There is discussion in the facebook group, Alexander Technique Global, about the suboccipital muscles, whether they function like a point of leverage or not.
It means that if the suboccipial muscles are somewhat released, we are able to make more coordinated movement, i.e., we use all of the body and functions well.
I don’t think that the suboccipital muscles are a point of leverage. There seems to be no physiological evidence and no reasonable ideas explaining its effect.
It is said that the reason why the suboccipital muscles have very high spindle content and spindle density is to get stability of the head for mostly our vision control. It needs very fine control like a high-tech stabilizer for smart phone movie.
Annemarie Moorcroft showed us a good example in this group before.
My idea about the true factor for good use
In the AT, the primary control is one important control. The suboccipital muscles seem to be involved in this process. Well, I don’t think that we find reasonable theory (idea) in investigating these muscles. I have another practical and reasonable idea now.
Making neck free condition is not the true factor for our good coordinated movements and functions (breathing, vocalizing). Supporting the whole body efficiently (i.e. with minimum muscle contraction) is the true factor for our good use. Our activity of supporting the body is called “postural control”. If our postural control is efficient, our movement is more likely to be efficient because our movement always includes our postural control.
Making neck free condition is just a part of supporting activity of the whole body, telling that we are supporting the head efficiently. However, it is one of useful sign or indication of knowing our whole body supporting activity could be in good condition. It’s not 100% guaranteed indication. It’s still good checking point, though. FM found out this. But, I think it is just one useful part of the whole.
There are some other factors for our supporting the body, like adequate allocation of the center of the gravity of the body (weight distribution), the pelvis angle control, and releasing the abdominal muscles tension other than the head and neck control (the primary control).
If we manage these factors including the head and neck control, we are surer to be in good use. It’s even easier for us to make our neck free.
I am suggesting these managements to my pupils. It’s quicker and surer than just relying on the primary control. The idea is very simple and convincing, so they don’t be puzzled so much.
Image by BodyParts3D, © The Database Center for Life Science licensed under CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.1 Japan.