Alexander Technique Lessens Back Pain
Gentle Awareness Brings Relief
Notoriously difficult to treat, chronic back pain may be behind more disability and days off from work than any other health condition. A recent study published by the British Medical Journal, involving more than 500 patients, concludes that practicing the Alexander Technique, an awareness practice to identify and correct unconscious negative physical habits related to posture and movement, breathing and tension, combined with moderate exercise, can help.
The patients were either given normal physician care, massage or six or 24 lessons of the technique, which helped them learn to align the head, neck and back muscles, release unnecessary restrictions and improve overall balance. Half the patients in each group were also assigned to walk briskly for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Massage provided pain relief for the corresponding group for the first three months, and then the benefit had to be reinstated. Patients trained in how to daily use knowledge acquired from practicing the Alexander Technique reported less pain and an ability to do more by the end of the year. Individuals that received six lessons and stuck to a recommended exercise routine did nearly as well as those that had 24 lessons.
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