F.M. Alexander

The Alexander Technique was developed by an Australian, Frederick Matthias Alexander, who was born in Tasmania in 1869. While following a successful career as an actor, reciter and elocution teacher in Melbourne (and briefly in Auckland), he began to suffer from recurrent hoarseness and breathing difficulties which threatened an early end to his work. When available medical help proved to be of little benefit, he set out on a remarkable journey of self-observation and discovery.

Over a period of almost a decade he developed the principles and practice now known as the Alexander Technique. An account of this journey of discovery is published in his book The Use of the Self, described in the British Medical Journal as a classic of scientific observation.

Using his approach Alexander was able to let go of his habits of tension so that his voice and breathing problems gradually disappeared. His work soon attracted increasing attention from other actors and public speakers, but later also attracted people with a variety of health problems brought about or aggravated by the way they "used themselves". The news of his success spread, and increasingly doctors and other professionals began to refer people to him.