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Alexander gives you a practical
and achievable set of ideas to work with.
how to relax
Lie down every day to relax, preferably
semi supine position. This position involves lying on
your back with the head supported on some books and with the knees bent
pointing upwards to the ceiling. The feet should be flat on the floor.
This is the best resting
position for the spine.
Many people with lower back pain may find that this is immediately
beneficial. Spend 20 minutes twice a day in the semi supine position
and you will soon feel the benefits.
take regular breaks
Our bodies were not designed to be fixed in one sitting position for hours on end. Regular short breaks are great, every half hour stand up and walk around the room. Every ten minutes you should stop and look around you whilst dropping and relaxing your arms.
computer screen height
It is best to be looking slightly downwards at your screen. With the elbows just above the desk so the arms can relax.
get a good chair
The most important feature for chair for a desk that it gives you good support for your upper back and
that it has a flat seat. Your feet should be flat on the floor.
stop and listen
Listening to the sounds around you is a very effective simple way of
relaxing the mind and body. Far from losing our train of thought, a little
rest from concentration can make it easier to keep our mind focused and
give yourself space and time
Relaxation requires both and it is important to give ourselves the
space we need and enough time with that space. We should all spend at
least 20 minutes a day allowing ourselves this treat.
remember your peripheral vision
So much time is spent in front of computers and driving cars, many
people get into the habit of overusing the central part of their field
of vision and neglecting their peripheral vision. This can cause eyestrain,
but is also a major contribution towards headaches and migraines. It
is important to stop what you are doing and allow your eyes to look
around, using the periphery of your vision for a few moments. Computers and televisions tend to encourage this emphasis on the central field.
People who wear glasses have are even more likely to habitually over-use the central field will find this most beneficial.
take regular breaks from desk work
The importance of regular short breaks cannot be overemphasized. Every
ten minutes you should stop what you are doing, take a look around whilst
dropping your shoulders down and relaxing your arms, every half hour
you should stand up and walk around the room.
use a sloping writing table
Years ago all school desks used to slope. If you look at pictures of
the 17th and 18th century you will see that a sloping writing surface
was common then as was the practice of working at lecterns.
Furniture designers In the 1960’s with the new plastics available developed a fashion for flat desks. This
is a fashion that has stayed with us, often because of the space saving
aspect of being able to stack flat tables.
The slope has the effect of bringing
your work nearer to you and means that you can sit more comfortably to
write. A useful addition would be to get a sloping writing surface, only
a slight slope is required to make an improvement, this would make desk work a little easier.
try this in the car
People often experience tension and stiffness in the
neck and shoulders after a long drive. Some of this can be eased by holding
the steering wheel lower down. With the hands at 10 to 2 for long periods
of time, the shoulders tend to get raised and start to ache. Hold your
steering wheel at 20 to 4 position or try quarter to 3 or 20 to 4 from
time to time. You will still maintain control over the wheel, but it
will be less tiring.
On a long journey the temptation is to go as quickly as possible in
order to get to your destination.
Far better would be to stop every hour even
If you get out of the car take a few good breaths and a look at
the scenery a short walk around.
Don't wear shoulder bags on one shoulder.
add up the number of hours that we carry bags around it makes sense to
pay some attention to how you are doing this. Take a look around next
time you are shopping and see how many peoples shoulders are higher
on one side than on the other.
Better to have a bag with a strap that can go across
your chest, this also leaves both hands free. An added bonus is that
the bag is more accessible and less likely to get left behind or stolen.
If you carry a rucksack
whilst walking, make sure it fits snugly against your back.
If it hangs lower down your back and is poorly adjusted it can pull you
backwards and cause a strain for your lower back.
If you are doing serious walking and carrying a heavy bag, make sure
to pack the heavier items at the top. This ensures that the weight is
carried more evenly down your spine and puts less strain on the lower
Waist fitted bags are excellent and have a number of benefits. All
the weight is taken by the hips and your arms are able to move freely.
Your upper back and shoulders have no straps to strain against. There are waist-packs in the shops that carry enough for a day in the
mountains or a day round the shops.
how to bend and lift
People often use more effort to lift things than they need to. One
of the classic mistakes people make is rushing, it is much more likely
you will hurt yourself if you are being too hasty. So take your time
and try not to rush in order to get the job over and done with. If you
are careful and measured in your movements it is easier to spot when
the load is becoming too heavy and to rest it back on the floor. A good
way to lift heavy objects is get into a good position first with your
knees bent and the back straight, and start by getting a good sense of
the weight. Start shifting the weight by using a little effort. If a
little effort isn't enough to lift it, then gradually increase
effort until you do have enough. As with everything take your time, don’t
rush and snatch at it.
When lifting bend the knees not the
back. This is a common tip used by many people but it is also important
to hinge forward at the hips. If you try to keep the back perpendicular
to the floor when lifting heavy objects it can cause a strain for your
neck and back. So allow the hips to hinge as well as the knees.
Don't over-reach when lifting, lifting objects in a
hurry when twisting or overreaching can cause havoc for the lower back.
Always stand as close as you comfortably can to the object that you
intend to lift. Try and stay within your own balance whilst lifting don’t
get pulled forward by the weight.
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