Modern Pain Science Tailored for the Alexander Technique

Modern Pain Science Tailored for the Alexander Technique

This is a fascinating course and I would say essential for Alexander Teachers wanting to get an up to date insight into pain and how the Technique can help.”
—Caroline Sears

I can’t recommend this course more highly. So much thought and effort has gone into creating an accessible introduction to such wide ranging subject matter.”
—Simon Fitzgibbon

The implications for the practice and teaching of the Alexander Technique are as profound as they are practical. Take this course— for the sake of your students, and yourselves.”
—Nanette Walsh

Course Details

Many clients come to the AT with pain issues. And often the AT can be helpful. But there are many unanswered questions:

What causes chronic pain anyway? What are the common misconceptions about pain? How does the AT help? Are there ways of teaching that can help our clients in pain and improve their learning of the AT? How does chronic pain change the nervous system? What should we say to clients and doctors about pain? When should we refer out, and to whom? There are many more questions…

There is no formal training about pain in the AT, but we think it can be invaluable. This webinar aims to be that class. In the past few decades the science of pain has changed. Modern pain science is much more relevant for us than it used to be. Understanding the significant advances in pain science can help to develop optimal strategies for working with the unique challenges of a person with persistent pain.

In this webinar we systematically approach modern pain science in a way that is specifically tailored to AT teachers. It is taught by two AT teacher-scientists who have a lived experience of chronic pain. We’ll delve into the biological, psychological and social factors that contribute to pain in a systematic way that looks at the whole picture. We’ll focus discussions on how Alexander Technique relates to a modern understanding of pain science as well as pain management and recovery. We will look at how emerging interventions are treating pain with greater success and highlight the unique contributions the AT brings. And we will address as many of those pertinent unanswered questions as possible.

Dates and Times

  • Live classes will take place monthly, on Fridays from 2:30-4:00 pm Eastern US time on the following dates:
  • November 15, 2024
  • December 13, 2024
  • January 10, 2025
  • February 14, 2025
  • March 14, 2025
  • April 11, 2025
  • May 9, 2025
  • June 13, 2025

This 8- session course includes:

  • 12 hours of live class time involving instruction, discussion and Q&A
  • 10 Modules with pre-recorded video lectures
  • Live classes will be recorded, so if you miss something you can access the recording.
  • Prompts for reflection and contemplation relating AT to pain science
  • Quizzes to test your knowledge
  • Optional reading recommendations
  • Copies of the lecture slides and other handouts
  • On completion of the course you’ll receive a course completion certificate (counts toward AmSAT CE credit).
See the Course Modules
  • Module 1: Basic Concepts in Pain
  • Module 2: What is Pain?
  • Module 3: Physiology of Pain
  • 3A: Nociception
  • 3B: Brain Circuitry
  • Module 4: Contributing Factors
  • Module 5: Plasticity, Sensitisation and Chronicity
  • Module 6: Learning
  • Module 7: Posture and Sensorimotor Disruptions
  • Module 8: Interventions
  • Module 9: Pain and the AT
  • 9A: AT Studies and Non-specific Effects
  • 9B: AT Mechanisms of pain reduction
  • Module 10: Bringing it All Together

What you’ll learn:

  • What pain is and how it works (including the neuroscience of pain)
  • What causes persistent pain
  • What changes when pain persists
  • How pain impacts a person’s life
  • How posture relates to pain
  • How your knowledge, beliefs and advice impact a student’s pain
  • How cutting edge interventions address pain
  • Best practices in addressing persistent pain
Read the Course Objectives
  • Articulate how a threat or stressor can influence the pain experience.
  • Identify the multiple factors that impact pain.
  • Explain how nociception and pain differ.
  • Explain the role of the brain in the pain experience.
  • Describe the difference between nociceptive, neuropathic, and nociplastic pain.
  • Describe changes that occur in the nervous system as pain persists.
  • List some risk factors for the transition to chronic pain.
  • Describe sensory and motor deficits that occur with chronic pain.
  • List some complexities of the relationship between posture and pain.
  • List the benefits of pain education for teachers.
  • List some potential mechanisms for how the AT affects pain.
  • Describe how you can integrate an understanding of pain into your teaching.
  • List some best practices when working with individuals with persistent pain.

