Alexander Technique


Pain Research Links

“Alexander Technique vs. Targeted Exercise for Neck Pain—A Preliminary Comparison”

Becker, J. J., McIsaac, T. L., Copeland, S. L., & Cohen, R. G. (2021). Applied Sciences, 11(10). doi:10.3390/app11104640

This small preliminary study compared exercise and Alexander Technique for chronic neck pain. Reductions in neck pain and in activation of sternocleidomastoid muscle were observed following Alexander Technique classes.  These findings support the growing body of evidence that Alexander Technique is an effective and feasible non-exercise alternative to treatment of chronic neck pain.


Randomised Controlled Trial of Alexander Technique Lessons, Exercise and Massage (ATEAM)

Little, P., Lewith, G., Webley, F., Evans, M., Beattie, A., Middleton, K., . . . Sharp, D. (2008). BMJ, 337, a884. doi:10.1136/bmj.a884

Patients with chronic low back pain given 24 Alexander Technique lessons had a significant long-term reduction in pain from 21 days to 3 days per month, and an improvement in functioning and quality of life by “limiting muscle spasm, strengthening postural muscles, improving co-ordination and flexibility and decompressing the spine.”


“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. (2012) Project Report. University of the West of England, Bristol.

A clinical trial demonstrated the therapeutic value and effectiveness of Alexander Technique lessons for chronic back pain. Lessons were found to be feasible, acceptable and beneficial in terms of improving quality of life and patients’ management of pain. More than half of the patients stopped or reduced their medication, and the reduced impact that the pain had on their daily lives led to some behavioral changes and changes in awareness and self-knowledge on the part of the patients, leading to 50% reductions in pain related NHS costs.


Alexander Technique lessons or acupuncture sessions for persons with chronic neck pain: A randomized trial (ATLAS)

MacPherson, H., Tilbrook, H., Richmond, S., Woodman, J., Ballard, K., Atkin, K., . . . Watt, I. (2015). Ann Intern Med, 163(9), 653-662. doi:10.7326/M15-0667

This large clinical trial involving people with chronic neck pain showed that Alexander Technique lessons led to a significant long-term reduction (31%) in pain and a sustained, long-term improvement in self-care ability and quality of life.

Reductions in co-contraction following neuromuscular re-education in people with knee osteoarthritis

Preece, S. J., Jones, R. K., Brown, C. A., Cacciatore, T. W., & Jones, A. K. (2016). BMC Musculoskelet Disord, 17(1), 372. doi:10.1186/s12891-016-1209-2

This study “challenges clinical management models of knee osteoarthritis which focus primarily on muscle strengthening.” There was a significant reduction in knee pain (56%) and stiffness and an improvement in function following Alexander Technique instruction that was maintained long-term. This study demonstrates the potential efficacy of Alexander Technique in modifying muscle activation patterns in knee osteoarthritis patients.


Other Pain-Related Research Links 

Enhanced respiratory muscular function in normal adults after lessons in proprioceptive musculoskeletal education without exercises.

Austin, J. H., & Ausubel, P. (1992). Chest, 102(2), 486-490. doi:10.1378/chest.102.2.486

This study demonstrated that Alexander Technique lessons led to improvement of respiratory muscular function.


Feasibility of group delivery of the Alexander Technique on balance in the community-dwelling elderly: preliminary findings

Batson, G., & Barker, S. (2008). Activities, Adaptation & Aging, 32(2), 103-119. doi:10.1080/01924780802073005

This study showed significant improvement in balance skills in elderly people who had received Alexander Technique instruction. The volunteers from residential homes and community centers had an average age of 78 years and nearly all of them had a history of falls. The Alexander Technique instruction consisted of 10 group sessions, each lasting 1.5 hours. Average timed up-and-go for the group improved by almost 2 seconds compared with pre-instruction and the average Fullerton Advanced Balance score for the group also improved.


Increased dynamic regulation of postural tone through Alexander Technique training.

