Articles

At Home, April 2013
Bad Back? What can you do about it? by Dr Christian Jessen
Back problems are common, and can range from the odd niggle to debilitating agony that stops you living a normal life… During any one year, up to half of adults in the UK will have back pain, according to the charity, BackCare (www.backcare.org.uk).  The most common is lower back pain, between the bottom of the rib cage and the top of the legs, and symptoms range from ‘tension and stiffness to pain and soreness’, according to the NHS (www.nhs.uk). So how can you ease the symptoms? ‘When back pain strikes, we know now that the old prescription of “best rest” only serves to prolong recovery,’ says Dr Adam Al-Kashi, head of research at BackCare. ‘An over-the-counter painkiller, perhaps combined with a heat or cold pack (depending on your preference), is often enough to allow you to keep moving. Movement aids recovery; but nothing too vigorous.’ Read More.

Irish Times, April 2013
Alexander Technique helps poise and balance in older people

Alexander Technique teachers from Australia, North and South America and Europe gathered in Dublin last week to share their knowledge and experience of this postural education first developed by Australian actor, Frederick Matthias Alexander in the nineteenth century. The Alexander Convention, held in the Emmaus Retreat Centre in Swords was organised by Galway-based Alexander Technique teacher, Richard Brennan and Glenna Batson, an American Alexander Technique teacher, dancer and recently retired professor of physiotherapy who also has a doctorate in neuroscience. What’s interesting about Batson is her interdisciplinary knowledge and also more recently, her passion for research into how dance or the Alexander Technique to help older people maintain their balance.  Read More.

Evening Standard, March 2012
iPad Hand: the new RSIs

Our obsession with smartphones and tablets is becoming a real pain. New technology is supposed to make improvements to our lives. With our tablets and smartphones we can now work on the move, find information instantly and be in constant contact. But if your devotion to your gadget has started to be a pain in the neck — or the hand, the shoulder or the fingers, then you’re not alone, because our commitment to our devices has started to cause us repetitive strain injuries (RSI) — dubbed iPad shoulder, iPhone neck and the latest affliction, iPad hand. Read More

National Public Radio, March 2011
Alexander Technique: A Balm For Back Pain?

If you ever saw the musicals “Wicked” in San Francisco or “Cats” on the road, you’ve probably heard Joe Rodriguez blasting on his trumpet. I met him recently at the musicians’ union hall in downtown San Francisco. But hitting those notes night after night in a cramped orchestra pit takes a toll on the musicians. “The fact of having your arms up and carrying the weight of this instrument and pushing the instrument toward you and so you have this stress, this wall you’re pushing against,” says Rodriguez. “And a well designed instrument will push back.” He’s been a working trumpet player for four decades, and all that back-arching and shoulder-pinching has left him with chronic pain in his lower back. Research suggests an alternative therapy called Alexander Technique may be an effective way to treat back pain. Read More

Daily Express March 2011
Perfect Poise Could Banish My Backache

An entirely mental discipline can have an impressive effect on chronic spinal pain. The second-best thing about learning the Alexander Technique with Noël Kingsley is that you get a lot of congratulations for tiny things. I am sitting in an ordinary chair in his consulting room in London’s West End and he is gently prodding the back of my neck and shoulders. He wants me to think “lead with the head”, just think it not do it, as he nudges me forward. I hinge at the hip and end up in a standing position. Read More

Evening Standard March 2011
Bad posture is a pain in the neck

After hours of writing, I can set the clock by the pain at the top of my shoulders and around my neck. It goes if I avoid my desk but returns the minute I sit down again in front of the computer. Barring some kind of psychosomatic allergy to working, clearly my posture is to blame. Read More

Daily Mail February 2011
How to walk tall and stay pain free like former James Bond Pierce Brosnan


You might not think the act of standing would be fraught with problems given that we have two legs for the purpose, writes Noel Kingsley. Last week we told how the Alexander Technique helped posture and poise. Among its fans is former James Bond Pierce Brosnan. This week we look at how it can help standing without strain. Read More

Independent February 2011
Bad Back. Bend Like Beckham!

