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Open Access Research article

Eurythmy Therapy in clinical studies: a systematic literature review

Arndt Büssing1*, Thomas Ostermann1, Magdalena Majorek2 and Peter F Matthiessen1

Author Affiliations

1 Chair of Medical Theory and Complementary Medicine, University of Witten/Herdecke, Gerhard-Kienle-Weg 4, 58239 Herdecke, Germany

2 Therapeutic Practice, Talstrasse 386, 4204 Himmelried, Switzerland

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2008, 8:8  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-8

Published: 31 March 2008

Abstract

Background

We aimed to overview the current literature on eurythmy therapy (EYT) which is an integral part of Anthroposophic Medicine. EYT can be described as a movement therapy in which speech movements are transposed into exercises which address the patient's capability to soul expression and strengthen his salutogenetic resources.

Methods

We searched several databases such as Cochrane, EMBASE, NCCAM, NLM, DIMDI, CAMbase, and Medline for case-control studies, cohort studies and randomised controlled trials on the treatment effects of EYT in a clinical setting. In a second search we included journal databases from Karger, Kluwer, Springer, Thieme, and Merkurstab archive.

Results

We found 8 citations which met the inclusion criterion: 4 publications referring to a prospective cohort study without control group (the AMOS study), and 4 articles referring to 2 explorative pre-post studies without control group, 1 prospective, non-randomized comparative study, and 1 descriptive study with a control group. The methodological quality of studies ranged in from poor to good, and in sample size from 5 to 898 patients. In most studies, EYT was used as an add-on, not as a mono-therapy. The studies described positive treatment effects with clinically relevant effect sizes in most cases.

Conclusion

Indications, study designs and the usage of additional treatments within the identified studies were quite heterogeneous. Despite of this, EYT can be regarded as a potentially relevant add-on in a therapeutic concept, although its specific relevance remains to be clarified. Well performed controlled studies on this unique treatment are highly recommended.