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Clin Rehabil. 2015 Mar;29(3):244-60. doi: 10.1177/0269215514542636. Epub 2014 Jul 15.

Can the Alexander Technique improve balance and mobility in older adults with visual impairments? A randomized controlled trial.

Author information

1
Injury Division, The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Australia.
2
Musculoskeletal Division, The George Institute for Global Health, The University of Sydney, Australia.
3
Statistical Division, The George Institute for Global health, The University of Sydney, Australia.
4
Injury Division, The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Australia lkeay@georgeinstitute.org.au.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the impact of Alexander Technique lessons on balance and mobility in older adults with visual impairments.

DESIGN:

Randomized assessor blinded controlled trial with intervention and usual care control groups.

SETTING:

Participants' homes.

SUBJECTS:

A total of 120 community-dwellers aged 50+ with visual impairments.

INTERVENTION:

Twelve weeks of Alexander lessons and usual care.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Short Physical Performance Battery items were primary outcomes at 3 months and secondary outcomes at 12 months. Additional secondary outcomes were postural sway, maximal balance range and falls over 12 months.

RESULTS:

Between-group differences in primary outcomes were not significant. The intervention group reduced postural sway on a firm surface with eyes open at 3 months after adjusting for baseline values (-29.59 mm, 95%CI -49.52 to -9.67, P < 0.01). Planned sub-group analyses indicated a greater intervention effect among past multiple-fallers (2+) than non-multiple fallers for gait speed (P = 0.02) and step length (P < 0.01) at 3 months and chair stand at 12 months (P < 0.01). There was a non-significant reduction in falls rate (IRR = 0.64, 95%CI 0.34 to 1.15, P = 0.13) and injurious falls (IRR = 0.61, 95% CI 0.28 to 1.30, P = 0.20) in the intervention group compared to the control group.

CONCLUSION:

The intervention did not have a significant impact on the primary outcomes but benefits for the intervention group in postural sway, trends towards fewer falls and injurious falls and improved mobility among past multiple-fallers suggest further investigation of the Alexander Technique is warranted.

KEYWORDS:

Alexander Technique; Visual impairment; balance; mobility

PMID:
25027444
DOI:
10.1177/0269215514542636
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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