Optimize Your Healing: The Alexander Technique and Massage Therapy

People often wonder how the Alexander Technique differs from massage therapy and how the two complement one another.

Massage therapy is more familiar to most people and often associated with pain reduction and feeling well. But there are also a number of other great benefits. For example, massage therapy

  • Satisfies the basic human need to be touched. Being touched just feels good!
  • Improves blood circulation and decreases blood pressure.
  • Decreases heart rate through activation of the relaxation response.
  • Increases circulation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen, and white blood cells, which bolster the body’s immune system.
  • Improves skin conditions.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety while improving mood.
  • Relieves muscular tension, soreness, and fatigue while enhancing vigor.

The Alexander Technique offers many of these same benefits, including decreasing blood pressure and heart rate through activation of the relaxation response and decreasing pain.

However, the main difference between the Alexander Technique and massage therapy is that the Alexander Technique is an educational process, rather than a therapeutic one, but one that has therapeutic value. This allows the student to retain the benefits of the Alexander Technique well after receiving the lessons and to even continue to improve.

In fact, a study of the British Medical Journal revealed that for back pain, the Alexander Technique provides the best long-term benefits. Though massage therapy relieves pain faster, through reducing muscle tension and confusing the pain messages sent to the brain, its effects are generally of short duration.

On the other hand, the Alexander Technique teaches the student to become aware of the muscle tensions created in everyday life and how to release them, giving the pain sufferer long-term benefits.

As both a certified Alexander Technique teacher and massage therapist, Alain Lafontaine offers a combination of both healing techniques, allowing his clients to get the best of both modalities and to decide which method they prefer for treating pain.

Of course, one doesn’t need to be in serious pain to enjoy the benefits of a good massage therapy session or the long-term health benefits of the Alexander Technique.