In recent years, there has been a growing body of Alexander Technique research supporting the anecdotal reports from Alexander Technique teachers and their students.
In 2008, the British Medical Journal ran a large-scale controlled medical trial of the Alexander Technique that involved over 500 patients. They found that chronic back pain sufferers were able to massively reduce their number of pain days with a series of 24 lessons, and very significantly reduce their pain days with as few lessons as 6.
In 2009, a follow-up study was conducted on all patients from the BMJ trial. In all cases where patients received Alexander Technique lessons, patients continued to benefit 12 months later, despite having ceased lessons. Other approaches tested during this trial did not give the same results.
In 2010, a study was conducted on surgeons to investigate the benefits to posture and surgical ergonomics using Alexander Technique. The result was an improvement in posture, a decrease in surgical fatigue and a reduction of repetitive strain injury (RSI).
In 2015, the Annals of Internal Medicine published a large-scale controlled trial of Alexander Technique for chronic neck pain sufferers. This study involved over 500 patients who had chronic neck pain for 6 years on average. It was found to offer significant pain relief with patients continuing to benefit when a 6-month and 12-month follow-up study was conducted.
In 2015, the George Institute of Global Health conducted a randomized controlled trial to test the effects of Alexander Technique lessons on the balance and mobility of visually impaired elderly people.
The study involved 120 participants over twelve weeks. They concluded that further investigation of Alexander Technique was warranted since posture and balance improved, participants had fewer falls, fewer injuries and experienced improved mobility.
In 2015, the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies published research on the biomechanics of the elderly, comparing the gait of six older people aged between 61-76 with six Alexander Technique practitioners of matching age range.
The Alexander Technique research participants showed greater range of motion, flexion, significantly increased hip and knee flexion and a trend towards significantly increased dorsiflexion. The study concluded that older AT practitioners walked with gait patterns “similar to those found in the literature for younger adults”.
Also in 2015, a small study on Alexander Technique for sufferers of Parkinsons Disease found multiple key measures and signs of improvement as a result of Alexander Technique lessons compared with a control.
Another 2002 study on Alexander Technique for Idiopathic Parkinsons Disease concluded that Alexander Technique lessons were “likely to offer sustained benefit for Parkinsons Disease sufferers”.
In 2016, Biomed Central published the findings of a controlled clinical trial on the effects of Alexander Technique for sufferers of knee osteoarthritis. While this study only involved 21 patients, they were placed under controlled supervision. The study resulted in patients reducing their pain by over half (56%). Half the patients in the study were able to come off painkillers a result. There was also “very visible reduction” in “co-contraction” (excess tension in the legs when moving).
Perhaps with time, further Alexander Technique research will be conducted around other medical issues and symptoms.
Until then, we can at least say that, to date, wherever a light has been shone on the Alexander Technique, very positive benefits have been found.