Alexander Technique for People Living with Parkinson’s
The Alexander Technique offers people living with Parkinson’s self-management strategies that can help them gain more control of movement patterns, with potential improvements in balance, posture and walking. It can enable them to participate in everyday activities with greater confidence and minimal interference from symptoms.
The Walter Carrington Educational Trust at the Alexander Technique Imperial Wharf centre aims to further the work of F. M. Alexander and make it more available to people living with Parkinson’s. The Trust supported 4 teachers of the Alexander Technique to receive special training and get more experience in working with this population from autumn 2016. During spring 2017 four individuals who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease were offered the opportunity of having five free one-to-one Alexander lessons. In October 2017 a workshop for people with Parkinson’s – ‘Living with Parkinson’s – Exploring Possibilities with the Alexander Technique’ – and their care partners/helpers was sponsored by the Trust, followed by a scond workshop in November. This pilot project was successfully completed and more activities are being planned, please see the latest updates here.
All teachers involved are members of the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique and have undertaken special training in working with people living with Parkinson’s. These are the four teachers who have pioneered this initiative together with the Trust:
Liz Dodgson trained with the Carringtons about 16 years ago, and runs a private practice from home and from Roko Gym in Chiswick. She particularly delights in helping people to be able to return to enjoyable, pain-free activity and works regularly with runners in particular. Having had only one student with Parkinsonism during her sixteen years of practice prior to this initiative, she feels that a concerted effort may be needed if the benefits of AT are to be brought to this community.
Loretta Manson trained with the Carringtons at the Constructive Teaching Centre in London, graduating in 1997. She teaches at The Bloomsbury Alexander Centre in Holborn and at The Alexander Technique Studio in Wandsworth Common. A keen dancer from childhood, and now very involved with Lindy Hop and Argentine tango, Loretta was diagnosed early on with scoliosis and multiple joint problems. First-hand experience of living with long-term pain and fatigue gives Loretta particular insight into the challenges faced by pupils in need of relief from tension, pain, backache, low energy and mood. Loretta values the Alexander Technique as a constructive approach to managing our individual limitations and living as fully, freely and joyfully as possible.
Dai Richards trained with Carolyn Nicholls in Brighton qualifying in 2012 and currently teaches full time in Brighton, Hove and Shoreham by Sea. He has a broad and varied experience of working with movement, injury and recovery. He has an excellent track record of helping people with their painful conditions as well as performance in running, cycling, swimming, dancing, and skiing through the Alexander Technique. Recently Dai has been particularly active in taking AT into the traditional workplace.
Regina Stratil trained at the Alexander Technique Studio in London, qualifying in 2014, and now runs a private practice at the Alexander Technique Imperial Wharf centre. She has a particular interest in applying the Alexander Technique to movement and movement difficulties, having a strong movement background herself as a martial arts expert of 25 years’ experience. After studying Chloe Stallibrass‘ research on Alexander Technique and Parkinson’s and participating in a workshop with The Poise Project, she became passionate about the potential benefits of the Alexander Technique to the quality of life of people living with Parkinson’s. Regina is the connecting link to the Walter Carrington Educational Trust and has been instrumental in moving this initiative forward.
If you would like to know about current dates and info about workshops or lessons for people living with Parkinson’s and carers that are sponsored by the Trust please click here.
If you are an Alexander Technique teacher interested in Trust programmes for teachers please click here.
Here is a collection of relevant research and material around the Alexander Technique and Parkinson’s Disease.
A compilation of information on the Alexander Technique for Parkinson’s may also be found on the website of the American independent nonprofit organisation The Poise Project. We are grateful to Monika Gross, Executive Director of The Poise Project, for her generous support, advice and expertise.
Watch Canadian AT teacher Caprice Boisvert and Robert Davis explain how the Alexander Technique has helped Robert manage his Parkinson’s symptoms: