Spencer Furze had suffered five years of neurological and muscular pain in his back, neck, head and legs:
I came to you having great difficulty walking, sitting and moving in general. My sleep was severely affected and my neck was causing me severe daily headaches and restricted movement. In my mid-40's I had changed from a young fit man - I was previously a builder and sportsman - into an old, disabled, frail man. It was extremely depressing. All the GPs, specialists, scans and tests had showed nothing. I was sceptical that Alexander would help but eventually, out of desperation, I agreed.
Do you recall that even after my first 2 sessions I felt benefits? Your technique not only taught me so much about my body and how to move appropriately etc, which has been of more benefit than I ever imagined, but it brought me great relief from the excruciating pain I was experiencing. You helped me with all my ailments. My friends and family, who daily saw me struggling, were amazed too.
I am now as fit as I could expect to be and it does not compare with my previous state. I will surely return for periodic reminder sessions and wish to thank you so much.
Student Sarah Doyle overcame Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI):
I had a lot of pain in my writing wrist and intermittent pain in my shoulders and back. As a pianist I have had a lot of trouble with this for years but have always been told to go the the osteopath or take pain killlers.
Jill made me feel very at ease and by the end of the first lesson I could definitely feel a difference. I felt taller and lighter, like I was walking on air.
The Technique has made a huge difference. I'm now able to draw on both the physical methods of relaxation and the way of thinking taught by the Technique to remain relatively stress-free.
John Pavitt had long term neck pain and stiffness:
The lessons have been fantastic. My head mobility is now approaching normal and I no longer suffer constant nagging neck-ache. I continue to attend periodic sessions and find Jill's friendly and professional approach very helpful.
Philippe Gibson suffered spasms in his back and neck which made sitting and driving painful. Conventional treatments had not helped.
I visited Jill earlier this year and the sessions were a delight. I became much more aware and mindful of how to help myself and avoid self-inflicted pain.
Jill's calm approach and gentle technique were the perfect way to learn how to manage the concerns and discomfort which back trouble brings.
I have just returned from a family skiing holiday which I would never have contemplated prior to meeting Jill.
Liza Mercereau had numbness and pins and needles in her legs after a spinal tumour: her posture, balance and mobility had also been affected:
After 9 weeks of Alexander lessons I feel physically more relaxed and my friends have observed that I walk faster and stand taller. I feel freer when I'm outdoors because I'm less worried about falling, and when I perform a strenuous activity I recover faster than I used to.
Fiona Steadman is a Pilates teacher:
Jill is an excellent and empathetic teacher who gently introduces the mental and physical elements of the AT as the lessons progress. The AT has made me feel more balanced within myself and has improved my posture. I have started to incorporate some AT principles in my teaching of Pilates and this benefits my clients too.
Jacky Cumberland regained the use of her shoulder and found a way to minimise stiffness from her computer use at work:
Following surgery my shoulder was stiff and achey, and I was having trouble with my lower back and neck from sitting at a pc for too long. The re-education from Jill really did help. I still use the techniques today. Jill is a great teacher.
Colleen Cook has osteo-arthritis in both knees which was giving her pain:
After my first lesson with Jill the pain in my knees was less and I feel better after each one; last time I left feeling relaxed, light, calm and peaceful, like I was moving in slow motion! I also had an amazing sleep that night.
Susan White began taking Alexander lessons to relieve chronic back pain:
Right from the first lesson my chronic back pain improved, but many other benefits were gradual. I noticed, for example, that I was moving more smoothly, that my digestion had improved and my doctor had reduced my blood pressure medication.
After a lesson I always feel lighter, more positive and more confident. Jill and the Alexander Technique have helped me to realise that I have a choice about how I use my body. This awareness has spread to other areas of my life and I now feel more in control.
Ken Mitchell took lessons to overcome arthritic pain:
I have arthritis in most of my joints, mainly my neck and spine. Since I started weekly lessons with Jill my aches and pains have reduced dramatically. At first I had reservations that something so simple could help, but the Technique really works. I would recommend anyone to try it.
