Alexander Technique research

Below are some summaries of a few published papers demonstrating the efficacy of the Alexander Technique for back pain, balance and Parkinson’s disease. There is also a summary comparing AT teachers and controls in sit to stand. Further articles are accessible from the AMSTAT website.

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

579 patients with chronic or recurrent lower back pain were randomized to normal care, massage, 6 Alexander technique lessons (with or without exercise) or 24 Alexander technique lessons (with or without exercise). Degree of disability and numbers of days per month of pain, were compared between the groups. Compared to the control group, exercise and lessons in the Alexander technique, but not massage, remained effective at one year. For example, with 24 lessons in A.T., at one year, there was a 42% reduction in the Roland disability score and an 86% reduction in days in pain compared with the control group.

Functional reach improvement in normal older women after Alexander Technique instruction

Dennis, R.J. (1999). Journal of Gerontology – series A: Biology and Medical Sciences, 54A(1): M8 – M11

This study compared Functional reach (FR), a clinical measure of balance, between female subjects over 65 receiving 8 biweekly sessions of AT lessons and a control group with no instructions. A significant improvement in FR was found in the AT group compared with the controls (who experienced a slight deterioration in FR over the same period).

The impact of the Alexander Technique in Improving Posture During Minimally Invasive Surgery.

Reddy P et al (2010), The American Urological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco

This study concluded that the Alexander Technique training program resulted in a significant improvement in posture, which led to decreased surgical fatigue and a reduction in the incidence of repetitive stress injuries.

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

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

This study compares the coordination during sit-to-stand movement between 15 Alexander teachers and 14 healthy controls. In comparison to the controls, the AT teachers demonstrated a prolonged weight – shift duration, shorter momentum transfer phase and reduced spinal movement resulting in continuous weight shift onto the feet as they inclined the trunk forward, thus generating a smoother and more efficient movement.

Randomised controlled trial of the Alexander Technique for idiopathic Parkinson’s disease.

Stallibrass, C., Sissons, P., Chalmers, C., Clinical Rehabilitation 2002; 16: 705-718

This was a trial involving ninety three subjects with Parkinson’s disease. They were divided into three groups, receiving either massage, Alexander Technique lessons or no additional treatment. The Alexander Technique group improved compared with the control group in respect to the SPDDS (Self-assessment Parkinson’s disease Disability Score and the Attitudes to Self Scale). This was maintained at the 6 month follow up.

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