The Alexander Technique—a system of movement-improvement exercises often learned by massage therapists—is considered effective by study participants who received it, according to new research.

To understand trial participants’ expectations and experiences of the Alexander Technique and exercise prescription, researchers at the Centre for Applications of Health Psychology, School of Psychology, gave study participants a questionnaire assessing attitudes to the intervention, according to an abstract published on www.pubmed.gov. The participants had already been in a trail that determined the Alexander Technique alleviated back pain.

Questionnaire responses indicated that attitudes to both interventions—the Alexander Technique or another type of exercise—were positive at baseline but became more positive at follow-up only in those assigned to lessons in the Alexander Technique.

Analysis of the interviews suggested that at follow-up many patients who had learned the Alexander Technique felt they could manage back pain better.

” Using the Alexander Technique was viewed as effective by most patients” the authors noted. “Acceptability may have been superior to exercise because of a convincing rationale and social support and a better perceived fit with the patient’s particular symptoms and lifestyle.

The research is running in the journal Family Practice.

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