F.M. Alexander was born in Tasmania, Australia in 1869. Early in his career as a successful Shakespearian 
actor, he began to experience problems with his voice during recitals. His doctor prescribed rest which 
restored his voice but when he resumed performing, the problem returned. Since there was nothing
physically wrong with his throat, Alexander determined that his problem derived from something he was
doing when speaking. His doctor agreed but could not tell him what it could be. 

In an attempt to solve the problem, Alexander set up three tailor’s mirrors to observe himself as he spoke. After 
months of observation, he discovered that every time he spoke, he subtly tightened his neck and pulled his head 
back and down toward his back. When he spoke loudly as if on stage, the tension and downwards movement 
were more pronounced. Alexander concluded that tightening his neck was interfering with his voice, but this habit
was so ingrained that 
he could not feel the tightening and, at first, he could not stop himself from doing it. Over
time he learned how 
prevent this habitual tension and as he did, his vocal problems disappeared.

At the same time he was solving his own problem, Alexander became aware that many people suffered from
similar unconscious habits of tension. He found his method of preventing excess tension could greatly help
those in chronic pain, with breathing difficulties and poor posture. 
He spent the next 6 years in Sydney and
Melbourne passing on his skills to others with similar ailments so 
they too could help themselves. Alexander
left for London in 1904 where he taught his Technique until 1914.

As word got around about his remarkable technique, Alexander was invited to travel all over the world, including
the U.S.
Over the years he had many famous students including the writers Aldous Huxley, George Bernard Shaw
and John Dewey. Dewey also wrote the introductions to Alexander’s four books -  Man’s Supreme Inheritance
(1910), Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (1923), The Use of the Self (1932) and possibly his best
work The Universal Constant in Living (1942). 

In 1931 Alexander established the first training course while continuing to teach private pupils up until his
death in 1955 aged 87.


Marilyn Monroe was photographed laying in bed with her copy of F.M. Alexander’s first book, Man’s
Supreme Inheritance.