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6. Towards releasing muscular tension

23 respondents sought help to what they describe as tensing the body (9) and/or parts of it (19).

Let us first throw a little glance to what exactly the respondents felt they were tensing:

- the whole body 9, especially while moving 2

- Upper torso 1

- Shoulders 6 (followed by giddiness and foggy feeling 1)

- Neck 6 (followed by pain 2 and numbness 1)

- Headache caused by constant tension 2

- Back 4 (followed by pain 2)

- Occlusion 3 (followed by a “disgusting feeling” 1)

- Face 1

Kuva: Juha Sihto

The Alexander Technique helped with the tension in 20 cases out of 23. Eight people said that the technique brought about consciousness of one’s body. Extra tension was perceived to be a voluntary act that can be stopped. The technique helped with perceiving positions, as well as with relaxing and releasing muscles. The respondents described how the AT had been a learning process.

“I recognized how I’m in the habit of tensing and holding myself. Now I’m more capable of releasing tension in various situations.”

“10 private sessions sufficed, I learned to relax the movements of my neck and the hand. I learned to control my head and my body in a more relaxed manner.”

“I leaned to hold myself slightly less by excessive muscular tension. The parts of my body now seem to be more like one on top of the other.”

“I’ve learned small, concrete tips that help me to alleviate unnecessary muscular tension.”

The quotations above refer to active learning processes experienced by 13/23 respondents. The changes were perceived to be a result of working on oneself by using the AT tools. On the other hand, ten respondents said that, while learning the AT, something seems to take place by itself. Eight of them had an experience that the changes were caused by a combination of using the AT tools independently and something that happened automatically after going to the AT sessions. Two respondents felt that they themselves were quite passive in the process but thanks to the AT something favorable took place:

“The tension melts away, which makes me feel more free and more relaxed.”

“The AT seems to help more than massage or physiotherapy.”

According to six respondents, reducing muscular tension led into alleviation of pain. Five stated that reducing muscular tension had resulted into an increasing connection between the mind and the body.

“Soft energy and strength streams into the body and the mind.”

“The AT balances the mind and the body.”

“I get into myself easier now – my mind and my body meet each other.”

“I’ve learned to leave myself alone, this leads into balancing of the body.”

“I understood that one reason to the tension in the body is that my mind is busy.”

Six respondents emphasized that the AT tools only work if you use them. Five of them stated that the AT had helped them to alleviate extra tension. One noted that the tension in their back returns as soon as they stop thinking of the AT tools. They said that although the tools seem to be so difficult to utilize, the principles of the technique seem very reasonable, and they can obviously be applied for example by inventing new directions. One respondent did not get help to their tension. They said however, that they had “learned to understand how the body follows the directions of the mind, which makes the body to function with less effort and more lightness”. One said that they had “perhaps“ had some help to the tension (and the giddiness and the foggy feeling). However, they noted that they had also used physiotherapy and some exercises. They emphasized that when their condition was acute, they always felt better after the private AT sessions than before.

There were also some less mentioned “side-effects”: Two respondents said that their posture improved and two found that the AT helped them fall asleep better than before. One reported an improved balance and one reported that theirbreathing turned easier. I will return to the unexpected effects when I report the responses to question 3. Stay tuned!

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