Dr. Deepak Sharan repetitive strain injuries
 
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Alexander Technique

About the technique

An Alexander Technique (AT) student will find his voice grow richer, his presence stronger, and his mood calmer and more alert. Whenever we move or think, we have a choice: we can use ourselves either intelligently or carelessly. AT lessons can teach you to use yourself with intelligence, improving professional and personal performance and promoting freedom from injury, rapid recovery and a better overall standard of health.

Musculo-skeletal disorders such as RSIs are among medical conditions that respond exceptionally well when someone “improves their use of themselves.” Lessons are typically one-on-one, and involve guiding touch and verbal instruction. No special clothes or equipment are needed, just a willingness to learn.

 

Our Elite Panel of Alexander Teachers (Expected to visit in 2008 or later):

  1. Georg Schmidt: AT Teacher from Wurzburg, Bavaria, Germany (Visiting RECOUP from December 1,2008 to December 31, 2008) .

    Georg was born in 1963, after 13 years of school he did two years of civil service, working with sick persons and children for a local church. From 1985 to 1988 he was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker, then worked as a traditional journeyman for two years, travelling throughout Europe. From 1990 to 1993 he studied Modern Dance in Germany and Venezuela, teaching and performing until 1997. Chronic knee problems led him to research and to the Alexander Technique. He took one lesson with a teacher in Cologne, did not like it and decided to go to Israel to find out more. He travelled overland to Jerusalem in 1997 and quickly enrolled in Shmuel Nelken's training course ­ He had seen photos of him at work in a book while still in Germany and was drawn to him because he seemed to be very honest and committed. Shmuel Nelken took lessons with Alexander himself just before his death. This school was the first to be founded outside of England and has been holding up Alexander¹s convictions for over thirty years now.

    So Georg is an Alexander teacher who likes and applies the Technique as it is traditionally taught; He tries to avoid fancy additions and prefers straightforward, down-to-earth teaching. He is interested in Medicine and regards the Technique as a good addition which fosters self-responsibility in the patients.

    Georg returned to Germany in 2002 and has been teaching in his own private practice as part of a small clinic of 5 practitioners in Wuerzburg, Bavaria. He teaches in Munich and other towns as well, either giving lessons or teaching group workshops lasting from one to five days which introduce interested people to the Technique (as it is still not well known in Germany) and offer one daily private lesson for each participant combined with group work.

    In his private practice he has musicians, mostly singers, RSI-patients, restless/nervous ones and of course, many people with diverse back problems and constant pain.

  2. Padmini Menon: presently teaching at RECOUP
  3. Tina Murphy: AT teacher and masseur from Waterford, Ireland (likely to visit in February 2009)
  4. Laura Corcoran: AT teacher from London, UK
  5. Gabriele Breuninger: AT teacher from Frankfurt, Germany
  6. Mary Gallagher: AT teacher and Naturopathic Doctor from Seattle, Washington, USA
  7. Patrisha Hawkins: AT teacher, and Feldenkrais and Jin Shin Jyutsu Practitioner from Perth, Australia
  8. Elyse Shafarman: AT teacher and RSI Researcher from USA (http://www.bodyproject.us)
  9. Larissa Makila: AT teacher from Calgary, Canada
  10. Marilyn Lock: AT Yoga, Dance and Pilates Teacher, and Physiotherapist from Australia
  11. Diana Bradley: Director, Alexander in the Caribbean (St. Thomas), a Certified AT Teacher since 1979, and a founding member of Alexander Technique International and AmSat member. Diana's excellent Alexander credentials include a 13-year apprenticeship with Marjorie Barstow, F.M. Alexander's first certified teacher.
  12. Elena Lopez Sans: AT and Yoga Teacher for 12 years and 20 years respectively, based at New York, USA.
  13. Erika Senft Miller: AT teacher, Physical Therapist and Dance Educator from Colchester, USA
  14. Joseph Stevens: Treasurer of Society of Teachers of Alexander Technique, based at London, UK.

