COMPANION

Tim Cacciatore’s research

Research papers by Tim Cacciatore

‘Improvement in automatic postural coordination following Alexander Technique lessons in a person with low back pain’ by T. W. Cacciatore, et al.

This case report describes the use of the Alexander Technique with a client with a 25-year history of low back pain. After lessons, her postural responses and balance improved and her pain decreased. The introduction includes a thorough explanation of the Alexander Technique from a scientific perspective.[1]

‘Prolonged weight-shift and altered spinal coordination during sit-to-stand in practitioners of the Alexander Technique’ by T. W. Cacciatore, et al.

This study compared coordination of 15 teachers of the Alexander Technique to 14 healthy control subjects during rising from a chair, with the instruction as smoothly as possible, without using momentum. The movement patterns, the kinematics, were analysed from video (the subjects had markers on significant body points). The Alexander Technique teachers were able to achieve a smoother, more continuous movement than the control subjects, consistent with previous claims that the Alexander Technique teaches more efficient movement.[2]

‘Increased dynamic regulation of postural tone through Alexander Technique training’ by T. W. Cacciatore, et al.

This study quantified postural tone by measuring resistance in the hips, trunk, and neck to very slow twisting during standing. Comparing teachers of the Alexander Technique (who undergo 1600 hours of training over three years) to age-matched control subjects, resistance was 50% lower while phase advance was greater. Similar changes (to a lesser degree) occurred in subjects with lower back pain after undergoing ten weekly lessons in the Alexander Technique. These results suggest that the Alexander Technique enhances dynamic modulation of postural tone.[3]

‘Neuromechanical interference of posture on movement: evidence from Alexander technique teachers rising from a chair’ by T. W. Cacciatore, et al.

The sit-to-stand movement of ten Alexander Technique teachers and ten subjects with no experience of AT were measured. The subjects were asked to stand up at four different speeds, with the feet in three different positions. The study 1. provides strong evidence that untrained adults cannot mimic AT teachers’ smooth sit-to-stand coordination, 2. provides a plausible mechanism whereby leg and trunk stiffness explain the abrupt coordination of untrained adults just before lift-off, 3. suggests that the AT affects movement coordination through postural stiffness, and 4. provides basic evidence that the postural system can interfere with movement coordination.[4]

Potential Mechanisms of the Alexander Technique: Toward a Comprehensive Neurophysiological Model by Timothy W. Cacciatore, et al.

Referring to existing research propose the authors propose that the core changes brought about by Alexander Technique training are improvements in the adaptivity and distribution of postural tone, along with changes in body schema, and that these changes underlie many of the reported benefits. They suggest that AT alters tone and body schema via spatial attention and executive processes, which in turn affect low-level motor elements. To engage these pathways, AT strategically engages attention, intention, and inhibition, along with haptic communication. The uniqueness of the approach comes from the way these elements are woven together. Evidence for the contribution of these elements is discussed, drawing on direct studies of AT and other relevant modern scientific literature.[5]

Other writings by Tim Cacciatore

  • ‘Science and Alexander’ by Tim Cacciatore argues that science could not only help demonstrate the benefits of and define the Technique, but could help identify the Alexander Technique by the phenomenon of use itself, not by the set of procedures that are used for studying and teaching it.[6]
  • ‘General studies of the sit-to-stand movement’ by Tim Cacciatore discusses F. P. Jones’s and Chris Steven’s research into sit-to-stand, and summarises his own research into sit-to-stand.[7]
  • ‘Increased dynamic regulation of postural tone through Alexander Technique training’ by Korina Biggs and Tim Cacciatore reports on a study with 14 teachers and 15 control subjects, undergoing a slow, controlled twist in a machine which provides a measurement of postural tone. It was found that Alexander teachers had much lower resistance to twisting than control subjects.[8]
  • ‘Interference of posture on movement’ by Tim Cacciatore summarises the paper ‘Neuromechanical interference of posture on movement: evidence from Alexander technique teachers rising from a chair’[9]. The study 1. provides strong evidence that untrained adults cannot mimic AT teachers’ smooth sit-to-stand coordination, 2. provides a plausible mechanism whereby leg and trunk stiffness explain the abrupt coordination of untrained adults just before lift-off, 3. suggests that the AT affects movement coordination through postural stiffness, and 4. provides basic evidence that the postural system can interfere with movement coordination.[10]
  • ‘The physics of sit-to-stand’ by Patrick Johnson and Tim Cacciatore introduces the physics of sit-to-stand with respect to teaching and learning the Alexander Technique, including six ‘games’ for illustrating various points raised in the article.[11]

Writings on Tim Cacciatore’s work

  • ‘A scientific framework for the Alexander Technique’ report by Stephen Baxter of a lecture by Tim Cacciatore on the results of his recent research.[12]
References

[1] ‘Improvement in automatic postural coordination following Alexander Technique lessons in a person with low back pain’ by T. W. Cacciatore, et al. in Physical Therapy, vol. 85, issue 6 (2005), pp. 565–78.
[2] ‘Prolonged weight-shift and altered spinal coordination during sit-to-stand in practitioners of the Alexander Technique’ by Timothy W. Cacciatore, et al. in Gait and Posture vol. 34, no. 4 (22 July 2011), pp. 496–501.
[3] ‘Increased dynamic regulation of postural tone through Alexander Technique training’ by T. W. Cacciatore, et al. in Human Movement Science vol. 30, no. 1 (February 2011), pp. 74–89.
[4] ‘Neuromechanical interference of posture on movement: evidence from Alexander technique teachers rising from a chair’ by T. W. Cacciatore, O. S. Mian, A. Peters, B. L. Day in Journal of Neurophysiology vol. 112, no. 3 (1 August 2014), pp. 719–29.
[5] ‘Potential Mechanisms of the Alexander Technique: Toward a Comprehensive Neurophysiological Model’ by Timothy W. Cacciatore, Patrick M. Johnson, and Rajal G. Cohen in Kinesiology Review (National Academy of Kinesiology and the American Kinesiology Association, August 2020) vol. 9, issue 3, pp. 199–213.
[6] ‘Science and Alexander’ by Tim Cacciatore in Direction vol. 2, no. 10 edited by Jeremy Chance (Fyncot Pty Ltd., 2002), pp. 24–33.
[7] ‘General studies of the sit-to-stand movement’ by Tim Cacciatore in STATNews vol. 7, no. 6 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, September 2011), pp. 20–23.
[8] ‘Increased dynamic regulation of postural tone through Alexander Technique training’ by Korina Biggs and Tim Cacciatore in STATNews vol. 7, no. 5 edited by Ann James (STAT, May 2011), pp. 11–12.
[9] ‘Neuromechanical interference of posture on movement: evidence from Alexander technique teachers rising from a chair’ by T. W. Cacciatore, O. S. Mian, A. Peters, B. L. Day in Journal of Neurophysiology vol. 112, no. 3, pp. 719–29 (1 August 2014).
[10] ‘Interference of posture on movement’ by Tim Cacciatore in STATNews vol. 8, no. 7 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, September 2014), pp. 17–18.
[11] ‘The physics of sit-to-stand’ by Patrick Johnson and Tim Cacciatore in STATNews vol. 9, no. 5 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, September 2016), pp. 17–20.
[12] ‘A scientific framework for the Alexander Technique’ report by Stephen Baxter of a lecture given by Tim Cacciatore in STATNews vol. 6, no. 18 edited by Ann James (STAT, February 2006), pp. 12.
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