Questions Answered from answerbag

Is there any evidence–scientific, not anecdotal–that the Alexander Technique works for people experiencing back pain?

Check out some of the references on in the Alexander Technique article there. See also the Society of Alexander Technique Teachers website, where this research is collected that is being done or has been done.
The short answer is not enough research exists. At this point, there are related studies which supports its effectiveness for back pain issues. A.T. is commonly applied for that purpose, (among others,) in the UK. The skills of describing the qualities and functions of bodily movement that Alexander teachers possess are corroborated in gait research lab measurements. If someone who is considering A.T. for back pain was dismayed by the lack of its proof, perhaps taking their prospective teacher to a gait research lab would convince.

Alexander Technique specializes in learning to undo overcompensation. It addresses how people tend to make up habits to adapt to repeating circumstances, which so commonly lack foresight of cumulative effects. When compared to surgery or other “solutions” offered by the traditional medical community, a course of twenty to forty lessons is a bargain. However, it does take an educational commitment; it won’t work if you don’t practice it.

The medical community tends to describe and name back problems without knowing their cause. In some cases, A.T. has successfully reversed back problems – the problems that are due to what A.T. teachers term “misuse” of the body. It is possible to get the benefits of A.T. even though your bones are structurally malformed, because A.T. principles work no matter what the present situation is. In deformities, A.T. principles may only mitigate issues, but these slight improvements can mean significant differences to the student.

I have personally just witnessed an Alexander teacher’s x-ray who had to have the last vertebrae of his tail bone removed due to it being crushed in a car accident. The anticipated collapse of the vertebrae above it has not occurred, and inevitably with it, serious pain and back problems have also not happened. His doctors do not want to hear why this is the case, which the victim believes is due to his practice of Alexander Technique. This is yet another anecdotal evidence in support of the effectiveness of A.T. that will not be recorded. I’d be happy to put you in touch with this person, and you may see his x-ray and hear his story.

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