I started the Alexander Technique due to slight scoliosis and a stretched nerve in my left lower back and I thought it would improve my posture which could only help my injury! I've got far more out of the technique than just improved posture! The first thing that I've learned is how to work with my Alexander Technique teacher and my body to control the pain! When the horrible muscle spasms start, I can now use breathing to help instead of lying on the floor helpless. Instead of focusing on what I can't do or do incorrectly, my teacher has helped me to understand what I do right and to do things that I didn't think that I could do. I found out that I have model hips rather than a twisted spine and that I can sit on an exercise ball without falling over! In short, the technique has made a huge difference to my life. I would recommend it to everyone and strongly believe that it should be on the NHS!
Project Report. UWE Bristol, Bristol. 2012
McClean, S. and Wye, L.
Chronic pain sufferers may benefit from learning the Alexander Technique in NHS outpatient pain clinics according to a service evaluation project. More than half of the service users in the study stopped or reduced their use of medications between the start of the lessons and three months, making cost savings to the NHS.
These preliminary findings warrant further investigation in a large controlled trial.
Read more about the study here: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/16903/
Image: Poster summary. This poster was presented at the National STAT Conference, 20–22 July 2012, Manchester, UK. Click on image to expand.
The study has now also been published in a regular medical journal. A summary of the paper is given below:
What is the perceived impact of Alexander Technique lessons on health status, costs and pain management in the real life setting of an English hospital? The results of a mixed methods evaluation of an Alexander Technique service for those with chronic back pain.
BMC Health Service Research 2015;115:293
McClean S, Brilleman S, Wye L
Chronic back pain affects 1 in 3 adults in the UK each year, costing the UK NHS an estimated £480 million per year. This study was to evaluate the effects, costs and feasibility of providing one-to-one Alexander Technique lessons in a hospital Pain Management Clinic.
A total of 43 people aged between 24 and 81 years participated, all had been referred to the clinic via their GP. They each received one lesson per week for six weeks from a STAT-registered teacher. Three widely used questionnaires were used to assess pain at three time points (baseline, 6 weeks and 3 months after baseline); and interviews with the participants were also conducted. It was found that the participants had a modest improvement in pain following Alexander lessons. What changed most was the participants’ attitude to pain and pain management; more than half stopped or reduced their pain medication.
The Study concluded that including Alexander Technique lessons, as another approach to pain management, can help improve self-efficacy for those who are sufficiently motivated. This may in turn reduce the costs of both prescriptions and the level of impact on hospital services.
Click here to link to the full publication: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6963/15/293