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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

Fitness Journal, Volume 10, Issue 2

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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 based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at