Alexander Technique Relieves Chronic Back Pain

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Jan 28, 2013

Mind-Body-Spirit News

The Alexander Technique may be effective for chronic back pain and Parkinson’s-associated disability, according to a review in The International Journal of Clinical Practice (2012; 66 [1], 98–112; doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2011.02817.x.

Lead study author Julia Woodman, PhD, an Alexander Technique teacher in Knutsford, England, and visiting research fellow at the University of York, said to IDEA Fitness Journal, “The Alexander Technique is a practical method for self-change and self-care; it’s an educational method with therapeutic benefits, not a therapy or system of exercises. It’s about how we do whatever we’re doing as we go about our daily lives. In Alexander lessons we learn how to stop the habitual movement patterns and responses that are interfering with our innate coordination and balance mechanisms, thereby restoring [our] natural poise and freedom of movement . . . Learning and applying the Alexander Technique can help you improve your performance and protect yourself from injury as you carry out your yoga, Pilates [or any] workout.” Preliminary evidence suggests AT may improve balance in older adults and help with general chronic pain, respiratory function and stuttering, but more research is required.

AT teachers use hands-on feedback and verbal explanations to guide participants toward movement patterns that require less effort.

To learn more about the technique, go to For more on the study, view a video at

IDEA Fitness Journal , Volume 10, Issue 2

© 2013 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA’s mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author base...


Trending Articles

Eight Fascinating Facts About Fascia

Fascia has been enjoying the limelight in the fitness industry as one of the hottest topics in recent conference programming, workshops and ...

Nutrition Strategies for Stress and Pain Management

Stress and pain diminish quality of life for millionsofAmericansandcostbillionsin healthcare expenses and lost wages.

Concurrent Training Can Jeopardize Strength Gains

A lot of people do concurrent training— cardio and strength training within the same session—because it seems to achieve multiple goals at the same time. It’s also a proven fat-burne...

Wake Up Your Glutes!

It’s a sad fact of modern life that the gluteus maximus, the largest muscle in the body, often becomes inhibited and “turns off.” Ironically, this inhibition can be the culprit behin...

Cardio and Creative Core

Group fitness participants can’t seem to get enough of creative core and cardiovascular exercises. If you need innovative ideas to cha...

Sample Class: Farmhand Fitness

Several years ago, I attended an IDEA World Fitness Convention™ session led by Michol Dalcourt, director of the Institute of Motion. D...

A Back-Pain Solution

Starting with the basics. Personal trainer Jamal Younis first met 38-year-old Jessica in August 2014. Jessica, a former competitive collegia...

Playing Hurt

When Gray Cook was a high-school athlete, his coaches would comment, “That Gray Cook sure can play hurt.” He had over 20 fractures before he was 18, what with his love of football and moto...

Excessive Thoracic Kyphosis: More Than Just Bad Posture

Excessive thoracic kyphosis (ETK) is a disproportionate forward rounding or curvature of the middle and upper back, also known as the thorac...

Exercise: The Miracle Cure-All?

Miracle Cure-All? We know there are many benefits to regular exercise. After sifting through study after study, professors at the Academy o...