Mindfulness practices are increasingly integrated into US programs for addiction treatment and relapse prevention. In addition, mindfulness practices are effective methods for addressing underlying trauma symptoms that often co-occur with substance abuse and have often been masked due to drug and alcohol use.
Programs such as Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) utilize a practice of mindful awareness to help individuals stop automatic reactions and habits, and learn distress tolerance skills to cope better with stress, emotions, physical discomfort, triggers, and impulses/urges to use drugs or drink.
Mindful Alexander Technique (MAT ) is a fusion of evidence-based practices that teach easy, embodied mindfulness practices that complement and/or work in tandem with MBRP, MBCT, DBT and other Behavioral Health programs such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
How MAT reduces stress and stops/ intercepts chronic “fight or flight” responses:
Chronic daily stress, poor posture and activities such as sitting and using a computer keep our muscles continually tensed – causing activation of
“fight or flight” responses that release stress hormones such as Cortisol and Adrenaline into our bodies and brain.
MAT helps us to intercept and stop cycles of “fight or flight” responses through:
- Releasing muscle tension, and staying more relaxed and “Expanded” in posture and movement
- Changing automatic stress responses and re-directing habitual behaviors and thoughts
- Learning better posture, body mechanics and coordination in movements and activities, including standing, sitting, walking and speaking
Regular MAT practice promotes calming, and keeping muscles more relaxed, helping to reduce stress hormone release, which helps reduce or stop trauma, stress and anxiety responses and improves distress tolerance and stress management skills.
MAT differs from other mind/body and mindfulness practices such as DBT due to unique teaching methods of gentle hands-on guidance and verbal direction provided by a certified teacher. Students learn in-the-body methods for their own self-directed practice to use for:
- Calming, self-soothing, improved stress management, increased
distress tolerance and resilience
- Building mind/body awareness for better functioning and sensory integration
- Reduced muscular tension and improved body mechanics, balance and coordination
- Pausing and re-directing habitual or compulsive behaviors into new choices and actions
- Mood elevation, improved poise, self-esteem and confidence