No authentic representative of the Alexander Technique will ever claim it can cure anything. What it can do is to reveal to somebody his habits of needless compression and show him how to let them go.
This is not always easy. Life is tough. When we’re young, we learn to tense up and push through difficult patches. We feel like if we only made ourselves smaller, other people would hurt us less. So we got used to pulling down and tensing up to get by.
Through Alexander Technique, for instance, I can learn that I have a pattern of pulling down and collapsing when I start to laugh. I’ve got a habit of curling up when I laugh. I probably developed this style of making myself smaller when full of mirth so other people would take less offense to me. I got hit a lot as a kid because I found the most inappropriate things funny.
So I have some emotional attachment to my needless tension. It’s not easy to leave behind. And every time I let go of one layer of gratuitous muscular holding, I find another layer just below.
With my students, I notice they often have a huge emotional attachment to their tension. They’re attached to doing things in a rapid and brutal way. They just want to get stuff done quickly. They don’t care about the toll this shoving takes on them.
So I have to slow them down, break a task into many parts, and get them to think through their choices and find a more gentle and efficient way of using themselves. But I can’t cure them of their back pain. Only they can cure themselves by choosing to let go of the needless compression.
Almost all head, neck and back pain is caused by needless muscular holding said pain specialist and JFK physician Janet Travell.