Fact Sheet - Alexander Technique - Learn your way out of pain
What is Alexander Technique?
The overall aim of AT is to improve postural support and coordination by
consciously altering automatic responses and excess muscular activity. AT is safe (1), cost effective (2),
drug-free and has been found to reduce pain medication use (3).
A person’s general health and well-being can be improved by teaching them skills to integrate
cognition, postural support, breathing and balance. Alexander Technique provides strategies that
individuals can apply in everyday tasks to assist in minimising unnecessary muscle tension and
What is learnt?
Skills that retrain response and action
Improved self-observation and awareness
Improved sensory appreciation
Conscious control of dynamic postural tone and muscle tension
Inhibition of task related anticipation and expectation
Ability to modify and improve breathing patterns
AT provides both short and long-term gains for people in pain. People who learn AT modify their
perception of pain and the underlying causes of pain. This fosters confidence and perceived control
in the face of persistent pain. This can lead to improved self-efficacy. (4)
As an experiential, practical form of health education, AT is well placed to play an important role in
the biopsychosocial management of a wide variety of chronic musculoskeletal issues such as back
pain, neck pain, joint osteoarthritis, as well as gait, postural and balance conditions such as
Evidence of effectiveness
Alexander Technique shows strong evidence for long term effectiveness for chronic back (5) and neck
pain (6) and Parkinson’s disease (7), and preliminary evidence for pain associated with knee
Physiological effects of AT show significant improvements in coordination of movement, gait, motor
control and balance.
In Australia, Alexander Technique teachers are professionally represented by the Australian Society
for Alexander Technique Teachers (AUSTAT). AUSTAT is affiliated with Alexander Technique societies
around the world. Teacher membership to AUSTAT is open only to those individuals who have
studied at an accredited Alexander Teacher Training School for a minimum of three years.
Further Research into Alexander Technique
Research into the benefits of AT and underlying mechanisms of action are ongoing. Refer to the
following link for more information on past and current research:
Australian Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique
(1) Woodman, J.P. and Moore, N.R. Evidence of the effectiveness of Alexander Technique lessons in medical and health
related conditions. Int. J. Clin. Pract. 2012, 66:98-112.
(2) Hollinghurst, S., Sharp, D., Ballard, K. Randomised controlled trial of Alexander Technique lessons, exercise and massage
(ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain: economic evaluation. BMJ 2008, 337; a2656.
(3) McLean, S., Brilleman, S., Wye, L. What is the perceived impact of Alexander Technique lessons on health status, costs
and pain management in the real life setting of an English hospital. The results of a mixed method evaluation of and
Alexander Technique service for those with chronic back pain. BMC Health Service Report 2015, 15: 293.
(4) Woodman, J.P., Ballard, K., Hewitt, C. Self-efficacy and self-care related outcomes following Alexander Technique lessons
for people with chronic neck pain in the ATLAS randomised controlled trial. Eur. J. Integr. Med. 2018, 17: 64 -71.
(5) Little, P., Lewith, G., Webley, F., Evans, M., Beattie, A., Middleton, K., et al. Randomised controlled trial of Alexander
Technique lessons, exercise, and massage (ATEAM) for chronic recurrent back pain. BMJ 2008, 337: a884.
(6) McPherson, H., Tilbrook, H., Richmond, S., et al. Alexander Technique lessons or acupuncture sessions for persons with
chronic neck pain. Ann. Intern. Med. 2015, 163: 653- 662.
(7) Stallibrass, C., Sissons, P., Chalmers, C., Randomized controlled trial of the Alexander Technique for
idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. Clin. Rehabil. 2002, 16(7): 695 -708.
(8) Preece, S.J., Jones R.K., Brown, C.A., Cacciatore, T.W., Jones, A. K.P. Reductions in co-contraction following neuromuscular
re-education in people with knee osteoarthritis. BMC Musc. Disorders 2016, 17: 372.