Cassie came to me in some distress. A young girl who had already endured the trauma of major back surgery for scoliosis in her teens in the understanding that this would permanently arrest the curvature of her spine, she came to see me when she had been told BY her surgeon that further surgery in the next six months would be inevitable, that nothing would help and she’d just have to get used to the idea and prepare herself. She asked if I could help her – In all honesty I could only say that I might be able to, but that I wouldn’t hurt her, and that if she were prepared to invest in the lessons, then we could at least see. She was not well able to afford lessons, but nevertheless she was a diligent pupil and came to see me very regularly for about six months. Her scoliosis improved dramatically and she didn’t need surgery, but more importantly she felt she had her life back. Her lessons were enabling and therapeutic, and as one of my first pupils I remember thinking that if I never helped another person,  the transformation I witnessed in her would have made my training worthwhile.

Pupil's testimonial

‘I came to the Alexander Technique following routine check-up with my surgeon in 2003. I had had an operation for scoliosis (curvature of the spine) in December 2000 and everything had been fine up until then. I had been working in an office job for a few years, and all that time spent slumped at a computer had taken its toll on my back.

The appointment with my surgeon served to confirm my fear that my condition had worsened. Facing another operation if it did not improve in 12 months time, I set about trying to find another way to achieve this.

After a lot of research on the internet, I started to learn about the Alexander Technique and I chose to have lessons with Sara. It was really nice to find someone willing to help me without the aid of a knife! After just a few lessons I felt my balance improving and a new ease of movement, where I had previously been tense. My posture has noticeably improved too – I feel taller and the bouts of pain I had been experiencing have gradually disappeared.

Re-learning everyday movements in order to move with using unnecessary force (easier said than done) and knowing when my muscles are tightening and how to release them has made a huge improvement to my life. Of course, the real test was my forthcoming hospital appointment – the x-ray showed a 14 degree improvement in my curve, which is good enough for me not to have to go through another operation.

My surgeon gave me the all-clear to go backpacking and we went straight to a travel agent that day and booked our flights to Peru. I have just returned from South America, where we walked the Inca Trail carry heavy backpacks, and I did not experience any pain throughout the whole trip, which I attribute to Sara’s teaching and “thinking my neck free”.’

Cassie James