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© 2016 School for F.M. Alexander Studies.

330 St. Georges Rd., Fitzroy North, VIC 3068

Tel: +61 3 9486 5900

Current Science and the Alexander Technique

With Dr Patrick Johnson and Dr Tim Cacciatore. 

This course will run over 6 sessions on Fridays from 6 to 8pm on the following dates: 

2 February, 16 February, 2 March, 20 April, 18 May & 15 June

15 June



Please use Tim's PayPal address:

You can also use the PayPal button under the booking button for the payment.

Cost: $375 

About us, about these workshops

Dr. Johnson is a PhD. physicist and a practicing STAT/NeVLAT certified teacher of the Alexander technique with over 15 years of research experience, over 40 peer reviewed publication and over 2000 citations, and 7 years of AT teaching experience. Dr. Cacciatore is a PhD. Neuroscientist and STAT certified teacher, author of many peer reviewed scientific articles on Alexander technique, with 20 years of research experience.


We have been giving these workshops for almost two years now, live and via webinars,  in Ireland, Spain, England, Israel, The Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and the USA for both AT teachers and teachers in training.  Our initial goal was to communicate rigorous science of Alexander Technique in ways that are accessible and fun.  The workshops have since grown in both content and scope. They are now part of a broader dialogue about how to think objectively, scientifically, and professionally about what we do. We are excited about the enthusiasm and content they have generated.


What is going on when you practice Alexander Technique?  We have all sorts of experiences, observations, and sensations. Can these phenomena be described and explained objectively?


Since F. M. Alexander first referenced the work of Rudolf Magnus in the 1920s, AT has borrowed ideas from science to explain AT experiences.  Scientific concepts permeate the AT culture - books, websites, lectures, conversations - with many references to concepts such as reflexes, gravity, startle, effort, tensegrity and spatial awareness to name a few.


In general, however, most of the science we use is either out of date or very roughly applied.  Furthermore, it is only in the last decade or two that we have seen high quality modern science applied directly to AT and AT mechanisms.

The goal of these webinars is to confront our current relationship with science and to get our scientific explanations and concepts up-to-date.  We combine lectures, group activities, and discussion to identify and debunk misconceptions and to build new, current models that support what we do and how we communicate.  We emphasize rigor, jargon-free communication, and reference to current experiments.


  • Six 2-hour webinars spread over 12 weeks.

  • Homework assignments - reading and review questions, including grading and feedback

Specific Content:

Hours 1-2: Good Science, bad science, and brain anatomy

  • What is good science?

  • Outdated scientific ideas in the AT world

  • How can we describe AT concepts objectively?

  • Experiments on postural tone: “Twister” and the Kohnstamm effect

  • Brain anatomy as related to AT


  • Pushing the hand against the wall (the Kohnstamm effect)

  • “Hot hands” game: Consciously tuning your reflexes

Hour 3-4: Biomechanics and motor control of posture, movement, and balance


  • The physics of getting up from a chair: what you need to know as a teacher                   

  • Posture: is it a good or bad word for AT teachers to use?

  • Understanding how the scientific definitions of postural support, goal directed movement, and balance explains a lot of what AT is about.


  • Playing with and understanding different ways to get out of a chair

  • Experiencing different stabilization strategies

Hour 5-6: Experiments on sit to stand and motor control hypotheses


  • Why do students lurch? Experiments on the interference of posture on movement in sit-to-stand

  • What are possible central mechanisms for AT effects?


  • Simple experiments that give insight into how posture works

  • Open discussion of possible mechanisms

Hour 7-8: Direction and primary control


  • “Springy” backs and delocalized tone - mechanical and neurological spreading effects and debunking tensegrity

  • Thinking affects use.  Experiments of Dr. Rajal Cohen and more.

  • How can a local change affect global patterns?  Experiment of Dr. Ian Loram and more.

  • "Natural" coordination patterns - do they exist?  What do we mean when we talk about “natural” movement?  What does science have to say about this?


  • Sensing stability - how good is our touch?

Hour 9-10:  Body schema, sensory appreciation, startle, and stress


  • Faulty sensory appreciation: what does current science have to say about it?

  • Body schema: How does our internal representation of ourself define both our own use and how we interact with the world? Can it be altered? Is this the heart of AT?

  • Improved sensory appreciation - what kinds of changes happen and what skills are learned?

  • AT and stress (and startle): The science of stress and startle. Are we using the right terminology?  How might AT reduce harmful effects of stress?


  • Rubber hand illusion

  • Thinking, feeling and learning with your body schema.

Hour 11-12: Inhibition and hands on effects


  • Inhibition: How do different AT teachers talk about inhibition?  How do scientists talk about inhibition?  What is the overlap?

  • Improved sensory appreciation - what kinds of changes happen and what skills are learned?

  • How might subtle "hands on" effects work?  What kind of messages can be sent via contact?


  • Take some scientific inhibition challenges: the Stroop test and more