Dr Wilfred Barlow: #2, Deep Tissue Work, London 1979

I began having lessons, three times a week, with one of the teachers at Dr and Mrs Barlow’s “Alexander Institute”, behind the Albert Hall, in April 1978.

Dr Barlow would try, at the first consultation, to match a new pupil to a teacher he thought would be suitable, and for me he chose Alan Rowlands (who sadly died last year).

Alan was a pianist and a professor of piano at the Royal College of Music, just across the road from the Institute. He had a deep interest in the teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti and was involved in the education programme at Krishnamurti’s Centre in the UK at Brockwood Park.

Although Alan had been a pupil of the Technique for many years, he had only been teaching for about a year when I began having lessons. After several months, because he was having some difficulties with me, Alan asked Dr Barlow to come into my lesson one day and have a look at my shoulders.  Working on the table, he was able to very quickly bring about a release of muscular tension in my neck and shoulders, which in turn spread into my arms.

One really had the impression that he understood how the body fitted together and how particular muscle groups worked.

When I got home I could enjoy for many hours the new freedom in my shoulders, and then I got a very deep and intense pain in the lower right side of my abdomen. I knew straight away what it was, as the pain was very localised around the scar from the appendectomy I had some fifteen years earlier, but deep in the tissue. The pain lasted for quite some time, then I felt something let go.

Over the years Dr Barlow helped a lot of people with some very serious difficulties.  At one time he was the ‘go to’ person for many of the rich and famous who wanted to try the Alexander Technique, but he also helped many young teachers and trainees who were struggling with various physical problems and low incomes.

© 2013 John S Hunter

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