This site is devoted to improving scientific understanding of the Alexander Technique (AT)—its principles, practices, reported and demonstrated benefits, and terminology. The content ranges from descriptions of direct experiments on the effects of AT lessons to focused explanations of relevant current science to rigorously researched history of the work. We reference recent peer-reviewed publications wherever possible.
We see this site as serving three primary audiences: Alexander Technique teachers and students who would like to better understand the work from a scientific perspective; scientists, medical professionals and other somatic or rehabilitation practitioners who are interested in the research basis for AT; and anyone who would like to explore scientific research on mind, movement, and posture.
As scientific methods, models, and cross-disciplinary research improve, science is becoming increasingly relevant to AT. Current science is quite exciting and has a lot to contribute to our understanding of AT. Scientists are also now studying AT directly. There is evidence supporting some of AT’s possible mechanisms and claimed benefits.
Here are some of the things that science can offer not only AT teachers, but anyone interested learning more about AT.
- Science can document. Two of the purposes of scientific research on the Alexander Technique are to describe what happens in lessons and document the benefits of lessons.
- Science can help explain. Scientific research is the basis for models that help explain how and why the Alexander Technique works.
- Science can give credibility. Scientific research is one of the foremost ways of testing ideas and procedures.
- Science can help communicate. Scientific research gives us new language to describe and discuss AT, especially with scientists and medical specialists.
There are, however, challenges to bringing scientific understanding to AT.
There is much about AT that cannot be explained by current science. AT concerns itself with changing complex habits of postural support, movement, and associated psychological states. These topics are not yet well understood scientifically and may resist simple scientific characterization for some time to come.
Just as importantly, some of the most common scientific ideas that AT teacher have historically used to explain AT are many decades out-of-date. Many AT websites, books, and presentations continue to refer to discredited, untested, or outdated scientific ideas. The AT community has a professional responsibility to stay up-to-date on these developments and to adjust its thinking and practices when necessary.
There are practical challenges as well. Science can be daunting to non-specialists. Terminology is often unfamiliar, theories can be complex, and much of the work of science is performed using mathematical and statistical tools that are unfamiliar to non-specialists. Our aim is that the posts on this website be accessible to a general audience, while remaining detailed enough to not distort the science.
There are thousands of scientific papers published each year. It’s hard for scientists to stay on top of their own field. Where does a non-specialist begin? We offer two lists of studies—one of studies that assess the health benefits of AT, another list of studies that explore how AT might work. These are not exhaustive lists of every study relevant to AT, but they offer a good place to begin to get an overview of current research.
We welcome your comments and questions. Thank you for visiting and enjoy!