Some questions we will address:

  • How does the AT decrease pain?
  • How does the AT relate to a modern understanding of pain?
  • Is chronic pain a disease in its own right?
  • What are some common misconceptions about pain?
  • What do current cutting edge interventions do for pain?
  • What do the studies on AT and pain mean?
  • Are there ways we can be more effective working with people with pain?
  • How can you incorporate a better understanding of pain in your teaching?
  • When should you refer a student to another discipline?

Who should take this course: This course is directed toward Alexander Technique teachers and trainees. If you work with people dealing with pain, if you deal with persistent pain, or if you’re curious to learn more, this course is for you. This course will complement the main AT Science Fundamentals course; however the pain course is self contained and does not require any prerequisites or scientific knowledge. We are excited about offering this course together – the comprehensive format allows us to go much more in depth than our previous pain seminars.

Time investment: Please expect to spend approximately 2–4 hours per month on the course material outside of live classes.

About the Instructors

Tim Cacciatore, PhD, MSTAT is an expert in the neuroscience of postural tone and its relationship with movement coordination. His two decades of research and numerous peer-reviewed publications about the Alexander Technique makes him a leading expert on how the Alexander Technique works from a scientific perspective. He currently collaborates with Dr. Rajal Cohen at the University of Idaho, Moscow.

Mari Hodges, MScMed (Pain Management), TPS, M.AmSAT, M. AAPTA is a pain coach and pain educator. She has trained as a Therapeutic Pain Specialist at Purdue University, and completed her Master of Science in Medicine in Pain Management at the University of Sydney, a world-leader in pain science.

Read the Full Bios

Tim Cacciatore, PhD, MSTAT is an expert in the neuroscience of postural tone and its relationship with movement coordination. He was motivated to study postural control because he thought the scientific literature lacked plausible explanations for how the Alexander Technique affected posture and helped his own back pain. His research has aimed to use somatic methods as a tool to reveal properties of the motor system. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles with leading experts in motor control such as Drs Victor Gurfinkel, Fay Horak, and Brian Day at institutions that have included University College London, Oregon Health Sciences University, and the University of California, San Diego.

Dr Cacciatore later trained as an Alexander Technique teacher with Shoshana Kaminitz in London. In addition, he has extensive experience with other somatic disciplines, such as Craniosacral Therapy, Cranial Osteopathy, Acupuncture, and Tui Na. His two decades of research and numerous peer-reviewed publications about the Alexander Technique makes him a leading expert on how the Alexander Technique works from a scientific perspective. He currently collaborates with Dr. Rajal Cohen at the University of Idaho, Moscow.

Mari Hodges, MScMed (Pain Mgmt), TPS, M.AmSAT, M. AAPTA, is an Alexander Technique teacher, pain coach, and pain educator. She completed her Alexander Technique training at the Escuela de Técnica Alexander Buenos Aires in 2014. She holds a BA in sociology from UCLA, a Therapeutic Pain Specialist certificate from Purdue University, and a Master of Science in Medicine in Pain Management from the University of Sydney. She is also certified as an Art of Running instructor. In her free time you can find Mari nerding out on pain science, dancing, cross-country skiing and playing the violin. Mari goes back and forth between Montana, USA, and Argentina. For more information on Mari visit www.DiscoverEase.how.

Testimonials for the Course

This is a fascinating course and I would say essential for Alexander Teachers wanting to get an up to date insight into pain and how the technique can help. It’s so good to have the bio psychosocial model of pain explained in such detail. There is a lot of information to take in and digest but all really important to understand and to keep learning about our bodies and how they work.” – Caroline Sears

I can’t recommend this course more highly. So much thought and effort has gone into creating an accessible introduction to such wide ranging subject matter. Best of all, they provide plenty of pointers if you’re wanting to explore further. Tim and Mari’s warmth and enthusiasm for the material, and for sharing their knowledge, made engaging what could otherwise have been a very arid journey. Now I’ve finished the course, I know I’ll miss the weekly sessions; even though that means no more getting up at 5.30am!” – Simon Fitzgibbon

