I came to the Alexander Technique ("AT") by way of personal exercise and movement studies. At first, I became a Nickolaus Technique teacher because it helped my tight, tense shoulders, at least temporarily. (The Nickolaus Technique was a yoga-like exercise system.) I was about to become a Nickolaus franchisee when I volunteered as a student for another Nickolaus owner who was studying AT in New York at ACAT. ("ACAT" is The American Center for the Alexander Technique, Inc., the oldest AT school in the United States.) After a number of lessons, my shoulders were able to relax and stay relaxed. This was clearly the place for me.

Before I could enroll at ACAT, I became paralyzed with what was much later diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis, the neurological disease. It took many months before I fully recovered and could begin my AT education. I graduated from ACAT in 1987 and had my second MS episode involving double vision soon after. (Nothing is known to cure MS.) My AT education helped me reduce stress and quiet my nervous system. By the daily application of my AT learned skills, I have been able to keep my MS symptoms at bay. My neurologist was so impressed with my progress that he asked me to speak about AT at a major MS symposium in New York City. So you can see why I am so sold on the benefits of AT!

One of the most important AT lessons is training to heighten your kinesthetic awareness, something not ordinarily taught us. Kinesthetic awareness allows you to be more in touch with your body so that you can be conscious of a subtle ache or pain before it progresses into a major problem. This awareness permits a minor discomfort to become a positive catalyst for mobilizing your AT skills to stop its progression. If your awareness is only of a major pain affecting your activities, it is much more difficult to correct. In my case, when I experience the subtle beginnings of my MS symptoms (which most people would not even notice), I am able to consciously use my AT skills to quiet my nervous system to reduce or eliminate the symptoms and have a greater sense of well-being.

Everyone has something. In my case, it is a major neurological disease. The AT has given me the tools to minimize the symptoms and effects of this disease. I am very grateful. I know, from my three decades of teaching, that the personal growth and practical skills available from the study of AT can help everyone. It should be part of everyone's education.

Hear my interview on the Alexander Technique and neurological diseases.

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