These testimonials have been translated from Swedish
To the Swedish Education Department:
Regarding the need for study loans for students training as teachers of the Alexander Technique at the Stockholm Alexander Teacher Training School.
I have, as a freelance singer and singing teacher at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, taken lessons in the Alexander Technique with the Head Teacher at the Stockholm Alexander Teacher Training School, Steven Hallmark, over two lengthy periods in 2011 and 2012. I had earlier heard good things about the Technique from friends, colleagues and singing teachers, but I had not got as far as taking lessons myself. But when problems with hoarseness and headaches arose I contacted (at last) a teacher.
The lessons have given me a lot. My voice got better and the headaches disappeared almost immediately. A few times I came for a lesson with a headache and went away without pain. It was fantastic; it was not only helpful in the moment, but also I got the means to help myself both in everyday life and in my work as a singer and singing teacher. Both I, and others I meet, whether they are singers or teachers or students at the Royal College of Music, often get periodical problems with hoarseness or tension in the voice. With the help of the Alexander Technique, one can re-educate the body memory in balance, posture and movement in a way that the breathing and voice is much freer.
Several of my singing students have shown interest in taking lessons in the Alexander Technique when I have talked to them about it. I think it would be very good if the Stockholm Alexander Teacher Training School could be eligible for study loans. It would make it possible for others to be able to train themselves in this Technique and, in turn, help more towards durable voices and bodies in their working lives.
With best wishes,
- Gunnel Mauritzson
"I received great help from the Alexander Technique during my pregnancy and when I gave birth. It all began when I got lumbar pain in my 16th week. I spoke with my midwife who told me that back problem is a natural part of pregnancy. A few weeks later, after I had started to take Alexander lessons the pain had vanished as had also some swelling in my legs. After each lesson I felt happy, lively and could breathe deeply.
During the birth, the breathing exercises and directions I had learned were very helpful and I felt that I had useful tools that allowed me to go with my body through the birth. It meant that it all became a positive experience and that I had dared to trust in my own strength to give birth."
- Christine Ribbing
"From late teenage and about ten years onward, I had a constant back problem. Ordinary strengthening exercises only made things worse. Sometimes a visit to a naprapath gave me temporary relief from the pain, but it always came back with renewed strength. In the hope of getting to the bottom of the problem and not just treating the symptoms I contacted Steven.
With him I have learned a new attitude to my posture a natural way that I could see was good both for my back and for the rest of my body. In the beginning it felt very unusual and that became an “aha experience” that clarified the bad habits I had acquired over the years, and which gave me the reason as to why my back did not get better.
After a number of lessons with Steven, my back pain went away completely. The lessons have also had many other positive effects, for example freer breathing and better sense of myself. The fascination of learning to use my body in a better and more effective way, has meant that I go back for more in-depth learning now and again”
- Mattias Ribbing
“I first came into contact with the Alexander Technique in the year 1993 and immediately experienced that this method was something for me. The Alexander Technique is gentle, careful and powerful at the same time. The Alexander Technique has helped me acquire increased body-awareness, presence and concentration. Together with some other important factors, the Alexander Technique has transformed my life."
- Måns Cederberg, 41, lawyer and father of four children
“This is the best treatment one can get! I don’t understand why physiotherapists don’t know about this!”
- David Ericsson, 89 years old.
I was recommended by my yoga teacher to take Alexander lessons. She pointed out to me that I was moving wrongly. Immediately after the first lesson I felt that this was something special. This happened about 30 years ago, and has meant and still means a lot in my life. I have become more conscious of my body and have got much better coordination, am more relaxed, my posture has improved and my step is lighter. I am more aware of my body, which “lets me know” when I move “wrongly”.I still get a feeling of elation and freedom when I take Alexander lessons. I can also carry out certain movements by myself as well as rest on the floor with raised knees and a couple of books under my head – it feels very good. I begin my day by lying on my back and it is like an Alexander lesson, it is a good start to the day. I usually also lie down on the floor when I feel stressed and am tensed up and it is really very helpful.
Margit Ericsson Odengatan, Stockholm
The Alexander Technique has been a part of my daily life for about 25 years. But now I am studying to be a Alexander teacher and in the process new things come to my notice.
Lately, I have found that things do not get into such a muddle or come to a halt as much as before. For example, we had a meeting of relatives in the summer when my parents had their eightieth birthdays – that, earlier, would have been an occasion for me to be edgy and stressed – but not this time; this time I had a good time throughout.
Another example is when I get criticised – in my job as a school teacher I can sometimes be subject to a lot of criticism – and I notice that I can listen quite calmly and quietly and sort out what is justified, that I can learn from, and what I can let go as unjustified.
Finally, I notice that when I play music – mostly piano and double bass – I can resolve technical problems in a way that was not possible earlier, and the music comes out more and more as I want it to.
The most remarkable thing is that, all the time, there seems to be much left to discover!
Malte Nordling, Teacher and Musician
This letter was written to the Swedish Education Department Skolverket on behalf of the Stockholm Alexander Teacher Training Course.
"I have had great satisfaction and benefit from having lessons in the Alexander Technique. I have several times got help with health problems that have dragged on for some time, for which I have not received any other help.
For a long time (about 9 years) I had pain in my knee. I consulted several Doctors and tried strength training, yoga, resting, swimming, physiotherapy and pain tablets. Since I did not get better and it was too painful to train, it was thought by the Doctors that the only way out was an operation. I had, however, besides this difficulty, a problem with my hip on the same side and suspected therefore that there was an underlying cause that would not be addressed by the knee operation.
Instead of agreeing to an operation I began to take lessons in the Alexander Technique and eventually became completely better in both my knee and my hip. This took time, however, because it involves completely re-learning behaviour. I noticed after a while how the whole of my balance changed and I began to use entirely different muscles for all of my daily activities such as walking, standing and sitting. Previously I had had great difficulty in climbing stairs because of my knee, but I noticed that there were muscles that earlier I had not known I had but which were much better suited for climbing stairs. These muscles could not be found or influenced by sheer will through, for example, exercise training, but they began to work quite automatically as the balance in my body changed. Gradually the knee got better and better and I now have no trouble at all with it. I am very happy about this.
Unfortunately, 2 and 1/2 years ago I had a car accident and since then have had trouble with back pain and pain which radiates down the leg. I could not do anything for the whole of the first year, but afterwards was treated by an osteopath and tried physiotherapy. It is only now that I have gone back to Alexander lessons for a period that I have begun to believe that I will be well again. The Technique is relatively demanding on ones patience because one must change ones way of thinking and teach the body that there are better ways to go to work. But the reward is that the results are lasting, in contrast to a manipulation from a physiotherapist or chiropractor, which then goes back, so that one feels worse than before.
I consider that the Alexander Technique is unsurpassed for all types of problems connected to the mechanisms for movement and I feel that it also influences other functions in the body, for example breathing. I am very glad this option exists, and wish that more might have the chance to try out this fantastic Technique."
With best wishes