Researchers from the University of Bristol investigated the health benefits of Alexander technique and found that aside from promoting wellness and wellbeing, it also helps reduce chronic pain.
Alexander technique for pain management
In a new study, researchers from the University of Bristol found that patients suffering from chronic pain may benefit from Alexander technique. During their 11-month exploratory study, 43 patients with chronic or recurrent pain received lessons from a qualified trainer at St Michael’s Hospital, Bristol. 75% of them has back pain and were not getting positive benefits from conventional treatment.
The lead consultant at St Michael’s Pain Clinic, Dr Peter Brook, was surprised to see a significant improvement among patients who went through Alexander technique lessons. He saw an increase in their sense of wellbeing. Furthermore, more than half of the patients reduced their medication and felt happier.
The researchers found that the technique helped people manage pain. This resulted to a reduction in their health service costs because they took fewer medications, and undergone fewer tests, consultations and clinical checkups. The awareness and understanding of pain also helped the patients form some behavioural changes which helped them easily manage their condition.
The study suggests that the Alexander technique should be considered by the NHS as a useful, cost-effective service for patients with chronic pain.
What is Alexander Technique?
Alexander was a Shakespearean orator who lost his voice during his performances. Doctors told him there is no way to fix the problem. However, he believed that he was doing something wrong while speaking that causes the loss of his voice. By looking at multiple mirrors, he found that he was contracting his whole body prior the phonation. He theorised that the habitual pattern of pulling his head backwards and downwards has disrupted the normal function of his postural, breathing and vocal mechanisms. This marks the development of the Alexander technique.
The technique works by re-establishing the natural relationship between the head, neck and the back. This in turn, positively affects a person’s learning abilities, psychological health, and reaction to stress.
It also involves hands-on guidance and verbal explanation to help patients achieve greater ease and poise by eliminating unwanted habits from simple activities such as walking, sitting and standing. The aim is to incorporate the technique with the patient’s everyday life with focus on self-management. This therapy has many other health benefits, such as improved alertness, breathing and confidence, and better health.
Sources of this article:
New study reveals the benefits of Alexander Technique Lessons for chronic pain, University of the West of England