“I was totally pain free, having been in pain for years, that was something!”
This is the 5th in a series of interviews with people who have had Alexander Technique (AT) lessons. Katherine is in her 60’s, lives with her husband and works from home. Katherine has had a course of several AT lessons over the period of a year and now has the occasional lesson. I asked Katherine a few simple questions about AT and here are her answers:
What drew you to the Alexander Technique (AT)?
I have a friend who is also a neurosurgeon who said it would help with my low back pain.
I was using strong pain killers or I was in pain, and I was not as active as I could be.
What differences, having learned AT, have you noticed?
Before, I was in pain or discomfort almost all the time.
Now it is rare and I know more or less what to do about it.
What things do you now know?
I religiously do semi-supine (SS/active rest) – daily.
I remember to stop (and inhibit).
I look at Alexander Technique books: I have 3.
Usually doing SS daily is enough.
What difference does doing SS make?
It works physically and psychologically, it slows my thinking and stops my thoughts racing. Then I get a breathing space in the day.
What difference does slowing thinking, stopping thoughts racing and having a breathing space make?
It brings it into focus.
I have control of my body.
I don’t have to take pain killers.
Anything else about “control of my body”?
I can lead a much more active life.
I still do things wrong eg how I use my laptop, but I am dealing with it.
Anything else about “breathing space”?
I have to pause.
It’s not a bad thing.
If I keep on going I lose perspective.
I lose opportunity to change my life if I don’t do it.
Anything else about “opportunity to change my life”?
The modern health system, the NHS, is designed for acute problems. The system offers drugs, surgery, physiotherapy and occupational therapy etc, but it’s not good for chronic problems.
AT is a 3rd option:-
I don’t have to “do nothing.”
It’s another way.
SS forces slowing down, it’s a good thing.
Gives me detachment.
Gives me perspective.
I can concentrate on myself and I am doing something with my thinking.
I notice discomfort and I can do something – I can do SS.
Well, I am doing something and not doing something.
What impact has all the above had?
I am largely pain free.
I have lost weight.
I am more active.
I feel well most of the time (I felt “ok” before.)
Recently I was going upstairs in a cafe, I noticed I was totally pain free, having been in pain for years, that was something!
What keeps you coming back for lessons?
The lessons are worthwhile to top it up.
I keep in touch with the teacher.
Was there anything unexpected about learning the Alexander Technique?
I thought it would be more active than it is. It is more passive than I thought it would be. It’s re-setting the body. It’s impossible to describe it until it is experienced.
If you are interested in the experience of having Alexander Technique lessons, contact me!
Jane Clappison MSTAT