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Chest. 1992 Aug;102(2):486-90.

Enhanced respiratory muscular function in normal adults after lessons in proprioceptive musculoskeletal education without exercises.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York 10032.


A subjective sense of enhanced ease of breathing has been described after instruction in the Alexander technique of proprioceptive musculoskeletal education (awareness and voluntary inhibition of personal habitual patterns of rigid musculoskeletal constriction). We investigated the effects of AT instruction on respiratory function in healthy adult volunteers (group 1, ten subjects), who received 20 private AT lessons at weekly intervals. Spirometric tests, including maximum static mouth pressures, were assessed before and after each course of lessons. Healthy control subjects, matched for age, gender, height, and weight (group 2, ten subjects), without instruction, were tested over a similar interval. Group 1 showed significant increases in PEF (9 percent, p less than .05), MVV (6 percent, p less than .05), MIP (12 percent, p less than .02), and MEP (9 percent, p less than .005) (paired Student's t testing). Group 2 showed no significant changes. Possible mechanisms for the changes in group 1 include increased length and decreased resting tension of muscles of the torso, which in turn may increase their strength, increase thoracic compliance, and/or enhance coordination. We conclude that AT musculoskeletal education may enhance respiratory muscular function in normal adult subjects.

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