Paying for extra eurythmy

There is a question mark over whether curative or therapeutic eurythmy is legal. Of course it’s an alternative (anthroposophcal) therapy, and those are legal, if people want to pay for them that is their choice. The only rule is that practitioners must not make false claims for their therapies. Professor David Colquhoun said in an article on the subject in 2009 after a change in the law;

“The gist of the matter is that it is now illegal to claim that a product will benefit your health if you can’t produce evidence to justify the claim.”

There is no evidence whatsoever that curative eurythmy has health benefits, especially not if it takes the form described in a comment here, where a small child had weights attached to his ankles.

The powers that be (the anthroposophists) in Steiner institutions make decisions based on spiritual science about what therapies individuals need to assist in their spiritual development.

The therapies may take the form of curative eurythmy, art therapy, or any of the bizarre treatments dreamed up in accordance with Rudolf Steiner’s visions as depicted in anthroposophy.

In Stroud we have an anthroposophical medical centre, St Lukes, which is partly funded by the NHS because it offers a percentage of conventional medicine. It is apparently impossible to say (according to the NHS) which parts are publicly funded. According to the website, there are rumours the centre is about to close, but these are described as “unfounded”. Two doctors recently retired and no replacements have been found. One of the remaining Doctors is Michael Evans who describes himself as a National health service GP.

The therapies on offer at St Lukes include art, oasis, eurythmy, singing, creative speech, oil dispersion baths, and biographical counselling.

In the section on eurythmy we are told;

“Therapeutic Eurythmy can address a wide range of conditions, such as cardio-vascular disorders, neurological problems, muscular-skeletal disorders, life crisis and associated medical complaints. It is also helpful in the treatment of mental illness.Therapeutic eurythmy is not used in acute or inflammatory situations.”

I don’t know if “addressing” a condition counts as curing it. One former Steiner student said that the idea of eurythmy providing exercise for children is untrue. The movements are slow and dull, and the piano player gets more exercise than the participants.

The St Luke’s medical centre is situated conveniently close to a Camphill Community and next to the Christian Community (Steiner church).

Two commenters here have told us that “clients” of the Steiner movement are being asked to pay extra for therapies prescribed at Steiner schools and in Camphill Communities (see comments on “Ditch the Anthroposophy”).

On top of the fees paid for by parents to send their child to independent Steiner schools, and by tax-payers paying for places at Camphill, they are asked asked, or in the case of Camphill residents, compelled, to pay for these therapies. Astonishing.

The whole massive deception that is Steiner Education and adult care is becoming easier to untangle bit by bit. The ever growing Steiner community in this area is easier to understand when pieces of information like this pare put into the jigsaw.

Of course there is an income to be made from eurythmy and art therapy if children and vulnerable adults are coerced into signing up for them. It’s a neat trick; one anthroposophist prescribes eurythmy, a few others endorse the diagnosis and another takes the fee.

Here is the St Lukes guide to anthroposophic medicine,



  1. Nick Nakorn

    I’ve had a look at the St. Luke’s pages and I’m genuinely shocked. I had no idea that there were official NHS GP practices run by Anthroposophists. I wonder how many there are around the country and how one could tell if individual GPs were Anthroposophists? Not only is the medical woo outrageous but there is also the question of how Anthroposophical racism serves the non-white residents in the catchment area.

  2. Helen

    Yes, I know people who have used this practice; one took a bunch of flowers to thank the GP but to tell her she was going to another practice as the treatment wasn’t working – the GP deposited the flowers wordlessly in to the bin.

  3. Jim

    The most odd thing about this is that these people are doctors. That is, they are not like so many other quacks ( homeopaths, reflexologists, accupuncturists etc ) – they have actually qualified as proper medical doctors. With real medicines. So you find yourself asking what is going on. Did they start out intending to be proper doctors treating people for real illnesses with those real medicines and later get captured by the woo fairies? Or were they away with the fairies from day one and undertake years of medical school with their fingers crossed behind their backs?
    Of course the line they promote is that conventional medicine is perfectly fine but “cannot treat the whole person”. But then they come up with theories of illness, about the astral and the etheric bodies being out of balance and so forth, that call into question whether they have any regard for real medicine.
    It would be interesting to hear from someone with experience of such a GP who could tell us when and for what conventional medicines were prescribed and when and for what they were prescribed anthroposophic ‘remedies’. Have these GPs in practice abandoned conventional medicine or do they just supplement it?

    • thegirlinthefireplace82

      In regards to what remedies are persecribied by such doctors, a learning disabled resident of my former organisation was taken to one when she had a cold. She was given homeopathic remedies (of which type I can not remember now unfortunately), and told to rest from all activities except eurythmy for 6 weeks. For this advice and sugar pills she was charged around £100! And the organisation was still receiving payments from the government for her day care placement even tho she did not attend for the 6 weeks. Needless to say her cold cleared up in a few days, as colds always do, and the poor woman was left alone and bored for 6 weeks at home with little to no supervision or company during the day. Arnica was also a very widely used remedy, with it being put on every injury you can think of, or taken in pill form during times of shock. I was told to take arnica by a colleague after my father was involved in a near fatal accident. Apparently I had not been seen crying enough so needed the arnica to “bring out the shock” and make me cry. I was told I would be a mess emotionally after taking it and that was good! I took it anyway to shut them up and of course nothing happened. It never occurred to them that maybe I just didn’t want to cry in front of them! I was also told by one of the “therapists” that I should have some (very expensive) counselling because I suffer from a disruptive sleep disorder, which according to them was because a very distant ansestor of mine was probably raped and that experience was affecting my soul! I did laugh at that one. These people are just in it for the money, you can make a lot of cash from the vulnerable who are either unable to make an informed choice or too scared to say no. It is a disgrace.

