Benefits of the Alexander Technique...some personal testimonials
Alexander Technique for Mental and Emotional Stress
Stress and Anxiety
Sue C, Graphic Designer
Alexander Technique changed my life completely; how I think, what I do. It enables me to make the changes I want to make. My body and mind were not connected and I have a tendency to get back pain and a constriction in my throat through tension and agitation.
My voice has gone down three tones at least and I've learned from Gail for the first time in my life how to really ground myself and let my throat open normally. I feel I can breathe and communicate easily now.
The driving session was absolutely wonderful and empowering! After 35 years of having no confidence driving, I feel in control and I can do it. I don't dread it and it doesn't hurt! Being in the right position makes me feel alive, able to focus and totally confident.
The same is true when I am at my desk. Sitting in an Alexander way might look unnatural as if it was an effort, but in fact it feels unbelievably easy and comfortable.
Gail has a very strong practical approach and gives me the tools to work with myself. I feel I'm really learning with her and it stays with me. Her images are brilliant and I like the building blocks from one session to the next; we consolidate and then add on another piece.
She has wonderful hands which prompt me to make changes. Her hands are so good that I don't even know they are there. All I know is that my body is doing what it needs to do and I feel great! I have had Alexander Technique with several different teachers before I moved to Wales and I feel they've all given me something different. What I feel with Gail is that she brings all the best bits of the Technique together into a cohesive whole.
Jan, Retired Librarian
I had always been bent with an obvious kyphosis (dowager's hump) and for several years I had had a painful hip, which I was aware of all the time and could not sleep on my left side at all because of it. The doctor thought it was arthritis, but the X-ray showed no trace, so no help was offered except anti-inflammatories. I lacked confidence, stuttering a lot, looking down and not being able to look people in the eye without instantly looking away again. Physically I lived my life in a state of strained anxiety and stress.
With Alexander Technique, I first of all got better and better. Physically my hip pain completely went, I felt straighter and taller and people commented on how much better I looked. I started to gain confidence and began to look people in the eye. My stress and anxiety levels have steadily reduced and now I have joined a writing group, where I can read out loud without a stutter!
The turning point came in the particular session when we were working on speaking. Gail asked me to tell her a nursery rhyme as if I really meant it. She didn't laugh and was very supportive and interested in what I was saying. She encouraged me to keep eye contact and I managed to look at her consistently without looking away. I cried afterwards because that was the first time and I felt my whole body and my breathing release. Gail is always just as delighted as I am with my achievements.
Gwenda, Retired Librarian
I have only had a few Alexander Technique sessions, but I have learned another way of looking at life and at my body. It's a kinder attitude to the body than going to the gym and knackering yourself - a total way of looking after the whole body rather than looking at it as lots of separate 'bits'.
I have a lot of stress in my life at the moment and so I feel I have some 'tools' now to be kind to myself and to my body and to help it rather than punish it.
I found Gail friendly, approachable and helpful.
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Living on a Short Fuse
Margaret GJ, Book Illustrator
Because of huge stresses on my body sitting at my easel all day, I would get tension headaches, lose my temper over minute things and so nicknamed myself "Grumpy Bear" for my three children.
After a course of Alexander Technique sessions with Gail, all my pains and headaches disappeared as I re-learned how to do all the basic tasks in life, including how to sit at my easel and how to hold the brush, etc.
I felt much more able to cope with my life as a working single mum and I became a lot calmer. My children appreciate the change and so do I!
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Panic Attacks and Phobias
I have had ME and I also have agoraphobia and other phobias stemming from sexual abuse throughout childhood. This makes me constantly tense, getting headaches, feeling dizzy and unwell and fearful of social events.
Alexander Technique has vastly reduced the number and intensity of my headaches and dizziness and I feel I can actually improve them when they do come on. I feel far less fearful about being with people and I feel generally much less tense in my body and mind. When I do feel panicky, I can deal with it much better and it happens far less.
Gail is very focused and intelligent. She has a terrific knowledge of Alexander Technique and anatomy and the way the body functions. She seems to see what is happening very clearly and is able to deal with it very effectively. She enables me to make big changes remarkably quickly and she teaches me how to teach myself when I go home, which is very helpful.
Sally H, Shop Proprietress
I feel like a whole new person. I feel I've been able to open myself up, and not be so afraid. I used to be 'stuck' and terrified and suffer bad migraines every week. I had to go to the osteopath to unlock my head and my neck every couple of weeks, and then it dawned on me that I had to learn how to unlock it myself. I also used to get frequent panic attacks in public and in social situations. All of this meant I had a very hunched posture and I could see if I did nothing about it, I would end up like my mother who is now suffering badly.
