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 posture and movement, with the tutor guiding clients on how subtle changes in the way they sit, stand and move affects the affects both mental and physical well-being.
Helen said: “Alexander Technique was the perfect therapy for Mel as it helps you learn to be more aware of unhelpful patterns of tension, to release these and experience more ease and freedom of movement. Other benefits include regaining a sense of the body as a whole and feeling more connected to the world around you.“
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: “Alexander Technique is certainly one of CancerCare’s more niche therapies and it is not easy to explain to people how it will help them. However, for those in shock or recently bereaved, the quiet touch and gentle presence of the teacher can be very beneficial.”
Alexander Technique is available at CancerCare's centres in Barrow, Kendal and Lancaster. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01524 381820 for details