David Garlick's open letter to other medical doctors
Alexander Technique can be described as a psycho-somatic,
re-educative technique that does not set out to be curative
but it may, in fact, have useful effects on musculoskeletal
and psychological states.
observations pointed out that the brain is designed to control
the musculoskeletal system at a subconscious level, allowing
the person to direct her/his attention to a variety of other
stimuli. The problem for the upright human is that a variety
of muscle strategies may become employed, in regard to being
upright and in carrying out movements, that are inappropriate-for
instance: overcontracted muscles around neck, shoulders, buttocks,
thighs etc and undercontracted postural muscles such as in
the lumbar region.
problems lay the basis for a range of chronic musculoskeletal
dysfunctions-tension headaches, neck problems, breathing problems,
low back problems, over-use/repetitive strain problems etc.
made insightful observations on how a person's attention can
be directed to the state of her/his muscles (developing the
proprioceptive sense, the 6th sense), learning how to begin
to stop inappropriate muscle strategies (termed "inhibition"
by Alexander) and how to lay the basis for easier, reflex
responses to gravity that result in effective strategies for
being upright and for undertaking movements. For this process
of allowing better strategies to develop in the person, Alexander
developed a set of "directions" related to the neck being
free or relaxed, the head in a direction of "forward and up"
and the back "lengthening and widening".
learning process, greatly assisted with the skilled hands
of a teacher of the Technique, is of value to any individual
as well as benefiting those with a range of musculoskeletal
and stress-induced conditions.
is interesting that the Technique has attracted the interest
and support of a wide range of eminent people including John
Dewey, America's leading educational and scientific philosopher;
Sir Charles Sherrington, Nobel Laureate in Physiology/Medicine
in 1932; Niko Tinbergen, Nobel Laureate in Physiology/Medicine
have undertaken research into some aspects of the Technique
and have referred to these in my booklet: The Lost Sixth Sense;
a medical scientist looks at the Alexander Technique.
D Garlick, Director, Sports Medicine Programs
Dr Garlick passed away on April 10, 2002. He will be greatly
missed by the Alexander community.
was a Physiologist and medical research scientist at the University
of New South Wales. He trained in Sydney as a teacher of the
David Garlick (1933 - 2002)
|British Medical Journal - October 2008
Current publication of a trial funded by The Medical Research Council and the NHS Research and Development Fund can be viewed in the British Medical Journal online www.bmj.com/channels/research.dtl. Randomised controlled trial of Alexander Technique lessons, Exercise and Massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain.