Alexander technique for chronic asthma

During an asthma attack, the airways narrow, causing breathing problems, wheezing and coughing. Asthma can be caused by allergies, pollens, stress or air pollution and can be fatal. The Alexander Technique is a form of physical therapy involving a series of movements designed to correct posture and bring the body into natural alignment and aid relaxation. The Alexander technique has been used by people with asthma, to try and improve breathing. The review of trials found there was not enough evidence to show the effects of the Alexander Technique in reducing the need to use medication for asthma. More research is needed.

Authors' conclusions: 

Robust, well-designed randomised controlled trials are required in order to test claims by practitioners that AT can have a positive effect on the symptoms of chronic asthma and thereby help people with asthma to reduce medication.

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Background: 

'The Alexander technique' is a taught form of physical therapy involving a series of movements designed to correct posture and bring the body into natural alignment with the object of helping it to function efficiently, and is reported to aid relaxation. Some practitioners claim benefits for those who desire greater ease and efficiency of breathing, including asthmatics.

Objectives: 

The objective of this review was to evaluate the efficacy of the Alexander technique in people with chronic, stable asthma.

Search strategy: 

We searched the Cochrane Airways Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field trials register and the bibliographies of relevant articles. The most recent search was run in June 2012.

Selection criteria: 

Randomised controlled trials of Alexander technique (AT) for the improvement of the symptoms of chronic, stable asthma, comparing the treatment with either another intervention or no intervention.

Data collection and analysis: 

No trials were found that met the selection criteria.

Main results: 

No meta-analysis could be performed.