Serious about Science and AT

— an announcement from Nanette Walsh, our Executive Director —

We are serious about modern science and AT. Why?

Oh so many reasons! First of all, it aligns with our threefold mission: to preserve the unique origin and essence of the Alexander Technique; protect AT as a profession; and propel AT’s relevancy and potency as practice into the future.

Mostly we live our mission by certifying thoughtful, rigorously-trained, skilled teachers at RIAT. And this year, with the help of our admin team (especially Ariana Calderón), we’ve really lifted anchor with our low-cost, accessible AT for All programming. We’ve invited our teachers to teach what they’re passionate about and to work with communities that are important to them. We’ve seen our enrollment in classes quadruple. But beyond teacher certification and inclusive programming, there’s one area that has huge potential to increase the reach of the Technique: science!

When a new student tries a hands-on lesson and has a potent experience — “Oh, this works!” — and their teacher is able to communicate some of the science of AT, it can help them see the value of investing in lessons, so that meaningful progress can be made. And then, as they value their own experience, subjectively, they also begin to understand, objectively — “Oh, this really works!”

Subjective experience alone, though profound when one begins lessons, can be easily displaced. Combine subjective experience with objective understanding, and something powerful happens: the subjective and objective link up! And science is beginning to show us that investing in the Technique is not only subjectively compelling but objectively credible and defensible.

Dr. Rajal Cohen, during our event honoring Dr. John Austin said that in science “we simplify things down to the smallest little bit that we think might have an effect, so that we can describe it really clearly… so that in theory, anybody should be able to replicate it.” She added, “So I’m not arguing here that the Alexander Technique should be simplified. I’m just doing this to build a bridge between the magic of Alexander Technique and the mundane requirements of science.”

Rajal is making a super important point here! If we want to preserve, protect and propel the Technique, we need to bridge the gap between the magic of AT and science. To do that, we need objective and neutral language.

Peer-reviewed, scientific studies enable us to point to specific markers and say: look — it works! And these studies are available to us now, thanks to the work of Dr. Cohen and others. And though there is more work to be done, we are beginning to understand the how and why AT works!

To this end, we’re so excited to share that we will be hosting a monthly Modern Pain Science seminar led by Dr. Tim Cacciatore and Mari Hodges, two of the AT community’s leaders in the field who are at the forefront now of communicating where science meets AT. The seminars will be in the form of in-depth dives into Modern Pain Science, full of resources, research and space for thoughtful discussion and analysis. Make no mistake — these seminars will be anything but dry — they are illuminating, substantive, and compassionate. While the seminar will be part of the RIAT training course, it will be open to everyone who’s interested in it. We’ll have the whole month to unpack each session’s topic, at RIAT, and then online.

I’m thrilled to be sharing this webinar with our trainees, and excited to see how these investigations weave into their understanding and practice of AT. I hope you can join us.

Nanette Walsh, m.AmSAT
Executive Director of Sapientia & RIAT

Modern Pain Science Tailored for the Alexander Technique

Fridays, 2:30 – 4pm ET
Nov 15th, Dec 13th, Jan 10th, Feb 14th,
March 14th, April 11th, May 9th, June 13th

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. 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.

Each class will run 90 minutes, once per month on Friday afternoons, at RIAT and online, giving everyone the time they need to digest the rich breadth and depth of material.

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