This is the second text in a series of blogs whose introduction is here. The series reports the results of a customer inquiry from 2021. This text begins reporting the replies to question 1, Why did you start learning the Alexander Technique? 94 persons answered the questions.
35/94 persons had started taking lessons or attended workshops because they wanted to see if the AT would help them alleviate pain. 22/35 suffered from back pain, 5 suffered from neck pain, 3 suffered from shoulder pain, three had headache and two suffered from vague pain that they found difficult to elaborate.
16/22 stated that the AT had helped in alleviating back pain. The clients felt that the back pain seems to have been caused by overwork in their general being and moving, or by some tension that they either consciously or subconsciously maintained all the time. When they learned to alleviate this tension, the pain seemed to diminish.
Two persons did not get help to back pain. According to their own view, they didn’t attend enough private lessons to learn to apply the technique efficiently enough. One of them noted, however, that they had learned useful tools to make everyday life a bit easier. They also said that they had learned to understand how much one tenses the whole body unnecessarily all the time. Two persons were not sure if they had got help to back pain, since they had taken their lessons a long time ago. One person said that they now suffered from less back pain, because they had learned to diminish unnecessary tension in the body. All persons suffering from any other pain said that the technique had helped them.
There’s a strong emphasis in the answers on a learning process. The technique has taught the clients to perceive many kinds of extra effort, pushing and tension in everyday life activities. The AT has provided the customers with tools to diminish or stop that which is perceived unnecessary. This has led to an experience that the pain has either diminished or vanished. Someone noted that the pain was relieved already by the first private lesson: “I felt that a thousand kilos had been removed from my shoulders”. They continued that the learning process enabled them to repeat the experience later by themselves.
The answerers stated that the technique taught them to master pain themselves. That the pain seemed to be partly self prodused and that one can learn away from pain. Or that sometimes the pain seems to return but it can be removed by thinking of what has been learnt.
The reader may now wonder why people suffering from pain come to see an Alexander Technique teacher and not a doctor or a physiotherapist. Oh well, our clients are often well diagnosed and much treated. However, many decide to meet an AT teacher, because despite the treatments, the pain has returned time and again, in some cases getting worse every time. By the way, the combination of physiotherapy and the Alexander Technique has been experimented: https://europepmc.org/article/nbk/nbk259305
The results and impact of learning the AT have been investigated from several different perspectives. One source for studies on the AT and its health benefits is here: https://europepmc.org/article/nbk/nbk259305