Jennifer Roig-Francoli, Alexander Technique teacher in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

WHAT IS IT? A proven approach to pain relief, self-care, and skills improvement, the Alexander Technique is a method that people of all ages and abilities can learn to relieve the pain and stress caused by everyday misuse of the body. The Technique is used by people from all walks of life, from musicians with RSI or tendinitis, to computer users and athletes with chronic back problems.

With AT, you learn how to strip away the movement habits and tension patterns at the root of your discomfort. You learn how to balance your own body and take charge of your own health. You learn how to sit, stand and move--with safety, efficiency and ease.



Performing Artists:
William Hurt, Christopher Reeve, Kevin Kline, John Cleese, Mary Steenbergen, Robin Williams, Paul Newman, Maggie Smith, Jeremy Irons, John Houseman, Keanu Reeves, Joanne Woodward, Sir Colin Davis, Paul McCartney, Sting, Joel Gray

Psychologists and Scientists:
Nicolaas Tinbergen, 1973 Nobel Prize Laureate in Medicine
Frederick (Fritz) Perls, originator of Gestalt Therapy
Dr. Frank Pierce Jones, former director of Tufts University Institute for Psychological Research
Prof. Raymond Dart, anthropologist
Sir Charles Sherrington, Nobel Prize-winning neurophysiologist

Writers, Philosophers, Educators:
Aldous Huxley, writer
George Bernard Shaw, writer
John Dewey, American educational philosopher


Frederick Matthias Alexander was born in 1869 in Tasmania, and moved to Australia as a young man to pursue a career in Shakespearean recitation. When he encountered difficulties with his voice that threatened to curtail his new career, he consulted doctors and speech experts to find a cure for his troubles. Not finding any lasting relief from their suggestions, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He reasoned that the cause of his ailment must lie in something he was doing to himself, since there was no defect of the body.

Setting about to discover what he was doing, F.M. carefully observed himself with mirrors, undertaking a scientific process of observation and experimentation which he continued for over a decade. Besides solving his vocal problem, this process ultimately led him to make many startling discoveries dealing with how an individual’s use of mind and body affects general functioning.

Because he felt that his discoveries were of a vital importance to humanity, Alexander decided to give up his acting career (which had become quite successful as soon as he cured his vocal problems), in order to devote himself to what is now known as the Alexander Technique. He began to teach others through the use of his hands and words, how to improve their own use and functioning. In 1904, Alexander moved to England in order to make his Technique better known.

In addition to teaching, Alexander wrote four important books about his discoveries and started a school for children, where he hoped to make the most impact by preventing misuse habits from a young age. At the start of World War I, Alexander brought his Technique to the United States and divided the next ten years between teaching there and in London, taking on an assistant teacher in each place. In the last years of his life and until he died in 1955, he ran a training course for teachers in London. The Alexander Technique is now taught by qualified teachers all over the world.


The foundation of AT rests on universal, scientific principles that refer to all vertebrates and those specifically to humans. Some of these principles are:

--Use affects Functioning: most people misuse themselves to a certain extent, which adversely affects their general health and functioning. An improved use of the self will bring improved health and functioning.

--Psycho-physical Unity: the interconnectedness of mind, brain and body, particularly the neuromusculoskeletal system. "What you think is what you get."

--Primary Control: the primacy of the dynamic head-neck-torso relationship in all movement. "The head leads; the body follows."

--Inhibition: the positive psychophysical stopping of habitual, automatic responses is necessary before change can take place

--Direction: the conscious sending of messages from the brain to the body is something that one can learn

--Postural reflexes: must be stimulated to facilitate effortless movement

--Sensory awareness: consciousness is necessary to change negative habits, and our kinesthetic and proprioceptive awareness must be awakened to improve our balance and well-being


"The body is like an instrument; it depends who's playing it."

"Talk about a man's individuality and character: it's the way he uses himself."

"You are not here to do exercises or to learn to do something right, but to get able to meet a stimulus that always puts you wrong and to learn to deal with it."

"Change involves carrying out an activity against the habit of life."

"You can't do something you don't know, if you keep on doing what you do know."

"However people thought they could change by doing the thing they have always done, which represents their habit, beats me."

"You get away from all your old preconceived ideas because you are getting away from your old habits."

"The experience you want is in the process of getting it. If you have something, give it up. Getting it, not having it, is what you want."

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