Alexander Technique

Original Editor - Rochelle Dsouza Top Contributors - Rochelle Dsouza and Kirenga Bamurange Liliane

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Unlike, most of the exercise technique the Alexander technique is not a form of physiotherapy exercise. It involves postural and proprioceptive re-education and hence focuses on learning what not to do as a first priority, that is, learning to become aware of, release and refrain from harmful habits of muscle use and improve coordination of movement, which sets it apart from specific exercises. [1]

It can be incorporated during simple activities of daily living, such as walking, sitting, standing and bending. The technique aims to teach and educate the correct use of the postural mechanisms that regulate upright support and locomotion. These mechanisms involve coordination of the trunk, head and limbs, and motor control of postural muscles. [2] [3] Mostly habitual and unnoticed, an individual can be taught to become more aware of these mechanisms and make different choices about movement, coordination and locomotion. In particular, the Alexander technique the co-ordination of the trunk and head as a core relationship for good movement. It is taught by specialist gentle touch and verbal instruction and an individual learns self-help through the combination of these methods.

Physiotherapy aims to strengthen, stretch, increase aerobic capacity and improve motor control and uses specific supervised exercises that are then practised at particular times. In contrast, the Alexander technique involves teaching the awareness of and release of harmful muscle tension; involves proprioceptive re-education; concentrates primarily on the key relationship of head–neck–back; uses the semi-supine position as a core technique; involves guiding and assessing movement and co-ordination; and is practiced during activities of daily living.[1]

Indications[edit | edit source]

  1. Back Pain [4]
  2. Neck Pain [5]
  3. Osteoarthritis [6]
  4. Parkinson's Disease [7]
  5. Postural Tone and Posture[2][3]
  6. Ergonomic Skills [8]
  7. Balance [9]
  8. Movement Coordination [10]
  9. Musical Performance [11]
  10. Well being and Self Help [12]

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Alexander technique is effective in improving performance and prevent injury in music, drama and sport, enhancing business and presentation skills,developing ease and elegance in movement, supporting pregnancy and childbirth and improving balance, stability and coordination by proprioceptive and postural re-education.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Little P, Lewith G, Webley F, Evans M, Beattie A, Middleton K, et al. Randomised controlled trial of Alexander technique lessons, exercise, and massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cacciatore, T.W., et al. Increased dynamic regulation of postural tone through Alexander Technique training. Human Movement Science (2010)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Improvement in automatic postural coordination following Alexander Technique lessons in a person with low back pain. Physical Therapy 2005;85:565-578
  4. Little P, Stuart B, Stokes M, et al. Alexander technique and Supervised Physiotherapy Exercises in back pain (ASPEN): a four-group randomised feasibility trial. Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library; 2014 Oct.
  5. MacPherson H, Tilbrook HE, Richmond SJ, Atkin K, Ballard K, Bland M, et al. Alexander Technique Lessons, Acupuncture Sessions or usual care for patients with chronic neck pain (ATLAS): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials. 2013 Jul 10;14:209.
  6. Preece, S.J., Jones, R.K., Brown, C.A. et al. Reductions in co-contraction following neuromuscular re-education in people with knee osteoarthritis. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 17, 372 (2016).
  7. Stallibrass C, Sissons P, Chalmers C. Randomized controlled trial of the Alexander Technique for idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. Clinical Rehabilitation. 2002;16(7):695-708.
  8. Reddy PP, Reddy TP, Roig-Francoli J, et al.The impact of the Alexander Technique on improving posture and surgical ergonomics duing minimally invasive surgery: a pilot study, J Urol. Oct;186(4 Suppl).1658-62.
  9. Batson G, Barker S.Feasibility of group delivery of the Alexander Technique on balance in the community-dwelling elderly: preliminary findings. Activities Adaptation and Aging 2008;32:103–119
  10. O'Neil M,  Anderson D, Allen D, Ross C et al. Effects of Alexander Technique training experience on gait behaviour in older adults. Journal of Body & Movement Therapies 2015;19:473–81
  11. Sabine D Kleint , Claudine Bayardt and Ursula Wolf. Alexander Technique and musicians: a systematic review of controlled trials.BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014,14:414
  12. Wolverson, E., Glover, L. &  Clappison, D..J (2022)  Self-Care for Family Carers: Can the Alexander Technique help? Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 46, 101546