Workshop on F.M. Alexander technique offered April 9

Online Staff Report

Many people can be very successful at their craft without having training in how their bodies actually do the work. Having been taught well how to machine, exercise or even play a musical instrument can be all a person needs to have a long and satisfying career. However, when something goes wrong, and gradually the facility that was there goes away, and it seems it’s time to “give it up,” we need to ask the question, “Why?” Is this a problem that comes naturally with the territory (like tennis elbow for tennis players or golfer’s knee for golfers), or is this something that can be helped with the right kind of treatment?

FM Alexander was a Victorian actor who had to go through this thought process. Losing his voice on stage, he was faced with either giving up his career, experimental surgery or figuring out on his own what was happening. Over the course of 10 years, the tenacious Tasmanian developed some observations about how the body works in a practical method that is now taught as the F.M. Alexander technique. He eventually realized that the problem was in how he used himself in the activity of stage speech. FM, as people called him, became known as “the breathing man,” since the work indirectly improved breathing. But by the time Niko Tinbergen studied the technique and discussed it in his 1973 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, people recognized that this work helped reduce blood pressure, restore restful sleep and improve quality of life, in addition to the benefits for working people and performing artists.

Tuesday, April 9, Dr. Philip Schalow will host an introductory workshop on the F.M. Alexander technique, an approach to prevention and recovery that has captured the attention of scientists, performing artists and clinicians all over the world for more than 100 years. At 10 a.m., the workshop will introduce the technique, what it is and what it is not, and will give participants hands-on training in some basic principles they can use immediately. Call Dr. Schalow’s office, 1st Step Chiropractic, at (815) 398-4500 to make a reservation for the workshop. Cost is $10. Class size is limited to the first 10 participants. Visit

Posted April 3, 2013