The Alexander Technique-Subtraction, Not Addition
In an Alexander Technique lesson I taught today, my student began by telling me her neck pain felt a little worse this week. When I inquired about it she told me that the physical therapist she’d been seeing added a new exercise for her neck, and it hurt her. Unfortunately, as an Alexander Technique teacher, I hear this story quite a lot. I told her that in my opinion she needs to subtract some things she’s doing rather than adding.
In other words, the Alexander Technique’s direction to ‘free your neck’ doesn’t add anything besides the thought. You’re actually subtracting, or reducing something. You’re reducing unwanted, excess tension. Keep in mind that when you tense your muscles, you are shortening them. When you shorten your neck muscles, for instance, you’re compressing the spine. This isn’t helpful for those with neck pain, or back pain, or shoulder pain, or headaches. Also note that this is what many of us do as we sit in front of the computer screen hours a day.
So what does the Alexander Technique suggest you do to help your musculo-skeletal pain, or to make any activity easier? Do less, not more. Try a little more undoing than doing. Extra doing might have been what gotten you into trouble in the first place.
Mark Josefsberg-Alexander Technique NYC