How many lessons will I need?
It very much depends on what you would like to achieve. Most people just want their pain to go away, but after this happens they are keen to continue, in order to ensure it does not come back. However, it is generally accepted that around 30 lessons are sufficient to learn how to apply the technique for oneself. For chronic back pain, The Medical Research Council suggest 24 lessons, but six can be adequate also. It very much depends on how fast a learner you are. An initial lesson will give you an idea on how to progress.
How long do the lessons last?
Lessons usually last about 45 min, although the first one will be around an hour.
Couldn't I just do group classes? It's cheaper!
You certainly could. Group classes can be a useful introduction to the Alexander Technique, but they can never replace individual, one-to-one lessons. Quite simply, you would not get sufficient hands-on guidance or the individual attention you deserve. Group sessions are generally delivered to give you a brief overview of the work, and what individual lessons could do for you. Yes, group classes are cheaper, but you are unlikely to learn how to apply the Alexander Technique to address your specific, personal concerns.
What is the difference between the Alexander Technique and other therapies?
First of all, the Alexander Technique is not a therapy! The Alexander Technique is a method of re-education which enables the client to make powerful changes for themselves. For this reason, Alexander Technique practitioners are generally known as teachers rather than therapists. Additionally, there are no exercises, but there is "homework" which involves a nice lie down.
Is the Alexander Technique like yoga, pilates or other physical therapy?
No. The goal is similar, but the approach is quite different. The Alexander Technique can make you stronger, more toned and more upright, but without any jumping around. The noticeable improvements in posture, well-being and stress levels are a welcome side effect! The learning does not stop when the lesson is over. The responsibility for your own development and maintenance of yourself continues after you leave the lesson.
Will it hurt?
Very unlikely. The movements we will be making are very subtle, there will be nothing outside of your comfort zone.
Why do I need an Alexander Teacher? Couldn't I just learn from a book?
You could try. But the whole point of visiting a teacher is that they provide a third party input. Put simply, most of us do not know what we are doing most of the time! The sensory feedback (the "feelings") the client is giving themselves is usually demonstrably unreliable, and only the skilled hands of a good Alexander Technique Teacher can relay that information in a helpful way.
Is the Alexander Technique available on the NHS?
Rarely, and rather unfairly. The massively positive research by the Medical Research Council means that Alexander Technique on the NHS may happen at some stage. There are more and more GPs and consultants making referrals. Clinicians are learning that the Alexander Technique does not claim to cure or treat, but is a highly effective preventative measure.
Will my private medical insurance pay for my Alexander lessons?
Some companies do. More are following suit. You may need a GP or Consultant referral. The following companies are known to have reimbursed Alexander Technique costs:
Allied Dunbar, Norwich Union, BCWA, Cigna, Executive Healthcare Ltd.,The Civil Service Medical Aid Association, Ellis Healthcare, The E.C. Joint Medical Insurance Scheme, WPA., Executive Healthcare Ltd., Healthcare Management, IGI, Managed Care Consultants Ltd., Medical Claims Handling, Exeter Friendly Society, Guardian Health, Medisure, Orion, Prime Health, UAP Provincial Insurance, Willis Healthcare
Please contact your insurance company to ask.