Injury type: Chronic

Category: Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Rating: No research

What is it?

The Alexander Technique is a form of education that enables the individual to recognise and overcome harmful tension in their body. It aims to change movement habits in our normal day to day lives. Alexander Technique involves a simple and practical method for improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support and coordination.

The instructor guides and teaches you the appropriate amount of effort for a particular activity, giving you more energy for all your activities. It is not a series of treatments or exercises, but rather a re-education of the mind and body. The Alexander Technique is a method which helps a person discover a new balance in the body by releasing unnecessary tension.

How does it work?

The technique is believed to work on the basis that the mind and body are in unity. The teacher’s hands work gently to encourage the release of over-tight muscles, the strengthening of those that have been under-used and to restore the correct relationship between the head, neck and back. The patient reinforces this process by a sequence of directed thought.

Is it effective?

There are no studies directly assessing the effectiveness of Alexander Technique and whiplash. However, this technique has been used to treat chronic neck pain, especially in combination with usual care. In a randomised controlled trial1,2, the Alexander Technique, when delivered in addition to usual care (i.e. treatments routinely provided by health professionals, such as medications and visits to physiotherapists), resulted in significantly greater improvements in pain and associated disability, as well as self-efficacy and self-care measures than usual care alone. These benefits were maintained for 12 months.

Are there any disadvantages?

No serious adverse effects have been reported in relation to Alexander Technique. Some patients may experience symptoms such as pain and incapacity, knee injury or muscle spasms. Most teachers consider twenty to forty lessons are generally required; therefore it may be an expensive treatment option.

Where do you get it?

A listing of teachers in your area can be found at the website for The Australian Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique. Consult the Yellow Pages for a listing of teachers.


The use of the Alexander Technique cannot be recommended following whiplash because of a lack of research evidence. More research is required.