What is the Alexander Method of SMR?

10 thoughts on “What is the Alexander Method of SMR?”

  1. My body is tight all over. I do feel better after doing these primary movements and my range of motion increases. However, after about an hour, that increased range of motion seems to disappear. As I do these SMR movements day after day, will that increased range of motion last for a longer time period?

    Also, I find it very painful to stretch and feel very sore the next day when I do stretch. Can SMR work without stretching? When I dont stretch (and just stick to the SMR) I dont hurt nearly as much. Perhaps I need to do SMR for about a month before incorporating stretching into my routine? Thanks for these videos.

    1. Mark,

      Some of us are ‘blessed’ with bodies that get unusually tight. Other people are like human pretzels and can twist in all these unnatural ways. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. Regardless of where you are on the flexibility spectrum, if you attempt to stretch too aggressively you will activate the stretch reflex or possibly even do microtrauma to the muscle tissue and you can get tighter, not looser from stretching. You should combine the SMR techniques with functional range of motion movements that test whether or not you can move just a little bit better following each set of SMR work. This test is basically a stretch for the muscles you just massaged with the balls or roller. The key is to keep the intensity of the stretch very low. You should not feel intense pain when stretching, EVER. But you should feel a dull pinch that gets more intense the more you extend your reach into that movement. Stay on this side of the pain threshold. Stretch just far enough to feel a pinch, but NOT pain.

      By combining the SMR techniques with appropriate stretches for each of your trouble areas you should see less and less pain with both the SMR techniques and the stretches. The more often you do this stuff, the easier it is supposed to get to achieve a muscular release with less and less discomfort. If that is not the case, then use the links to find a local A.R.T. or Graston massage therapist to get their professional assistance. (click here to find a therapist)

      Please keep us posted on your progress. If you fight the muscles less during the stretching you should stay looser longer after each session. Good luck!

      –Jeff

  2. Jeff,
    Do you have any SMR videos on how to massage the scalenes? I saw in an earlier post back in April you were planning on adding that but so far I havn’t found it. Also, do you have one for the coracobrachialis? My guess is the coracobrachialis could be reached withthe pit press but figured I would ask about the coracobrachialis since I was already asking about the scalenes.

    Thanks,
    John

    1. John,

      You can address the scalenes through the Neck Nods and the Side Neck Rock by slowing your pace down and working with a bit more pressure. Be sure you mind your own limits, and you might need the assistance of a professional to address the scalenes, as they are under your sternocleidomastoid and levator scapulae muscles. It is often difficult to get through the superficial muscles to address the deeper ones because our own nervous activation causes too much activity in the outer muscles.

      We are working on more videos (including ones specifically for the scalenes), but for now please use those 2 SMR exercises and let us know if you have any questions on getting the most out of them.

      Good luck, and keep us posted!

      –Jeff

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