David Garlick's article
Alexander and the Resurrection of the Body
F.M. Alexander was born in Tasmania in 1869 and died in London
in 1956. An American physical education expert, in editing
the writings of Alexander, entitled the book The Resurrection
of the Body.
Alexander arrived in Melbourne in the 1890's he took up with
enthusiasm dramatic recitals for which he had some histrionic
skills. His career became clouded when he developed a crippling
hoarseness. Medical advice proposed he give up his stage career.
With his country training in resourcefulness and a strong
measure of assertiveness Alexander decided to set out to cure
made a striking observation. He placed himself into the appropriate
posture for dramatic recital, and, at the same time, decided
to observe himself in a long mirror. The comparison was striking-the
posture he perceived himself to be making was not, in fact,
what appeared in the mirror. There was a mis-match between
his proprioceptive sense and his visual input. His sense of
muscle action and body position and posture was defective.
then began to experiment on himself to direct attention to
his muscles and his posture, to stop patterns of muscle actions
(over-contractions) that were associated with his hoarseness
and to allow more reflex control of muscles to occur. The
effect of his observations led to an increase in height and
widening across the shoulders with easier breathing, amongst
other effects. There is some interesting physiology here which
is not entirely relevant to this learned assembly.
developed his findings into a corpus of teaching which he
developed in Sydney and then brought to London. He made a
considerable impression on members of the acting and other
performing arts professions in relieving them of musculoskeletal
also made an impact on the scientific profession since his
observations were factual and not embellished with speculative
theorising-John Dewey, the educational philosopher; Sir Charles
Sherrington, Nobel Laureate and father of 20th century physiology;
Niko Tinbergen, Nobel Laureate and ethologist.
Alexander is an example of a layman able to make insightful,
empirically-based observations that have led to developing
useful concepts; that the brain is an imperfect organ in which
visual and mental activities overwhelm other senses. In the
case of the propriocdeptive sense this leads to musculoskeletal
problems and to a sense of being "disconnected" between mind
and body. In providing a process for re-establishing this
connection, Alexander engineered a "resurrection".
-David Garlick, 12 July 2000
Numerous books and articles on the effectiveness of this modality
in improving in many conditions are available on the internet
simply by getting your search engine to find "Alexander Technique".