Painting Therapy and Sculpture Therapy for Loss of Appetite, Nausea and Vomiting

Cristina Mösch de Carvalho, Georg Hegglin, Andrea Ritter, Juliane Staguhn, Heike Stenz

Last update: 08.10.2018

Loss of appetite

The aims of therapy are to stimulate the sense of smell and taste, to move from sensory impressions to experience, and to bring a lively, flexible capacity for imagination to support the stagnating movement and life processes in the digestive tract. For this, painting exercises are suitable which allow dreaming and fantasizing, or themes and painting techniques which strive for a healing balance between day and night consciousness, i.e., between processes of degeneration and upbuilding. Examples: 

  • Work with the color orange in a variety of ways.
    The color orange stimulates the metabolism and the sense of taste, it promotes a healthy balance between one’s own impulses from within and joyful surrender to sensory perception, between waking and sleeping, e.g., in combination with blue tones.

  • Metamorphosis series in sculpture, with the aim of leading the patient into dreaminess.
    Perceive the differences between solid, liquid, airy and warm states of being and shape them accordingly. The implementation process is more important than the result.

  • Create swelling buds, which stimulates the metabolism.


The aim of therapy is to improve the patient’s orientation in space, which tends to be disturbed in cases of nausea (see also “Disturbances in the working of the sentient and “I” organizations in the metabolism”).

The following exercises are suitable for improving the sense of orientation in space:

  • “Cube-like” compositions painted with an opaque watercolor technique.
    Layered washes of color, when used to create repetitive forms and variations, support the experience of rhythms, as well as relationships between details and the whole. This is a suitable countermeasure, especially for irritable bowel complaints and the associated mental tension. It also helps with nausea, and has the effect of decelerating excited mental processes. In this way, the person’s awareness is directed towards the environment. The patient is motivated to face fixed objects and observe them.

  • Drawing natural objects can also be helpful.

  • Colors can be used in a targeted way, e.g., by slowly mixing red, yellow and blue on the paper to create a delicate grey.
    This activity has a harmonizing effect on the soul.

  • In sculpture, create a clay cube using a suitable technique.
    This has a centering effect. The clarity of the form, with its “above-below-back-front-right-left” quality, supports the person’s orientation in space. The experience of using clay and the formative power inherent in the exercise promote stability. These qualities can help with nausea, and also with dizziness.


The aim of therapy is to center the “I” in the body through a gesture that emphasizes parallel lines from top to bottom (see exercises below). This in turn enables a relationship to oneself through experiencing the relationship to a “counterpart”. The dialogue between self and the outside world is objectified. Observing nature distracts from the symptoms and can have a calming effect.

  • In painting, preferably use blue colors in opaque washes.
    Avoid yellow, orange and brown hues. Opaque washes of fresh colors can promote breathing. Suitable themes are landscapes showing the course of the day or year, for instance. They enable the patient to feel rhythmic processes in external nature.

  • Drawing of plants according to nature.
    The patient should observe parallels and recreate them in lines or planes, and be asked to draw them from top to bottom. 

  • In sculpture, constructing a clay wall or horizontal rectangle, by pressing small parallel pieces on top of each other, has proven successful.
    This promotes contact groundwards by pushing each piece down on the one below. The person can experience stability, borders, structure, direction, a path and a left-right orientation.

Research news

New peer-review instrument for Eurythmy Therapy validated 
Eurythmy Therapy (ET) is an anthroposophic movement therapy. In a validation study the new peer-review instrument "Anthroposophic Artistic Movement Assessment for Eurythmy Therapy (AART-ASSESS-EuMove)" was tested. Items with sufficient interrater reliability formed the following subscales: mindfulness in movement, motor skills and walking pattern. The AART-ASSESS-EuMove showed sufficient internal consistency and correlates with patient-reported outcome. The new instrument broadens methodological options of questionnaire validation and to understanding the ET. The article is published open access:

Further information on Anthroposophic Medicine