Treating Restlessness with Eurythmy Therapy

Ingrid Hermansen

Last update: 23.08.2022

As explored in the introduction article ( the symptom of restlessness is caused by being unsettled at various levels. In eurythmy the outer/visible man follows laws of movement that govern supersensible/ nonphysical levels of being and thus supports an experience of one’s more ‘full’ reality as it were. Eurythmy in general will stimulate this sense of completion or wholeness. Looked at in the fourfold picture of the human being the introduction article suggests a more detailed understanding, each of which elements can be addressed in eurythmy therapy.

Therapeutic recommendations

In the experien ce of restlessness, the self of the person often feels as if powerless and at the mercy of others. Promotion of self-efficacy and self-competence can help here.

  • Vowel exercises are characterised as ‘bringing the individual to themselves’ (1) In the first exercise given in the eurythmy therapy course (2) the restless child is made to perform an A and an U simultaneously in arms and legs doing the left half before the right. The division between left and right is referred to as bringing a rhythmic, iambic element to the exercise. Rhythm is a central quality of the human middle system, the place where we are ‘most truly human’ as it were.
  • The diphthong AU has a close connection to our heart. In A we reach back to our origins (3), in U we acknowledge our humanity (4).
  • The Iambic A exercise thus combines fundamental tools for the promotion of self-efficacy and self-competence: an anchoring in one’s core, a rhythmic swing between holding and releasing, a confirmation of one’s spirit.  

Case vignette: A patient suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) developed severe backpain and hypervigilance that expressed in restlessness as ways of keeping flashbacks in check. The posture was hunched and the gaze lowered. After some weeks practice of the Iambic A exercise it was no longer necessary to remind her to raise her head, her posture had straightened ‘because I am more confident now’ she stated. The dry, factual quality of the exercise (concentrate on feeing that the left side leads) focuses the attention and supports proprioception.   

  • Where it is not possible to perform the classic exercise, the elements may still be worked at, e.g. moving between A and U with the feet, with the hands or fingers, it is helpful to do so rhythmically. If the patient is not able to move themselves the therapist may do the A U with their feet. Here a gentle pressure on the soles of the feet will evoke a ‘memory of uprightness’, the archetypal expression of the self.  

Restlessness calms when the soul is supported in its connection with the body. Lower sense work (stimulation of touch, balance, movement and life senses) is a helpful tool.

  • The vowel E forms points of contact , be it with the arms, the legs the fingers or feet. One may want to feel oneself quite firmly and as long as the limbs come to actual rest on each other this is fine. One woman would fold her hands tightly in her distress. Gradually bringing the crossing points of the fingers out towards the tips helped her shift from the cramped grasp to one she sensed and commanded. The E was then done with individual pairs of fingers.
  • The E can be brought together with the love gesture which embraces a wide horizon (regardless of the size of the physical gesture) It is not necessary to name the soul gesture, the movement gesture influences the body in the same way that the feeling of love does. The gesture itself is the important thing, a gesture where one senses a flowing, streaming connection from the breastbone area to the fingertips. It does not have to be accompanied by any particular feeling, indeed that may be far too demanding in a vulnerable state. In the wide, peripheral Love gesture it can feel like making a circle with the horizon standing on the seashore, holding a large chunk of the world in one’s arms. In E light rays from the point, possibly as far out as one embraced before. It can be a reassuring experience to know oneself to be at home in both ‘worlds’.  

Restlessness strengthens catabolic processes, zapping energy.

  • Upbuilding processes are supported by consonantal eurythmy , L is often directly experienced as refreshing. If larger arm-gestures are not possible there are many other ways to engage with the L. It may be done as an imagination of a wave rising up in front of the body, peaking over the shoulders and descending spray-like behind the back.
  • It may be watched in the Halleluiah, Its cleansing quality is often valued, especially when care is taken to keep the gesture fairly small not to over ask the observer.
  • The M can work similarly to the Love gesture in suffusing the body with warmth and paving the way for sleep.  

Physically, restlessness expresses in fidgetiness, cooling, tensions, rapid breathing and heart rate.

  • These symptoms tend to find some relief with the above-described exercises. The non-eurythmy therapist may quietly perform a small contraction and expansion exercise using the opening A gesture and condensing U gesture done in the lower arms or hands, for or with the patient in a slow, breathing manner. 


  1. Steiner R. Curative Eurythmy. Sixth lecture April 17, 1921. No. 315. London: Rudolf Steiner Press; 1983.
  2. Steiner R. Curative Eurythmy. First lecture April 12, 1921. No. 315. London: Rudolf Steiner Press; 1983.
  3. Steiner R. Eurythmy as Visible Speech. Third lecture June 26, 1924. No. 279. London: Rudolf Steiner Press; 2019.
  4. Steiner R. Curative Eurythmy. Second lecture April 13, 1921. No. 315. London: Rudolf Steiner Press; 1983.

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