Benefits of the Alexander Technique...some personal testimonials

Alexander Technique for Activities

Computer Users

Nigel, IT Consultant

My back problems were so limiting in terms of what I could do and they interfered with just about every activity I enjoyed. If I was standing talking to someone, after ten minutes I would get serious lower back pain. I couldn't walk for twenty minutes without stops or my back would hurt. I couldn't carry things, I couldn't sit at my computer and I couldn't dance at all.

My chiropractor thought that the root of the problem was posture and recommended Gail. I think too that sitting at the computer badly for years on end was the root of the problem and so I started Alexander Technique.

Since doing Alexander Technique, I've got my life back and I can do all the things I enjoy again! Now I can stand and talk to people for as long as I need to without a problem, I can carry things, I can walk for hours and I am back dancing. I sit at the computer differently now, my back is more flexible and much stronger and I know how to look after it.

As a teacher, Gail is effective, personable, friendly and easy to follow.

Lynda, Computer Science Lecturer

I have a history of a slipped disc and the reason my back was screwed-up and painful was, I am convinced, because I use the computer six to seven hours a day.

In amongst all my other Alexander Technique work, I have learned how to sit at the computer and how to position everything in the office so that now I am comfortable at the computer and my back is a whole lot better. Occasionally, if I overdo it and it goes out, it fixes itself in a day or so where it used to be painful and incapacitate me on painkillers for two weeks. I get back into alignment really easily - it seems to do itself if I look after it! Generally, I feel much more relaxed and centred in my body in everything I do.

Gail is friendly, accessible, easy to understand, non-threatening and down-to-earth.

Dilys, Final Year Medical Herbalist Student

Before, although I didn't realise it, my back was quite vulnerable and my shoulders were out of kilter, leaving me with persistent aches and pains. I was recommended to Alexander Technique by my tutor because he could see that the shoulder problem was going to get progressively worse and that the root cause was my posture, because other treatment only gave temporary relief.

Both in my office job and in my studying, I have to sit for many hours at the computer and now, after Alexander Technique, I feel I have strengthened my back and can sit more easily for long periods at the computer. My shoulders are more relaxed and evenly balanced and it feels much lighter when I'm walking.

Gail's sessions are fun and easy to follow and she does it at a pace needed for each individual. Her hands feel experienced and powerful but they are very gentle and relaxing and they guide me into the right position. It feels like everything is opening up, even though it's relaxing. It's not a 'slump' relax; it's an energised relax. I feel calm and alert and more alive throughout my body. Gradually I have found I can direct my own body into this feeling of confident, calm aliveness.

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Dave Ja, Classic Car Enthusiast

I thought my driving position was great at the time, but I didn't know what was possible. I used to lay right back in "relaxed" mode with my head and stomach leading the way. It didn't feel odd at all but my back was in a bad state and at the end of a 3-4 hour journey I was stuck in a painful place, unable to get straight and loose for a long time afterwards.

As part of my Alexander Technique course, I learned how to drive in a really relaxed state! It's so bloody easy! It's paid off and now my back doesn't give me problems most of the time and I know what to do about it if it does. At the end of a 3-4 hour journey nowadays I am comfortable and can get out of the car easily. Knowing how to drive comfortably helps you to choose your next new car because you know what to look for.

The Alexander Technique has helped me in so many ways and the changes in me are obvious to others who knew my previous problems. At a family wedding recently, lots of relatives, including my 90-year-old mother, commented on how well I looked and how much better my posture was. My brother was so impressed he went off for Alexander Technique himself!

Gail is a friendly teacher who makes it easy to understand.

Sara, Administrator

Driving and sitting in the car were unbearable because after a very short distance I'd start getting pains in my lower back. My legs became very stiff and the after-effects were very painful. The concentration to focus against the pain was putting a strain on my eyes, shoulders and back. I was totally uncomfortable in every way with driving.

With Alexander Technique, it became so easy. It was almost like driving a cloud because all my movements became fluid and nothing was forced. I was in the right posture for driving plus the car had been adjusted in my Alexander Technique session to fit my own body. Driving is no longer painful in any way. It's not a stress on my body or on my mind. I'm a lot more relaxed about the process of driving, I feel more content and I actually enjoy it now!

Gail was very clear and informative in explaining why I was experiencing problems and the solutions were quickly and easily demonstrated. It adds to the whole process of learning the Technique and is a development and application of the other sessions already undertaken.

Nick A, Carpenter

Back in the eighties I had a motorbike accident, which left me with one leg shorter than the other and serious lower back problems. At work I was carrying heavy toolboxes up and down ladders and around building sites. I used to get home, sit down and cry with pain and I rarely got a decent night's sleep with the pain.

After ten years of this, I decided to try Alexander Technique and joined a group course with Gail in the nineties. Apart from learning how to relax, sit, walk and carry things, I learned how to change the way I drove my motorbike. The 'before' and 'after' pictures say it all - my back became much stronger and I was very comfortable and felt safer than before in my Alexander Technique driving position.

