How the Alexander technique can help those with Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition causing tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement. It can affect every aspect of a sufferers daily life making simple activities such as walking, rolling over in bed and crossing the road increasingly difficult. The common 'head forward stoop' when upright, sitting or walking can increasingly lead to back and leg pain and problems with balance and falling.
Learning the Alexander technique can help sufferers to improve their balance and co-ordination and as it is a self-help approach, they can put the methods of thinking and moving into practice at any time. This can help to relieve the anxiety and depression associated with the condition and improve self-confidence.
Research trials carried out in 1997, 2002 and 2005 showed that sufferers receiving Alexander lessons were more likely to carry out every day activities with increased ease and confidence.
Lessons also led to a decrease in the speed at which symptoms worsened and in the speed at which medication levels needed to rise.
Participants reported improvements in balance, posture and walking as well as increased coping ability and reduced stress.
As a result, the Alexander technique is the only therapy recommended by the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to help day-to-day movement for people with Parkinson's.
The trials showed that sufferers receiving Alexander lessons were more likely to:
- Find everyday actions easier and that the benefits could be sustained.
- Feel less downhearted.
- Feel more confident.
I have also seen first-hand the benefits that using the Alexander technique can bring. These include:
- A more upright, less ‘stooped’ posture.
- A reduction in back pain.
- An improvement in balance and walking.
- A reduction in ‘freezing’ when walking.
- Improved confidence and reduced anxiety.
- A (temporary) cessation of hand tremors.
Some of the comments they have made to me include:
- A mindful approach to movement and a general awareness of posture.
- Confidence building especially in adopting correct postures.
- Has helped me with my balance.
- Has helped me to understand the right and wrong way of doing things.
For further information about how the Alexander technique can help those with Parkinson's, please do not hesitate to contact me.
About the author
Jackie Bond has been teaching the Alexander technique for over 20 years and is passionate about promoting this little known but incredibly effective method for improving health and performance. She is also a qualified massage therapist and nutritional consultant. More information can be found on her website (view profile for details).
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