I would highly recommend the course “Pain Science for AT teachers” to all AT teachers. It beautifully and empathically bridges the gap between AT and pain science, and contributes to explaining how AT works in relation to pain. I think this course should be offered on all teaching training courses. The terminology is a bit of a challenge for those of us without a science background, but a very helpful glossary of terminology is provided.” – Anonymous

This has been a very necessary and wonderful course for me both personally and as an AT teacher. I have learned so much, which is invaluable for me on account of my own pain journey but will also be very beneficial in enlightening my teaching. It resonates with me on account of my chronic back and neck pain history but also while doing this course I received a diagnosis of hip OA. Only for the valuable education into pain I’ve learned, I think I’d have gone into a tailspin! So, THANK YOU!” – Margaret Maher

I think, this is very valuable material and I would wish that more people get access to it so a general change in thinking can start.” – J.S.

This course covers vital information on persistent pain that every Alexander teacher should understand. It brings our profession up to date with a significant paradigm shift in pain science that has taken place in recent years. The course provides valuable insights into the drivers and processes involved in chronic pain, and the most effective strategies for addressing it. The presenters explore the reasons why the Alexander Technique can help people in pain, revealing the huge potential the technique has to be part of an effective multidisciplinary approach to pain management and recovery. Mari and Tim have done an amazing job of consolidating and presenting an enormous wealth of material in a format that is engaging, understandable and enjoyable. Highly recommended!” – Loretta Manson

I really enjoyed the course and learnt a great deal from it. I like the way it was organized – videos, then quizzes then applying the knowledge gained to my practice. It was also good to have weekly live sessions with a quick review and time to ask questions. Perhaps more importantly though it was having great confidence in the expertise of Tim and Mari.” – Bridget Barr

This course has surpassed my expectations. I´ve learned a lot, and I can approach the needs of my students with a lot more knowledge and empathy. Thank you.” -Laura Ossanna

This was a thoroughly enlightening course. A complex subject delivered clearly and concisely, designed to lead you to new and interesting knowledge in a very accessible way. I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in the current scientific understanding of the process of the pain experience.” – Maria O’Neill

This course was excellent. Thanks to Mari and Tim for organizing the technical content in a way that was easy to understand.
“I liked the specific, easy-to-understand explanations about how feeling pain is a different dimension than having organic damage to the body. I know that some of our students focus more on pain and some focus more on what is helpful to the body than on pain, but each of these objectives helps me as an AT teacher to think specifically about what I can and cannot do to help the students in front of me. It also made me think about preconceived notions I had about the effects of AT; I have long felt that there may be a variety of nonspecific effects of AT lessons, but the way you organized and explained them based on prior research was also very excellent.”
– Etsuko Yasukawa

Feeling really fortunate to have had the opportunity to join. This online course was a mind-opener and a wonderful experience: Hodges and Cacciatore delivered profoundly helpful insights about what pain is and what it is not, and how we can change our pain experience, for instance with the Alexander Technique. Beyond the great content, the course design was perfect: useful homework and materials, an intense but good learning pace, quizzes to help us check our understanding of the material along the way, and the opportunity to exchange with other AT teachers in small groups in the live sessions. Absolutely worth the money and the (significant amount of) time!” –Céline Dedaj

“I highly recommend this course to all teachers who want to practice and communicate with people on a more scientific basis about the Alexander Technique! Even a non-native English speaker like me can learn a lot of objective information and knowledge in a very warm and accepting way.” – Sujin Park

I thoroughly enjoyed this course. Mari and Tim’s excitement for the material as well as their expertise as Alexander Teachers made for engaging lectures, lively discussions and reflection on how we can use the course information to inform and deepen our teaching.” – N. Brooke Lieb

I highly recommend this class. I think it is relevant for trainees, new and experienced teachers.” –Anonymous

A very inspiring subject and very well presented. I got more ideas how to teach people with chronic pain and how to explain, what AT can do for them.” – Ariane Hesse

Be prepared to enlarge the lens through which you view your understanding and implementation of the Alexander Technique with this course. A must for all Alexander Teacher Training Programs.” Marta Hunter

