The Alexander Technique is the name given to the wide variety of approaches to teaching the work of Frederick Matthias Alexander.
FM Alexander discovered that the voice trouble he experienced as an actor was not medical, as first thought, but was being caused by what he was doing and how he was doing it.
He solved this problem and a great deal more.
His work provides a way to remove any self-imposed limitations which may be preventing us achieving what we want – physically and in our lives generally.
Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), was a Tasmanian an actor who kept losing his voice during performances. When specialist advice and medical treatments were ineffective he asked his doctor if he could be causing the problem himself:
“Could it be something I was doing myself in the way that I was using myself that was causing the throat trouble?”
His doctor said it was possible but that he didn’t know what it could be. So Alexander set out to find out for himself – and succeeded!
He found out that he was causing his own difficulties by the way he was doing things. He worked out how to stop doing so and cured his voice trouble.
He became very successful at teaching what he had discovered to other performers and as he did so he realised that what he was teaching related not just to vocal production but far wider – to the control of human reaction in general; to how we employ our selves in our activities – mentally physically.
The outcome of his experimentation and analysis when searching for the cure to his vocal problems are what he called “The Work”, these concepts and processes and principles are what we now know as “the Alexander Technique”.
There are different schools of thought and teaching approaches. I have trained in the Interactive Teaching Method (ITM) with Don Weed.
Don Weed, the founder of the ITM, describes the Alexander Technique as:
A life-changing constellation of principles, disciplines and practices that everyone can apply to their everyday and specialised activities in order to make their lives simpler and more effective”
Don Weed, Reach Your Dreams
Another look at this question
One of the best explorations of this question that I have read is this article by David at www.thinkinactivity.co.uk.