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.
This 2008 study published in the British Medical Journal followed 579 patients with chronic and recurrent back pain. Patients were randomized to receive massage, six Alexander Technique lessons, 24 Alexander Technique lessons, or no intervention. In addition, half of the subjects in each group were encouraged to walk regularly. One 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, an 85% reduction in pain compared to those with no intervention. And, no adverse effects were noted. An Audio interview with the lead author of the study is available, and the following 2 videos summarize the study and its results:
Taking Charge, Choosing a New Direction: A Service Evaluation of Alexander Technique Lessons for Pain Clinic Patients (SEAT): an Approach to Pain Management
McClean, S. and Wye, L. (June 2012) Project Report. UWE Bristol, Bristol.
This clinical trial demonstrated that Alexander Technique lessons were effect and had therapeutic value for treating chronic back pain sufferers. Benefits included improvement in quality of life and patients’ management of pain. Over half of the patients were able to stop or reduce their medication, and their pain had less of an effect on their daily lives. Behavioral changes including changes in awareness and self-knowledge were also noted. Costs to the NHS (National Health Service) for the patients’ pain-related treatment was reduced by half.
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.
This review evaluated the effectiveness and safety of Alexander Technique lessons for various health-related conditions. Strong evidence for the effectiveness of Alexander Technique lessons for chronic back pain and moderate evidence in disability related to Parkinson’s disease was noted. Preliminary findings suggest Alexander Technique lessons may improve balance in the elderly, posture, chronic pain, respiratory function and stuttering, however, there was insufficient evidence to support recommendations in these areas.
Alexander Technique: Training for the self-management of workers to prevent musculoskeletal disorders.
Mora i Griso, Mireia. Foment del Treball Nacional de Catalunya (2011).
In this study, the Alexander Technique was applied as a tool to prevent occupational risks in different organizational settings throughout the world.
Randomized Controlled Trial of the Alexander Technique for Ideopathic Parkinson’s Disease.
Stallibrass C, Sissons P, Chalmers C (2002). Clinical Rehabilitation, 16(7):695-708.
A group of 93 subjects received either no treatment, massage, or Alexander Technique lessons. Those receiving Alexander Technique lessons (but not massage) had significant improvement in self-assessed disability both immediately after the lessons and six months later. View video below.
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.
Subjects who received Alexander Technique lessons exhibited a 36% improvement in forward-reaching distance (a common measure of balance control), while age matched control subjects receiving no intervention showed a 6% decrease over the same time period.
Nobel Lecture entitled Ethology and Stress Diseases.
Tinbergen N (1973). Nikolaas Tinbergen, Nobel Laureate.
Written about F. M. Alexander, the importance of Alexander’s discoveries and the benefits he and his wife experienced from lessons. He strongly recommended it as a sophisticated form of rehabilitation for all stress-related diseases, i.e., rheumatism, high blood pressure, breathing problems and sleep disorders.
View the video of Nikolaas Tinbergen’s Nobel lecture, the last third (32 min's into the speech) of which he devoted to a discussion of Alexander’s work and its beneficial effects.
A Study of Stress Amongst Professional Musicians. Nielsen M (1994).
In: The Alexander Technique: Medical and Physiological Aspects, Chris Stevens (Ed.) STAT Books, London.
Performance stress was evaluated in musicians. The study found that Alexander Technique lessons were as effective as beta-blocker medications in controlling the stress response during an orchestra performance.