What is this sign, What is the Alexander Technique and Why Does it Matter?

Earlier this summer my name was included on Primary Care Partnership’s sign.

See! That’s me on the bottom shingle Mary Derbyshire, M.AmSAT.

It is such an honor to be included on the same sign as these other practitioners! Dr’s Cathleen Hood and Karen Ottenstein have selected a few allied partners to provide alternative methodologies alongside their traditional allopathic practice. It is not unheard of traditional doctors reaching out to acupuncture or massage therapy but it is highly unlikely that there are doctors who would reach out to an Alexander Technique teacher. Most doctors haven’t even heard of the technique and that is a real shame.

For those of you who do not know about the Alexander Technique, it is a mindfulness based practice that teaches you how to move better. Most of us habitually bring way too much muscular tension to our activities. This muscular tension interferes with the way that your body moves.

Often times pain and stiffness and poor coordination result from this excessive tension.

An Alexander Technique teacher teaches you how to prevent this unnecessary tension and as a result, you move more freely. Pain and stiffness are decreased or eliminated. Your balance and coordination improve.

You feel better in your skin!

And because your mind and your body are a unified whole what you do with your body affects the mind. Your thinking improves. Your clarity improves. You feel whole and connected.

I first met Dr.Cathleen Hood a couple of years ago. I will let her tell the story of how we met.

“I first heard about Mary from a patient. The patient’s story is remarkable. At an advanced age, she suffered a fall and fractured her neck, resulting in what the neurosurgeon deemed an unstable situation. He offered a surgical fixation so that slippage would not cause quadriplegia, but the patient declined.

She did not want to be impaired by the side effects of narcotics, so she called her friend Mary, who through the Alexander Technique gave her the tools to control her pain.

She was also regaining range of motion, and it was healing slowly by itself. With no drug side effects, she was mindful not to trip or fall again. I thought I need to meet this person!”

This story is so important for many reasons.

First, the Alexander Technique is not only effective at getting rid of pain but it can also be very effective in controlling pain. In these times of opioid addiction, there is an alternative to drugs and their extremely harmful side effects. For some, The Alexander Technique (AT) can be that alternative and should be taken seriously by the medical community.

Years ago I had an older student who was scoliotic and had severe pain her entire adult life. AT got her out of that pain. Her husband a rheumatologist at Mass General Hospital was so impressed he said that “every Dr. should have access to an AT teacher in his or her practice.” I am thrilled to be the Alexander Technique teacher for Primary Care Partnership!

Secondly, the Alexander Technique teaches you about self -care. A series of lessons will teach you the tools to be mindful of how you move. I love it when students return for their second lesson and remark that they are so much more aware of how they are moving.

Self- care is health care and self -awareness plays a part. How can you change and improve if you do not recognize what you are doing in the first place?

Thirdly embracing the Alexander Technique represents a paradigm shift. It says “Use” matters. What do I mean by “Use?” (Use is pronounced as loose) Use is the way that you use your body and your mind. How you sit, how you stand, how you walk, how you run, how you think it all matters to your health and well being! A LOT! And here is the thing- only you can change your use. I can help you or another Alexander Technique teacher can help you, but your use will only change and improve if you attend to it.

What do you think? Are you ready to change for the better? Click here to schedule an appointment https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=12624320 

Click here http://amzn.to/2fsZsnQ to purchase my Amazon best-selling book Agility at Any Age: Discover the Secret to Balance, Mobility, and Confidence 

Feel free to email me with any questions! maryderby1@gmail.com

Self-Care


I like to think that most times I am a pretty easygoing person.
Certainly I am easy going with the exercise classes I teach.
I call them ExTension Classes! Get it?
I let people come and go as they please and only pay for the classes they attend. I never raise an eyebrow when someone hasn’t shown up in ages. I smile and nod and warmly great them.
Well the other day that all changed! I was like the lion in the photo!
I went on a rant and I roared and I became very pointed and direct and said to the group “It is the New Year and it is time for you to resolve to yourself that you will attend class on a regular basis! This is your resolution. Exercise does not work unless you do it consistently! You need to make a commitment to yourself to attend class regularly. That means put it in your calendar so that when the Dr.’s office, or a friend, or anybody says “Can you make it at 9 Monday?” you say “No, I cannot make it at 9 I have my exercise class!”
Done! Easy! You put yourself first!
I think that my rant was well received and gave my class a bit more direction. My rant prompted a wonderful conversation that ensued the following week.
The topic was self-care.
We know to eat well. We know to catch 8 hours of shuteye. We know that we need to exercise.
But do you know this?
No one can take care of you as well as you can take care of yourself. Not one person.
You have to be your own caretaker.
Self -care is health care.
Taking care of your self means moving more. Not just exercise. You need to move all day!
The human body was designed to move and our culture is way too sedentary. We are sitting ourselves to death.
So make a resolution to move more.
I will make a resolution to go on more rants and teach you more ways to improve your self- care. Deal?
Let me know how you are brining more movement into your life!

Photo: Lemuel Butler