OK, so you've tried osteopathy, or maybe chiropractic, or even physiotherapy, but after some temporary relief the pain always returns. And it's not like you don't know what causes you so much discomfort, it's the hours sat at the computer every day at work, but a career change hardly seems like a practical solution. It's bad enough that it affects your work life, but when pain also starts to affect your hobbies you know it's time to take action.
Everyone knows how to sit, right? Right?! It's not like you haven't been doing it all your life. Yet you have a suspicion that you could do it better, if only it wasn't so much effort. Your employers provided you with a DSE workstation assessment, an ergonomic chair, keyboard and mouse as well as silicon filled supports to rest your wrists on, all to no avail. Maybe if you had a more expensive ergonomic chair, the one your company wouldn't shell out for, all would be well.
What is missing from this equation? What's the only thing that hasn't changed? Have you changed? Take another look at all this equipment that's causing you so much pain, the chair, keyboard and mouse. Keep watching them. Have they done anything yet? What do you mean "they're inanimate objects!"? So how are they causing you harm?
OK, enough already (as our American cousins would say), I'll get off your case now, you get the picture. The only thing doing anything is yourself and so that is logically what you need to change. Although without knowing what it is you are doing in the first place that might seem like a tall order. Are you familiar with the "who wants change/who wants to change" cartoon?
But help is at hand, the Alexander Technique allows you to strip away all your unconscious 'doings' and start again in neutral gear, preventing the habits you've built up over your life from getting the better of you.
How is The Alexander Technique Different?
Your symptoms are not a natural by-product of ageing, or gravity, but a wake-up call that you are unconsciously doing something harmful to yourself, something you can also learn to undo, leaving you free to enjoy your life and increase your performance and productivity.
Alexander Technique enables you to be an Application Support specialist for your Self. Notice I didn't say your 'body', we are way more complex and interesting than that!
Going to the osteopath to fix your pain is like rebooting your computer instead of reinstalling the software. Better still, the Alexander Technique allows you to rewrite the software altogether.
Apologies if you're not from an IT background, my past career still get's the better of me.
Yes, it's my favourite Snake Oil solution for just about everything, but WHY is Alexander Technique so universally useful? Think of the skill of learning A.T. like learning to read. After you know how to read, you can apply that skill to reading any content you're interested in. In the same way, you can apply the Alexander Technique to any activity.
If I may return quickly to the ergonomic chair, I've noticed that the more expensive the chair, the more folks expect it to take responsibility for them, and I'm sure you see now that office furniture can't take responsibility for you. Good design and set-up of your workstation does of course provide advantages (and I'll cover this in a later blog), but not guarantees . You need to provide your own guarantee.
If you think this all sounds either too good to be true, or too hard work, I spent 12 years working in I.T. for Investments Banks and Stock Brokers, which, as you can imagine, is a highly demanding environment. I fully understand the stress that work commitments place on you and how it contributes to your problems, and it was the Alexander Technique that saved me from chronic neck, shoulder and wrist pain.
Within a couple of months of weekly Alexander lessons, the pain I was suffering with was largely resolved and I continued to have lessons for many years even after finding relief from my physical problems, because I found the technique so fascinating and useful. Not only did my balance, coordination and posture continue to improve, but I found myself much calmer, and able to handle stressful, demanding situations much better and with more clarity. It also helped to improve the performance of my hobbies, running and playing the guitar. The latter had been hugely affected by being sat at a computer all day, but with the undue tension gone my playing became much freer.
Ultimately I became so fascinated with the technique that I decided to train to teach it.
The Alexander Technique has been clinically proven for back pain via an NHS funded, gold standard randomised trial. It was performed by Southampton University and their results were published in the British Medical Journal.
This blog was originally posted here, and featured a choice Dilbert cartoon!
World wide resource for the Society of Teachers of The Alexander Technique: http://www.stat.org.uk/