Alexander Technique: kicking the body's bad habits

Mon Sep 7, 2009 6:04am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - The Alexander Technique is based on a simple idea: if an activity hurts, stop doing it that way.

The offending action can be just about anything from sitting at the computer to running a marathon, playing the piano, or just getting out of a chair.

"The Alexander Technique is basically a way to change harmful positions and postures," Dr. Arya Nick Shamie, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, said in an interview.

The technique re-educates the body. Through a series of one-on-one lessons with a certified teacher, a student develops the skills to execute any action with minimized strain and maximized balance.

The good news is that it's painless, you can do it in your street clothes, and it seems to work. The bad news is that it takes time and patience, and it'll cost you.

"When a violinist with carpal tunnel syndrome goes to an Alexander Technique specialist, the specialist will examine that individual in the act of playing the violin, notice that the wrist is not in the ideal position and make recommendations" Shamie said.

"It makes sense and it's based on good medical logic" the physician added.

"But it's like telling someone who has high blood pressure to change their diet. In the western world we want quick fixes. Or we want a surgeon to take out the disc," said Shamie, himself a spine surgeon at the UCLA School of Medicine.   Continued...