Randomized controlled trial of the Alexander Technique for idiopathic Parkinson’s disease
Clinical Rehabilitation (2002) 16 705-718
C Stallibrass, School of Integrated Medicine,University of Westminster;
P Sissons, Peta Sissons Consultancy;
C Chalmers, Department of Statistics, London School of Economics
Received 20th April 2002; returned for revisions 18th June 2002; revised manuscript accepted 3rd July 2002.
To determine whether the Alexander Technique, alongside normal treatment, is of benefit to people suffering disability from idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. Design: A randomized controlled trial with three groups, one receiving lessons in the Alexander Technique, another receiving massage and one with no additional treatment. Measures were taken pre- and post-intervention, and at follow-up, six months later.
The Polyclinic at the University of Westminster, Central London.
Ninety-three subjects with clinically confirmed idiopathic Parkinson’s disease.
The Alexander Technique group received 24 lessons in the Alexander Technique and the massage group received 24 sessions of massage. Main outcome measures: The main outcome measures were the Self-assessment Parkinson’s Disease Disability Scale (SPDDS) at best and at worst times of day. Secondary measures included the Beck Depression Inventory and an Attitudes to Self Scale.
The Alexander Technique group improved compared with the no additional treatment group, pre-intervention to post-intervention, both on the SPDDS at best, p = 0.04 (confidence interval (CI) -6.4 to 0.0) and on the SPDDS at worst, p = 0.01 (CI -11.5 to -1.8). The comparative improvement was maintained at six-month follow-up: on the SPDDS at best, p = 0.04 (CI -7.7 to 0.0) and on the SPDDS at worst, p = 0.01 (CI -11.8 to -0.9). The Alexander Technique group were comparatively less depressed post-intervention, p = 0.03 (CI -3.8 to 0.0) on the Beck Depression Inventory, and at six-month follow-up had improved on the Attitudes to Self Scale, p = 0.04 (CI -13.9 to 0.0).
There is evidence that lessons in the Alexander Technique are likely to lead to sustained benefit for people with Parkinson’s disease.
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