history alexander technique

The History and Origins of the Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique grew from unlikely origins with an Australian actor who lost his voice and found a remarkable way to improve posture, performance, and to help alleviate many back problems and other conditions. It has now been around for well over a century and has become renowned for its effectiveness in improved health and performance.

Background to the Alexander Technique

FM-Alexander young

Alexander the young actor

He went to the doctor who shook his head and said he didn’t really know what was wrong, just like doctors often do today, so in the end he was left to work it out for himself. He stood in front of a mirror and watched what happened when he tried to recite and to cut a long story short (it took him seven years) he finally found where he was going wrong. He realised that he was interfering with his natural use of himself, and in the end was able to regain the use of his voice. At this point he could have resumed his acting career, but he realised that he was on to something far more valuable, because it is this interference with natural use that causes so many of our health problems. Alexander had worked out what we need to do to stop interfering with our natural functioning, and regain a better quality of life with all the benefits that the Alexander Technique can bring.

Alexander Standing

Even in his later years, Alexander had remarkable poise and presence

The wonderful thing about Alexander is that he didn’t set out to develop a cure for bad backs, or to improve posture, or be any sort of therapist or guru, he just wanted to sort his voice out so he could get on with his life. It was only when he realised that what he had discovered could help many others to get more out of life that he decided to teach his technique to others, and developed what is know known all over the world as the Alexander Technique.

In his later years some of his pupils decided that the work should be preserved, so Alexander was persuaded to teach some of them how to teach themselves. A method of teacher training was developed that enabled prospective Alexander Technique teachers to train over a three year period.

© 2013 – The Alexander Centre