Study: Can the Alexander Technique Improve Balance and Mobility in Older Adults with Visual Impairments?
Yet another interesting piece of research has been published which provides further evidence as to the effectiveness of the Alexander Technique.
Researchers at the Sydney Medical School, Sydney University, Australia, have investigated the impact of taking Alexander Technique lessons on the mobility and balance of 120 subjects, who were all over 50 years old and had visual impairments. The intervention group were given AT lessons plus their usual care, whilst the control group just received their usual care.
Primary outcome measures of physical performance were taken at 3 months, with secondary outcome measures of postural sway, maximal balance range and the number of falls experienced by the subjects, taken at 12 months.
The results showed that there were no significant changes in the the primary outcome measures. However, the intervention of taking Alexander lessons indicated there was a ‘significant impact’ on the secondary outcome measures one year later.
The results showed benefits in postural sway for the group that had AT lessons, compared to the control group who did not. This group also had a trend towards fewer falls and fewer injurious falls. Some people who had previously experienced multiple falls, also showed an improved level of mobility.
This is very encouraging and, remarkably, these changes in outcome came about after having just 12 weeks worth of half hour long AT lessons. Unfortunately, the research team had to reduce the number of lessons from the recommended 20-25 lessons, down to 12 lessons, because of financial restraints. How much more significant might the outcomes have been, if the subjects had been able to have a greater number of Alexander lessons, possibly of 3/4 hour in length, as I and many AT teachers offer?
The research paper states that the findings ‘suggest further investigation of the Alexander Technique is warranted’. It is good to see that amongst the references cited, there are a number of papers relating to prior research into the Alexander Technique, such as the ATEAM Trial re back pain. Let’s hope more funding is available to develop this research. Further research into this and other relevant topics, will be much welcomed by the Alexander community!