How can Alexander Technique help me?
BMJ Back Pain Clinical Trial
Significant long-term benefit for low back pain has been demonstrated by a major study published by the British Medical Journal on 20th August 2008. Visit the British Medical Journal website to read the research Economic evaluation of the research published in the BMJ, Dec.11 2008
- 24 AT lessons proved to be most beneficial
- Six lessons followed by exercise were about 70% as effective as 24 lessons
- Long-term benefits unlikely to be due to placebo effect
- Lessons were one-to-one, provided by experienced STAT teachers
- This was a scientific randomised controlled trial
Results of the trial
The best results were seen in the 24 AT lesson group, with important improvements in function, quality of life and reduction in days in pain. One year after the trial started, the average number of activities limited by low back pain (the RM disability score) had fallen by 42%, and the number of days in pain was only three per month, compared with 21 days in pain in the control group. The results show that taking AT lessons can have a long-term beneficial effect, significantly decreasing days in pain and improving the functioning and quality of life of patients.
Lessons with Carolyn Nicholls
I was trained by Walter and Dilys Carrington to teach the F. M. Alexander technique at the Constructive Teaching Centre in London. In addition to my private practice I run a teacher training course in Brighton (see teacher training course) and I teach postgraduate studies all over the world (see my personal details).
I have been teaching all sorts of people for nearly 25 years; people with back pain, horse riders, and teenagers with scoliosis, musicians, computer users and singers.
In lessons I teach people to ‘unlearn’ bad habits such as unconsciously gripping neck and jaw muscles and so tugging their heads downwards into their body. This often results in slouching and twisting and consequent pain and problems.
Alexander discovered that ‘Use affects function’, meaning that if you are using tour body badly, squashing yourself with tension, its hardly surprising that you’ll be interfering with your breathing and digestion.
I use simple activities such as sitting, standing, walking and lying down which although seem simple demand co-ordination of your head, neck and back. If you can improve this co-ordination you can apply it to other aspects of your life, from driving a car, playing sports, musical instruments, or yoga and other such activities.
Learning to use your body and mind as a harmonious whole will give you management tools for whatever ails you. It is a wonderful self-help technique that puts you back in control of your own body.
How long are lessons and how many do I need?
Lessons usually take 30-40 minutes. The number of lessons will depend on your needs; are you coming for postoperative recovery or do you get minor back ache when sitting at a computer all day? people come for different reasons, from a musician wanting to improve their performance to deep rooted postural difficulties. A course of 6-10 lessons will give you a good idea of how you can use the AT to help yourself. You are learning a new skill of poise and balance, how far do you want to go?
Will I be given exercises to do?
It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it! No exercise, no matter how wonderful, will do you much good if you set about it with unconscious tension and effort. I will encourage you to be aware of what is happening in your lessons and ask you to take 10-20 minutes each day to lie down in semi-supine. This procedure will be explained during your lesson.
Contact & Cost
01273 278523 to ask about lessons and what is suitable for you.
I am a very experienced teacher and I charge £50 per session. For further details see my personal website: Carolyn Nicholls