I am very happy to have followed this course on Pain and the Alexander Technique. Now my previous experience and intuitions are supported by new knowledge which allows me to deal with more confidence with clients in pain.” – Athanase Vettas

This course has been helpful in understanding and managing my own pain and that of my students. It gives a different perspective on what pain is. I recommend this course for anyone who wants to understand how the Alexander Technique can help with chronic pain.” – MSL

This course has been fantastic and perhaps is the missing link we all needed to help Alexander Technique stand as a credible holistic way of addressing all types of pain. Rather than solely being of service to actors, musicians and sometimes helping back and neck pain, there may have been a misunderstanding that AT is only helpful in addressing structural, physical, musculo-skeletal related pain. The biopyschosocial information is incredibly helpful in this regard. Thank you so much for such a comprehensive course with the up to date modern science and current language we need to place ourselves in the health and wellbeing sector.” – Angela Bradshaw

I can’t recommend this course and highly enough! It’s such an incredibly useful and enlightening course, and the information imparted is so important that I feel it should become a compulsory component on AT teacher training courses. We are very lucky that we have people like Mari and Tim working so hard to engage with and educate their AT colleagues, and I feel their work is going to play an important role in bringing the AT into the arena of more mainstream interventions for both painful and non-painful conditions alike.” – Sara W

People who come to learn AT very often do so because of chronic pain and I now feel prepared to understand their dilemma and to be able to talk about how AT might help in their individual circumstances. I feel confident to talk to people about their experience of pain, have more empathy and know how to explain the technique with reference to some of the latest trials and research. I am grateful that Tim and Mari have taken the time to put together and offer this course. I found them both warm and knowledgeable. It is evident how enthusiastic they are about the potential that AT has to help with pain.” – Julie

I’m a first year teacher, so there’s not much experience behind my knowledge at this point, but I find the fact that there is science behind the Technique a help to my teaching. It makes this work (which has seemed like magic to some) much more concrete and accessible.” – Judy

Author Name

Tim’s and Mari’s webinar is substantive, well cited, organized, thoughtful, compassionate, and illuminating. The implications for the practice and teaching of the Alexander Technique are as profound as they are practical. Take this course— for the sake of your students, and yourselves.” -Nanette Walsh

If you are ready to invest a little time… the course is very rewarding. Tim and Mari gave a lot of interesting material, it was very well presented and every week we were asked to think about different questions, which we then shared; so the interaction with the other participants was part of the course and very enriching.” – A.M.

The Pain Science Course for AT Teachers gave me a deeper & broader understanding of the pain experience, both for myself & my students. As part of my ongoing education & development as an Alexander Technique Teacher it was of immense value & the course would be well worth considering as a trainee teacher.” – Tessa Viotti

I cannot recommend this course highly enough. It is full of up-to-date information and is structured in a way that supports learning and encourages discussion. I came away with a much greater understanding about pain and with lots of ideas about how to use this in my Alexander Technique teaching. Tim and Mari have an impressive breadth and depth of knowledge in this area and both are excellent teachers. Thank you both very much.” – Lesley Glover

The Pain Science for AT teachers course was well presented and enjoyable. The information is highly relevant, sometimes surprising and quite revolutionary with regards to our understanding of how pain happens, how it can be managed and potentially reduced, and how the person can be assisted towards better functioning. I highly recommend this course.” – Greg Holdaway

I was greatly impressed with the thoughtfulness and care Tim and Mari put into developing this course. I learned a tremendous amount about current Pain Science that I have already been able to apply in my private teaching. I would highly recommend it both to Alexander Technique teachers and to A.T. teacher training programs.” – Joan Frost (former Director of Teacher Certification for the American Center for the Alexander Technique in New York City

I really appreciated this course and the balance of technical and practical information presented. Tim and Mari communicated a current body of knowledge in a clear way that reflected the human aspects of pain science and the whole individual. I am very glad to have had the opportunity to consider this subject from a teaching perspective and appreciate that Alexander Technique practitioners are in a unique position to interact and work with those who are personally impacted by pain on their path to recovery.” – Lauren McKeage

As an AT teacher you will likely have students who will come to you for relief of pain. This course will give you a vocabulary to address their issues and give them hope.” – Clare Robert