Melanie Berry started coming for treatment at CancerCare at Kendal’s Lake Centre in spring 2018 after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
After a short referral interview, Mel decided on a 12-week course of Alexander Technique with experienced practitioner Helen Brooks, to help relieve the stress and worry she was experiencing.
“I came along and discussed the different things on offer and I decided that Alexander Technique was the one that would be most beneficial for me. What I really needed was a bit of “me time” so I could just switch off from everything rather than a therapy to alleviate any symptoms or side-effects I was experiencing as a result of the cancer treatment.
“We were just so busy with appointments and family life that I just wanted something that I could come to and that could help me clear my head and relax,” she said.
“On my first session, I really didn’t know what to expect and it took a while to get into the zone, but Helen was great. She has a really calm manner which puts you at ease straight away. When I first began I was probably very tense with everything that was going on but it makes you feel fabulous and is wonderful for relieving stress. You can feel yourself unwinding.” She added.
Alexander Technique teaches improved self awareness and balance. Using gentle hands on touch and voice, the Teacher guides clients, helping them discover any unhelpful patterns of tension and use their thinking to make subtle changes. Finding more ease and balance in this way has beneficial effects on both mental and physical well-being. It also helps people regain a sense of their body as a whole and feel more connected to the world around them.
Helen said: “Alexander Technique was the perfect therapy for Mel. As well as feeling better after each session, she was motivated to put the Technique into practise for herself and apply it in her daily life.”
Mel Said: “To start doing Alexander Technique you need to be quite open to new ideas. When you first come for your assessment at CancerCare and are offered the various therapies you know what massage, counselling and aromatherapy are and can see how they would have benefits straight away whereas this is a bit more of an unknown quantity.
“The benefits might not seem obvious and it takes a little bit of time to get into. Helen also gives you techniques you take away with you and use at home. It made a huge difference to me at a pretty difficult time and I would encourage anyone to try it.”
Helen added: “The only drawback of the Alexander Technique is that it’s impossible to explain! It needs to be experienced to be understood and fully appreciated. People benefit in different ways. It can help people under stress feel more in control, it can help people who are holding a lot of tension to find greater ease and for those in shock or recently bereaved, working in stillness with quiet touch can be very beneficial."