Therapeutic speech I Art therapy I Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting I GIS I Oncology

Therapeutic approach

Loss of appetite

Most patients report an increase in appetite after a few hours of anthroposophic speech therapy. This is because of the connections between the processes of respiration (air hunger!), nutrition, speech and taste. Deeper breathing stimulates combustion processes in the metabolism. The act of focusing on forming sounds in the different speech zones sometimes literally makes the patient’s mouth water. Since loss of appetite is often accompanied by a loss of the courage to live, it is important via breathing to stimulate a reaffirmation of the patient’s destiny and existence.

We can achieve a strengthening and deepening of spontaneous and unconscious inhalation (“I” and astral body), as well as brisk exhalation of air when speaking, by employing the following breathing exercise and declamatory texts:

Breathing exercise

Fulfilling goes
through hoping
goes through longing
through willing
willing flows
in wavering
wails in quavering
waves veiling
weaving breathing
in freedom
freedom winning
kindling (1, p. 16, Engl. p. 36)

The exercise “Come crooked craftiest cur” (1, p. 72) (with a ball, or stamping, clapping, etc.)
brings healthy presence in the body.

Nimbly and agilely spoken fluency exercises stimulate blood circulation and salivation, especially if they are spoken lightly and cheerfully in the anterior oral cavity, e.g.:

Fluency exercise

Piffling fifer
prefacing feather
phlegma fluting
fairground piercing (1, p. 22, Engl. p. 41)

which can be practiced in many variations and can also be used as a breathing exercise.

The sibilants “S /Z” and “SH” and “F/V” are also very effective, since the formation of sounds with the teeth used for biting food has a strong psychosomatic effect:

Curtsey Betsy jets bets cleric, lastly light sceptic

The exercises must be carefully adapted to the strength of each patient. With regular practice, permanent improvement after a few weeks. 

Nausea

The diffuse, often strongly impairing feeling of discomfort and the associated disorientation both in the patient’s own body and in the surrounding space are calmed and brought into order through speech gestures oriented towards the directions in space. This happens under special consideration of the solar plexus.

You can start with a regulating exercise in which the speaker orients herself in a new way in her body and in space. Very suitable is:

Steadfast I place myself into existence (concentrate on left leg and foot)
certain I walk the course of my life (concentrate on right leg and foot)
love I nurture in the core of my being (concentrate on left arm and hand)
hope I place in every deed (concentrate on right arm and hand)
trust I impress in all my thinking (concentrate on head)
these five lead me to my goal
these five gave me my existence (2, p. 218, Engl. p. 158)

or: “The earth below—the heavens above, and I am in-between” (Alfred Baur).

Both exercises are accompanied by appropriate gestures and steps. Shaking one’s own hand strengthens the presence of the “I” in the body.

This is practiced with the syllable sequence “Ma Me Mi Mo Mu”, with alternating hands from top to bottom, whereby the sound “M” strengthens the feeling of self.
The movement of the hands comes to rest before the solar plexus.

Thus, the exercise “Lay bending various trays facing day’s labor” (“ Lebendige Wesen treten wesendes Leben ”) is accompanied by gestures forming a horizontal figure eight, which in turn crosses in front of the solar plexus (again supported by quietly grasping the respective hand).
Relief usually comes in the first hour of therapy.

The vegetative area consolidates with an “E” exercise in front of the upper abdomen, e.g., with the image of a horizontal figure-eight intersecting in front of the solar plexus and the corresponding gestures.

Subsequently, the 5 words of this “E” exercise: “Lebendige Wesen treten wesendes Leben” (“Lay bending various trays facing day’s labor”) (1, p. 40, Engl. p. 60) can be walked in a five-pointed star.

Vomiting

In vomiting, the digestive process cannot be brought to an end and it pushes, sometimes eruptively, back into the esophagus and oral cavity. The aim is to take a new look at its organization and to shape and release the sounds earthward with increased exhalation: the speaker “surrenders” his inner being consciously and deliberately to the outside air on the level of body and soul, so that vomiting becomes effectively superfluous. The guiding principle here is the close relationship between inhalation/exhalation and food intake/excretion. Linguistically shaped and guided exhalation has a structuring effect on the organism and thus strengthens the person’s connection with it.

If there is a tendency to vomiting, we practice intensifying exhalation with a long, earth-facing “A” (pronounced “ah” as in “father”). On a soul level, the person inwardly goes out of her body with the sound “A” and can anchor herself anew in the breathing process.

  • The syllable sequence “JA–GA–KA”
    is suitable as an exercise which establishes a connection to the metabolic pole via the root of the tongue and the posterior palate. Speak “JA” and “GA” with flowing breath and a releasing gesture from above downward until all the air is used up; make the “KA” short and strong, thrusting down with alternate heels.

This is followed by a rhythmic “A” exercise, which is grasped centripetally, line by line, in the upper area of the arms and hands, then led down through the body and finally released again outwards with one step, e.g.,

  • “Klarer Strahl, fall ins Tal ...” (Hedwig Diestel—each “a” is pronounced “ah” as in father).
    This process regulates the processes of absorption and excretion.

The whole process can then be consolidated by changing between “A” (expansion) and “E” (centering), e.g., with

  • “The parcel master asks mail” (“Der Base Nase aß Mehl”)
  • “Rather marshal crafty Carl” (“Rasen Masse kratze kahl”) (1, p. 24, Engl. p. 43)

This has a good immediate effect in cases of nausea. In cases of acute vomiting, after regular practice, it is also helpful to imagine the above exercises. It helps to have the patient apply and consolidate the exercises before chemotherapy.

1 Steiner R, Steiner-von Sivers M. Creative speech. The formative process of the spoken word. Reprinted 1st ed. Forest Row: Rudolf Steiner Press; 2013.

2 Steiner R, Barton M. Soul exercises. Word and symbol meditations. Herndon: Steiner Books; 2014.