Actively engaged in a continuous learning session at Alexander Technique Congress


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course code: WS586

how posture affects movement: tim cacciatore's recent scientific studies of alexander technique

john nicholls, presenting at the Alexander Technique Congress 2015 patrick johnson, presenting at the Alexander Technique Congress 2015

with john nicholls and patrick johnson
friday aug 14, 14:00 - 16:00
venue: John Holland Theatre, Main Building (level 1)

O other (science)

Despite evidence of clinical benefits, almost no basic research exists on the AT's mechanisms. In this presentation we present a recent line of research from Dr. Tim Cacciatore and colleagues at the Institute of Neurology, University College London into the physiology and mechanics of the AT. This work demonstrates Alexander technique teachers can both learn from, and teach things to scientists. Unfortunately Dr. Cacciatore is unable to attend this congress, but the presenters believe that his work forms an essential contribution to its theme.

Three main studies build on each other. The first experimentally quantifies differences in coordination between AT teachers and untrained subjects during sit to stand (1). The second goes further by adding an additional twist to the sit to stand movement to create a clear task that AT teachers can do and untrained subjects cannot (2). This clarification allows the scientists to delve deeper into what is really going on during this movement. The third, on postural tone, helps clarify the source of difficulty (3). Together this body of work weighs in on mechanical advantage, use affects function and the potential importance of chair work. More importantly, it addresses a poorly understood basic research question: how postural support shapes movement coordination.

We will set the stage with a broad introduction and then dive into the essential details of this work. We will also leave plenty of time for questions and discussion. You should leave the workshop with a practical understanding of this cutting edge research and how it relates to your own experiences with the Alexander technique.

1) Cacciatore TW, Gurfinkel VS, Horak FB, and Day BL. Prolonged weight-shift and altered spinal coordination during sit-to-stand in practitioners of the Alexander Technique. Gait Posture 34: 496-501, 2011.

2) Cacciatore TW, Mian OS, Peters A, and Day BL. Neuromechanical interference of posture on movement: evidence from Alexander technique teachers rising from a chair. J Neurophysiol 112: 719-729, 2014.

3) Cacciatore TW, Gurfinkel VS, Horak FB, Cordo PJ, and Ames KE. Increased dynamic regulation of postural tone through Alexander Technique training. Human Movement Sci 30: 74-89, 2011.

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