Eurythmy Therapy - Introduction

Eurythmy Therapy was developed as a movement therapy in 1921 by the Austrian philosopher, scientist and educator Dr Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). The gestures and movements of the performing art of eurythmy are modified for therapy purposes.  Eurythmy therapy is one essential element of the system of anthroposophic medicine. This integrates both natural scientific and anthroposophic-humanistic knowledge.  It is the aim of eurythmy therapy to help the patient to activate their own intrinsic powers of healing and enable them to find a way to a state of balanced health.

Eurythmy therapy uses the medium of the sounds of speech and the tones of music as they manifest in movement. . Each sound of speech has a corresponding form in movement, which is created by the upright human being, principally by means of their arms. The consonants manifest as mobile sculptural forms,  vowels as geometric forms.

In the same way, elements from music eurythmy (gestures for the notes of music and the intervals between them) can be reshaped into musical eurythmy therapy exercises.

The following are three short videos, which illustrate a eurythmy therapy session in practice.

Background Methodology

The eurythmy sound or music gestures are connected with the formative processes and physiological functioning of our bodily organs. In eurythmy therapy, the gestures are metamorphosed in such a way so that they act back on on the person making them. This helps stimulate the processes which underly organ formation and physiological function. When used therapeutically, the eurythmy gestures act as media to stimulate health-promoting processes to counteract  specific illness.

Modifications

In eurythmy therapy, the eurythmy sound or musical gestures are modified by one or more of the following means to become therapeutically effective: 

  • Repetition of the therapeutically-indicated sound gesture or  sequence of individual sound gestures (sound series).
  • The arm gestures are accompanied by specific leg movements. The use of rhythm, changes of tempo or pauses encourage a stronger  intervention in certain organ processes
  • Through the specific form of an exercise, a (formative) process that takes place in time is brought to spatial visiblity and vice versa.
  • Resting within and between exercises  and allowing a night's break between practice sessions are of central importance. 

In a eurythmy therapy session, gesture and movement sequences are used which are adapted to both the presenting condition and  the individual constitution of the patient. The prescribed speech or musical sounds can act as  “medication” through their reinforcement by eurythmy therapy. Other supplementary eurythmy exercises nay be used by the eurythmy therapist to support the therapeutic aim.

Application and use

Eurythmy Therapy can be used for all age groups and most cases of constitutional, chronic or acute illness. Examples where eurythmy therapy may be of benefit include: nervous diseases (acute and degenerative), metabolic, heart and circulatory diseases; musculo-skeletal disorders psyciatric and pyschosomatic conditions; also for assistance with issues of child development, eye conditions and teeth displacement.

Practise

Eurythmy therapy sessions generally take place following a medical consultation and are offered as a discrete therapy. The Doctor may provide a specific “eurythmy therapy prescription” or the therapist will seek permission to ascertain medical details from the patient's General Practitioner (GP) to draw up an appropriate programme.  An individual therapy plan is agreed between the therapist and patient in each situation. A session generally lasts from 30-60 minutes (adults), 20-30 minutes (children) inclusive of a period of rest. The ideal is for sessions to take place weekly over a period of around 7 weeks.

During the therapy session, the patient learns the eurythmy exercise(s) and the sequence for each  and can then practise them regularly on their own. As a rule, physical touch is not used except in specific cases to allow the patient to be supported or led in their movement with their consent. The exercises can be adapted to the patient’s condition and can also be carried out sitting or lying. The desired aim is for the patient to integrate the exercises into their everyday life and to practise them regularly.

Practice Locations

In the UK and Ireland, eurythmy therapy is currently offered by: individual therapists; a small number of NHS practices and clinics; a number of anthroposophically oriented communities for the care of the elderly, or people with special needs/learning disorders; schools and training colleges for children, young people and adults with complex learning and behavioural difficulties and also Steiner/Waldorf Schools and Kindergartens.

Training

A precondition for  training as a eurythmy therapist is a successful award (Diploma or Bachelor's Degree) in the four-year basic training in eurythmy. All therapists then undergo a further 18 month eurythmy therapy training, which, leads to the award of a Eurythmy Therapy diploma issued by the Medical Section of the School of Spiritual Science: Dornach, Switzerland. This qualifies the holder to practice Eurythmy Therapy and in the UK and Ireland to apply for registration with the Council for Anthroposophic Health and Social Care (CAHSC), the voluntary register for all anthroposophically orientated therapies. In addition to their individual qualification, all CAHSC registered members agree to abide by recognised practice standards, undertake continuing professional development and carry professional insurance. 

AnthroMed®

AnthroMed® is a charitable limited company  (registered in Berlin, Germany) with the aim of securing and further developing  the quality of anthroposophic medicine by the use of this label. The use of the trademark is available to all eurythmy therapists worldwide with a recognised Diploma and who are members of a national professional association of Eurythmy Therapists where the association has agreed a contract withAnthroMed® GmbH.  The professional Eurythmy Therapy Associations in the following countries have so far agreed to the use of the trademark: Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland the AnthroMed® trademark is exclusively available to therapists registered with CAHSC