Eutony is a somatic form of holistic therapy that utilizes movement to effect mind-body balance and wellness. Also known as Eutonia, Eutony subscribes to the belief that improved health can be attained by enhancing muscle tone with intentional movement while in a state of present awareness. This differs from most conventional forms of physical therapy in that the concentration is placed with flow and expression, rather than physical exertion or stress. In other words, Eutony endeavors to promote independence and confidence by engaging in simple movement that is naturally comfortable instead of adapting the body or the technique to suit the other.
Another basic principle of Eutony is the development of self-knowledge and personal growth through self-evaluation. This is as much an integral part of the therapy as movement. In fact, awareness and perception of the body as an integrated whole rather than a collection of systems encourages freedom of movement with the goal of consciously manifesting a sense of well-being. There are various techniques involved in Eutony to help facilitate this process, including passive movement, awareness of bone and muscle tonus, and responsiveness to the vibrational qualities of the voice.
If there is any validation of the effectiveness of Eutony in restoring health, it may be found in the personal story of its originator, Gerda Alexander, also known as Gertrude Alexander. The German native suffered from rheumatic fever as a young woman and developed endocarditis as a consequence. She sought out a system of movement that would enhance her abilities rather than challenge them. She studied various systems until aligning herself with Moshe Feldenkrais, founder of the Feldenkrais Method. Drawing from and expanding on his method of self-growth through movement, Alexander eventually refined her system of Eutony, while improving her own health.
Like many somatic disciplines, Eutony is not a direct route to a cure for disease. Also in line with other somatic practices, however, it may assist the individual in taking an active role in improving circulation, muscle tone, and body alignment. Eutony isn’t isolated to patients with physical limitations, though, and may be employed as a complementary therapy for a variety of conditions.
A typical Eutony session may expose one to techniques and tools that are as simple as its principles. For example, some of the "equipment" encountered includes pillows, sticks, and balls. A session, which is usually 60 to 90 minutes in duration, may also consist of physical contact with the practitioner. In any case, the therapist guides each activity performed and their sequence.