F. Matthias Alexander (1869-1955) was an Australian actor and teacher. The original purpose of the his work was vocal training for singers and actors in the 1890s. Through his teaching, Alexander learned that success came about for his students when he brought about an improved functioning of the respiratory system. This led to vocal proficiency, and also solved their respiratory aliments. Doctors began to provide him with patients who suffered form respiratory problems. This led Alexander to call his work a “Method of Respiratory Education.”
Alexander discovered that the breathing and vocal problems were part of a basic disintegration of the total mechanism of support of the body. The habit patterns used in the breathing and vocalization were a part of the interference and misuse of the general coordination of the whole body. Habitual misuse of the basic and instinctual coordination of the body is often the cause of other troubles in a part of the body; such as lower back pain, carpal syndrome, and other injuries.
Alexander also had vocal problems as an actor that led him to years of self-discovery and developing the unique principles of the Alexander Technique. He observed that the mind played a major role in the disintegration of the coordination, and therefore the muscular/skeletal and nervous system. In other words, the way we think also determines how well we function. Alexander recognized that the mind and body were psychophysical in nature and operated in agreement.
The path Alexander traveled in his development of what is known as the “Alexander Technique” today, created a comprehensive method of psychophysical reeducation that is now taught worldwide and is helping people of all ages have pain free movement and reach optimal performance goals.