Suffer from back or neck pain? This may help!

By: Lauryn Oleson

Do you suffer from chronic back or neck pain? What about problems due to poor posture, high stress or anxiety? If so, the Alexander Technique (AT) may provide just the natural relief you’re looking for.
According to the American Society for the Alexander Technique (ASAT), the technique was originally created in the 1890s to help founder Frederick Matthias Alexander, a Shakespearean orator, improve symptoms of asthma retained from his childhood.
 AT instructor Ian Jorgensen of Advocate BroMenn Health & Fitness Center in Bloomington, Ill., says AT is a body-mind practice that “maximizes your body’s natural poise, coordination, balance, strength and flexibility” by “addressing inefficient movement patterns and accumulated tension that are interfering with your ability to move easily and freely.”

“Your body should be like a well-tuned team: everyone working smoothly with one another with a great leader guiding them,” says Jorgensen. He adds that people often lose the leader, making parts of the body work against each other but AT can restore it.

Jorgensen explains that typical AT sessions include sitting, standing, walking and lying down combined with guided touch from the instructor. “Using both words and touch helps to re-coordinate your body, increasing awareness of your body’s whole and proper functioning,” he says.

According to Jorgensen, some benefits of the AT include:
  • Improved and effortless posture and balance
  • Relief from chronic pain
  • Relief from pain and symptoms associated with medical conditions such as scoliosis, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis
  • Reduced stress and clearer thinking

Jorgensen suggests the Alexander Technique for anyone who wants to “actively participate in their own power of healing and gain control over the body’s functioning rather than always feeling trapped by ‘inevitable’ pain.”

The AT is “neither a set of exercises nor a series of passive treatments but instead an active exploration of your own thought and movement. It produces a skill that you can take with you into your life and apply to any situation. You will leave a session feeling lighter, freer and more grounded,” says Jorgensen.

Alexander Technique is offered at the Advocate BroMenn Health & Fitness Center in Bloomington, Ill.

Does your back or neck hurt? Take our Back and Neck Pain Assessment and receive recommendations on what to do next based on your results.

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