Alexander technique and Feldenkrais method: A critical overview

Sanjiv Jain, Kristy Janssen, Sharon DeCelle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Knowing how the body moves and responds seems simplistic. Being truly aware and attentive to the subtleties of that movement is a learned skill, however, that requires a concerted effort. Conventional physical therapy, biofeedback, yoga, meditation, and martial arts training are examples of activities that incorporate this awareness. The Alexander technique and Feldenkrais method focus on developing one's awareness of movement and provide the student the ability to improve that movement. The philosophy and method each technique uses to achieve that common goal differs. For motivated individuals, both techniques provide tools to improve functional quality of movement and improve quality of life. Each technique has been practiced for more than 50 years, in many countries, by thousands of students and teachers. Strong anecdotal experience supports its use and growing popularity. The core principle of improving awareness of one's movements resonates as a useful tool in improving dysfunction of movement. Current research-based evidence cannot guide clinicians, however, in determining the effectiveness of these techniques, the length of treatment needed, or for which patients it would be most effective. Prospective clinical studies with standardized outcome assessment tools would provide more objective evidence to support the utility of these techniques. Keeping an open mind, being motivated, and having a clear goal allow an individual to benefit from these techniques, while still remaining a critical consumer of health care options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-825
Number of pages15
JournalPhysical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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