Eurythmy Therapy for Cancer-Related Fatigue

Cancer-related fatigue often begins insidiously, but it may sometimes seem sudden: “I have run out of steam”. The person experiences their body as heavy ballast because their life forces are no longer helping them into uprightness and lightness. The forces that give them uplift, light and warmth are becoming weak. In their breathing inhalation is becoming more dominant than exhalation. Their spine is pulled forward by gravity and this influences their gait pattern. Their feet often fall asleep, get cold, and the capacity of their limbs to bear weight dwindles. The anchoring of their soul in their body is experienced as being so fragile and thin that “the thread is threatening to snap”. Trust in themselves is dwindling because their body can hardly support self-confidence and self-perception. In this situation their soul can lose touch with the meaning of life, with its own self.

Healing eurythmy movements guided by the ‘I’ serve to dissolve the threatening, paralyzing, debilitating effects of cancer and its associated burdensome circumstances by enabling the ‘I’ to find access to upbuilding and strengthening possibilities for expression in movement (1). It is like an inner turning point. In this way, the person’s impressions and expressions can come back into a rhythmically swinging balance in and through movement. The person can rediscover their inner uprightness, while their self-perception, self-esteem and self-confidence can be strengthened.

In eurythmy therapy it is first necessary to stimulate the person’s life forces and bring them into flow, to give their etheric body “nourishment” and to strengthen the forces that uplift the person. Eurythmy aims to “make the etheric body into a useful character” (2, p. 74) and in this context to support the person’s warmth forces especially. For this purpose, we begin by ensuring that the person experiences warm feet. Thus, we lay a groundwork to reconnect the polarities of the upper and lower human being in the middle.

Therapeutic recommendations

  • ‘M’ with the feet ,
    possibly with the assistance of a hot-water bottle on which the movements can be carried out, is particularly suitable for regaining warmth and stimulating the ability to breathe.

  • ‘O – E – M – L – Ei(I) – B – D’ ,
    known as the “warmth” or “light” sequence , is a kind of archetype for eurythmy therapy work in oncology, especially for fatigue patients (3). It contains essential basic elements of eurythmy, such as the polarities in the three dimensions of space, as well as possibilities for movement that connect these dimensions, which can open up renewed access to spaces for soul experience. This treatment sequence is not a therapy scheme to be rigidly practiced, it rather serves as a starting point for creative and imaginative development of its basic elements with each patient individually in a way that addresses specific problems.

  • Contraction and expansion
    enables the patient to regain vitality in their rhythmic organism. This can also be deepened by swinging between the forms “The outside has prevailed” and “The inside has prevailed” or with the help of exercises using a copper ball.

  • Specific gestures
    ‘B’ has a stimulating effect on the activity of the astral body in the kidney region and connects it harmoniously with the etheric body.
    This can be intensified with ‘R’ and ‘S’ . While ‘R’ stimulates the soul body, ‘S’ inspires the I-organization.
    The ‘welling’ sound ‘L’ has a strengthening effect on the etheric body. ‘O’ opens up space again for the pent-up soul.
    ‘E’ anchors the I-organization in the etheric body (‘O’ and ‘E’ = circumference and center). ‘O’ supports the liver’s upbuilding and formative powers, ‘E’ supports excretion and catabolic forces in bile. Rhythmic forming of the gestures helps the person to rediscover emotional lightness, even humor and joy, and it opens up access to their creative powers.
    ‘C’ enables uprightness and lightness and can help to overcome the paralyzing effect of bodily heaviness. Working with colors in the sound gestures can stimulate the life forces in a special way.

  • Eurythmic concentration exercises help the patient to feel like a “whole person” again.

  • Tone eurythmy therapy
    supports harmonious interaction between the members of the person’s fourfold nature and can revive the ‘friendship’ between them. The sustaining effect of music helps to lead and shape the heaviness of the body into lightness, perhaps enabling the person to find their personal life melody again. The person’s ‘I’ and soul can be brought back to each other again through practicing pitch, descending from above down to the tonic note. Moving between major and minor the soul learns to breathe more deeply and to rediscover a feeling for its inner space.