F M Alexander
Who was Alexander?
F M Alexander (1869-1955) was an Australian actor who developed the technique over 100 years ago. Early on, he suffered from voice problems that threatened his career. His doctors could not find a medical cause and advised him to rest his voice. This only brought temporary relief.
As soon as he went back to the stage, his problems returned. He realised that this must be the result of something he was doing to himself. So he began a ten-year journey of self-exploration in order to discover what this ‘something’ was.
In his day, Alexander worked with a range of influential people including the American educationalist John Dewey, the author Aldous Huxley, and playwright George Bernard Shaw.
Alexander discovered that in everything he did, in speaking, moving or even thinking, he exaggerated the tension in his body. He worked out how to prevent this distortion or misuse of himself, and as a result his voice problems disappeared. He also gained a dramatic improvement in health.
He also noticed that these habits of reaction that he observed in himself were almost universal. He spent many further years creating and perfecting a practical way of passing his discovery on to others. This procedure, that included using guidance with his hands, became known as the Alexander Technique.