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alexander technique science & research 

ATLAS - Neck Pain Trial at the University of York 
- comnparing Alexander Technique, acupuncture & GP care 
- research results due 2015 

A large randomised clinical trial involving 517 participants is investigating how effective Alexander Technique lessons are, compared with acupunture and usual GP care, for people with chronic neck pain. The 3-year trial, which began in October 2011, is being conducted by the University of York and is funded to the tune of £720,000 by Arthritis Research UK.  
In this trial, people with chronic neck pain have been randomised to one of three groups: 
Alexander Technique lessons from STAT-registered teachers (total time 600 minutes across 20 lessons), with continued GP care 
acupuncture sessions (total time 600 minutes across 12 sessions), with continued GP care 
continued GP care alone 
Pain and disability associated with neck pain will be assessed over 1 year, along with measures of quality of life, participant beliefs and experience, cost effectiveness and safety. The trial is not designed to be a direct comparison of Alexander lessons and acupuncture, rather it will compare each of these with usual GP care. Further details can be found in the published trial protocol 2
Patient interviews 
Some patients have taken part in in-depth interviews on their perceptions and experiences of Alexander Technique sessions, acupuncture and usual GP care. The researchers are also exploring patients' preferences, beliefs and understanding of their neck pain and the impact these factors might have on their experience of treatment and the subsequent outcome. 
The results will provide robust evidence on whether there are: significant worthwhile benefits to patients; economic benefits demonstrating value for money; and sufficient levels of acceptability and safety. 
Chronic neck pain is a common condition in the adult population. As well as being painful and disabling, it is associated with significant costs to the individual, their families, the NHS and society in general. As the optimal care for chronic neck pain has not yet been established and with patients commonly self referring for acupuncture and Alexander Technique sessions as treatment options, more research on the effectiveness of these interventions is needed. 

New study reveals the benefits of Alexander Technique 
Lessons for chronic pain 

Chronic pain sufferers may benefit from learning the Alexander Technique in NHS outpatient pain clinics according to a new 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. 
UWE Bristol researcher Dr Stuart McClean working in collaboration with Dr Lesley Wye from the University of Bristol, health practitioners and The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT) carried out an 11 month exploratory study of a time-limited Alexander Technique teaching service, as an additional pain management option in the Pain Clinic at St Michael's Hospital,  
Bristol.Key findings of the evaluation are: 
An Alexander Technique teaching service in a pain clinic can make a difference to how people manage their pain and reduce their pain related NHS costs including medication, tests and investigations and consultations with GPs and hospital doctors. 
Most patients liked the Alexander Technique lessons and benefited in terms of their day-to-day relationship to their pain. 
Awareness and increased understanding of pain also led to some behaviour change and changes in self-knowledge from the patient. 
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Alexander Technique Improves Postural Tone  

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Scientific findings indicate the Alexander Technique changes how anti-gravity muscle tension is regulated and that it reduces stiffness along the spine and hips. 
Picture to right shows Claire Rennie taking part in Alexander Technique research conducted by Dr. Tim Cacciatore 

Nikolaas Tinbergen Nobel Prize Speech on Alexander Technique  

Nikolaas Tinbergen, Nobel Laureate, devoted a significant portion of his Nobel prize lecture in 1973 to talking about F. M. Alexander, the Alexander Technique, and the importance of Alexander's discoveries and the benefits he and his wife experienced from lessons.  
Contact Claire and Kamal to book an Alexander Technique session or with any questions you have about your situation. Start experiencing the benefits for yourself ... 
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Did you know? 
The likes of playwright George Bernard Shaw, Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple, and Nobel Prize Winner Professor Nikolas Tinbergen learned directly from F.M. Alexander (1869-1955). More recently, Sting, Paul Newman, Dame Judy Dench, Robin Williams and Tony Buzan followed in their footsteps all practicing the Alexander Technique to promote well being, alleviating stress, reducing pain and gaining confidence. 
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Why Implement the Alexander Technique in your Company? 
Implementing the Alexander Technique in the workplace , for example, would enable employees to become aware of and change mental and physical habits that are contributing to Back Pain, RSI and Stress. This investment in prevention or early intervention would pay back in days lost from work, insurance and legal claims as well as contributing to higher employee performance. 
Dr Stuart McClean who led the evaluation explains, "We have seen from a previous randomised controlled trial that Alexander Technique lessons were found to be both clinically and cost effective for the management of low back pain in primary care. This study builds on those findings to evaluate the provision of Alexander Technique lessons within a hospital out-patient Pain Management Clinic. It focused on a group of 43 patients with chronic or recurrent pain, 75% of which had back pain. All 43 were not getting better or responding to conventional treatment and all expressing an interest in Alexander Technique lessons as a pain management approach.
Claire Rennie Alexander Technique Science Research
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Tinbergen Quote Alexander Technique
“Many types of underperformance and even ailments, both mental and physical, can be alleviated by teaching the body musculature to function differently” 
Nicholas Tinbergen, Nobel Prize winning scientist 
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