Self-efficacy and embodiment associated with Alexander Technique lessons or with acupuncture sessions: A longitudinal qualitative sub-study within the ATLAS trial

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2018;31:308–14

Wenham A, Atkin K, Woodman J, Ballard K, MacPherson H


The ATLAS clinical trial design incorporated a sub-study led by a qualitative researcher aimed at understanding the participants’ perspectives and experiences of being in the trial and how it affected their neck pain condition. A series of in-depth interviews were carried out with a sample of the trial participants. The findings revealed a growing sense of self-efficacy following the Alexander lessons with many expressing feelings of greater control over managing their neck pain through becoming more self-aware and learning how to apply the Alexander thinking skills. Some participants described a re-evaluation of their identity, for example, one individual expressed the feeling of being a ‘new person’. For many, the experience of increased self-awareness and a sense of interconnectedness and embodiment were integral to the transformative process. The perception of ‘neck pain’ could no longer be reducible to a ‘body part’. Participants described how they continued to use the understanding and skills they had gained, after the Alexander lessons had ceased, to sustain and in some cases further improve their reduction in neck pain.

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Neck Pain

I was looking for some way to help manage my lower back problems without relying on pain relief medication. I have found my one-to-one AT sessions extremely helpful and have learnt to identify and avoid postures and actions that contribute to back pain. I now know how to relax and properly rest my back and neck. In my experience, AT is a whole body technique which can help one to be more self-aware and to understand how to move with less tension and consequently, with less effort. Hurray for AT!

Patricia Brooks

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