Scientific Research

The evidence that the Alexander Technique is highly effective in combatting MSDs is increasing…

Evidence for the effectiveness of Alexander Technique lessons in medical and health-related conditions: a systematic review.

Woodman J.P., Moore N.R. International Journal of Clinical Practice January 2012.

The aim of this review was to systematically evaluate available evidence for the effectiveness and safety of instruction in the Alexander Technique in health-related conditions. Conclusions: Strong evidence exists for the effectiveness of Alexander Technique lessons for chronic back pain and moderate evidence in Parkinson’s-associated disability. Preliminary evidence suggests that Alexander Technique lessons may lead to improvements in balance skills in the elderly, in general chronic pain, posture, respiratory function and stuttering, but there is insufficient evidence to support recommendations in these areas.

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Prolonged weight-shift and altered spinal coordination during sit-to-stand in practictioners of the Alexander Technique.

Cacciatore TW, Gurfinkel VS, Horak FB, Day B. Gait and Posture, June 2011.

This study compared coordination of 14 teachers of the Alexander Technique to 15 healthy control subjects during rising from a chair. The Alexander Technique teachers were able to achieve a smoother, more continuous movement than the control subjects, consistent with previous claims that the Alexander Technique teaches more efficient movement.

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Increased dynamic regulation of postural tone through Alexander Technique training.

Cacciatore TW, Gurfinkel VS, Horak FB, Cordo PJand Ames KE. Human Movement Science, 2011 February; 30(1): 74–89.

This study quantified postural tone by measuring resistance in the hips, trunk, and neck to very slow twisting during standing. Comparing teachers of the Alexander Technique (who undergo 1600 hours of training over three years) to age-matched control subjects, resistance was 50% lower while phase advance was greater. Similar changes (to a lesser degree) occurred in subjects with lower back pain after undergoing ten weekly lessons in the Alexander Technique. These results suggest that the Alexander Technique enhances dynamic modulation of postural tone.

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Randomised controlled trial of Alexander technique lessons, exercise, and massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain. 

Little P et al (2008). British Medical Journal 337:a884.

In this study, 579 subjects with chronic and recurrent back pain were randomized to receive massage, six Alexander Technique lessons, 24 Alexander Technique lessons, or no intervention. In addition, half of the subjects were encouraged to walk regularly. A year later, the group with no intervention had 21 days of pain per month. The group with massage had 14 days of pain per month. The group with six Alexander Technique lessons reported 11 days of pain per month, and the group with 24 Alexander Technique lessons reported three days of pain per month. There were no adverse effects.

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Improvement in automatic postural coordination following Alexander Technique lessons in a person with low back pain.

Cacciatore TW, Horak FB, Henry SM (2005). Physical Therapy, 85(6):565-78.

This case report describes the use of the Alexander Technique with a client with a 25-year history of low back pain. After lessons, her postural responses and balance improved and her pain decreased. The introduction includes a thorough explanation of the Alexander Technique from a scientific perspective.

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Effects of Alexander Technique on Muscle Activation During a Computer-Mouse Task: Potential for Reduction in Repetitive Strain Injuries.

Shafarman E, Geisler MW (2003). American Psychological Association Convention, Toronto, Canada.

In this preliminary study of computer mouse use, subjects without Alexander Technique training could reduce muscle activation only by slowing down, whereas subjects with Alexander Technique experience were able to reduce muscle activation while continuing to move rapidly. Implications for prevention of repetitive strain injury are discussed. The work was written up in Alexander Journal, 21. Available from the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique or from the lead author of the study: E. Shafarman.

Functional Reach Improvement in Normal Older Women After Alexander Technique Instruction.

Dennis (1999). Journal of Gerontology – Series A: Biological and Medical Sciences, 54A(1): M8-M11.

Women aged 65-88 who received 8 Alexander Technique lessons showed a 36% improvement in forward-reaching distance (a common measure of balance control), while control subjects of the same age showed a 6% decrease over the same time-period.

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Enhanced Respiratory Muscular Function in Normal Adults after Lessons in Proprioceptive Musculo-skeletal Education without Exercises.

Austin J, Ausubel P (1992). Chest, 102:486-490.

This study examined respiratory function in adults. Spirometry tests demonstrated that Alexander Technique lessons led to improvement of respiratory muscular function.

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Early Experiences of a Multidisciplinary Pain Management Programme.

Fisher K (1988). Holistic Medicine, 3(1):47-56. (Note: the journal has since been renamed Journal of Interprofessional Medicine.)

Chronic pain sufferers participated in a multiple-intervention study. During the study, after three months, and one year later, the subjects rated the Alexander Technique as the most helpful method for relieving chronic pain.

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