Older adult Alexander Technique practitioners walk differently to healthy age-matched controls

Journal of Body & Movement Therapies (2016). In Press

Hamel, KA, Ross C, Schultz B, O'Neill M, Anderson DI.



This is the second paper to come out of a study comparing the movement of Alexander Technique teachers with people of a similar age who have no Alexander training.

Balance in movement is often impaired in older people. They tend to have greater sideways sway when walking, which is a known risk factor for falling. This study involved seven healthy individuals aged between 61 and 76 years (as a control) and six registered Alexander Technique teachers. The control participants were selected to match the teachers as closely as possible in terms of age, height, weight and gender. 

The participants were instructed to walk at a comfortable then fast pace, from a motionless standing position. Motion video capture technology was used to record thirteen anatomical markers of postural behaviour and the findings compared between the two groups.

The results showed that those who were Alexander Technique trained walked like much younger adults. The authors suggested that significant practice in the Alexander Technique may lessen or prevent the usual age-related changes in walking. They also concluded that learning the Alexander Technique has promise as a potential means of reducing falls in older adults and that this deserves further research.