- posture, motion and ergonomics
Home                           Articles                           Books                           Audio/Video                           Links


The term "ergonomics" is derived from two Greek words: "ergon," meaning work, and "nomoi," meaning natural laws. Ergonomists study human capabilities in relationship to work demands.


In recent years, ergonomists have attempted to define postures which minimize unnecessary static work and reduce the forces acting on the body. All of us could significantly reduce our risk of injury if we could adhere to the following ergonomic principles:

  • All work activities should permit the worker to adopt several different, but equally healthy and safe postures.
  • Where muscular force has to be exerted it should be done by the largest appropriate muscle groups available.
  • Work activities should be performed with the joints at about mid-point of their range of movement. This applies particularly to the head, trunk, and upper limbs.


Here, however, we arrive at a problem - and a serious challenge to conventional ergonomic thinking: In order to put these recommendations into practice, a person would have to be a skilled observer of his or her own joint and muscle functioning and would have to be able to change his or her posture to a healthier one at will. No one develops this sort of highly refined sensory awareness without special training. Therefore, in order to derive the benefits of ergonomic research, we must learn how to observe our bodies in a new way.*

Any attempt to improve workplace conditions can have only limited success if this issue is ignored.


One training program that cultivates precisely these skills is the Alexander Technique. It has a long history of helping people develop the subtle coordination of thought and physical action required to monitor and alter harmful patterns of posture and movement. In short, it enables its students to put ergonomic principles into practice, and thus helps them reduce their risk of developing a repetitive strain injury and other stress-related injuries. For example, a comprehensive study published by the British Medical Journal in 2008 offers overwhelming evidence that the Alexander Technique is a very effective way of alleviating backpain.

The Alexander Technique was developed in the early 20th century before ergonomics became a recognized science and has been applied since then by people all ages and professions. The Technique can be described as a simple and practical educational method which alerts people to ways in which they are misusing their bodies, and how their everyday habits of work may be harming them. It teaches people how to avoid work habits which create excessive amounts of static work and how to reduce the amount of unnecessary muscular force they are applying to their bodies. Stated another way, the Technique teaches the use of the appropriate amount of effort for a particular activity.

  Join The Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest news on Alexander Technique developments worldwide - articles, videos, audio interviews and more...

* Excerpted and adapted from 'Applying Ergonomic Principles in the Workplace: How the Alexander Technique can Help" by Holly Sweeney. Holly Sweeney is an ergonomist and certified Alexander Technique teacher with offices in Montclair, New Jersey and in New York City. She has a M.A. in Ergonomics and Orthopedic Biomechanics and she has served as a Researcher and Independent Evaluator at the Occupational and Industrial orthopedic Center for the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York City.

This site sponsored by: ICON deliver personal training courses in London and gym instructor courses across the UK

Ergonomically designed Hotel Gym Equipment including indoor spin bikes and commercial strength machines by the Fitness Warehouse

This Web Site is dedicated to the exchange of information between the fields of ergonomics and the Alexander Technique. Suggestions and contributions from ergonomists and from Alexander Technique students and teachers are most welcome - as is your support.

Feedback and Support for

This site is a service of:
Alexander Technique Nebraska and Toronto, and Care for your Parents, Care for Yourself Coaching

Alexander Technique in Nebraska and Toronto with Robert Rickover

Robert Rickover is a teacher of the Alexander Technique in Lincoln, Nebraska. He also teaches regularly in Toronto, Canada and offers Online Posture and Movement Coaching sessions.

He is the host of the Alexander Technique Podcast and the author of a Body Learning Blog, which explores all aspects of the Technique.

Arrange a lesson or workshop with Robert.

Care for Your Parents, Care for Yourself - Life Coaching with Anne Rickover

Are you facing challenges with your elderly parents?

If you spend any time assisting your aging parents, you know it’s a labor of love, but it can also be very stressful. Determining your parents’ changing needs and finding ways to meet them is a big job.

It’s normal to feel caring, confused, and conflicted.

At times, you can feel like you’re facing one crisis after another. You can feel exhausted, overwhelmed, angry, sad, and loving, sometimes all at once! It can feel very lonely, and your own needs can get lost along the way.

As a life coach specializing in helping people who care for their parents, Anne will:

    · Provide empathetic support and
    · Explore strategies to meet your
      parents’ changing needs.
    · Deal with the impact of caregiving
      on your entire family.
    · Focus on maintaining a fulfilling
      life for yourself.

Set up a Free Introductory Session with Anne and visit her Website