Fascinating Research Trial into Standing
Recently, I was delighted to be a research subject at the prestigious UCL Institute of Neurology, Queen Square London.
The research study, which is run by Prof. Brian Day’s Whole Body Sensorimotor Lab
is investigating whole-body actions and the neural processes that control them. Dr Tim Cacciatore is looking at the way Alexander Technique Teachers use our bodies when we move, compared with the way matched members of the public, who have never had any Alexander lessons
For the research, I was all wired up with infrared body markers on my arms, legs, spine and skull and signals from these were picked up by sensors as I moved. I also sat and stood on some force plates, that measured my force levels as I moved.
Gradually an outline of my skeleton appeared on the computer and I could observe the way I had been moving. Dr Cacciatore has already published some findings related to this type of research and it was fascinating to be involved. I shall be very interested to find out the results of this study when it is published. Watch this space for further info about this research trial.
This type of research not only increases our understanding of the Alexander Technique but its findings may eventually be used to help people who suffer from disorders resulting from damage to the central nervous system.
Information about a previous study by this research team may be found here
Research to Help Chronic Neck Pain
Another major research trial into the Alexander Technique has just started at York University, funded by Arthritis Research UK.
The 3 year randomised controlled trial will compare the Alexander Technique, Acupuncture and regular GP care in the treatment of 450 people with chronic neck pain. Once the results of the trial are available, it is hoped that this will enable recommendations to be made about the most suitable treatment/s for neck pain to be used within the NHS.
It is already known that both lessons in the Alexander Technique, or having some Acupuncture treatments can be effective in reducing problems such as neck pain but this has not been backed up by clinical research, so this is a very welcome study.
Richard Price Memorial Lecture 2011 ~ 28 September
Wendy Savage – Patients’ Choice and Doctors’ Responsibilities
This lecture is for everyone, particularly women, who wishes to be able to make choices about their own health. People who use the Alexander Technique are already learning how to help themselves make choices, everyday, about the way they use their bodies and so influence their health and wellbeing, so this lecture may well be of interest to them
Wendy Savage is an internationally renowned gynaecologist who has always campaigned for women to be able to make choices about fertilty, childbirth and abortion.
These lectures are always popular, so book in advance.
Venue: Unitarian Church Newington Green N16
Research shows that long working hours increases the risk of having a heart attack by a staggering 67%!
Now this is something that seems obvious to me as an Alexander Technique teacher but it is good to have some formal research published on the topic. There have been many occasions, unfortunately, when I have seen people overworking for long periods of time until they get really ill – in a variety of different ways it has to be said. At this point, they often have to stop work altogether for a while. But the good news is that they usually find that the Alexander Technique can be a very helpful tool to use to aid their recovery.
The lead researcher in this study of using information about working hours as a method of predicting heart attacks, Professor Kivimäki of UCL Epidemiology & Public Health, reports that people who worked more than 7-8 hours a day were 5% more likely to have a heart attack than people with a similar health background and heart risk level. Those that regularly worked 11 hours or more, increased that risk to a dramatic 67%.
Is working overtime really worth that level of risk?
The research suggests that Doctors need to include questions about work hours and lifestyle when assessing heart risk factors. It also encourages workers to look after themselves and to keep their working hours to around 7-8 hours a day.
Alexander Technique lessons can help people become more aware so they can modify the impact of overwork on their general health and wellbeing. Importantly, the Technique can help people avoid their own habits of overuse and misuse of their bodies, which can help the nervous and cardiovascular systems to calm down. As one consultant cardiologist put it:
‘The Alexander Technique is a realistic alternative to beta blockers in the control of stress-induced high blood pressure’.
Dr Bent Ostergaard – Consultant Cardiologist