Fundamentals of Therapy
XVIII. Curative Eurythmy
Within the sphere of our therapy, a special position is occupied by what we describe as “curative eurythmy”. It was evolved initially by Rudolf Steiner as a new art, out of Anthroposophy. The essential nature of the art of eurythmy has often been described by Dr. Steiner, and indeed in its artistic form, it has enjoyed wide recognition.
Eurythmy is presented on the stage by the human being in movement; but is not an art of dance. This is evident already from the fact that in eurythmy it is mainly the arms and hands that are in movement. Groups of people in movement elevate the whole to an artistic picture on the stage.
All movements are based on the inner nature of the human organization. From this, speech flows in the first years of man's life. Just as in speech the sound frees itself from the constitution of man, so, with a real knowledge of this constitution, we can derive from the human being, and from groups of human beings, movements which represent a truly genuine visible speech, or visible song. These movements are as little arbitrary as speech itself. As in a spoken word an O cannot be pronounced where an I (EE) belongs; so, in eurythmy only one kind of gesture can appear for an I or for a C-sharp. Eurythmy is thus a true manifestation of human nature and can be derived out of it, not indeed unconsciously like speech or song, but consciously by means of a true knowledge of man.
In the presentation of eurythmy we have people or groups of people in movement on the stage. The poem which is thus translated into visible speech, is recited simultaneously. The audience hear the content of the poem, and see it at the same time with their eyes. Or again, a piece of music is presented, and appears at the same time as visible song in the gestures of the performers.
Eurythmy as a sculptured art of movement constitutes a true extension of the sphere of the fine arts.
What has been discovered as an artistic form can now be developed in two different directions. On the one hand it can be applied to education. In the Waldorf School at Stuttgart, which was founded by Emil Molt and which stands under the direction of Rudolf Steiner, educational eurythmy is done throughout the school as well as gymnastics. The fact is that in ordinary gymnastics only the dynamics and statics of the physical body are developed. In eurythmy the full human being, body, soul and spirit, goes out into movement. The growing human being perceives this and experiences the eurythmy exercises as a perfectly natural expression of his human nature, just as in earlier years he experienced learning to speak.
The other aspect of eurythmy is therapeutic. If the gestures of the artistic and educational eurythmy are modified, so that they flow out of the unhealthy being of man just as the others flow out of the healthy, then curative eurythmy arises.
Movements thus carried out react on the diseased organs. We observe how the outwardly executed movement is continued inward with a health-giving influence into the organs, the moving gesture is exactly adapted to a diseased organ. Because this method of working in the human being through movement, affects body, soul and spirit, it works more intensely in the inner nature of the unhealthy human being, than all other movement-therapy.
For this very reason, curative eurythmy can never become an affair for amateurs, and on no account must it be regarded or applied as such.
The curative eurythmist, who must be well trained in a knowledge of the human organization, may only work in connection with the qualified doctor. All dilettantism can only lead to bad results.
It is only on the basis of a proper diagnosis that the curative eurythmy treatment can be carried out. The practical results of curative eurythmy are such that we may describe them as a most beneficial part of the therapeutic approach explained in this book.