How the Alexander Technique can Benefit Older People

Seniors and the AT

Regular exercise is an important part of keeping healthy at any age, but as people get older they are more likely to experience arthritis, rheumatism and other medical conditions that force them to slow down. When this happens there is a danger of slipping into a downward spiral of avoiding difficult or painful movements by taking even less exercise, which then causes additional problems.

Although the physical changes associated with old age can’t be avoided altogether, there are many ways to manage pain and impaired mobility in order to keep as active as possible. One self-help system that can be of benefit to older people is the Alexander Technique.

Many people discover The Alexander Technique when looking for help with backache. It has been medically proven to give lasting relief from back pain, but it can also help to prevent and ease pain in all the other joints and muscles of the body. It is also often useful in treating a wide variety of other symptoms including headaches, breathing problems, fatigue and high blood pressure.

Anyone with an existing medical condition might be nervous about trying something new in case it makes matters worse, but the Alexander Technique is perfectly safe for older people because:

  • It is not an exercise system; there are no strenuous movements to perform
  • No special equipment is needed
  • No manipulation is involved
  • There are no targets to achieve, each person learns at their own pace
  • It can help to improve balance and so reduce the risk of falling
  • Many people find that it boosts their self-confidence

It works by teaching people how to use their bodies in a natural way without putting undue pressure or strain on any part. This sounds simple, but most people are unaware of exactly how they move. Bad postural habits that have developed over many years can feel normal, while correct posture may seem strange. With the gentle guidance of an Alexander Technique teacher in one-to-one lessons, people are encouraged to become fully aware of how their body is moving and to gradually adjust those movements so they can sit, stand and perform everyday tasks in the most comfortable way.

If you think that the Alexander Technique might be able to help you, or someone you know, find out more from a qualified teacher who is a member of STAT (the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique).

Carla Radford is a Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique qualified Alexander Technique teacher with vast experience in teaching people to identify and prevent harmful physical and mental habits and release unwanted muscular tension that can cause ill-health. Anyone in Hornchurch, Elm Park, Upminster or Cranham suffering from back, neck or joint pain or any form of posture, tension or stress related problems should for more information.

Author: Carla Radford Published: 30th April 2010
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