Alexander Technique Research and Resources
Frederick Matthias Alexander invented the Alexander Technique in the 1890s. Since then, it has helped countless people improve their lives through greater freedom of movement.
But don’t take our word for it. Many studies have examined the effects of the Alexander Technique. Here are some of the highlights of recent research and analysis.
What Doctors Say About the Alexander Technique
Increasing numbers of physicians and health care professionals are recommending the Alexander Technique to their patients. Find out why >
Alexander Technique and Back Pain
In this study, one-to-one lessons in the Alexander technique from registered teachers had long term benefits for patients with chronic low back pain.
Alexander Technique for Chronic Pain
This study assessed a multidisciplinary pain management program for 34 people living with various types of chronic pain. Participants consistently rated Alexander Technique sessions as the most useful component of the program.
Alexander Technique Helps Surgeons Work Faster with Less Discomfort
According to this study, Alexander Technique training can help improve the ergonomics of surgeons performing laparoscopic surgery while also enabling them to complete their tasks more quickly.
Alexander Technique Enables Hygienists to Work Pain-Free
This article describes how the Alexander Technique can help hygienists feel energized, rather than achy, at the end of a workday. It also shares the results of two studies that support the efficacy of this method.
Alexander Technique in the Workplace
Read about a 2011 study in which an Alexander Technique teacher and researcher explored the effectiveness of the method for preventing workplace musculoskeletal disorders.
Alexander Technique Enhances Balance in the Elderly
This pilot study showed significant improvement in balance skills in elderly people who had received Alexander Technique instruction. At the end of the period of instruction, the average timed up-and-go test for the group had improved by almost 2 seconds compared with pre-instruction.
Does the Alexander Technique Really Help Musicians?
This research investigates the effectiveness of Alexander Technique sessions for musicians. There’s evidence to suggest the method helps reduce performance anxiety.
How the Alexander Technique Enables Musicians to Perform Well Under Stress
This study showed that music students who took 15 one-to-one Alexander Technique lessons had improved musical and technical quality of performance compared with control students who didn’t have any lessons, when assessed in a classroom situation.
The Alexander Technique and Parkinson’s Disease
In this preliminary study, patients with Parkinson’s disease were less depressed, had a more positive body concept, and had less difficulty with common movements after taking Alexander Technique lessons.
Alexander Technique Helps Older Women Improve Reach
According to this study, Alexander Technique instruction may help normal older women improve their balance, which could reduce the likelihood of falls.
Alexander Technique and Chronic Neck Pain
A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows a significant reduction in chronic neck pain after lessons in the Alexander Technique.
517 patient with chronic neck pain were assigned to one of three groups. The control group received the usual care: physical therapy and prescription drugs. A second group was assigned 20 one-on-one, 30-minute Alexander Technique lessons (600 minutes total) with a certified teacher. The third group was assigned to 12 acupuncture sessions (also 600 minutes total). On average, patients made it to 14 of their 20 Alexander lessons and 10 of their 12 acupuncture sessions.
Patients taking Alexander Technique lessons and those receiving acupuncture both experienced more than a 30% reduction in their chronic neck pain. A 25% reduction in pain is considered clinically significant. As Time points out in their coverage of the study, physical therapy and exercise lead to only about a 9% reduction in pain.
The most important result from the study is that the benefits of Alexander lessons persisted after lessons had ended. Patients completed their Alexander lessons in about 4 to 5 months after the start of the study. A year after the beginning of the study the patients were still experiencing a reduction in pain.
Stuart McClean at the University of the West of England in Bristol discussed the study with Reuters Health and suggested that the Alexander Technique helped “patients change past behaviors and habits and lead towards improved coping strategies and self-care.”
The lead author of the study, Hugh McPherson, explained that the results of the study were too robust to be the result of the placebo effect. And none of the participants in either Alexander Technique lessons or acupuncture sessions experienced adverse effects of any kind. “No other single treatment is known to provide long-term benefits,” Hugh McPherson told Reuters.
These kind of large, randomized studies of the Alexander Technique are rare. This is the first study of its kind to be published since the ATEAM study of back pain published in the British Medical Journal in 2008. That study found that back pain sufferers experienced significant relief from as few as 6 Alexander Technique lessons.
Such studies are confirming what Alexander Technique teachers have been teaching for 100 years: learning to improve your posture and movement habits can have a significant impact on your health.