Alexander Technique for Pain Care
February 7, 2019
Ms. Laura Landro
Wall Street Journal
Dear Ms. Landro,
I read your article, “Pain Care Is Getting a New Prognosis” in today’s Wall Street Journal with interest. I am an Alexander Technique teacher, which means I help people use their cognitive thinking to become aware of habits that cause reactivity. Many people come because they have unfortunately learned to shorten, pull down, and compress, and those habits have led to pain and poor posture. Many students have also repeat habits in how they react to their aches and pains. They focus on them, project their fears, and the situation becomes worse.
I feel very lucky in having trained in a psychophysical educational practice that helps the whole person. Through conscious inhibition, my students learn to observe their situation without increasing anxiety or fear while also learning to use themselves better in all their actions. They learn to lengthen and widen, breathe better, move with more agility, and face their lives with poise.
It would be very helpful to your readers to include mention of the Alexander Technique when you name “holistic” approaches. There is a growing body of research on the Alexander Technique having to do with back pain, Parkinson’s disease, balance, and coordination, among other topics. I will mention just one, the back pain study reported by the British Medical Journal.
I hope you will take the opportunity to learn more about the Alexander Technique so you can inform your readers about it. You can start learning by going to my website, RuthRootberg.com and that of my professional organization, the American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT). The best way to learn what this Technique offers is to have a hands-on lesson, and you search the AmSAT website for a teacher near you.
Ruth Rootberg, M.AmSAT
At the time of the study, patients were referred to the Pain Clinic by their GP, where they saw one of four consultants who assessed the patient to see what treatment was suitable, such as medication, injections, psychological therapy, TENS, physiotherapy or acupuncture (as well as possible referral for a surgical opinion). The options also include a pain management programme for patients who have come to the end of the line in terms of treatment options. Using clear criteria for referral, the consultant referred patients with chronic or recurrent back pain who were not getting better, were not responding to conventional treatment and expressed an interest in AT lessons. All referred AT patients accepted an invitation to be part of the evaluation and were therefore included in the study.