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.
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).
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.
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.
My Alexander Technique sessions with Dr Ruth Clarnette were extremely helpful. The one-to-one nature of these lessons allowed me to focus on my own unique postural patterns without the distraction of others in a class. Ruth was very perceptive and gentle in her recommendations of how to adopt new postural positions and movement patterns. These suggestions have been helpful in leading me to "zone in" to muscles where I was carrying too much or unnecessary tension; or where I have developed an unhelpful protective pattern to avoid pain. Alexander Technique training is very helpful in reducing and correcting the negative impact of long-term protective patterns which can actually exacerbate pain. I can recommend these sessions for anyone with chronic pain who is interested in reassessing how their body has developed unhelpful postural patterns. Dr Ruth Clarnette is an excellent Alexander Technique Instructor.Lyn G, Nov 2022
Thank you Ruth! I tried everything to fix my back pain and nothing worked, but your lessons have given me lasting relief. I am not someone who usually leaves reviews but I recommend Ruth to anyone who is reading this.T Livermore, Jan 2023