CFS is a condition that effects around quarter of a million people in the UK. At the milder end of the spectrum people just feel “tired all the time” whereas around twenty percent have severe Chronic Fatigue which afflicts the individual to the extent they may be bed bound or house bound.
Alexander Technique is a useful approach to help people with Chronic Fatigue improve their health. Why is it so good? It enables someone to ‘unlearn’ the harmful postural habits that may be the cause of stress and pain. People with CFS generally hold an immense amount of tension in their bodies. Their breathing may be compromised through tension held around the rib cage. By using your body in an effective, stress free way the Technique can provide many benefits to a person with CFS including rediscovering a healthy balance between mind and body.
By taking Alexander Technique lessons a person learns to use their body more effectively. So if you are using less energy every time you carry out an everyday activity, such as getting out of a chair or picking something up, then the energy you have lasts longer. As an ex-suffer of severe chronic fatigue I believe that the Alexander Technique actually increases your energy base. Lying down in semi-supine (a classic Alexander Technique position see picture) can empower a person with CFS to rest in a constructive manner with an open position, rather than resting (for example) curled up in the foetal position. When he was alive F M Alexander was known as ‘the breathing man’. Improved breathing is clearly beneficial for anyone but can be especially helpful to someone with compromised health.
For people with CFS who have compromised life styles, having Alexander Technique lessons can help them feel more positive about their medical condition as it empowers them to learn useful strategies on how to be kind to their body and live in the present.
“I started to have Alexander Technique lessons when I was very ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was amazed to realise just how much tension I held in my body. Annie taught me ways to be aware of this tension and to learn how to release.
I have recovered fully from CFS and Alexander Technique has helped support me through this process. I continue to have AT lessons as part of my stress reduction routine.”