Scientific research

“97% of people with back pain could benefit by learning the Alexander Technique”
Jack Stern, spinal neurosurgeon

Scientific research

A good overview of all peer-reviewed, published scientific research on the Alexander Technique is to be found on: https://www.amsatonline.org/aws/AMSAT/pt/sp/research

Most research is about:

  • Pain (back/neck/chronic pain)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Posture (muscle tone, ergonomic skills)
  • Balance, coordination and movement
  • Musical performance and injuries

I will highlight one study here.

In 2008 a major clinical trial of the effects of AT on chronic back pain was published in The British Medical Journal.  The Dutch Journal of Health (Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde) also reported on this article.

579 subjects participated in the trial divided into 4 groups.  One group took 6 AT lessons, one group took 24 lessons, one group had series of massages, and the control group received standard treatment from a doctor.  In addition, half of the subjects in each group were instructed to walk 1/2 hour per day. The two best results, measured one year after the first lesson:

  • 24 AT lessons (both with and without brisk walking) showed by far the best result.  Patients reported just 3 days of pain per month, in comparison with 21 days in the control and the massage groups, an improvement of better than 85%.  Patients also reported a 42% improvement in functioning (measured with the Rolland Morris Disability Score), while no improvement was reported by the control and massage groups.
  • The second best result was a combination of 6 Alexander Technique lessons with a half hour per day of brisk walking. The improvements measured were roughly 70% of that achieved by 24 lessons.

The Alexander Technique was also shown to be a very cost effective approach.

For the full BMJ article and a short film about the study, go to:
http://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a884.full