“Neck problems are virtually an occupational hazard for Ear, Nose and Throat surgeons. I had serious problems during my working years, but hoped for relief on early retirement. This was not the case and limitation of cervical (and thoracic) movement became quite an intrusion on my life. Physiotherapy and medication gave only short-term improvement. On being introduced to the Alexander Technique I was somewhat sceptical that anything was going to work, but can only describe the relief gained, and maintained, as quite incredible. General posture has improved and neck mobility has returned to that last experienced more than twenty years ago. What more could one ask for?” – Kieran Tobin, M.B, B. Ch, BAO, FRCS(Eng), FRCS(Irl), D.L.O., Senior Surgeon, University College Hospital Galway Ireland. Past President of the Irish Otolaryngological, Head and Neck Society and Past-President of the E.N.T. Section of the Royal Society of Medicine of Ireland.

Research

Much of the early medical research on the Alexander Technique was conducted during the 1940s by Dr. Wilfred Barlow MD, a consultant rheumatologist at Guy’s Hospital in London, England. A good summary of that research can be found in his book, The Alexander Principle.

During the 1960s and 70s, Frank Pierce Jones conducted a series of studies at Tufts University using electromyography and EMG equipment. These studies showed that the Alexander Technique could produce a marked reduction in stress levels. His results are included in his book Freedom to Change- The Development and Science of the Alexander Technique.

Nikolaas Tinbergen, winner of the 1973 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine devoted a major portion of his acceptance speech to the benefits of the Alexander Technique. Watch a video of the Alexander Technique portion of his acceptance speech. A complete transcript of his address can be found in Science, 185:20-27, l974.

In recent years, the number of medical and scientific studies has grown rapidly. A comprehensive series of studies of the underlying physiological mechanisms of the Technique have been conducted by Dr. David Garlick of the University of New South Wales. These may be found in The Lost Sixth Sense – A Medical Scientist looks at the Alexander Technique.

(These and many other Alexander Technique books and  videos can be found at The Alexander Technique Bookstore)

Information about some recent studies can be found at:

As the Alexander Technique has become better known, a growing number of doctors are referring some of their patients to Alexander teachers. In Great Britain, lessons in the Technique may be covered by the National Health Service.

Endorsements

Listen to several doctors who have endorsed the Alexander Technique.

This is what other American doctors have said about the Alexander Technique:

“Habitual patterns of scrunched and tense use of the body are so engrained in our lives that the concept may seem extraordinary that unlearning these patterns can actually relieve pain and discomfort–but lessons in the Alexander Technique not only succeed for many people, they also allow a welcome sense of new ease in performance of all physical activities, e.g., playing a sport, using a computer keyboard, or playing a musical instrument. Research in which I have been involved has also shown enhanced strength of the muscles of breathing after a course of lessons.” -John H.M. Austin, MD, Professor Emeritus of Radiology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY

“The Alexander Technique remains the best of the self-care strategies to prevent the sequel of poor posture and poor breathing.”
– Harold Wise, MD, PC, New York, NY

“The Alexander Technique stresses unification in an era of greater and greater medical specialization. Its educational system teaches people how to best use their bodies in ordinary action to avoid or reduce unnecessary stress and pain. In enables clients to get better faster and stay better longer. This is undoubtedly the best way to take care of the back and alleviate back pain.” – Jack Stern, MD, PhD, Neurosugical Group of Westchester, White Plains, NY  Listen to an interview with Dr. Stern.

“Lessons in the Alexander Technique taught me how to sit in a state of lumbrosacral poise, and my chronic low back pain gradually became cured. The Technique is true education. Compared to surgery (e.g. for low back pain or for chronic obstructive lung disease) a course of instruction is inexpensive.” – John H. M. Austin, MD, Professor of Radiology; Chief, Division of Radiology, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY

“The Alexander Technique makes sense in that appropriate use of the body will lead to reduction of various musculoskeletal disorders and remediate others which are established. No equipment is needed, just he skill and training of the teacher. This technique is very worthwhile as a primary preventative therapy. It is especially useful when posture is a key factor in back injuries while lifting and for workers who perform repetitive tasks while sitting.” – Robert D. Greene, MD, Emergency Department, Norwalk Hospital, Norwalk, CT

“I recommend people to the Alexander Technique who have not improved with traditional rehabilitative therapies. Part of their pain may be due to posture and the improper use of their bodies. Many people who have neck or back pain and have gone through heat, ultrasound and massage with no relief can be helped by learning the Alexander Technique. It definitely works. Nothing works for everyone, as one well-versed in using physical therapy and biofeedback, I know how valuable this technique is. I highly recommend it.”
– Barry M. Schienfeld, MD, Specialist in Rehabilitation Medicine and Pain Management, Community General Hospital, Harris, NY

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