What Happens When I Put My Hands On?

A friend: “I just have a silly question — the photos of your with the hands on the shoulders of your patient. What exactly is happening there? Is it a manner of adjusting the person stance? Stabilizing them? It is a pretty striking image.”

Whatever I am thinking, it comes through my hands. So if I am thinking up, that upthrust goes through my hands so that they function as jumper-cables to the central-nervous system of my student and they get clear direction up, allowing them to let go of their habits of slouching and pulling down and compressing. If I’m thinking about the width across my back, that translates into directions of width and helps my student to let go of holding himself stiffly and tightly. They can let go of holding.

When my student senses my directions, it helps him to realize how he is compressing unnecessarily and how easy and pleasant it is to let go of this needless clenching and to take up his fall space in the world. I’ll explain this verbally as I do the hands on jumper-cable type work.

My hands are not moving. I am directing with my thinking, and that comes through my hands. I’m not massaging or pushing or tugging on my student. I regard them as students trying to learn something in an educational lesson, not as patients that I am doing something to therapeautically like a masseuse or chiropractor or doctor or physical therapist or acupuncturist where the patient is largely passive and the practicioner is doing the work. In an Alexander Technique lesson, the student has to do all of the work. All I can do is to guide him.

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