Rowan Sawyer took 20 weekly lessons to help her symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, including weakness in her right leg and poor balance:
After attending Alexander lessons with Jill I find I can walk more confidently and sustain this to the end of the day instead of feeling wobbly in the evenings. Alexander thinking gives one greater awareness and lets you stay in the present moment. My posture has improved and I feel my lessons have been of great benefit.
Jo Guiney improved her mobility and stopped needing painkillers:
I was a "low back pain sufferer" for twenty-odd years and was diagnosed with a degenerative disorder (Hereditary Motor Sensor Neuropathy) five years ago. The combination of these ailments affected my mobility and quality of life to the point where I became extremely depressed and dependent on painkillers to get through the day.
With help from my amazingly compassionate AT teacher, Jill Payne, I am beginning to improve my posture, no longer take any medication and can now walk for at least two hours instead of only 10 minutes!
I cannot recommend this technique highly enough, especially for those who feel they have tried everything else.It's worth every penny!
Harry Phelps, triathlete, uses the AT to improve his running, cycling and swimming:
I wanted a way of improving my performance in all three sports without further tiring myself with weights or workouts. I tried yoga and Pilates but found that, as long as I was still practicing my bad postural habits, I was just wasting energy and getting tired.
Jill taught me to find my balance in everything I do and now I can run without tiring because my breathing is easy and I’m well aligned, I feel much more relaxed in the water and have found a balance that was eluding me before, and my cycling has become effortless as I can stay free of tension for long periods. I have more freedom in everything I do and I can practice my sports more frequently, to a greater quality, so I get maximum benefit and don’t get tired or burn out.
I thoroughly recommend Alexander Technique and Jill as a teacher to anyone looking for a holistic, time efficient way to improve in sport as well as all other aspects of life.
Trudy Kerr, jazz singer, had voice problems:
After the first lesson I began to see immediate improvement in my vocal technique. What I didn't expect was how the Technique would have such a great impact on my everyday life. I found Jill's lessons to be very calming, relaxing and thought-provoking.
The Alexander Technique has made me approach life at a slower pace, I feel more centred as a person and far more confident, and in general better equipped to handle whatever life throws my way.
Mark Ingrams, a city solicitor, recovered from work-related stress:
Having Alexander lessons has made a great difference to my life. Jill is able to give a sense of how the ability to stop, think and consciously free our movement can help regain the natural balance and posture that get lost over years of bad habits. This has resulted in less stress, greater freedom and ease of movement and a much better sense of my body and posture. It helps when using a computer, standing and sitting and for sport - for me that's running, gym and golf.
The freedom and ease of movement encouraged by the Technique also affects my mood and general sense of wellbeing. Overall, the Technique is a great antidote to the mental and physical demands of modern life.
Junior Adewakun is a teenage footballer who took twenty weekly lessons:
I have more freedom in my legs, hips and ankles so I move quicker and more lightly; and now I don't have any pain in my neck when I wake up.
Chris Adams' son has mild dyspraxia, and his confidence was low:
My ten year old son was having a difficult time at school so I arranged for him to have some Alexander Technique sessions with Jill Payne. Not only is he really enjoying the sessions but they have helped him relax and find his natural posture again.
This has had a great effect on his confidence and enjoyment of school. I would thoroughly recommend Jill as a very skilled and effective teacher.
Ruth Moreland, HR consultant, came to the AT because of ongoing back pain and a knee injury:
I'd had no sustained results from other therapies but after a few AT lessons the pain in my back started to lessen and I grew considerably more comfortable and confident when using my left knee.
My situation is now much improved. My posture is more balanced, walking is smooth and flowing and I now realise sitting and standing can be comfortable pastimes! Jill has a very natural teaching style that instantly makes me feel calm and relaxed. At the end of each lesson I feel like a different person. I now have monthly lessons and continue to be amazed at the results.
Simon Whitehead has ME/CFS and was getting neck, back and shoulder pains and muscle spasms: his GP recommended AT:
I found Jill to be very patient and clear in explaining Alexander's principles and as long as I practice the Technique my problems are less impacting than they would have been before.
