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Oprah Story Sparks Interest in Helpline on Alexander Technique for Back Pain Relief

April 14, 2009

London, UK -- It's a nagging health problem that affects nearly every adult in Western society at least once in his or her lifetime. It ranks near the top as the primary reason people see their doctors, according to the American Medical Association.

In 2005, North Americans spent more than $89 billion to alleviate its symptoms. In the UK, its overall cost to the NHS, business and the economy is estimated at £5 billion a year.

The culprit? Chronic back pain.

"Back pain is probably the number one quality-of-life killer," says Maryon Stewart, founder of the Natural Health Advisory Service, an advisory clinic created to help people deal with health, nutrition and aging issues naturally. "While back pain sufferers spend billions on searching for remedies and cures, for many, the answer can be as simple as paying attention to your posture."

Stewart will discuss ways to remedy back pain problems during a free telephone helpline on April 22. The call-in workshop was prompted by a recent article on back pain in the March issue of O magazine. To sign up for the call, visit

Alexander Technique Can Help Back Pain Sufferers
Today an exercise therapy that has long been popular with actors, musicians and athletes is gaining renewed attention from people with back problems. Known as the Alexander Technique, the non-medical therapy was developed in the late 1800s by Shakespearean actor Frederick M. Alexander who used it as way to reduce his chronic laryngitis and stage-related back pain. Alexander therapy lessons, taught by certified instructors, involve strengthening posture muscles and exercises on how to sit, stand and move around.

In a recent study, British researchers tracked 579 back pain sufferers for 12 months as they practiced Alexander Technique or received massage therapy. Half in each group also performed light aerobic exercises, such as walking.

Result? The researchers found that after 24 Alexander sessions, patients improved their ability to move freely by 45 percent. Those who followed the combination of Alexander sessions and doctor-prescribed exercises had only 3 three days of pain per month, while the control group had 21 days of pain during the month.

Most People Forget About Good Posture
"While it's not a magic bullet for everyone, the lessons learned certainly provide a simple, straightforward way to re-educate yourself on basic body movements," says Stewart. "Many of us tend to forget our posture when we're hunched over a computer or standing on our feet all day, and those poor habits can lead to severe back and joint problems."

In addition to remedying back pain, the Alexander Technique can help with other muscular problems including neck pain, upper limb disorders and tension problems.

"What's great about the Alexander Technique is that it's a self-help technique," says Carolyn Nicholls, a leading Alexander instructor. " During an Alexander lesson, the teacher guides the patient through simple movements such as standing up or sitting down in a chair. Instead of you passively being 'treated', you actively co-operate with the teacher and learn to work on your own treatment."

You can find more information on joint pain at While at the site, take the joint survey and sign up for the telephone workshop with Stewart and Nicholls who will answer your questions personally on how to use the Alexander Technique to increase activities once limited by back pain.

About Maryon Stewart
Maryon Stewart is well known in both the UK and Australia as a pioneer in the field on non-drug medicine and presenter of The Really Useful Health Show on TV. She is also founder of the Natural Health Advisory Service, an advisory clinic created to help people deal with health, nutrition and aging issues naturally. The NHAS is active in the fields of health education and research, and specializes in treating patients using scientifically tested natural methods without the use of drugs.

For more information contact:
Jan Howells
Natural Health Advisory Service Press Office
Phone: 01432 820610

Tricia Ryan
Natural Health Advisory Service Press Office
Phone: 416-259-6611

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