An economic evaluation of Alexander Technique lessons or acupuncture sessions for patients with chronic neck pain: a randomized trial (ATLAS)

PLOS One 2017;12:e0178918. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178918

Essex H, Parrott S, Atkin K, Ballard K, Bland M, Eldred J, Hewitt C, Hopton A, Keding A, Lansdown H, Richmond S, Tilbrook H, Torgerson D, Watt I, Wenham A, Woodman J, MacPherson H


This analysis calculated the cost-effectiveness of the series of Alexander lessons and acupuncture sessions provided in the ATLAS trial. It suggests that Alexander lessons are less likely than acupuncture to be cost effective for people with chronic neck pain, with the main reason being that they cost more to deliver. The greater delivery cost was because there were 20 Alexander lessons offered to participants in the trial but 12 acupuncture sessions (although the overall intervention time was exactly the same for both, at 600 minutes). One-to-one Alexander lessons are attention-intensive, with the teacher present and fully engaged for the whole lesson. The analysis suffered from high levels of missing economic data which made the conclusions uncertain.


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Neck Pain

At about the age of 45, I began to experience severe pain in both of my knees. I was told I had damaged the cartilage, initially caused by the use of a kicking strap on a sailing dinghy, and made worse by many years of beagling, and to stop beagling or risk ending up in a wheelchair. A few years later a friend suggested the Alexander Technique. At first I was very sceptical, but had also reached the stage where I was ready to try virtually any means to solve the problem. A few weeks after my first lesson, I had gone out beagling, but only walking.

Chris Walsh

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