Session Time: 1:15pm-2:45pm
Location: Les Muses Terrace, Level 3
Objective: To develop and test a group course using Alexander technique (AT) principles to improve functional mobility and quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s disease (PlwPD).
Background: AT is an embodied cognition approach that aims to transform disruptive reactions to stress into adaptive responses, enhancing performance of daily activities while improving confidence and reducing anxiety. Previous studies have demonstrated that private AT sessions can reduce motor symptoms and improve mood in PlwPD.
Method: We are delivering an adapted AT program in three cities in North Carolina (USA) to provide group instruction for 90 minutes, twice a week, for 8 weeks. We have recruited 25 PLwPD (Hoehn & Yahr stages 1-2.5) and 21 care partners in total to participate, and 10 PLwPD and 8 care partners in total in a waitlist control group. Coursework includes functional anatomy and self-management strategies, taught through verbal instructions and hands-on guidance for both PlwPD and their care partners. We aim to minimize physical symptoms such as stooped posture, bradykinesia, freezing, and speech impairments. Our strategy is to embed Alexander technique principles into real-life activities that PlwPD often practice in rehabilitation settings, such as balance and functional IADLs. A unique feature of our program is that all activities are prefaced with strategic thoughts and verbal prompts to inhibit disruptive automatic reactions PlwPD often exhibit on initiating and sustaining movement. These self-regulatory strategies, while neurologically sophisticated, are presented simply enough for both PlwPD and their care partners to be able to easily reinforce them throughout the day.
Results: Results will be available from the multisite study in May 2019, and additional 3 month post-course results in August 2019. We are assessing balance (brief BESTest), functional mobility (7-point physical performance test), symptom-management self-assessment, and mood.
Conclusion: AT shows promise as a long-term self-management approach to reduce PD motor and non-motor symptoms, maintain an active lifestyle, and ease caregiver burden. Group classes have the potential to provide cost-effective delivery with additional social benefits.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:M. Gross, R. Ravichandra, M. Norcia, R. Cohen. “Poised for Parkinson’s”: Group classes in Alexander technique for managing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease [abstract]. Mov Disord. 2019; 34 (suppl 2). https://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/poised-for-parkinsons-group-classes-in-alexander-technique-for-managing-symptoms-of-parkinsons-disease/. Accessed September 25, 2023.
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MDS Abstracts - https://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/poised-for-parkinsons-group-classes-in-alexander-technique-for-managing-symptoms-of-parkinsons-disease/