Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955)
He was an Australian born on Tasmania, the oldest of eight children. He was a precocious child, and suffering from respiratory problems, was educated privately. As his health began to improve at nine, he developed a love for theatre, particularly Shakespeare, which would lay the foundation for his future career.
In the early twenties he decided to devote himself to a career as an actor and reciter particularly of Shakespeare.
In the 1890s, Alexander began to progressively lose his voice during his performances. He sought advice from voice coaches, doctors and specialists without results and FINALLY ATTEMPTED TO RESOLVE THE PROBLEMS HIMSELF.
He felt that his physical actions were to blame for the problem, and so he arranged mirrors so that he could observe his actions in detail as he performed. He discovered the connection between his body posture and the voice problem, but also made discoveries that went far beyond the problem of his voice.
Based on his observations and experiences he developed in the course of approximately 10 years his own working method which included a holistic approach and a totally new perception of his patterns of thinking, moving and acting. He wrote four books on the positive influence of his Technique on the health and wellbeing of human beings.
Numerous actors and other patients, who were sent to Alexander by doctors, took lessons from him. Bernhard Shaw, Aldous Huxley, as well as the American Philosopher John Dewey belonged among many musicians and politicians to the pupils of F.M. Alexander.
The obvious efficiency of his method awakened great interest among his contemporaries which induced him to pass on his knowledge. He taught his technique instructing his first teachers.
Alexander continued to develop his theories throughout his life, adapting them to our modern life, developing such concepts as the primary- control, verbal visualisation, avoiding reaction during speaking, and using modelling in teaching. He wrote several other books and instructed many students. The universally valid principles in his Technique are valid still today. They are based on the principle that human beings function as a homogeneous organism, i.e. all mental, psychological and physical processes are interconnected. Awareness of the Alexander Technique in the physical therapy community has been increasing a good deal lately, particularly since a comprehensive study published in the British Medical Journal in 2008 clearly shows THAT LESSONS IN THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE ARE EFFECTIVE IN ALLIVIATING BACK PAIN.