Chairwork: re-learning how to move easily into and out of a chair without compressing the spine or losing one's balance


"We already notice, with growing amazement, very striking improvements in such diverse things as high blood pressure, breathing, depth of sleep, overall cheerfulness and mental alertness, resilience against outside pressures, and in such a refined skill as playing a musical instrument."

Dr Nikolaas Tinbergen, Nobel Prize winner for medicine in 1973, discussing his family's experience of the Alexander Technique








Medical information

The Alexander Technique has been established internationally for more than 100 years and has had support from prominent physicians and surgeons ever since its inception. Doctors who are well-informed about the Technique are happy to refer their patients to AT teachers, and such referrals are on the increase as doctors gain experience of how cost-effective a course of lessons can be in the management of many disorders. Several Alexander teachers are doctors, physiotherapists or even dentists, themselves!

Analysing 'misuse'

When analysing our 'misuse' medically, invariably, the muscles of the neck are overcontracted, causing loss of free poise of the head on top of the spine. This leads to overcontraction of some muscles of the trunk, and lack of proper tone in other supporting muscles of the body. This results in exaggeration of the natural curves of the spine, harmful pressure on the vertebrae and on the joints, coupled with overwork in the arms and legs. In short, we get a state of affairs where the work of supporting the body is being wrongly distributed - the form of the body distorted - and important functions such as breathing, blood circulation and digestion are working inefficiently and under enormous strain.

Back pain study 2008

The most recent study on the work in relation to back pain was published in the British Medical Journal in August 2008. The study showed significant long-term benefit for back- pain after a course of lessons in the Alexander Technique. To read the study, click here.

Links to research and other sites

Medical and scientifically controlled research into the effectiveness of this work may be viewed on the following site, posted by STAT UK:

For information relating to dentists (published July 2009), see:

Dr Nikolaas Tinbergen, Nobel Prize winner

Dr Nikolaas Tinbergen, Nobel Prize winner for medicine in 1973, devoted half of his Nobel Prize acceptance speech to the Alexander Technique.

He noted, "This story of perceptivenss, of intelligence and of persistance shown by a man without medical training is one of the true epics of medical research and practice....Many types of underperformance and even ailments, both mental and physical, can be alleviated by teaching the body musculature to function differently...The evidence documented by Alexander and Dr Wilfred Barlow shows beneficial effects on a varietry of functions, including the "rag bag" of rheumatism; various forms of arthritis, respiratory troubles, and even potentially lethal asthma; circulation defects, which may lead to high blood pressure and also to some dangerous heart conditions; gastrointestinal disorders; various gynaecological conditions; sexual failures; migraines and depressive states; in short, a very wide spectrum of diseases, both somatic and mental, that are not caused by identifiable parasites."

"While no one would claim that the Alexander work is a cure-all in every case, there can be no doubt that it often does have profound and beneficial effects, both in the mental and physical sphere. " (Tinbergen, quoted in "More Talk of Alexander", by Dr Wilfred Barlow)