But can Alexander Technique HELP those with dystonia?

In another section of this blog there is a post about the Alexander Technique.

But what do others say about the use of the Alexander Technique and dystonia?

It is reasonable to conclude from Annie's post that Alexander Technique (AT) helped. She writes:

"Annie: Age 27
Spasmodic Torticollis
Treatments: Klonopin, Ativan, Lyrica, Botox (every three months, but last treatment did nothing), acupuncture, Alexander Technique.
Years Diagnosed: 1. I was diagnosed almost exactly one year ago, November 2008, I was lucky that my symptoms only started in October 2008.

So far, I've seen about a 70% improvement in my range of motion, but the pain has worsened"

A guitarist with focal dystonia writes:

"As things stand I’m partially recovered. I took Alexander Technique lessons for three years and found them a great help. I no longer take lessons but continue to apply the principles"

After watching this video:

"I have had dystonia for over15 years so can really relate. My friend is with me and I showed her your video and it helped her understand..I have found Alexander Technique helped me a lot!"

"I remember him mentioning that he has Focal Dystonia. He said he has been working with an Alexander Technique teacher and that it had helped him continue playing."

What about research? 

Objective: To determine whether the Alexander Technique, alongside normal treatment, is of benefit to people disabled by idiopathic Parkinson's disease. 
Design: A randomized controlled trial with three groups, one receiving lessons in the Alexander Technique, another receiving massage and one with no additional intervention. Measures were taken pre and post-intervention, and at follow-up, six months later

Results: The Alexander Technique group improved compared with the no additional intervention group, pre-intervention to post-intervention

Conclusions: There is evidence that lessons in the Alexander Technique are likely to lead to sustained benefit for people with Parkinson's disease

Spasmodic torticollis/cervical dystonia certainly gives you a lot of pain. This site tells us:

"The Alexander technique as a way of moving and thinking that eliminates the bad posture and movement habits that can lead to neck and shoulder pain. The Alexander technique teaches you to be aware of the sources of pain and the natural compression of muscles that occurs as the body tries to eliminate that pain. It emphasizes economy in movement to prevent jarring and straining actions, and body alignment to minimize the muscular strain that comes from holding the body in an unnatural position. Alexander technique lessons are low-impact and involve gentle hands-on instruction that helps you to release muscular tension and redevelop your natural poise."

This torticollis site says:

"A good posture may help. Check that your sitting position at work or at the computer is not poor (that is, not with your head flexed forward with a stooped back). Sit upright. Yoga, pilates, and the Alexander technique all improve neck posture, but their value in treating neck pain is uncertain."

So - what next?

Having Alexander Technique can be expensive!

The first thing you should/could do is read up about it. Learn what it involves. Try starting here.... 
You could read about it and/or watch dvds...

If you're in the UK here is how to find a teacher.

Here is how to CHOOSE a teacher.

Other Links:
You could try emailing this person who has experience with clients who have dystonia - but I am sure other teachers do have as well...

So - what does the above tell you?

1. According to some people with dystonia (especially cervical dystonia) there is a high chance the Alexander Technique will help you.

2. You can learn about the Alexander Technique through dvds and books

3. You can find - via the links - Alexander Technique teachers in the UK - and also you can read HOW to select one.

4. Notice also that teachers often reduce their rates for those on benefits etc.

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