Cacciatore, T. W., Gurfinkel, V. S., Horak, F. B., Cordo, P. J., & Ames, K. E. (2011). Hum Mov Sci, 30(1), 74-89. doi:10.1016/j.humov.2010.10.002

Results of the study “suggest that postural tone can be altered though training,” as shown in the “dynamic modulation of postural tone” in Alexander teachers and the 29% reduction in axial stiffness of individuals with lower back pain with short-term training in Alexander Technique.  

Neuromechanical interference of posture on movement: evidence from Alexander technique teachers rising from a chair

Cacciatore, T. W., Mian, O. S., Peters, A., & Day, B. L. (2014). J Neurophysiol, 112(3), 719-729. doi:10.1152/jn.00617.2013

The results show that young, healthy adults untrained in the Alexander Technique have more difficulty than the cohort of Alexander Technique teachers standing up smoothly from a seated position due to differences in postural stiffness. “[The teachers’] smooth rises can be explained by heightened dynamic tone control that reduces leg extensor resistance and improves force transmission across the trunk.” The authors suggest that, because of the effect of poor postural regulation on movement coordination, training programs in everyday movements for the elderly “should not address strength or teach greater momentum, but instead address postural control to reduce its interference with movement, leading to more efficient coordination.”


“Lighten Up: Specific Postural Instructions Affect Axial Rigidity and Step Initiation in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease” 

Cohen, R. G., Gurfinkel, V. S., Kwak, E., Warden, A. C., & Horak, F. B. (2015). Neurorehabil Neural Repair, 29(9), 878-888. doi:10.1177/1545968315570323

Instructions based on the Alexander Technique led to a decrease in rigidity in hips, torso and neck (axial rigidity), less compression of the spine, greater postural control, and greater smoothness and ease in initiating movement.


Functional reach improvement in normal older women after Alexander Technique instruction

Dennis, R. J. (1999). J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 54(1), M8-11. doi:10.1093/gerona/54.1.m8

Women aged 65-88 who received 8 Alexander Technique lessons showed a 36% improvement in forward-reaching distance (a common measure of balance control), while control subjects of the same age showed a 6% decrease over the same time-period.


“I never thought I could do that…”: Findings from an Alexander Technique pilot group for older people with a fear of falling.

Glover, L., Kinsey, D., Clappison, D. J., Gardiner, E., & Jomeen, J. (2018). European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 17, 79-85. doi:10.1016/j.eujim.2017.11.008

This study showed that Alexander Technique has potential as a useful intervention for older people with a fear of falling.


Older adult Alexander Technique practitioners walk differently than healthy age-matched controls

Hamel, K. A., Ross, C., Schultz, B., O’Neill, M., & Anderson, D. I. (2016). J Bodyw Mov Ther, 20(4), 751-760. doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2016.04.009

This study showed that older Alexander Technique practitioners walked with gait patterns similar to those of younger adults (significantly greater ankle stance range of motion (ROM) and plantar flexion at toe off, and significantly increased hip and knee flexion during the swing phase, when compared to healthy, age-matched controls.


Effects of Alexander Technique training experience on gait behaviour in older adults

O’Neill, M. M., Anderson, D. I., Allen, D. D., Ross, C., & Hamel, K. A. (2015). J Bodyw Mov Ther, 19(3), 473-481. doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2014.12.006

The results showed that those who had had Alexander Technique training walked with greater stability and were therefore potentially at less risk of age-related falls, and had superior control of movement.


The Impact of the Alexander Technique on Improving Posture and Surgical Ergonomics During

Minimally Invasive Surgery: Pilot Study 

Reddy, P. P., Reddy, T. P., Roig-Francoli, J., Cone, L., Sivan, B., DeFoor, W. R., . . . Noh, P. H. (2011). J Urol, 186(4 Suppl), 1658-1662. doi:10.1016/j.juro.2011.04.013

This study found that surgeons who underwent instruction in the Alexander Technique experienced a significant improvement in posture and surgical ergonomics as well as decreased surgical fatigue.

Ready to Make a Change?

Alexander Technique work helps us to discover where we can allow change and how we can invite it.

Join the Community

Sign up for one-on-one coaching and group classes, view a pre-recorded class or contact me to find out about on-site courses and workshops.

Schedule a free consultation.

Contact me for more information.

Sign up for the newsletter