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International Association for
Anthroposophic Body Therapies

Rhythmical Massage Therapy according to Dr. Ita Wegman

Important note: Rhythmical Massage Therapy is recognised as Anthroposophic Body Therapy by the Medical Section of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland.

Historical context

Its development began around 1920, inspired by Dr. med. Ita Wegman, Dr. Rudolf Steiner's medical collaborator, from classical Swedish massage.
Together with Margarethe Hauschka, M.D., it was elaborated for the anthroposophically and spiritually expanded understanding of health and disease processes (1).

It is part of the anthroposophical body therapies as a therapeutic method under the name "Rhythmic Massage according to Dr. Ita Wegman".

The basic forms of this massage and its various modifications for the purpose of special effects were taught in training courses in various places during the first three decades. After many years of close collaboration between Margarethe Hauschka and Irmgard Marbach, the Margarethe Hauschka School was opened in 1962 as a training centre for rhythmic massage and artistic therapy in Boll. In the course of time, further training centres were added.

Basis of the method

The basic therapeutic approach of Rhythmical Massage Therapy is to strengthen the self-regulating powers of the organism.
Through the application of differentiated grip and touch qualities in the treatment, it is possible to have a regulating effect on the fluid, gaseous and heat-bearing processes in the organism. A harmonisation of their interaction is stimulated.

If the sensitive, healthy balance is disturbed by one-sided predominance of individual functions, rhythmic massage can have a regulating effect, for example on the polar processes of the degrading nervous activity on the one hand and the constructive metabolic activity on the other.
In a general as well as differentiated way, the rhythmic processes in the human being can be impulsed, which are regarded as the origin of every healing process.

Rhythmical Massage Therapy addresses the human being on all levels of existence - physical, mental and spiritual. It supports the patient to connect with his/her own body in a positive way, to use it as an instrument of the soul for his/her own intentions and thus to overcome disease processes.
This opens up areas of indication beyond the purely somatic sphere.

Rhythmical Massage Therapy primarily regulates the flow of fluids and the breathing of the whole organism. It stimulates the fluid flows in the body via the subcutaneous cell tissue. Cellular respiration is activated. Solidified and compressed structures, congestions and tensions are released. A positive life in the body can be established.
Solidified and condensed structures, congestion and tension are released. A positive body life can emerge.
The grips of the Rhythmical Massage Therapy are directly space-creating due to their special sucking quality, which leads from the centre to the periphery without pressure. The inner space of the soul experiences wideness and can be experienced.
By stimulating the body's own warmth, the patient experiences a new self-experience. New initiative can emerge and have a positive effect on the healing process.

The dialogical and processual correspondence (2, p. 52-55) which permeates the entire treatment as a basic quality is to be particularly emphasised.
A non-verbal dialogue develops between therapist and patient in a dialogical process.
The hands touch the tissue, perceive and respond to what is perceived. In every touch there is a constant change between perceiving (withdrawing) and responding (being active). The therapist perceives changes in the patient while withdrawing any intention of his or her own. Accordingly, he adapts his grips and grip qualities to the new requirements (3). The intensity of the touch is oriented towards the elasticity and firmness of the tissue and only goes as far as the perceptible resistance, never beyond this in a compelling character.
The patient feels accepted and understood in the touch and can thus open up to the impulses of the treatment (3).

Through procedural adjustment, the constantly evolving living quality of treatment is maintained, which is an efficacy in itself.

Fields of work

The factors of effectiveness described above enable Rhythmic Massage to be used in a wide range of applications.

This results in the following fields of indication, among others:

  • Stimulation of blood circulation
  • Mobilisation of tissue fluid
  • Regulation of tension in muscle and connective tissue
  • Supports the self-regulation of the organism
  • Regulation of pulse and respiration
  • Improves cardiovascular function
  • Regulation of metabolic processes
  • Stimulation of excretion
  • Normalisation of the wake-sleep rhythm

In addition, Rhythmical Massage Therapy is used for tumour diseases, for patients in the field of therapeutic education, geriatrics and psychiatry, early rehabilitation and intensive care medicine as well as in the field of psychosomatic diseases.

Rhythmical Massage Therapy is practised in clinics, institutions and in private practice.

Interdisciplinary work

The cooperation and exchange with other therapy methods proves to be very helpful in practice.

In this way, healing and developmental processes can be achieved on different levels in cooperation with therapeutic directions such as eurythmy therapy, art therapy, baths, wraps and compresses, heat therapy as well as body therapies, ergotherapy and speech therapy.

Further training

Training in Anthroposophic Body Therapies

Forms of organisation

Association for Rhythmical Massage Therapy in Germany:
Contact: E-mail:Ö

Association Rhythmic Massage Switzerland:
Contact: E-mail: sekretariat@vrms.LÖ

IFRMT (International Forum for Rhythmical Massage Therapy): international association of training providers and associations of Rhythmical Massage Therapy.
Contact: E-Mail: info@aoinelandweer-cooke.LÖ