Alexander Technique has changed my life and gave me lots of energy to achieve my ambitions. By the end of my course I felt great! I had 'tools' I could use for the rest of my life.

Matt, Engineer

I've only had half a dozen sessions, but I think the whole thing is really very good. A major change was driving. I used to get stiff and now with Alexander Technique, driving is definitely a lot better and I don't get stiff in the car anymore.

It feels sensible and natural when I'm in the correct position for standing, sitting, bending, etc. When I'm standing, I notice it most in the feet and how I feel the floor, because there's less tension in the feet and the weight is spread more evenly. I feel so much lighter! Everything is definitely easier and I notice how much harder it is for my body if I go back to my old habits. I know it will take time to 'confirm' the Alexander Technique way of doing things, but it's definitely all easier when I do.

The tablework is also beneficial in that it straightens you up and makes you feel taller and stronger. That surprised me.

Gail if very friendly and a good teacher with effective use of simple straightforward tools such as bones, anatomical charts and a mirror.

Lyn, Artist and Furnishings Designer

I used to get a lot of shoulder pain and also used to get really tired driving.

Now, with Alexander Technique, I have no pain when I'm driving. I feel comfortable and I don't ache or feel tired, even after a long drive. I seem to have a lot more energy generally in my life.

Sue C, Graphic Designer

The Alexander Technique 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.

Barry, Social Worker

The advice you gave me on driving has worked really well. On the journey to Leicester and back I had no back pain at all. Amazing, even for an old pessimist like me!

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Leane, Therapist

Gardening used to give me an aching back and aching muscles. It got worse and worse until it really affected my whole enjoyment of gardening.

Now with Alexander Technique I thoroughly enjoy my gardening once more without any pain or discomfort. It's always a delight to get out in the garden and work!

Elizabeth, Retired Farmer and Teacher

Gardening used to give me backache and I do a lot of gardening, as we also grow our own vegetables.

Using Alexander Technique for gardening has given me more power for less effort. If I hoe or dig or whatever it is, using Alexander Technique, the pain in my back disappears and there is less strain on my arms.

Gail is very friendly, easy to understand and tactful. Her teaching is permanent, in that what she says stays with you. For me, it's invaluable that Gail is there to put my body in the right position because the change is so SMALL and, although it is so small, it's essential to the feeling of well-being I feel in the session and then the subsequent feeling of well-being I can generate in myself, having learned how that feels. You couldn't possibly do this out of a book!

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Peter, Sculptor

As a sculptor, I have lifted very heavy weights all my life. At aged 45, I lifted wrongly one more time and my back was seriously damaged forever.

Alexander Technique taught me (back in the early nineties) amongst many other things how to lift and how to keep my back strong and flexible, how to position my pelvis and my feet before I lift and how to recover from a particularly heavy lift so that there is no permanent damage (usually recovery is within a day and sometimes it is moments).

There are certain markers in my life and Alexander Technique is one of those which I will carry with me forever. I am 61 now and have never had to go to the doctor again for my back since Alexander Technique 15 years ago.

Gail is a very patient, sincere and approachable teacher with a professional care and understanding of a student's problems.

Joan T, Farmer

I used to lift a lot of elderly relatives wrongly and ended up with a weak, painful and brittle back, which was very easily strained.

Now with Alexander Technique I have no pain. I am able to do things again and can do them more naturally without effort. It's wonderful.

Gail is down-to-earth yet very imaginative. She uses layman's language, which is important for me. She is spontaneous and warm - a natural teacher.

John, Small Business Proprietor

Before Alexander Technique, I couldn't have contemplated lifting and moving objects in bulk (I had to give up work because of several injuries to my knees and ankles), but now I'm starting up my own business! I feel I was written off but now I feel I have a new lease of life.

Gail is a clear and logical teacher.

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Gail, Chef

When I started Alexander Technique, my back was over-straight as if I had a ramrod up it. My posture and movements are now more youthful and I have more freedom in my movement. I feel more fluid so I am still upright but in an easy, comfortable way.

Sitting is so much easier. I used to fidget a lot because I now know I wasn't balanced, whereas now I can sit in the cinema for hours and I don't change my position at all. My breathing is deeper and I find it much easier walking uphill - I don't get so out of breath.

I spend long hours standing in the kitchen every day and I used to feel so wound up by the end of the day. Now I am more relaxed as I work and I have learned how to do things differently in the kitchen, which makes life easier. I wish I'd discovered Alexander Technique years ago!

Gail is relaxed, informative and never puts pressure on me. It is more guidance than pressure. She is also very patient - if I don't understand something one way, she will always find another way to make sure I do.

Elizabeth, Retired Farmer and Teacher

I used to wake up every morning with a pain in my neck and I used to have backache when standing for long periods, for instance when scrubbing and peeling vegetables, etc.

Now after Alexander Technique I have a better sense of my own body and how the bones work inside. My backache when standing has disappeared because Gail has taught me how to stand properly for a length of time.

