Research Grant Recipients

January 2020

The 2020 AmSAT research grant was awarded to Nicola Hanefeld, MSTAT, who with her collaborators Dr. Lesley Glover and Prof. Julie Jomeen of the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Hull, worked to complete the study “How do women use the Alexander Technique in the early postpartum period?”

The objectives of the current study are to discover if/how applying the AT in the postpartum relates to self-care and well-being; to understand if/how women with AT experience use it whilst feeding/carrying or otherwise; to learn if/how AT skills are employed regarding tension-related lower back, neck and shoulder pain; to understand if/how AT experience is used regarding coping with fatigue, sleep disturbances and sleep deficit; to learn if/how AT experience is brought into the interactions and the relationship with the infant.

Potential benefits of the study include contributing to the topic of holistic self-management within the field of preventive health care in terms of the role Alexander Technique can play in this field, and raising awareness of the under-researched ‘working conditions’ of the postpartum.

January 2019

The 2019 AmSAT research grant was awarded to Audre Wirtanen and her co-investigators Harlan Fichtenholtz, and his students at the Keene Affective Neuroscience Lab at Keene State College, “Alexander Technique and physiological measures of inhibition and initiation of motor planning, decision-making, and motor output.” Ann Rodiger served as the Alexander Technique Consultant.

The objective of the current study is to investigate differences in motor preparation, decision-making in the brain, and other physiological features of motor execution during binary tasks that prompt subjects to initiate or inhibit a motor response in people with at least 500 hours of Alexander Technique (AT) teacher training compared to healthy controls. These physiological measures were collected using a 32-channel Electroencephalography (EEG) cap to quantify neural activity, Electromyography (EMG) to quantify muscle activation, and a twin-axis goniometer to measure kinematic features of movement. The purpose of this study is to further investigate neuromuscular re- patterning in people with significant exposure to the Alexander Technique.

January 2017

The 2018 AmSAT research grant was awarded to Co-Principal Investigators Rajal Cohen and Monika Gross to conduct their investigations, Alexander Technique for Care Partners of People Living with Parkinson’s Disease. The project’s purpose is (a) to assess the benefits of group classes in Alexander Technique for caregivers of people with Parkinson’s disease, and (b) to collect and analyze data about the impact of this study for presentation and publication.

They have developed a ten-week AT-based group course called “Partnering with Poise: Retaining Self as Care Partners of People Living With Parkinson’s Disease” designed by Gross and Belinda Mello. The AT classes include a focus on improving the management of physical demands of caregiving through improved movement and posture. The classes also address the critical issue of caregiver loss of Self, and the subsequent danger of “burnout”, through the implementation of AT principles of self-orientation, agency, inhibition, and choice.

Local leaders in the Parkinson’s disease community (including the Executive Director of the Parkinson’s Association of the Carolinas) assisted in finding the location for the classes and are assisting in recruiting participants. Cohen and Gross will deliver the course at six sites across North Carolina with a total of up to 96 participant caregivers. Several other Alexander Technique teachers including Ashley Hyers, Corinne Cassinni, and Judith Saxton will deliver the instruction. When the project expands to Washington D.C. instruction will be delivered by Anne McDonald and Diana Bradley.

This is the first study of AT group classes for caregivers. Caregivers are an underserved population with needs that AT may well address. Group AT classes, if effective, would make the work widely accessible while also reducing the burden of loneliness and increasing the retention of self.

Information about the results of their research will be available to members in the AmSAT Journal and/or at a future ACGM.

January 2016

The AmSAT Research Committee has awarded the 2016 AmSAT research grant to Co Prinicipal Investigators Ann Rodiger, Carol Boggs and Ed Bouchard to conduct their investigations Alexander Technique Teacher Competency Assessment Project 2016 Conference at Balance Arts Center. The project’s purpose is(a) to test the hypothesis whether scientifically rigorous measurement methods will show a coherent logic represented by AT teacher knowledge, and (b) to employ that logic to construct an AT teacher assessment protocol. The applicants are systematically developing an AT teacher assessment instrument according to scientific assessment standards using item analysis modeling (IRM). The first three years of the project have mainly been distilling AT teacher knowledge. This phase of the project will organize the conceptual information and shape it into a form suitable for instrument pilot testing. Information about their research will be available to members in the AmSAT Journal and/or at a future ACGM.

January 2015

Five very professional and promising grant proposals were reviewed and assessed by a panel of peer experts. The AmSAT Research committee has awarded the grant to John Baron and his co-investigators Dr. David Anderson and Dr. Kate Hamel of San Francisco State University for their study, “Fall Risk, Balance and Mobility in Older Adults with and without Alexander Technique Training”.  

The ultimate goal of the current proposal is to determine whether lessons in the Alexander Technique (AT) can improve gait and minimize fall risk in older adults, particularly those older adults already at heightened risk for falls. The logical first step toward accomplishing this goal is to examine the differences in gait, mobility, and fall risk behavior in older adults with significant experience in the AT and age-matched older adults with no AT training. The specific aims for the first phase of this project are to examine the differences between AT teachers and controls on:  system-level impairments related to balance, mobility and fall risk; clinical measures of balance and mobility; biomechanical measures of gait and balance associated with an increased risk of falling; and subjective measures of functional dependence and body awareness.

January 2014

AmSAT has awarded the 2014 Research Grant to Laurel Podulke for her project: “Alexander Technique Training at the Mayo Clinic: A Survey Study.”  Laurel and her co-investigators Dr. Lynne Shuster and Dr. Diana Orbelo are studying and reporting on the process of integrating lessons in the Alexander Technique into varied on-going medical practices at the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  The survey study assesses patients’ reasons for trying AT, the extent to which practice/lessons continue, symptoms or conditions relieved, and overall evaluations of AT students’ experience with the work and how it may impact or support their medical treatment.  Data will be published and used foundationally to plan future studies evaluating the impact of AT delivery to the corporate heathcare setting.  Laurel gave AmSAT members in attendance at ACGM 2014 a fascinating update on the progress of her project.

January 2014

AmSAT has awarded the 2014 Research Grant to Laurel Podulke for her project: “Alexander Technique Training at the Mayo Clinic: A Survey Study.”  Laurel and her co-investigators Dr. Lynne Shuster and Dr. Diana Orbelo are studying and reporting on the process of integrating lessons in the Alexander Technique into varied on-going medical practices at the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  The survey study assesses patients’ reasons for trying AT, the extent to which practice/lessons continue, symptoms or conditions relieved, and overall evaluations of AT students’ experience with the work and how it may impact or support their medical treatment.  Data will be published and used foundationally to plan future studies evaluating the impact of AT delivery to the corporate heathcare setting.  Laurel gave AmSAT members in attendance at ACGM 2014 a fascinating update on the progress of her project.

January 2012

The recipient of AmSAT’s pilot research grant program is Raquel Cavalcanti (principal investigator, with Fernande Girard, CanSTAT) for her project, “Investigating the Alexander Technique in dance teaching: Searching the common grounds.”  Grant proposals were reviewed by three researchers: two from within the Alexander community and one from a different but related field. As Raquel and her co-investigator, Fernande Girard, conduct their investigations their research will be shared with the membership through the AmSAT Journal and presented at a future ACGM.