Cherry Douglas's computer work was giving her persistent neck trouble:
Over a series of lessons I have learned to listen to my body and now have a great toolkit to help retrain it to work more effectively.
Jocelyn Howe is a community worker who regained her mobility through AT lessons:
In my first lesson with Jill I experienced total acceptance of my 71 year-old body and personality. My leg and knee had been extremely painful and I could not use public transport - my lifeline. My leg is now no longer a trouble and AT is becoming my way of life in the hands (literally!) of Jill Payne.
Graham Smith, full-time father and ex-bodybuilder, took lessons five years ago for help with a back injury and migraines. He has continued to benefit:
From the first lesson with Jill I discovered that there was a lot of mental training in the AT that has been of huge benefit in the way I have viewed life since. This helped me to overcome depression and achieve a twenty-year ambition to get my black belt in Taekwando. It has helped to reduce the migraines so much I am even able to recognise the triggers to stop them.
Matt Wood drew on his Alexander lessons during his successful treatment and recovery from abdominal cancer:
Over three months of chemotherapy and an ongoing period of recovery your tuition has helped me to accept circumstances without losing control, minimise discomfort and fatigue and 'find space'. Thank you.
“What follows are several experiences that exemplify how your tutelage helped me through some tough moments. I'm extremely thankful.
“I'll start just after the operation to remove the tumour, which left a cut and bruise diagonally across my lower-left abdomen. The nurses were keen that I should walk before being allowed home, but we differed in our approach to getting up from bed. Flanked either side by a nurse ready to pull me up to a sitting position, I paused after their call to action of, "Right let's sit you up." That pause, that moment you'd taught me when, usually, an automatic reaction would take over. I explained what I'd like to do, then slowly rolled onto my side and let the pendulum motion do the work of sitting up.
“The slow pace of my movements was causing some concern but no matter because both nurses were surprised that I'd sat up without assistance. And so it was for the next month, as the bruising healed at home.
“The next vivid memory of using what I'd learnt came in much tougher times. Hooked up to a whirring toxic-drug machine for up to 16 hours at a time, 5 days a week knocks the stuffing out of you. During one of these sessions my mind turned to the 'thought-directing-muscle' aspect of the Alexander Technique. Lying on my back on a bed I assumed the balanced, knees raised, spine-lengthening position we'd practised. I became more settled and, for the first time since treatment began, started to accept what was happening and let it be - not in a defeatist sense, but a more positive outlook.
“Up to that point I must have built up a lot of tension as I resisted needles in arms (just watch those veins disappear!) and felt out of control. There was still one aspect of my predicament that I could control - my approach, my perspective. I felt calmer as time passed, clock watching lessened and I'd think of the catheter in my arm and the drug machine dripping and think "so what?" Not nonchalant I hope, but more relaxed and accepting – after all, the drugs were there to help. I can't claim to have felt this way throughout the chemotherapy, but there were certainly defining moments when this awareness and relative calm saw me through.
“Another example was lying on a bench (on my back again) waiting to be remotely motioned through a huge CT scanner; an alien environment and time enough to grow anxious, waiting for instruction and the bench to move. Again, alone for a few minutes as the technician took cover in an x-ray proof observation room, my thoughts turned to the Alexander Technique. My thoughts were running away with themselves - what's going to happen next? What will the results of the scan be? What must this backless, flowery gown look like...? Then I started to think about the greater-awareness aspect of the Alexander Technique that you'd talked me through. and I became more aware of what was around me, to open up my peripheral vision. I felt calmer, and physically relaxed into my position. Certainly, when I next had a CT scan my approach to the event had changed, and I eased into the circumstances.
“Before my diagnosis I'd only just begun to learn the Alexander Technique but, when you're drawing on reserves, hope and a need for direction come to the fore. Over three months of chemotherapy, and an ongoing period of recovery, your tuition has helped me to accept circumstances without losing control, work with and minimise discomfort and fatigue, and 'find space' (particularly amongst medical paraphernalia) In the three examples described here, and other times besides, your instruction has been crystal clear.
"Your tuition has helped me to accept circumstances without losing control, work with and minimise discomfort and fatigue and 'find space'. Thank you."