Sunday, December 27, 2009

Learning How to Stop

FM Alexander developed his technique around a demand. The demand was essentially, "Do Something!"
In his case it was the demand to get on stage and project his voice in an acting career. As his voice deteriorated, he learned that what was happening to him was the natural result of the conditions present, and those conditions were being created by HIM. So what do you do? Just change the conditions!
The difficulty here lies in the fact that those conditions have become an ingrained habit...and how do you change a habit? Just stop! The Nike commercial becomes a remedial education commercial with the addition of one word, "JUST DON'T DO IT!"
But then what is a person to do if you're not to do?
Alexander's key was that he stumbled onto the principle in vertebrate physiology called the primary control (his term). Simply, it is the fact that what happens in the head/neck relationship with the back determines how well things work for the rest of the body.
So when FM says "Stop," it means, "stop interfering with the right head/neck relationship."
Just one Alexander lesson can open your eyes to what he means there, but to get it fully, it's a good idea to have a few lessons.
It's not chiropractic, and it's not physical therapy, although it enhances the results in both of those fields. Just remember, the goal with Alexander technique is to help you retrain yourself to avoid habits that interfere with the best outcome.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

New Hope for TMJ Syndrome

When FM Alexander was teaching in England in the early 1900's, he had a man come to him who suffered with severe TMJ syndrome. After a series of lessons, which at that time took many months, the problem vanished. Years later, Walter Carrington, the late dean of the Constructive Teaching Centre in London, happened to meet this man's doctor who gave him (and us) an interesting followup to this story.
Turns out original x-rays of the TMJ showed deterioration of the articular cartilage (that's very bad). After the lessons and the cessation of the TMJ problem, re-x-rays showed that the cartilage grew back. Isn't that interesting? Too bad this wasn't published as a case report!
Here's what we know about cartilage; it doesn't like too much oxygen, it grows better in an environment of lower temperatures and lower oxygen. From this we can see that inflammation caused by high pressure in the joint will eat up the cartilage. If you can change those conditions, what do you think will happen? Right! The cartilage grows back.
The complexity of TMJ Syndrome requires a thorough exam to find out the cause and determine the best course of action. At Alexander Technique in Rockford, IL, we look at the joints, muscles and nerves to find out the best, most efficient way to restore balance to the system.
Here we are, ready to help! 815-670-0245

Friday, December 18, 2009

Help for Fallen Arches

FM Alexander was approached by a London Policeman years ago who suffered with painful fallen arches. FM told him, "I don't know if I can help you, but if you have lessons with me every day for two weeks, we'll be able to find out."
Two weeks later, the gentleman was feeling so good he went for a very long walk, against FM's advice. Without the "tincture of time" to strengthen the feet, he overdid it and wound up in worse shape than before. So what's the moral of the story...?
Simply reducing the abnormal muscle tone in the head/neck region will correct the signaling system to the feet, but strengthening the joints and tendons seems to be an important element for long-term effect.
How many other symptoms can vanish with using the Alexander Technique? Are you ready to find out?
Contact Alexander Technique in Rockford, IL, to find out if you can be helped. 815-670-0245

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Getting Rid of Tension

In the beginning, we asked, "How can you teach this FM Alexander Technique to others?"
My teacher, Kitty Wielopolska and her friend, Lulie Westfeldt were in attendance in the first teacher training course in 1929. Lulie was a Southern Baptist, FM was at least "non-religious."
One of the things that FM did to "liven up" the atmosphere was say things to irritate. On one occasion, looking to push Lulie's buttons said, "Belief is a matter of customary muscle tension!"
Can you think of any better way to put down someone's faith?
On the other hand, if we look at this statement without the faith-bashing overtones, thinking about Alexander's main point, we can see that how we do things - speak, work, move - is all in terms of what we believe is important to get the job done. That boils down to customary muscle tension. In the video posted just before this, we see an Alexander teacher who believes that in order to speak convincingly, it is important to pull the head back and stiffen the suboccipital muscles, shortening the stature and creating excess rib compression.
For vertebrates, that activity impairs optimum function. Things don't work right if you keep that up for long. The neat thing about Alexander is that he says, "Stop it!" Having a teacher to help you learn how to stop it is a good thing.
So are you ready to open the door to reducing muscle tension?
Contact Rockford Alexander Technique at 815-670-0245.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Help For Function-Related Headaches

