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Do Animals Have Good Use?

'Good use', as defined by FM Alexander, refers to a neuromuscular state of efficiency. The muscles operate to support balance and movement in an optimal way - the way they are designed to function.

People with 'poor use' have resilient postural habits which create tension, wear and tear and discomfort in the body. The muscles support balance and movement in a distorted, mechanically disadvantageous way, involving excessive tone in most areas and collapse in others.

People within the Alexander community used to say that small children have perfectly good use because they've not yet learned bad habits. This is often, but not always, the case.

My assumption would be that animals DO use their muscles with mechanical efficiency, unless they've been negatively influenced by human beings. I've seen domestic pets manage with incredible poise in spite of illness, or missing limbs, for example.

I know for a fact that horses suffer terribly because of us. I did some 'hands on' with a horse who had been ridden very badly and had been operated on for kissing spine. His use was distorted - weight predominantly on the front legs; stiffness at the poll; discomfort in the hind quarters etc

He LOVED being worked on.

I do wonder about other animals used, and heavily influenced, by humans - elephants, dogs, camels etc and I suppose the only way to be sure what their use is like would be to work on them :)


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