Alexander Technique—The Missing Link in Ergonomics

Alexander Technique—The Missing Link in Ergonomics is a workplace program designed with individual companies to teach employees how to work to their best advantage in daily activities such as keyboarding and sitting for long stretches of time to repetitive lifting tasks and warehouse work. 

Computer-use related work injuries continue to escalate in American workplaces, accounting for more than one out of three of the injuries and illnesses involving recuperation and time away from work. Ergonomic injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome log the highest median days away from work for healing time. The overall cost of ergonomic injuries is astounding. OSHA estimates that by installing ergonomic injury prevention plans, U.S. businesses can save $9 billion a year. (Supervisor’s Guide to Ergonomics)

Many workplaces have instituted ergonomic programs and still workers continue to get RSI in epidemic proportions. But for a program to work, it must integrate ergonomic changes in physical work environment and equipment and educational changes in employee posture and movement. It must include managerial commitment and employee participation.

The Alexander Technique addresses both the education of posture and movement and the participation of employees in self-care regarding repetitive injuries. A common work injury scenario is that an employee has to leave work because of an RSI injury, receives treatment from one of a variety of therapies which eliminate pain, but when the employee returns to the activity which caused the problem, the pain returns. The Alexander Technique addresses the cause of these painful (and expensive) RSI injuries, which often develop from poor postural habits or over-tense muscular effort. Even with the best ergonomically designed workstation, if employees don’t change the way they sit and use the keyboard, their condition may become chronic.

Rather than passive therapy, the Alexander Technique is a set of skills learned in lessons. An Alexander teacher analyzes the postural habits of students, teaches them to become aware of how poor body mechanics and even psychological stress may exacerbate their pain and injury, and then shows them how to replace those habits of mind and body with more beneficial ones. As an educational process, it both alleviates pain and provides long-term prevention.

Employees who have had Alexander Technique lessons designed specifically for the workplace have experienced a decrease in their pain and need to take time off work. Just as importantly, these students learned how to effectively deal with any recurring pain or discomfort before it became threatening to their work.

An Alexander Technique program designed for the workplace can help employees who have back or neck pain or  Repetitive Strain Injuries and can teach all employees how to best use their body in their everyday work while responding better to stress.

Call Constance to talk about designing a program specific to your company. Call for a proposal!