COMPANION

Hospitals and health services

F. M. Alexander

F. M. Alexander taught several doctors, especially in the 1920s and 1930s. In UoS Alexander dedicates a chapter to ‘Diagnosis and medical training’. Here he writes that

No diagnosis of a case can be said to be complete, unless the medical adviser gives consideration to the influence exerted upon the patient, not only by the immediate cause of the trouble (say, a germ invader), but also by the interference with functioning which is always associated with habitual wrong use of the mechanisms and helps to lower the patient’s resistance to the point where the germ invader gets its opportunity.[1]

Alexander goes to argue that since doctors are not trained to diagnose misuse, their diagnosis is incomplete. Hence it is necessary that

. . . the medical student taught how to consciously direct the use of his own mechanisms, he would be developing within himself a satisfactory standard in his sensory appreciation which would stand him in good stead in diagnosing defects in others.[2]

A letter published in British Medical Journal, signed by 19 doctors, argues for the study of Alexander’s work by medical students, and urges an investigation into Alexander’s work and technique.[3] It was reproduced in UCL,[4] and in A Means To An End.[5]

Teaching in hospitals and health services

  • ‘Working within the NHS’ by Simon Scott; on a pilot study, providing Alexander Technique lessons at the pain clinic at Kingston Hospital.[6]
  • ‘Alexander lessons on the N.H.S.’ by Jill Freeman reports on giving lessons at her home with referrals from a G.P. practice, arranging a minimum of 10 lessons per patient, twice weekly.[7]
  • ‘Working with a cancer support group’ by Penny Ingham; on working with a local cancer support group since 1988, seeing pupils referred by medical staff, around 16 people a week, about two thirds of whom are cancer patients, the rest supporting partners and bereaved.[8]
  • ‘Working in the NHS’ by Miriam Wohl.[9]
  • ‘Alexander Technique and the medical profession’ by Miriam Wohl; on teaching in Health Promotion Clinics.[10]
  • ‘Description of Alexander Technique work within the complementary medicine unit of Hadassah Hospital’ by Mervyn Waldman; a brief description of teaching in an out-patient department, and of teaching more seriously disabled pupils, often suffering from neurological diseases.[11]
  • ‘Working with the NHS?’ by Sue Fleming and Liz Jeannet reports from the NHS Commissioning Course, following the premise that the NHS will increasingly be a commissioner of services rather than a provider of services.[12]
  • ‘Reflections on working in the NHS’ by Karen French, Claudia Benson, Louise Hemphrey, Dee Fitzgerald; on experiences on teaching within the British NHS (National Health Service), in pain clinics.[13]
  • Teaching the medical profession
  • ‘The Alexander Technique in medical education’ by Medea Frangoulis and Peter Ribeaux reports on introducing the Alexander Technique to third year students at St. George’s Hospital Medical School as part of their curriculum.[14]
  • ‘Getting clinical with your practice’ by Paul Marsh reports on a discussion at the 11th Congress, 2018, in Chicago, on working with the medical profession.[15]

Research

‘The impact of the Alexander Technique on improving posture and surgical ergonomics during minimally invasive surgery: Pilot study’ by Pramod P. Reddy, Trisha P. Reddy, Jennifer Roig-Francoli, Lois Cone, et. al.

Seven surgeons took a routine basic skill test in minimally invasive surgery and underwent an assessment of posture. The tests were repeated after eight Alexander Technique sessions consisting of two group sessions and six one-to-one lessons delivered by AmSAT teachers. Compared with the tests before lessons, significant improvements were observed in postural endurance and in tests of surgical skills.[16]

See also Diagnosis, Pain, Cancer.

References

[1] The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1939), p. 93.
[2] The Use of the Self by F. Matthias Alexander (Methuen, 1939), p. 105.
[3] ‘Constructive Conscious Control’ by Bruce Bruce Porter, D. Ligat, J. R. Caldwell et al. in the British Medical Journal, 29 May 1937, p. 1137.
[4] The Universal Constant in Living by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 2000), pp. 13–14.
[5] ‘Constructive Conscious Control’ by Bruce Bruce Porter, D. Ligat, J. R. Caldwell et al. in A Means To An End – Articles and Letters on the Alexander Technique 1909–1955 edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 2015), pp. 13–14.
[6] ‘Working within the NHS’ by Simon Scott in STATNews vol. 4, no. 1 edited by Adam Nott and Malcolm Williamson (STAT, September 1991), p. 1.
[7] ‘Alexander lessons on the N.H.S.’ by Jill Freeman in STATNews vol. 4, no. 7 edited by Malcolm Williamson (STAT, September 1993), p. 8.
[8] ‘Working with a cancer support group’ by Penny Ingham in The Alexander Journal no. 14 edited by Adam Nott (STAT, 1995), pp. 31–35.
[9] ‘Working in the NHS’ by Miriam Wohl in STATNews vol. 4, no. 13 edited by Malcolm Williamson (STAT, September 1995), p. 18.
[10] ‘Alexander Technique and the medical profession’ by Miriam Wohl in STATNews vol. 4, no. 15 edited by Malcolm Williamson (STAT, June 1996), p. 20.
[11] ‘Description of Alexander Technique work within the complementary medicine unit of Hadassah Hospital’ by Mervyn Waldman in The Congress Papers 1996, Back to Basics edited by Shmuel Nelken (Shmuel Nelken, 1999), pp. 205–06.
[12] ‘Working with the NHS?’ by Sue Fleming and Liz Jeannet in STATNews vol. 6, no. 29 edited by Ann James (STAT, September 2009), pp. 22–23.
[13] ‘Reflections on working in the NHS’ by Karen French, Claudia Benson, Louise Hemphrey, Dee Fitzgerald in STATNews vol. 9, no. 3 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, January 2016), pp. 14–17.
[14] ‘The Alexander Technique in medical education’ by Medea Frangoulis and Peter Ribeaux in STATNews vol. 6, no. 11 edited by Ann James (STAT, September 2003), pp. 17–19.
[15] ‘Getting clinical with your practice’ by Paul Marsh in STATNews vol. 9, no. 11 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, September 2018), p. 22.
[16] ‘The impact of the Alexander Technique on improving posture and surgical ergonomics during minimally invasive surgery: Pilot study’ by Pramod P. Reddy, Trisha P. Reddy, Jennifer Roig-Francoli, Lois Cone, et. al. in The Journal of Urology vol. 186 (October 2011), pp. 1658–62.
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