Teachers who have already visited RECOUP:

  1. Daniel Harbach: As an Alexander Technique Teacher Daniel has worked with business
    employees & managers and business, psychology & sports students. In addition to teaching basic understanding of the Alexander Technique principles and application to daily activitites, he has given lessons applying Alexander Technique to swimming, rowing and jogging. Daniel has been teaching the Alexander Technique in Zurich, Switzerland since 2004 and is a Teaching Member of SVLAT (CH) and STAT (UK). Daniel did his Alexander Technique Teacher Training at the Alexander
    Technique Studio (London, UK). http://alexanderte.ch. (Visited in 2007 for 4 weeks)
  2. Dr. Brian Tracey: Dr. Tracey's association with AT dates from 1985 when he was running a busy dental practice in Sydney (Australia), and was suffering from recurrent musculoskeletal pain related to his work. A series of AT lessons gave him an understanding of the psycho-physical dynamics of the condition and reduced his symptoms to virtually zero. He eventually trained as a teacher of the technique in Sydney, under Kri Ackers, a senior student of Walter Carrington. He has taught continuously since graduating in 1994, teaching in training schools in Switzerland, Italy and England. Dr. Tracey is a teaching member of AUSTAT. (Visited in 2006 for 4 weeks)
  3. Christine Hardy: an AT teacher and Psychoanalyst from Paris, France (Visited in 2006 for 4 weeks)
  4. Nick Mellor: an AT teacher based at Cumbria, UK (http://www.back-pain-self-help.com). Nick holds degrees in Computer Science (1989) and Linguistics (1992). While working as a computer programmer, trainer and technical editor he began to experience pain and poor coordination in his hands, arms and back, and the persistent mental fog familiar to many RSI patients. After a series of Alexander Technique lessons in 1996 he was able to continue working full-time. In 1999 he decided to train as an Alexander Technique teacher, graduating in 2002. Since then he has taught the Alexander Technique in Melbourne and Cairns (Australia), Leeds and Cumbria (England). He is a teaching member of the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT), http://www.stat.org.uk (Visited in 2005 for 4 weeks).
  5. Vertti Pollanen: an AT teacher, masseur and trainee Osteopath from Finland (Visited in 2005 for 1 week).

 

Vertti Pollanen Nick Mellor

 

BOOK YOUR ALEXANDER LESSONS NOW!

Number of lessons recommended: 15-20 one-on-one lessons (lasting about 40 minutes each) are usually required before one can start practising AT independently.

Fees:
Rs. 12,000 for 15 lessons
Rs. 900 for a s
ingle lesson
Rs. 500 for a taster lesson
Rs. 8,000 for 10 advanced lessons (after the initial 15 lessons)

Payment can be made by cash, credit card (Visa/Mastercard), DD or local cheque addressed to "RECOUP." Please hand over the payment to RECOUP's Reception or post the cheque/DD to the address given below.

Timings:
Tuesdays and Thursdays 8 am to 12 pm.

Location:

RECOUP Neuromusculoskeletal Rehabilitation Centre,

231, 37th Cross, Off 11th Main, Opposite Shanthi Nursing Home,

Jayanagar 4T Block, Bangalore 560041

Phone: + 91-80-4121 4224

Tele-fax: + 91-80- 4121 4334

 

Contact us for any clarification and to book your place. Places are limited and will rapidly fill on a first-come-first-serve basis.

 

Reproduced below are some introductory articles:

Hope for people with RSI
Author: Sahana Charan
Bangalore, The Hindu, Sep 9, 2005
http://www.healthlibrary.com/news/2005/4-10-sep05/news16.html

Finding it hard to move your stiff neck after a hard day's work? Or do you have shooting pain in your fingers and hands every time you touch a computer keyboard? People with repetitive strain injury (RSI) or musculo-skeletal disorders (MSD) often lose valuable time at work and home and their quality of life is affected. According to a study by Deepak Sharan, consultant, Bangalore Children's Hospital and an expert in RSI and paediatric orthopaedics, 75 per cent of the computer professionals suffer from this disorder.

Repetitive strain injury is a work-related disorder which affects the neck, lower limb, lower back, legs, jaws, chest and vocal chords. But now there seems to be hope for such people. Thanks to Dr. Sharan, "Alexander Technique," which is fairly new to India, is being introduced in the city. A number of experts from the U.K. and the U.S. are coming here at regular intervals to teach this technique to those affected by RSI so that they can lead productive lives. One such expert, who was in the city recently and worked with persons affected by RSI for a month, was Nick Mellor, an Alexander technique teacher based in Leeds, U.K.