Most of us will suffer from a bad back at some time – whether it’s a slight twinge or a prolapsed disc that confines us to bed for weeks at a time. The underlying cause of the majority of all back pain is a bad posture, but there is a method that aims to increase our poise and reduce back complaints. The Alexander Technique is a self-help method that enables us to stop harmful patterns of movement and posture that interfere with the body working efficiently. Read more

Dallas Morning News September 2010
Alexander Technique Helps Reduce Chronic Back Pain


Anna Zimmerman’s back pain consumed her to the point she could not lift her arm for a month, which worried the aspiring violinist. The 21-year-old University of North Texas student saw doctors who ran tests and prescribed medicine, but nothing relieved her suffering. Two years ago, she paid a visit to Phyllis Richmond, who offered a remedy called the Alexander technique, a century-old method used often by performers to improve their posture and coordination. Since then, Zimmerman’s pains have decreased and her movement has been restored. Read More

KNITTING June 2009
Are you sitting comfortably? 


It’s not just your yarn that can get knotted. Clare Kelly explores how the Alexander Technique can ease a painful knitting posture Picture your perfect afternoon – steaming cup of tea, a bar of – the smoothest chocolate, your favourite film and, of course, your current WIP (work in progress). Sounds idyllic doesn’t it? But imagine the scene a few hours in – achy shoulders, a complicated pattern and knots not only in your WIP but your back too. Most of us have experienced the aches and strains from working in front of a computer all day – you might have even had a bout of Repetitive Strain Injury, but did it ever cross your mind that the way you knit could also be a cause for concern? Read More

BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL 20 August 2008
Randomized controlled trial of Alexander Technique lessons, Exercise And Massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain

In adults with recurrent or chronic low back pain, all three interventions led to better self reported function and less pain at three months, but only exercise prescribed by general practitioners and training in the Alexander Technique had sustained benefit at one year (MRCT ATEAM trial). Supervised exercise is effective but needs to be tailored to patients’ preferences and expectations. Read More

TELEGRAPH 11 July 2008
The knowledge: how to improve your posture


Standing too straight is just as bad as slouching, says Brita Forsstrom, an expert in the Alexander Technique. Make it Easy. ‘Good’ posture is surprisingly effortless – we only need actively to use 14 out of 640-odd muscles for standing up. And although ‘bad’ posture is most often identified as slouching, standing up straight like a sergeant major, poking the chest out and tilting the head back is actually just as unhealthy. You should also watch out for leaning down on to one hip, and pulling the shoulders back, too. Read More

PRIMA June 2008
Alexander Technique and RSI


Fran Giaquinto, 51, from Tulla, County Clare, Ireland, feared the pain in her hands could stop her from working. “I’m a laboratory researcher, which involves fine movements with my hands and fingers. Eight years ago, this suddenly became extremely painful. The pain was shooting up my hands into my forearms and shoulders and, after a few weeks, it was so excruciating that after 15 minutes of any type of work involving my arms – washing up, driving, writing, working on the computer – I was in tears with the sickening, deadly aching pain. My doctor referred me to a physiotherapist, who said mine was the most severe and extensive case of repetitive strain injury (RSI) that she had ever seen. She warned me that I was unlikely ever to recover fully – and I began to wonder if I’d ever work again. I spent thousands of pounds visiting osteopaths, chiropractors and massage therapists, and although they all provided some relief, it never lasted. Then a colleague recommended an Alexander Technique teacher. I went for my first appointment with her in September 2000. I was in too much pain to do any kind of exercise, so all I did was to lie on the couch while she took me systematically around my body, encouraging me to tense each muscle and then relax it. I went for a total of ten sessions over the next two weeks and, by the end, the pain started to disappear. I went for further lessons once a week and after four months, my life was totally unaffected by RSI. I’m staggered by the results!”

GUARDIAN 2nd October 2007
Postures New (excerpts)

Once, the phrase “good posture” brought to mind either a violently perpendicular, ramrod-backed sergeant major stance, or a deportment class full of debutantes balancing books on their heads. Nowadays, the definition of good posture cleaves to a far more natural ideal….The most popular ways of doing this are currently yoga, pilates and the Alexander Technique….. The Alexander Technique is a more fundamental approach than either pilates or yoga. It aims to teach people to regain the natural poise we all had as children. “It’s about unlearning bad habits and giving you a gentle awareness, at the back of your mind all the time, about the right, loose, free natural way we all used to do things at one point in our lives,” says Noel Kingsley, Alexander teacher.

GUARDIAN 13th July 2004
Back to basics
Are you a slumper?

Ashley Seager was, but cured his bad posture – and his chronic back pain – with the Alexander Technique. Many people will have heard of the Alexander technique but have only a vague idea what it is about. Until earlier this year, I didn’t have the faintest idea about it. But, hunched over a computer screen one day, I noticed that the neck- and backache I regularly suffered were more painful than usual. Read More