Eurythmy Therapy for Fear

Laura Vogler

Last update: 27.08.2018

Eurythmy therapy has great importance for treating fear and anxiety in palliative care patients. Eurythmy strengthens inner activity and can promote the patient’s ability to face  the fear experience. If a patient is no longer able to move actively, he can perform eurythmy therapy with small movements of his arms or only his hands. Finally, a therapist can perform eurythmy exercises for the patient, which have an effect as the patient feels the activity they carry: fear and agitation subside, bringing considerable relief to the patient and the people accompanying him.
In addition to eurythmy therapy, rhythmic exercises are of great importance in treating anxiety. They can be performed with the smallest movements of the hands or arms if necessary, or—in cases of patients who are able to move—with the entire body. Hexameter (long–short–short) has a calming effect, as does trochee (long–short). In contrast, ascending rhythms (iamb: short–long) have an activating effect.

The consonant "B" can support the processing of sensory impressions, "M" promotes the warming through of the body. The vowels "A" and "E", in conjunction with rhythms (e.g., hexameter), can have an ordering, calming effect and help to overcome fear.


Therapeutic recommendations

Anxiety with tension, mental strain

Trust in one’s inner ground is restored by movements between the center and the periphery:

  • "Love–E" ; the patient opens his arms in a big "E" gesture or just to his sides, if that works better, then brings his palms upwards to cross them in front of his body in a "Reverence–E".
  • This can be accompanied by the words “I collect the warmth of the sun in my heart“.
  • followed by an "I" gesture through straightening up the whole body or with one finger and the words “and let it radiate through all my limbs”.

Fear with a depressive mood and despondency

The connection between the front and back space of the patient can be strengthened through the following exercises:

  • The "L" exercise weaves a circle around these spaces. This can be done in an inner imagination around the figure. By using the shoulders, we can activate the back, open up the rear space and support uprighting forces.
  • Rhythmical "R" (between right and left with the hands), rhythmical rolling of the feet on a copper roller and the sound sequence "H – A" have also proven their worth.
  • A variation of the hallelujah exercise: "H – A", "L", "Love–E", "L", "Hope–U", "I" with the whole body, "A – H" can structure the program of therapy.
    Each exercise should be adapted to the patient and her possibilities. Allow for sufficient breaks.
  • For patients who are unable to move themselves, the hallelujah exercise can deepen their breathing and create a brighter atmosphere.
  • Therapists not trained in eurythmy therapy can guide the patient in doing the exercise contraction and expansion with the verse: “I collect the warmth of the sun in my heart and let it radiate through all my limbs.”

Fear with shortness of breath

  • The exercises begin with "I – A – O"
  • and are continued with "L – A – O – U – M" in cases of fear with cardiovascular symptoms.
    "L" and "M" have an effect on altered breathing. "M" can also boost body heat. "A" has a loosening and calming effect. "L" has an enlivening function: anxiety is accompanied by a reduction in metabolic processes due to the accompanying stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. "L" can support the etheric organization and strengthen upbuilding life forces.
  • Variations of "L – A – O – U – M" are recommended: the vowels with the feet, "L" and "M" with the shoulders and feet (experiencing sounds with the feet can also happen passively).
  • The exercise "Hope–U" can also be considered. The use of hexameter as a basic mood can support freer breathing.
  • A person not trained in eurythmy therapy can show the "M" gesture. Hexameter can be emphasized by having the therapist and the patient give each other a soft ball on each long syllable and put it in their own other hand on each of the two short syllables.

Fear of “losing one’s center”

  • Imitating the pitches of a simple melody invites the patient to focus his attention on something outside of himself. The resonance with the rising and falling of the melody can have a relaxing and ordering effect.
  • The calming sequence "V – B – P – S – S – T" can open up another path: a protective sheath is built up from the outside through "V" and "B"; in "P" the person collects themselves in the middle and then reacts with S and T to the environment and asserts themselves.
  • The vowels "I" and "E" are also suitable and are done in accord with the patient’s possibilities.
  • The use of objects provides concrete support. "B" can be felt with both hands when enclosing a copper ball, the feet are invigorated by moving them on a copper roller. "E" has a similar quality and can also be done with the fingers or feet.

Fear with anxiety

  • In cases of agitated anxiety, vowels can be done with the feet, especially "U", which centers the patient inwardly. Possibly "A – U – M" with the feet or fingers, rhythmic work or the "A – H" exercise.
  • It may be necessary to support and bring order into the motor-metabolic system with the help of consonant exercises.
  • "S" can be very helpful if disturbing dreams occur.
  • "M" helps with exhalation and is often experienced as bringing peace.
  • The exercise expansion and contraction can be done with the hands or an extremity and can also simply be shown to the patient by the therapist.
  • An "A" done with the fingers can be helpful.
  • Guided walking backwards can also relieve anxiety, if the patient can walk.

Research news

Phase IV trial: Kalium phosphoricum comp. versus placebo in irritability and nervousness 
In a new clinical study, Kalium phosphoricum comp. (KPC) versus placebo was tested in 77 patients per group. In a post-hoc analysis of intra-individual differences after 6 weeks treatment, a significant advantage of KPC vs. placebo was shown for characteristic symptoms of nervous exhaustion and nervousness (p = 0.020, p = 0.045 respectively). In both groups six adverse events (AE) were assessed as causally related to treatment (severity mild or moderate). No AE resulted in discontinuation in treatment. KPC could therefore be a beneficial treatment option for symptomatic relief of neurasthenia. The study has been published open access in Current Medical Research and Opinion

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