learn, how often they should come and how much money they will need for the course. But we all have our individual needs and learn at different speeds. Possible needs might be: a reduction of pain; moving more freely; improving one´s performance in some activity; looking more attractive with a straighter posture…and so on. It might take weeks, months, years to get to where you want to be. Everything takes time. But I say even one session is better than none. Try it out, you can see for yourself how long you want to go on by the effect and effectiveness of the lessons. In any case I will always give you my opinion on how I see things.

How long will it be before I feel the effect of the lessons?

Results vary from person to person. The majority will experience something a bit special right away. Others don't experience very much for a while. Some of the results of the learning process – for example effects on the body like gradually loosening joints and freer muscles, will come gradually.

What do we do during a lesson? (for this question see the page "A LESSON")

Is it like a meditation?

In some ways yes it is. It's quiet, reflective work much of the time, with the pupil needing to focus, and be still inside. Is this a 'body' therapy or technique, or is the mind also involved? Putting it very simply we could say the mind consists of 3 main mechanisms through which we experience life.

  1. The thinking part. It is not so difficult to know what we mean by thinking, and thoughts..
  2. The emotional part..-this is of course not thinking, though we can think about an emotion, and experience emotions in connection with our thoughts. Through the modern science of psychology we are beginning to understand more about this part of our minds.
  3. Perception. This part of the mind we experience through our senses, sensing the world around us, sensing our bodies, sensing our balance, sensing our position. We can also in this part of the mind sense our thoughts and feelings – through the body. This is not thinking (though we can of course also think about this sensory information). In it's purest sense, this part of the mind is nice to be in. Not too much thinking, and not too many emotions. There can be a kind of stillness there. This part of the mind has been much affected by the busy modern society. There is so much to distract us, and interest us, that we are not so aware of what's happening in our bodies. We think it works well enough. But the fact is that in the western world nearly 90% of the population has some kind of back trouble. We are in fact misusing our bodies, and our perception of how best to sit, stand, move etc has become unreliable. It's difficult for us to really know where we are in space with the various body parts or how straight we really are. Straight is not what soldiers think it is. Children know better, and it´s that understanding we are most interested in teaching. The Alexander technique works to bring these three parts of the mind into a more balanced relationship with each other. So we can sense more clearly what we are thinking about, or what's happening with our emotions, by the effect they have on our bodies.

Is the Alexander technique a kind of healing?

No. At least we are not trained to think that it is, but it can have a healing effect, like many other treatments or therapies might do. But we are teachers, giving instruction and training pupils, not healing or treating patients. But like healers we work with our hands though, touching and gently manipulating our pupils.

What is the Alexander technique good for?

It seems to help with just about anything. After over 30 years experience with the technique, I am still amazed at how helpful it can be. But it is not so much about 'curing' ailments, as to trying to find out why they are there, so we can learn to do something about what causes them to be there. If we learn to use ourselves better, so the aches and pains tend to disappear.

Is the technique a philosophy, a religion or a spiritual way?

No, but it gives food for thought. There is intelligent thinking behind it, which we can add to our personal philosophies. We can certainly wonder why we have become so unaware, live such stressful lives, and have such uncomfortable bodies. It can be very helpful for people on a spiritual pathway; The releasing of physical, and in many cases also mental tensions, helps us to worship, practising yoga or the martial arts. Many priest, nuns, or those practicing different forms of meditation have found it helpful to have a more comfortable and better-aligned body. The technique is not in disharmony with any religious practice or spiritual pathway. It is also facilitates Yoga and the martial arts.

Are there any side effects, or unpleasant reactions after the sessions?

There can be some tenderness. Pupils can often experience a temporary increase in discomfort. If we are holding the body tensely it can be a little painful to let go, at first. Muscles which have been tense for many years, - sometimes extremely – can be a little sore as they begin to release. But we are very gentle and careful.

Does it help to read about the technique?

Many people look for an Alexander teacher, because they have read something about the technique. I think it helps to read about it while going through the process. But it is in no way essential. You learn most directly from the teacher. You can't learn it from a book. You learn it from practical experience.

Should I consult my doctor about having lessons?

Most doctors in Norway are not familiar with the technique, though they may have heard the name. Some doctors are very encouraging however. While in Great Britain it is part of the national health scheme, it is not so in Norway. But there is no harm in asking a doctor for his opinion.

You talk a lot about the mind and the body, but I notice you don’t mention the spirit or the soul. I suppose such concepts are not included in your work?

Well, no, not directly. This is a very private subject for people. People have such different opinions and philosophies, and I wouldn’t want to have a tense religious debate during the lesson. It would be disturb the pupil`s focus. However since you ask, I do believe there is something more than the body and mind. And I think this ‘something more’ can help give direction to our lives, and so can be very relevant to the work we do. Why do we stress so much? Why do we not value our bodies more? Why are we so afraid? Is there a meaning to life? Why do we have such little self-confidence? Is there something/someone out there who cares? And so on...Such questions one might think to be more appropriate in a dialogue with a therapist or a priest. And they are. But such questions and our conclusions to them can also be relevant in an Alexander lesson as they have an effect on our body all the time. Our life´s philosophy has a big effect on how we hold ourselves up. If we are very sad and depressed, we don´t hold ourselves up very well. So with some of my pupils friendly discussions on these themes can occur, and can be helpful. – so long as nobody tries to impose their ideas on another! That never works!

ALEXANDERSENTER.NO   -   ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE IN OSLO   -   BACKTROUBLE, NECKPAIN, HEADACHE, TENDONITIS