What, why, how? New publication provides the answers

Webpage of Kinesiology Review JournalI have just published a new article written with my fellow STAT Research Group colleagues, Charlotte Woods and Lesley Glover. ‘An education for life: the process of learning the Alexander Technique’ appears in the journal Kinesiology Review which invited us to the write the article for their forthcoming special issue.

Our aim for the publication was to bring together into one place, a comprehensive description of the Alexander Technique, an overview of current research, and an insight into the experience of having Alexander lessons.  

The article describes how FM Alexander developed his method through many years of patient experimentation and observation. Initially he was in search for a solution to the persistent voice problems that were threatening his career as an actor. Through this search he not only resolved his own problems but came up with a universally applicable method for helping other people to help themselves. The underlying principles of FM Alexander’s method are explored to give an insight into its fundamental nature and how it ‘works’.

We give a detailed account of a series of Alexander lessons to illustrate one individual’s experience of learning the technique, together with the perspective of her teacher. This lived experience is then discussed in a broader context by referring to research that confirms the enabling nature of learning the Alexander Technique. Research participants describe a whole spectrum of changes in themselves, from greater self understanding and confidence to a more positive way of being in the world.

We also discuss the current evidence base for the effectiveness of Alexander lessons in various health-related conditions, with summaries of the randomised controlled trials that have demonstrated long-term reductions in pain and disability in people with persistent back or neck pain, as well as reduced disability in people with Parkinson’s.

The article was described by the journal’s Editor as ‘one of the most lucid introductions to the technique I have seen’. The publication is not open-access (so the journal charges a fee for download) but you can read the final accepted version here.

Reference

Woods C, Glover L, Woodman J. An education for life: The process of learning the Alexander Technique.  Kinesiology Review In press. doi.org/10.1123/kr.2020-0020.

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