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Physical Therapy and the Alexander Technique — 16 Comments

  1. Great post Imogen! When I recently underwent a few months of p/t for the torn meniscus in my knee, I did feel that the combination of p/t and AT was a win win situation…as you describe. I was lucky in that I had a marvelous physical therapist and I adored working with her. Being well organized in the AT sense sure helped me along. However, when I had p/t after my neck surgery, in my pre-AT days, it was not successful, even though my therapist at that time was also impeccable. The unrelieved pain is what led me to my first AT lesson. My therapist marveled at the fact that a month of AT lessons could effect a change so quickly in me, whereas over two years of physical therapy did not.

    • That’s really good to hear, Rena. And thanks for the feedback on your “pre-Alexander” PT experience. It’s what some of my students have reported too… So glad that we both found the Alexander Technique – it makes everything work better 🙂

  2. Great article and making the most of your experiences too.

    I too have had PT for past injuries but I was fortunate to have a PT who was also a Feldenkrais practitioner and I know that this was very helpful. She was also aware of the benefits of Alexander Technique and we worked together to find how I needed to think of the exercise in order to do them in the most beneficial way. I have watched friends do their PT prescribed exercises at home and witnessed that the exercises were undoubtedly not being done in the same way they were done when the PT was there to direct the patient.

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences, Kit. You sound like you had a wonderful PT that really helped you work in a mindful, holistic way. I think that doing exercises without supervision is one of the most common ways for people to encounter problems.

  3. Dear Imogen,
    I too have had the “ADVANTAGE” of being able to utilize the Alexander Technique for 14 years and continue to learn through life applications. In January of 2013 I had to relearn everything! I had a very bad Multiple Sclerosis exacerbation that hit my voice, ability to walk and keep my balance. I give great weight to the Alexander Technique for giving me the right thinking processes to get to restoration!! Today my singing voice is almost to 3 octaves again. I have mobility back. I never take anything for granted, and allow myself the time to think things through before commencing the movement required to complete the task at hand. BRAVO IMOGEN!

    • Hi Barbara, Thanks so much for sharing your story. What a wonderful testimonial to the power of the Alexander Technique!

    • Thanks, Ariel! And my next post will be all about how we all need a teacher! You will be mentioned, for sure 😉

  4. Imogen, great point. I believe what you say about PT is applicable to most other disciplines too. Knowledge of the AT allows you to make better use of any advice given by any type of movement specialist.

  5. Pingback: We All Need a Teacher | Body Intelligence

  6. Hi Imogen, great post!

    As an AT teacher, I always ask my pupils to show me the exercises their physio (if they have one) has asked them to do. We then explore the exercise and “bring the AT to it” to encourage further mobility and often better coordination. One lady recently had been getting PT for two years for a smashed up shoulder (horse riding accident) and after her first lesson with me her physio asked “What have you been doing?” Her shoulder rotation had improved by 20% simply by inviting release in the shoulder. The PT had been using a protractor to measure mobility on an ongoing basis, so this was an objective measurement. As I often say, improve whatever you are doing with Alexander… Said Lady is now very happy to be able to touch the top of her head so she can put her hair up!

    • That’s fabulous, Sarah! I also often work with my students on their PT exercises, so it was fascinating for me to experience it from the other side of things. Applying the Alexander Technique to the exercises can indeed make a huge difference in their effectiveness, and I benefited from this myself.

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