Scientific Research

Scientific Research on the Alexander Technique

Recent studies have shown  the effectiveness of the Alexander Technique for patients suffering from a range of ailments, as well as the benefits for performance.  Click on a tab to read specific study below:

British Medical Journal – 2008 Randomised controlled trial of Alexander Technique lessons on patients with chronic back pain

“BRIEF SUMMARY OF RESULTS

One to one lessons in the Alexander technique from registered teachers have long term benefits for patients with chronic low back pain. 24 Alexander Technique lessons proved to be most beneficial – after 1 year those who had AT lessons had an average 3 days of pain per month compared with 21 days per month with usual GP care Alexander Technique lessons led to less incapacity people were able to carry out significantly more types of daily tasks without being limited by back pain Long-term benefits unlikely to be due to placebo effect” (STAT Scientific Research Group)

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Journal of Interprofessional Care – 1988 Early experiences of multidisciplinary pain management program

“BRIEF SUMMARY OF RESULTS

A multidisciplinary pain management programme was assessed in people living with chronic pain. Thirty four people with various types of chronic pain participated in the study. The programme consisted of educational lectures and/or group discussions with nurses, physiotherapists and psychologists, auto-hypnosis and relaxation, personal exercise training, and Alexander Technique sessions. The study reported that the Alexander Technique sessions were consistently rated by the participants as the most useful component of the programme.” (STAT Scientific Research Group)

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Clinical Rehabilitation – 2002 Randomized controlled trial of the Alexander Technique for idiopathic Parkinson’s disease

“BRIEF SUMMARY OF RESULTS

This study demonstrated that Alexander Technique lessons led to an increased ability of people with Parkinson’s disease to carry out everyday activities. Ninety-three people with Parkinson’s disease were randomly allocated to one of three groups: 24 one-to-one Alexander Technique lessons given by STAT-trained and registered teachers; 24 massage sessions given by trained therapeutic massage practitioners; or, no additional intervention. The massage arm was included because, in addition to any massage-specific benefits, it would provide an equivalent amount of touch and individual attention to the Alexander lessons and so would control for any non-specific effects of the lessons. All the participants continued to receive usual medical care, including their usual medication for Parkinson’s disease.

The main aim of the study was to determine whether Alexander lessons would reduce motor and postural disability in individuals with Parkinson’s. The study showed that Alexander lessons led to a significantly increased ability to carry out everyday activities compared with usual medical care (there was no significant change in the massage group). This benefit remained when the participants were followed up 6 months later. An additional finding, which deserves further study, was a significantly lower rate of change of Parkinson’s disease medication in the Alexander group than for either of the other groups (medication dose generally increases with time in this progressive disease).

Participants also reported subjective improvements in balance, posture and walking, as well as increased coping ability and reduced stress. As a result of these findings, the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that Alexander Technique lessons may be offered to benefit people with Parkinson’s by ‘helping them to make lifestyle adjustments that affect both the physical nature of the condition and the person’s attitudes to having Parkinson’s disease’.” (STAT Scientific Research Group)

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Psychology of Music – The Effect of Lessons in the Alexander Technique on Music Performance in High and Low Stress Situations

“BRIEF SUMMARY

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 performance was assessed by independent experts. Less variation in heart rate and reduced anxiety were also seen in the students who had lessons. The students were also assessed in a live performance situation but here only the variation in heart rate was significantly lower in the students who had received Alexander lessons compared with the control students. The authors speculated that more than 15 lessons may be needed to see any significant effect on musicians when in high-stress, performance situations.” (STAT Scientific Research Group)

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