Palliative Care I Edema

Eurythmy therapy

Edema occurs when a patient’s physical body, etheric body and soul body are no longer properly integrated. Edematous limbs are often cool and are perceived as being “foreign” to the patient and no longer belonging to him. Edematous fluid has fallen out of the body’s fluid organism, it no longer engages with the life processes in the organism as a whole. Rather, it now follows gravity and can collect at the lowest available place, depending on the patient’s position. To treat edema, we need to invigorate the etheric body via the soul body and ‘I’-organization, reintegrating these aspects, in addition to giving diuretic medication.

Here eurythmy therapy has a central task to invigorate the body through movement and to encourage integrative activity among the physical body, etheric body, soul body and ‘I’-organization (1). Patients report that—after eurythmy therapy—they experience their edematous limbs as belonging to them again, now warmed and revived. During eurythmy therapy, the therapist must often support the patient’s legs or arms, because they are too heavy for the patient to move on their own.

Peripheral edema

In case of edema of the limbs (arms or legs) the following sound sequences can give orientation:

  • “L – M – R – I”  or
  • “L – M – R – AU – I”

“L” strengthens the etheric organization. “L” and “M” act on the respiratory process in the fluid organism: edema formation leads to congestion processes which must be brought back into a physiological relationship of filtration/secretion and resorption, i.e., into breathing on a physiological level. “R” strengthens the sensory organization, which is intervening too weakly, and can also lead it from the heaviness often experienced by the patient into dynamic activity in the organism. The sound “I” connects the ‘I’-organization with the body.

We start with the patient lying down. The sounds are done at the periphery in small, but well-integrating movements:
“L” with the feet (let the toes dive in and out, as in water).
“M” with the feet. Here it is helpful if the therapist places her palms under the soles of the patient’s feet to create a certain counterpressure. Only when the patient really feels himself from the inside will he find the invigorating quality of the sound. The “M” is then guided as a large movement with the entire legs pushing in counter-movements over the mattress (as if through warm sand).
The therapist will often help with “R” by supporting the limb during the circular movements in the air. Once again, the activity of the tips of the patient’s toes and their sensing of the air in which they are moving is very essential.
The consonants “L – M – R” stimulate venous and lymphatic return flow, lifting the fluid organism from gravity into lightness and thus back into its proper etheric context. With the vowels “A – U – I” we bring the soul body and ‘I’ organization into the person’s upbuilding life processes as shaping forces: the patient experiences a re-ensoulment of the “lost” body area. He immediately feels the positive effect and reports that his legs or arms belong to him again—they feel lighter as well as warmer. The hardened areas of congestion become softer.

In cases of severely edematous arms, the therapist can perform the consonants around the affected limb. Later the patient does it as well as he can himself. Or the movements are done gently with the fingers from the periphery. The vowels can also be experienced inwardly, and only hinted at externally, if the patient’s ability to move is greatly restricted.

Anasarca

Patients with anasarca can perform the sound sequence around the affected regions themselves. Here, too, the quality of movement is essential.