Abstract

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.