What is the Alexander Technique and can it help with my Parkinsons Disease? Lets’ start with the Wikipedia definition of Parkinsons ….. “Parkinson’s disease (PD), also known as idiopathic or primary parkinsonism, hypokinetic rigid syndrome, or paralysis agitans, is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system mainly affecting the motor system. The motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease result from the death of dopamine-generating cells in the substantia nigra, a region of the midbrain. The causes of this cell death are poorly understood. Early in the course of the disease, the most obvious symptoms are movement-related; these include shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking and gait.”
If the above is correct then let’s start with the question …. Can the Alexander Technique help generate dopamine? The answer is a very clear NO.
So why am I going to talk about the Alexander Technique to you? Because within the ITM Alexander Technique we believe there are two parts to every injury or disease … the injury or disease itself and our reaction to it.
Let me repeat that as it is so important. There are two parts to every disease …..
The disease itself and OUR REACTION to the disease.
Our reaction may include how we move, how we believe we move, how we believe we will move, how our ideas surrounding our disease will cause us to move, and how our ideas and beliefs may effect our movement … maybe to protect ourselves or to hide our disease from the public, how we interact with people and how we lead our lives.
The Alexander Technique is involved with all of the above. While we cannot change the structural effects on our movement with the Alexander Technique, we can change our reaction to a disease, in particular to how we direct our thoughts and how we direct our voluntary movement.
This includes any voluntary movement we choose to do.
Examples of voluntary movement include standing, walking, learning to walk with walking sticks, scratching our nose, riding a bike, washing up and cleaning our teeth, even sitting is a voluntary movement.
If once again the Wikipedia definition of Parkinsons is true and symptoms include movement related issues (which I think many will agree it does) then by studying the work of FM Alexander and applying his principles to your life you will learn how to move in the most effective way for your current condition.
I cannot say whether your current condition will improve or degenerate but what I can say is that by studying the Alexander technique you will :
- learn how to move yourself better, - learn how to move more effectively and - learn how to move through your life in the best possible way for where you are on any given day.
I find this an exciting prospect and I hope you do too!
If I have raised some curiosity & if you would like to find out more about the Alexander Technique , I will be giving an introductory talk at the Lloyd Lindsay Rooms on the 20th February. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.