I found Gail on the internet and having had Alexander Technique sessions with her, I now rarely get a migraine (every few months), and if I do, it is not nearly as severe. I have been going through a very stressful time recently, opening a new business, and it's a miracle that I haven't had a migraine! Now my head and neck feel free as the norm and if I feel myself tensing up, I know what to do about it and it has never reverted back to how it was. Now my panic attacks are less frequent and are less severe than they were. My overall posture is so very different now and I feel fluid and balanced in everything I do.
When I first rang Gail, I was encouraged by her open, friendly and accommodating attitude. I don't find it easy to relate to people but I found it really easy to talk to her about all my problems, both physical and mental/emotional. She is fabulous and I'm really going to miss her when she goes back to Yorkshire. She is easy to talk to, easy to understand, not pushy, very patient and understanding about my life, and she never shouts at me for not getting things right.
All this has made me stick at it for the longest I have ever stuck at anything. Considering I have a three-hour round trip to get to see Gail, I would have given up long ago if she had not been such a good teacher, but also because I have felt in tune with her and that is very comforting to me.
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Alexander Technique started me back on the road to wanting a future. Before, there was just a black hole.
At the time of the foot and mouth cull, we had to have a herd of dairy cows and a flock of sheep culled. There were 1,500 animals altogether, including 700 lambs, and none of them carried the disease. It was a government-initiated preventative measure and, for us, it was devastating. We had to give up the farm and our whole way of life. The future looked bleak and empty and it was affecting both of us.
Physically, I had back, neck and foot problems, which then threw my hip out. I had fused joints at the base of my back and I was in a miserable state altogether.
Gail was in tune with my way of thinking, in that she was not dictatorial and did not talk down to me, both of which I did not want. She relaxed me so that I was not afraid to disclose the problems I had. Together, we dealt with the physical, mental and emotional stresses in my life and she helped me to move on in every way. We gradually got my body back into line and I now don't mind what life throws at me. I let it flow.
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Marion P, Artist
After I lost my husband, I had a bad fall a week later and Alexander Technique was the only thing that helped the pain of that fall with its whiplash effect on my neck.
Alexander Technique is very calming and helps you to maintain a calmer outlook during the bereavement process, particularly in dealing with all the legal, financial and other problems, as well as the huge emotional loss. It helped me to react to the new things I was having to cope with by keeping me centred and stable. It was a big help through that initial stage and particularly helped me to continually dissipate the considerable internal turmoil.
I do still have feelings of emotional loss but the move to Wales has bought about a new phase in the grief process and a new Alexander Technique teacher.
Gail has highlighted different aspects of the Technique, which have been extremely helpful to me. I find her a warm, friendly and compassionate teacher and her teaching complements the teaching I had before. I have got a lot out of it.
Marie BS, Lecturer
My husband died suddenly at the age of 57 and shortly afterwards I found myself in a new job in a new country. My grief was like a physical pain in my abdomen for many months to begin with. My body just seemed to shut down, and my immune system packed in.
Through the use of Alexander Technique, alongside bereavement counselling from Cruse and physical exercise, I have been able to emerge from under the great weight of grief and work with my body through Alexander Technique to the point where I feel positive, the pain has gone and a future without my husband even looks positive.
Gail's warmth and humour and her down-to-earth approach make lessons enjoyable. She encourages and supports her pupils, and is sensitive and flexible in her approach. I look forward to lessons, because her care and support make lessons a nurturing experience.
Fiona, Health Care Worker
Part way through my Alexander Technique course, I lost my husband in a road accident. I found the Alexander Technique and my sessions with Gail invaluable in helping me come to terms with my loss. The whole business of tuning in to my body and releasing it I found very calming in times of stress.
Gail was very supportive. She is interested in the whole person, which I really appreciated.
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Gail Barlow is the Director of Dolphin Alexander Courses, which she set up in 1990 after completing the three-year full-time Alexander Technique Teacher Training Course and qualifying as a Teacher of the F M Alexander Technique.
Gail trained as an Alexander Teacher in the eighties and has now worked with over 2,000 people in the UK and Europe. She is now a very experienced teacher and is able to 'tune in' and work with each person in a method and at a pace uniquely suited to their individual needs.
She is a Member of the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT), which was founded in 1958 and is the oldest and largest professional body of Alexander Technique teachers in the world.