Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), was an Australian Shakespearean actor who developed his technique to overcome the debilitating laryngitis he experienced on stage. When medical professionals were unable to diagnose or treat his condition he reasoned that it must have been brought on by something he was doing on stage with the way he was using his body. As he began observing himself he noticed habits he was unaware of involving excess tension. He then went about developing a technique to undo these habits and regain a natural poise and use that had been eroded by a lifetime of accumulating habits.
It was through this process that Alexander laid the foundation for the technique that seeks to address one of the most difficult problems of modern life: to recognize how our movements through and interactions with a largely manufactured world profoundly affect our bodies in unconscious ways—from chairs that don’t fit us, to computers we sit in front of more and more. Alexander’s principles have given us a framework upon which we can regain a natural use and a consciousness of ourselves that helps us do the things we have to do in a way that won’t hurt us.