In this well-done video, (I only go into the problems with it with another Alexander teacher) we see three settings where some good learning is taking place. Each of them are work settings where you can see the simplicity and utility of Alexander's Technique. It gives you a structure to do things in a better, less wearing manner. My only warning is that you cannot assume that if you have headaches, it is because you are stiffening your neck. If there is a structural problem causing abnormal hormone balance (which can cause headaches), it is more efficient to correct that with upper cervical NUCCA care.

Are you ready to enjoy more ease with your work in Rockford, IL?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Psycho-physical Education

I've been studying and teaching the FM Alexander Technique for 30 years. As I got further into psychology and neurology in preparing for Board Examination as a Chiropractor, I realized that these fields shed little light on why Alexander's Technique works. There are certainly easy concepts like inhibitory control and reflexes talked about in neurology, and there are simple ideas like volition and making different choices that get talked about in some branches of psychology. But you have to remember that Alexander developed this before any of these concepts were formulated. He discovered a practical working of the self that can be described only partially by other disciplines such as zoology, ethology, psychology, neurology.If you are ready to explore the work that inspired many of the sciences, contact us at Alexander Technique in Rockford, IL. 815-670-0245

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bringing Balance to the Spine

This video shows a musician who used the Alexander Technique to rearrange his relationship with his instrument. In a sense, the technique encourages us to respect ourselves and find a way to work with our instruments and tools in a way that is not self-destructive. Here is a guitarist who actually moves his head freely, breathes freely, and we see the effect in his hands and hear the effect in the organic phrasing of the music. It isn't forced, but clearly flows. One author calls it, "The Freedom to Change."

If you're ready to pursue the benefits of the Alexander Technique in Rockford, IL, call us at 815-670-0245.

Blood Pressure Assistance

When I taught in Savannah, GA, a business owner advised me to move to California to develop my teaching practice because he felt that the Alexander Technique was too "way out" for the local community. I still ponder those words and puzzle over how anyone can think that a practical system that gives people the opportunity to live and move more freely, feel more comfortable, and actually reverse health problems such as hypertension would not be relevant in any community!
Although there has been no research to uncover who among hypertensives might be helped with the Alexander Technique, Nikko Tinbergen reported in 1974, that as he investigated this work, he discovered that his blood pressure normalized. Tinbergen was a prize-winning ethologist, whose work with animal behavior broke new ground.
Although there is research supporting the use of NUCCA chiropractic in helping hypertension, in Rockford, IL, you can have exposure to both NUCCA work and Alexander Technique, two approaches that compliment each other in restoring normal physiology.
Are you ready to find out if your blood pressure can normalize naturally?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Help for Tension

I meet a lot of people who love learning things and making improvements in their lives. When I tell them I teach the Alexander Technique in Rockford to people when they need this type of remedial work, I am usually asked, "What's that?"
Here's the short story; When FM Alexander lost his voice on stage, he realized he was doing something wrong in vocal production. Then he figured out what he was doing wrong. Then he figured out how to STOP doing the thing that was wrong. Simple...
Except that most of us need a lot of help not just noticing what we just did that messed us up, but most of all we need help un-learning that behavior.
That's where FM's technique comes in handy.
Here are some questions that can guide your attention;
What are you doing with your neck?
Where is the unnecessary tension happening?
Do you really need that?
The funny thing about tension is that it can be coming from wrong signals out of the brainstem. It's as though you've been told to "please take the trash and dump it in the living room!"
That's a wrong signal, eh? But that is what happens when there is a loss of hind-brain connection with the body. It's fixable with upper cervical chiropractic and saves you a lot of time and money.
Once that's done, if there is still unnecessary tension, the Alexander Technique gives you a way of changing that, letting it go, getting into your work with no unnecessary tension. Isn't that nice?
So are you ready to find out if you can be helped?
Call 815-670-0245 and make an appointment.