The Alexander Technique was developed in Australia in the late19th century by an actor, Frederick Matthias Alexander - or FM as he was widely known. At the peak of his career he was plagued by problems with his voice, which doctors could do nothing to alleviate. Reasoning that the damage could be self-inflicted, FM decided to help himself. Through years of painstaking self-observation he discovered that his reaction to the stimulus of reciting and speaking was a whole body response. By becoming more conscious of the messages his brain was sending to his muscles he was in due course able to change these habitual tensions and choose a new response - in the process restoring his voice to its full strength and evolving the Alexander Technique.
"My Technique is based on the inhibition of undesirable, unwanted responses to stimuli, and hence it is primarily a technique for the development of the control of human reaction."
One of FM’s chief discoveries was the primary control (the relationship between the head, neck and back), which governs the other systems of the body and to a large extent the levels of tension throughout the rest of the body. He discovered that by allowing the head to balance freely on top of the spine instead of being pulled ‘back and down’ into the neck, the back is able to decompress and lengthen out, relieving pressure on the joints, allowing the internal organs more space to function and the breath to flow more freely.