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Taubman Techniques

The Taubman technique is a method of holding and moving your arms and hands to eliminate pain and repetitive strain injury.  The Taubman technique was developed predominately for musicians, especially those who play the piano; it can be very beneficial to those who suffer from RSI.  Musicians are at a special risk for repetitive strain injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and tendonitis.  RSI can cause tingling in the extremities and immense pain among those who are afflicted.  As with musicians, those who suffer from RSI cannot simply cease the activities that cause them to develop an RSI.  Repetitive strain injuries are often caused by the movements performed at work or in everyday activities, making it impractical to simply stop making those motions for any long period of time.

The Taubman approach to movement is quite simple and very effective for those who use it.   The Taubman technique is a way of movement that allows the body to perform repetitive movements in the most natural and easy manner.  Dorothy Taubman did not create or invent new ways of moving, but rather developed a vocabulary to describe the proper movements.  When a part of the body is moving in a way that causes pain or discomfort, then the body is not moving in the most natural way.  Many children who play musical instruments naturally move in the manner taught in the Taubman technique, making it obvious that the easiest way of moving the extremities is the way that is the most comfortable and will lessen the occurrence of repetitive strain injuries. 

The Taubman technique simply teaches students to move and place the hands and extremities in the most natural, comfortable position.  Often people make the mistake of moving their hands, wrists, and arms in a stiff, mechanical way while performing their daily routine and tasks.  The Taubman technique teaches natural body movements that obey the laws of nature and physics.  For those suffering from any type of repetitive strain injury, employing the techniques taught by Taubman can significantly reduce pain and numbness and can help prevent further injury.  There are several things you can do to incorporate the Taubman technique into your daily life:

Evaluate the movements you make in your daily life.  Finding postures that keep the joints in the middle of their range motion is best.  Use your larger muscle groups whenever practical and avoid body movements that are tense and feel unnatural.  Stretch and flex the muscles in your body before beginning your daily routine.  Pay special attention the muscles and body parts that are afflicted by RSI. 

During the day, take frequent breaks to stretch and relax.  This will be very helpful in reducing discomfort and preventing recurring injuries.  Constant motion and tension will not give the body an opportunity to rid itself of harmful waste materials that build up during repetitive motions.  A few minutes of relaxation and stretching done several times each day is a great way to promote healthy joints and muscles. 

If you suffer from RSI, it is important to seek the advice and treatment of your physician.  People sometimes make the mistake of ignoring RSI symptoms or simply learn to live with the pain.  Your doctor can provide you with treatment options and make suggestions as to how you can further reduce or eliminate repetitive strain injury.  Other than repetitive motions made due to work or routine activities, pay attention to the types of movements you perform at other times as well.  Close evaluation of your daily activities can assist you in making positive changes in regard to your joint and muscle health. 

Many pianists who have RSIs have found Taubman techniques extremely helpful in allowing them to play the piano again. This is especially important because pianists so often develop RSIs. Non-pianists with RSI can also benefit greatly from Taubman techniques; amazingly, a Taubman seminar for computer workers with RSI helped the majority of them return to work! Taubman techniques are equally applicable to typing as they are to piano. The Taubman Institute is a summer institute at Williams College that teaches their techniques.