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Practice of Jeremy Woolhouse, pianist and Alexander Technique Teacher in Melbourne, Australia

Specialist in working with musicians, RSI, posture re-education, neck, back and chronic pain management. 

Health Funds and the Evidence for Alexander Technique

Articles on Alexander Technique in life - by Jeremy Woolhouse

Monthly blog articles by Jeremy Woolhouse.  Alexander Technique for daily life, music performance, specialised activities, pain relief and management.

Health Funds and the Evidence for Alexander Technique

Jeremy Woolhouse

The Australian Federal Government is introducing legislation effectively preventing private health funds from continuing to offer rebates for Alexander Technique lessons from April 1st 2019.

The reasoning is being advertised as “no clear evidence demonstrating the efficacy of the excluded natural therapies.”  [1]

There is high quality evidence for the effectiveness of Alexander Technique.

The British Medical Journal reported a clinical trial showing people with chronic lower back pain experienced significant relief from 6 Alexander Technique lessons.  Reviewing after one year, those that had Alexander Technique lessons had pain for an average of 3 days per month while those who had normal care averaged 21 days of pain every month. [2]

The Annals of Internal Medicine published a trial on chronic neck pain where patients taking Alexander Technique lessons had more than a 30% reduction in pain. [3] Comparatively, physical therapy and exercise lead to only about a 9% reduction in pain.   At a 12 month review, those who received Alexander Technique had sustained reductions in pain of around 30%. [4]

Clinical Rehabilitation Journal published a study on Parkinson’s Disease which showed those receiving Alexander Technique demonstrated an increased ability in daily activities.  This improvement was sustained 6 months later.  The group that received Alexander lessons recorded a lower dosage increase in medication than the norm for this condition.  [5]

The British Alexander Technique Society lists over 50 papers with themes including pain. balance, postural tone, osteoarthritis, ergonomics and musical performance. [6]  The evidence for Alexander Technique has satisfied the UK National Health Service who fund Alexander Technique in their outpatient pain clinics.  [7]

The review criteria set by the review panel were exceptionally severe and prohibitive for a profession represented by a small population.

The Alexander Technique profession is represented in over 40 countries.  In Australia there are about 140 teachers.  The Australian professional society is financially unable to fund clinical trials in the quantity demanded by the review.  There are no commercial or corporate investments in Alexander Technique and research funding from university, government and philanthropic institutions is limited.

The authors of Alexander Technique studies consistently conclude from their trials that further research is warranted.

The legislative changes will make it much harder for Alexander Technique research to take place in Australia.  It creates complications to research proposals at hospitals or clinics whose patients receive rebates.

It is still possible for changes to the review to be made. 

You can lobby the minister for health, Greg Hunt, and your local representative.

Help raise awareness of Alexander Technique.

You can raise public awareness of Alexander Technique by talking to people in your networks about your experience.  There are many Alexander Technique interest groups online where you can receive news feeds.  Share stories about Alexander Technique on social media.  

You can register your interest in making a donation towards Alexander Technique research with the professional society via

For more information, talk to your teacher or contact the professional society, AUSTAT. 



  2. Randomised controlled trial of Alexander technique lessons, exercise, and massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain. BMJ. 2008;337:a884.

  3. Alexander Technique Lessons or Acupuncture Sessions for Persons With Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2015; 163(9):653-662. abstract/2467961/alexander-technique-lessons-acupuncture-sessions-persons-chronic-neck-pain-randomized

  4. Self-efficacy and self-care-related outcomes following Alexander Technique lessons for people with chronic neck pain in the ATLAS randomised, controlled trial. Eur J Integr Med. 2018 Jan; 17: 64–71.

  5. Randomized controlled trial of the Alexander technique for idiopathic Parkinson's disease. Clin Rehabil. 2002 Nov;16(7):695-708.



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