Semi-Supine Position

by Trevor Chisman © Copyright 2009
This article was writen by Trevor on the 26th November 2009 and first Published in his blog massage-glasgow

The Alexander Technique

In a previous post (on Trevor's site - ed) I wrote about the Egoscue Method and an exercise know as Static Back, today I am going to describe a very similar exercise this time taken from The Alexander Technique and called the Semi-Supine Position, it is very similar in lots of ways to the Egoscue exercise.

It is a very simple exercise that doesn't require much space or time but can be very benefitial to anyone suffering from back pain. With the Semi-Supine position you lie on your back on a firm flat surface, with your feet flat on the floor and your knees pointing up to the ceiling. The knees and feet are approximately hip width and a half apart.

Initially I would recommend experimenting with how far apart you have your knees and find out what feels most comfortable to you. Ideally you would place a thin book under your head, this book would initially be about as thick as your little finger is long. The book is there to help align the cervical (neck) vertebrae, so that the neck lies flatter against the floor. Allow your arms to drop and your hands to automatically find a resting position on your body, with your elbows on the floor.

It is important to note, that although the aim is to relax during semi-supine, it is more beneficial if you maintain awareness throughout the exercise, rather than drifting off into sleep or semi-sleep. Become aware of how your body is lying against the floor; Noticing which parts are in contact with the floor, and then allowing your body to be supported at these places, letting your body sink into the floor.

Breathe and Relax Ė Donít go to sleep or drift off!

Semi-Supine Position

It is best to remain in this position for 20 minutes if possible to get the full therapeutic benefits, however 5 or 10 minutes a day will still be effective. When coming out of semi-supine, do so slowly. Roll to one side first before bring your body to a sitting position.

The main benefits of doing the semi-supine position is to realign and lengthen the spine and so reduce unnecessary tension in the muscles. By releasing and freeing up the neck your head can move forward and upward, relative to the neck, and the spine can lengthen and the back widen. This position encourages your body to move out of any habitual postural patterns of rigidity and undue tension, so that your musculature can work appropriately. You might experience increased energy levels due to a decrease in muscular effort and excess tension.

If you would like to learn more about the Semi-Supine position or how The Alexander Technique could help you please contact a qualified teacher within your area.

About the author

Trevor Chisman is a professional full time massage specialist working in Glasgow. Discover more about Trevor at and in Trevor's pages at