Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Alexander Technique Helps Back Pain

This is one of the best short videos on the Alexander Technique I've seen, and it details the results of the study done on over 600 people with back pain. In about 50 more years, it may be obvious to more people that the technique is very useful, but if the spine is out of balance due to structural misalignment at the atlanto-occipital joint, you can be more successful in every area of health once you correct that.

The principle in both disciplines is the same, and rooted in vertebrate physiology - the relation between the head and the body is important and determines the workings of the rest of the organism. The link with chiropractic is that Alexander addresses the emotional and self induced trauma that causes the vertebral subluxation and can reduce (but not eliminate) the affect of the spinal subluxation on lives.

Contact 1st Step Chiropractic to begin the move away from back pain. 815-398-4500

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tension and the Performing Artist

"What happened to you during the performance?" she asked..."your sound changed dramatically in the middle!"
I thought back to what I was doing during the violin recital and realized she was talking about a particular moment when I figured, "I'm so nervous anyway, why don't I try directing?"
In the Alexander technique, when we apply a bit of our awareness to ourselves in a constructive way, it's called directing.
So I remember doing so at that moment in the recital and noticed I felt a little better. But I didn't realize it changed the sound. "You sounded more...interesting," she admiringly admitted.
I was about one year through the teacher's training course in the Alexander Technique, back in 1980, and was playing again after losing my hands to a horrible tension problem. But does it really take that long to regain ability when it is lost? This is a review of one masterclass I led for music students at Rock Valley College. Michael Beert, cellist and head of the program, had some astute observations to share...
"In each student, it was obvious to hear and see the difference in their performing after just a couple of minor adjustments to the head and neck relationship. One student after another, it became apparent that this technique was beneficial to their sound and tone production. Another thing that was apparent was that one size did not fit all. Each student had different issues that needed addressing and Dr. Schalow was able to pinpoint each and work on the area that was most in need of attention.
The reactions from the students were most positive as they commented on other student’s performances or their own improvement. A couple of the students from the workshop have gone on to inquire about further Alexander Technique sessions with Dr. Schalow and have commented on its effectiveness in their lives, work and performance."
Wow. "Can I have some of that?" you might ask. You certainly can. Contact Rockford Alexander Technique at 1st Step Chiropractic. 815-398-4500.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Norwegian Woods @ 1st Step Chiropractic

Is Chiropractic a substitute for Alexander technique? Is it the other way around? Check your neurology of the central nerve system and you'll see that upper cervical chiropractic fixes the problem that Alexander cannot; when the head isn't on straight, a specific vector is required to get it corrected. That is a different issue from correcting the use of the self. Both set up conditions favorable for healing, but you have to distinguish when to use either.
Careful craftsmanship! That's what we do in either field. Look at what we are doing today in my office, October 23, 2010.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Unsure What IS the Alexander Technique?

At the Womanspace Campus here in Rockford, IL, I led a wonderful group of people in a short tutorial about the Alexander Technique last month - while they were eating lunch.

You cannot learn this work in one 45 minute group session, but you can give some motivated people enough information to begin playing with this work on their own, especially the attentive musician. I wanted to share some of their comments with you...

"Excellent," "Meaningful," "Holistic," "Hands-on, very meaningful," and my favorite, "Unsure what Alexander Technique is!"

When I was a violin teacher I found that those students who couldn't understand me raised my level of awareness more than others. Differences in learning styles, communication methods, or some other mysterious impediment made it unescapably necessary to find a more appropriate way to communicate to this person.

I like a challenge. Especially when it does not involve dangerous animals in the jungle.

So let us answer the question, "What is the Alexander Technique?"

Well, IT isn't anything at all, really. Maybe a door opening, maybe a ladder to climb up metaphorically.

There is no IT, there is only YOU! And when YOU malfunction, YOU need to ask YOURSELF what YOU did to create that malfunction. Alexander simply says quietly in the background (with and Australian accent) "Stop doing that with YOUR neck!"

You have to ponder that problem...the Alexander Technique is not a trinket, not a drug or a multi-level marketing scheme, it is YOU.

And the teacher helps YOU to discover how you have been interfering with YOURSELF so you can give yourself other options.

Give yourself the opportunity to learn more. Alexander Technique in Rockford, IL

Sunday, June 20, 2010

FM Alexander for Posture?

Eleven years ago, I led an information session about the FM Alexander technique at a friend's house in Charleston, IL. Among the reviews were one that astounded me. "Fairly standard point about posture." was all it said.

Reflected in that comment was the sad image of a person who had been so harangued by his superiors that he couldn't hear anything else except the most irritating of them. Maybe it was his music teacher from fourth grade. Maybe an older sister. "Sit up straight! Stand up straight! Stop slumping!" might have been the incessant imperatives.

Although the FM Alexander technique has implications for posture, blood pressure, back pain, vocal production, sound production on any instrument, and other diverse realities of living, it is no more about posture than going to the movies is about burning gas in your car. While it's true that you use up gas by going to the movies, it is just a side effect.

When I was an orchestral musician, people wondered why I sat up so straight. I didn't think I sat up straight, it was just a side effect of the head/neck/back system working well. When it does, my hands worked well and freely and I felt physically comfortable with my instrument.

The vertebrate mechanism doesn't work well when you sit or stand up straight. It works well when you mind the head/neck/trunk dynamic. If you are an actor in a devious character with a twisted posture, your posture HAS to be bad, but you can still manage your head/neck/back dynamic in a constructive manner.

So I still ponder the tendency of the newcomer to jump to a conclusion about the Alexander technique as being about posture.

In England, the common equation is: Alexander = Back Pain Relief. In other places across the planet, the questionable drift is toward the equation: Alexander = Relief from Symptoms.

How about we just let it be itself? The Alexander Technique is about learning to use yourself in a conscious, constructive way!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Alexander Technique - Lessons?

A simple quote from Sophocles -

"The ideal condition would be, I admit, that man should be right by instinct; But since we are all too likely to go astray, the resonable thing is to learn from those who can teach."

Pain? Uncoordination? Sensory deficits? Learn from those who can teach!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alexander Technique and Biology

Considered the father of psycho-biology, CL Herrick stated shortly before he died in 1904, "Structure is a snapshot of behavior." He saw the future of forensics...

But more importantly for human behavior studies, he saw that there is a link between behavior and structure.

One of his students, GE Coghill spent his career studying the behavior of the newt, making important observations about the role of the head in animal movement. When he met FM Alexander, he readily caught on to what Alexander was doing since it agreed with what had been discovered by scientists up to that time. The beautiful thing was that Alexander had transformed this observable fact into practical reality.
Alexander Technique - practical science!