The Alexander Technique has been an enormous help with all sorts of things everyday, for example, the Alexander Technique way of scrubbing and peeling my vegetables is so restful. If I go back to doing it the old way, it feels like hard work. And it's wonderful to wake up in the morning without pain in my neck - it's been worth every penny just for that!

Gail has obviously been well trained and is also very perceptive and sensitive, so she knows when I'm alright and when I'm not alright when we are working together.

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Nigel, IT Consultant

My back was so bad that I couldn't walk for twenty minutes without stops. Now with Alexander Technique I am back to walking easily for hours without any problems.

Gail is an effective, personable and friendly teacher who is easy to follow.

Lynda, Computer Science Lecturer

When I went for a walk, I would feel like a wind-up toy that was getting tightened up in the hips with each step, so I was really uncomfortable and could not walk a long way.

Now, since Alexander Technique, I've joined a walking group and can walk for miles comfortably without even thinking about it! It's just natural.

Gail's teaching is easy to understand and sessions are fun.

John, Small Business Proprietor

After several injuries to my knees and ankles, I had to give up work and was told nothing could be done. I could not walk more than 800 yards on the flat; hills were out of the question.

Now, since my Alexander Technique course 18 months ago, I can walk for a couple of hours along the rough and hilly coastal path and I really enjoy it.

Gail is a clear and logical teacher.

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Judy, Horserider

In 1991 when I was only 37, I had to retire for medical reasons from the job I loved as my county's first mounted policewoman. I had always been a keen horserider and took part in dressage competitions.

So it was a devastating blow when I developed arthritis of the spine, hips, wrists and feet and had to give all of it up, being told I would never work or ride again.

The final straw was when I was walking through a shopping centre and an elderly woman with a walking stick overtook me. I went home in tears over losing control of my body so young after being so active. The thought of never getting on a horse's back again finished me off and I know I would have been on crutches if I hadn't discovered The Alexander Technique.

However, after working with Gail, I gradually learned how to relax my contorted muscles and thing started to improve. I could school my horse, Ben, and go for hacks. After further working with Gail, my seat became deeper and the feeling of the horse's movement became a joint experience for the horse and myself. I school young horses and I find they now move with greater freedom and are relaxed and enjoying their schoolwork. I went back to work as a fundraiser and raised 1.25 million for a Riding for the Disabled Centre, at which I now teach.

You don't need to ride to understand how a rider's body interacts with a horse's body and how a rider needs to be balanced. And so I could easily apply what Gail was teaching me to riding. She has the most delightful manner, which meant that with her support I felt I could reach my potential.

Gail looks at the person as an individual and tailors the work accordingly. She takes a holistic overview and is vivacious, enthusiastic, caring and supportive. Her hands are both calming and energising and are in tune with the individual's needs.

Agneta, Horserider

Alexander Technique taught me awareness of my own body, which of course is the key thing in riding. This means that my riding is now less tiring because I am in natural balance with the horse, which is energy- saving.

Gail is very friendly and relaxed but also knowledgeable and inventive.

Annabel, Riding Instructor BHSII in Yorkshire

By having sessions with Gail I have become more aware of my body and how it functions and I am able to relax and use myself in a more harmonious way. This means I am in a better position to influence my horse and he is able to move more freely because my body is not restricting him.

Gail's teaching is interesting; she puts it across very clearly with very helpful imagery.

Jess, Horserider

Although I now apply it professionally in dance, I originally looked for Alexander Technique lessons a few years ago to help with my horseriding. It seems to be increasingly popular for this now because more and more people are interested in a softer more natural way of sitting and moving with the horse, as in the classical (dressage) tradition.

I think Alexander Technique helped me most in terms of making me aware of how my pelvis was moving in relation to the horse and how to keep it in a neutral position unless I wanted to give an aid (signal) to the horse. This makes riding and communicating with the horse more sensitive and discrete.

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Margaret GJ, Book Illustrator

After a day at my easel, my whole body, even my ribcage, ached. I also had sinus problems, catarrh and tension headaches.

When I started Alexander Technique with Gail in the early nineties, I relearned things like standing and walking and how to sit, how to hold a pencil and paintbrush, etc. After the course of sessions, my neck and shoulder aches, my sinus problems, catarrh and tension headaches had all disappeared! Once I could rectify any aches (if I overdid it), I felt I could cope with my life and was a lot calmer. Alexander Technique had (and has) changed my life - in fact I feel like a brand new person!

Faith, Artist

The huge benefit to me on the artistic side has been that I am more relaxed and don't worry if I make a mistake. I am much more relaxed generally in my approach to my work - not just muscularly but also I feel a mental relaxation as well. It's a measure of confidence. If I make a mistake, either I can do something about it or I can start again - no problem.

Gail is encouraging and has a fair idea of where one's postural problems lie, even if you don't know yourself. This then directs the way she does her teaching, i.e. it is individual-based. The whole thing is a joint exercise; Gail puts her teaching effort in and it's up to me as the student to do my bit. It's a shared journey.

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Gail Barlow AIL DipM MSTAT 01748 884450

Teacher of the Alexander Technique in Northallerton