"Alexander Technique (AT) is not a medical treatment for RSI but a set of skills for improving your performance. It essentially involves learning how to meet a stressful situation and to deal with it constructively," explained Mr. Mellor, who was an RSI patient himself. AT helps in improving personal and professional effectiveness, mainly through better self care. One of the main principles of the technique is to teach people to exercise choice. "Whenever we move or think, we have a choice: we can use ourselves either intelligently or carelessly. AT lessons can teach you to use yourself with intelligence promoting freedom from injury, rapid recovery and a better overall standard of health," he said. The lessons, which are mostly one to one, train you to take care of your head, neck and back. We teach people to use their big joints, their hips, ankles, knees, head and neck joints appropriately instead of bending their spines too often," he added. He worked with around 30 persons here and 75 per cent of them started feeling a positive change after a few lessons.

 

Learning the Alexander Technique
Author: Dr Deepak Sharan
Bangalore, The Times of India, August 21st, 2004

Over the past few weeks, I have been learning the Alexander Technique (AT) from a British teacher. Although unheard of in India, AT is well established in USA, Europe and Australia.

AT is an educational method that shows people how they are misusing their bodies due to work habits that create excessive amounts of static loading and how to reduce the unnecessary muscular force they are applying to their bodies. AT was developed by Fredrick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), an Australian farmer-turned-actor with no academic or medical background.

Alexander was a sickly child who barely survived a stormy childhood to become a Shakespearean stage actor. Unfortunately, he developed a voice disorder and was unable to recite his lines. His doctors advised voice rest for a few months. When he returned to the stage, the problem persisted. Multiple tests turned out normal and he was told there was nothing wrong with him and was advised more rest cure. After unsuccessfully visiting a variety of medical and not so medical practitioners, he decided he had to find out for himself what was wrong because penury beckoned. Alexander figured out that the problem had something to do with what he did on stage, as he did not have any trouble with his voice when he was not acting. His co-actors told him that he made a gasping sound as he breathed in between lines.

Alexander then set up mirrors at strategic locations and observed himself when he spoke normally and when he recited. He discovered that when he got ready to recite he drew in air with a loud gasp and tensed his neck muscles pulling his head back and down. He also made his entire body shorter and tenser, restricting his breathing and freedom of movement. By means of prolonged, tedious experiments Alexander found a way of preventing this pattern from initiating during recitation. He subsequently found new and better ways of using the various parts of his body involved in reciting. The final result was that Alexander's voice trouble vanished and thus was AT born.

 

Benefiting from an AT Lesson
Author: Dr Deepak Sharan
Bangalore, The Times of India, August 28th, 2004

What is common between Paul Newman (actor), Roald Dahl (author), Sting (singer), John Cleese (comedian), George Bernard Shaw (playwright) and a host of musicians and opera singers worldwide? All of them practice(d) Alexander Technique (AT) in their daily lives. Dr. William Barlow, a Consultant Rheumatologist in UK, was a prominent AT teacher, and AT is still practiced in several NHS pain clinics in UK. Yet, unlike many complementary modalities AT makes no sale pitch at being a cure-all.

AT is not a therapy, though it has therapeutic effects, but an educational process. It is not something where you just lie down passively and let a practitioner treat you. It teaches you not facts, but how to learn about yourself, for yourself, what habits of body use you have and how you can prevent the harmful misuse.

During the lesson, the teacher guides a student to improve coordination in activities like getting up from a chair and sitting down, and lying down without tensing the muscles, skillfully using his hands to provide the tactile feedback. AT prevents or inhibits misuse due to subconscious, habitual directions and then builds up the primary control with consciously chosen directions, leading to a more effective use of the body. After each lesson, I could experience enhanced body flexibility, and a subtle perception of increase in the length of spine and limbs. Like me, many people take AT lessons, not because of health problems, but because they find it a valuable tool for improving their wellbeing and self-knowledge. Some also take it for painful conditions like RSI.

Most people need about 30 lessons of 45 minutes each before they can successfully begin applying AT on their own. I think the key to success with AT lies in finding a highly skilled and experienced teacher, and by taking individual (rather than group) lessons. At present there are no AT teachers in India, but I plan to have an eminent teacher from the UK visit Bangalore twice a year to give lessons.

 

Useful Links

Our Treatment Approach

RSI Yoga Course in Bangalore

Training Programmes in Ergonomics/RSI Prevention

My RSI/MSD Articles in the World's Largest English Newspaper

Press Coverage of our work in RSI

Training Opportunities in RSI/MSD for Physicians/Therapists