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Using the Alexander Technique to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders

Antonella Cavallone MSTAT has been running SoR introductory workshops in the Alexander Technique since 2010. She looks at where the technique comes from historically, its relevance to today’s environments and its potential application to the practice of radiography.

The traditions of the Alexander Technique are illustrious: it has been established in the UK for over a century, and FM Alexander, its originator, was born in 1869. A passionate and successful actor in his native Australia, he developed the Technique after finding himself increasingly troubled by hoarseness on stage. Doctors’ advice only brought him temporary relief. He reasoned it must be something he was doing wrong that was causing his voice to fail and he set about finding out what that might be. After lengthy self-observation, ‘FM’ (as the

Technique’s community know him) came to the conclusion that poor physical habits were the root of his troubles. As he tensed his neck and pulled his head back, his exaggerated movements and muscular tension disrupted his breathing rhythm and put pressure on his vocal cords, thus creating his problem. This discovery was the first stage of his long critical journey, documented in his book The Use of the Self – a thorough outlining of how the way you use yourself determines the way you function. This concept has universal applications for our health and wellbeing.

So, what is the Alexander Technique? FM was not a fitness fanatic, but he has been described in modern terms as a personal trainer. His own success in self-help resulted in doctors sending him patients with breathing difficulties, first in Australia, then in London. Prominent physicians have supported the Technique ever since. In 2008, a clinical trial published in the British Medical Journal highlighted its credentials and the NHS

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