Functional reach improvement in normal older women after Alexander Technique instruction

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1999 Jan;54(1):M8-11. doi: 10.1093/gerona/54.1.m8.


Background: Functional reach (FR) is a clinical measure of balance. The Alexander Technique (AT) is a nonexercise approach to the improvement of body mechanics. This study investigated a possible relationship between FR performance and AT instruction.

Methods: Three groups comprised of women older than 65, with the exception of one male control, were studied: (i) a pilot group, and (ii) experimental and (iii) control groups. Groups 1 and 2 were given eight 1-hour, biweekly sessions of AT instruction with pre- and posttests in FR, whereas Group 3 was given only pre- and posttests in FR.

Results: Groups 1 and 2 both showed significant improvement in FR performance. Group 2 was retested 1 month after posttest and showed a slight decrease in FR performance. For Groups 1 and 2, a questionnaire allowing qualitative responses on a four-item scale showed an overall positive response to the AT instruction.

Conclusions: AT instruction may be effective in improving balance and thereby reducing the incidence of falls in normal older women.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Image
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Rehabilitation / methods*
  • Self Concept