      • Jim

        Were you ever prescribed any conventional medicine? Your experience does make one wonder what their medical training was for.

        • thegirlinthefireplace82

          No I wasn’t, but I went to a conventional doctor for my own health needs anyway. Luckily, as social services did check up on us occasionally, conventional medicine had to be used in some cases if the resident needed it, but for most things they were given alternative medicine, and not given a choice as to have conventional medicine. Some of the staff however did not use any conventional medicine on themselves or their children, kids were not vaccinated, staff used mistletoe to treat their cervical cancer, and one family refused medical help when their young child had a seizure for the first time, much to the shock of the paramedics who had been called by someone else. I’m told that most alternative doctors start out as just regular doctors, but later on discover what they think are the benefits of alternative medicine and so train in that much later. I think it’s madness, and that these alternative doctors are basically in it for the money most of the time, they all charge a bomb just to have a chat, and then even more for their sugar pill remedies. That’s my experience anyway. Makes me furious.

      • Helen

        “I took it anyway to shut them up and of course nothing happened” – I am glad for your sake nothing happened, at least it shows arnica is probably harmless as well as useless.
        To advise someone to take a remedy that they believe makes you a mess emotionally – wow, that’s really messing with your brain.
        “These people are just in it for the money” – aha! I feel another blogpost coming on.

        • thegirlinthefireplace82

          Well if I had any doubt about its safety I would never had taken it, but I know that homeopathic remedies are useless and harmless, as is the arnica and arnica cream (in the doses you can buy anyway, not sure if you ingested pure arnica it would be safe, but that is not available anyway). But yes, how awful to say that to someone, especially someone they know is emotionally vulnerable, but I had known them long enough to know what mind games they were playing so it didn’t upset me, but it would have others who didn’t know what they were like. I think they saw it as an opportunity to convert me, if I had reacted like they said I would then maybe I would be convinced they were right and follow steiner, they were always trying to convert me but with no success at all, much to their annoyance I think. They don’t like it when you speak up against their nonsense!

          • Helen

            You must be very strong-willed and determined to stand up to this kind of behaviour in the workplace. I bet Steiner have probably never met anyone like you before!
            “They don’t like it when you speak up against their nonsense!”
            No, they certainly don’t. I think a lot of people can vouch for the truth of that statement.

            • thegirlinthefireplace82

              I had my moments, but at times I just gave up and kept my mouth shut, eventually you just get so worn down and depressed that you can’t always fight. One of my only regrets in life is that I didn’t stand up to them as often as I should have, especially on the seemingly small matters as those often had the furthest reaching effects. I am ashamed to say it but sometimes I didn’t stand up to them or report them because I knew I would lose my job, money was tight and as I live a bit out the way and had no car it was very hard to find employment elsewhere. But I certainly gave them hell when I could, especially if what was happening was abusive to residents, that behaviour I would never stand for.

  4. Helen

    In reply to the girlinthefireplace
    I suppose I meant standing up to them in that you didn’t take on their views and become a Steiner follower yourself. I think most people give up very quickly as I did, or are gradually drawn in and become accepting of anthroposphy. Working somewhere where everyone else has a different “worldview” is disorientating to say the least..

  5. cristina cassidy

    Eurythmy is so stupid. I went to a Waldorf School from K-12 and my mom bought into so much nonsense. I had to do extra “therapeutic eurythmy” because I couldn’t concentrate…well, that was because I was being totally abused at home. It must have been pretty obvious too, I guess it was just easier to send me to Eurthymy! And the ridiculous homeopathic flower remedy nonsense…what I needed was an actual doctor! I had no actual medical care for the majority of my childhood. I’m still bitter.

    • Helen

      Thanks for the comments Cristina. It’s good to see from your blog that you have emerged from Waldorf to live a fun life, despite your experiences . (And I will be trying those recipes!)
      So much for “child-centred” Steiner schools – eurythmy seems to be the Steiner cure-all for any problems, large or small. One of the worst aspects is that children, and adults, are prevented from getting the care they really need. It’s criminal.

  6. Thomas Poplawski

    If you do a web search for Eurythmy Therapy, you will find that there are a number of published studies regarding the positive benefits published in peer reviewed scientific journals. To list just one example, there are a number of studies on the use of Eurythmy Therapy for treating arterial hypertension, heart rate variability, etc. To say that there is no evidence that Eurythmy Therapy has health benefits is obviously false.

    • we escaped!

      Is it healthy to attach weights to 6 year old ankles as part of eurythmy therapy? We were told by qualified medical professionals that it was extremely damaging to childrens ligaments.
      This procedure was done without the consent or knowledge of the parents.

    • Helen

      Thomas – I can’t find any journals apart from anthroposophical or “spiritual science” journals which mention eurythmy. Which ones do you refer to?
      Wiki has this on therapeutic eurythmy
      “Eurythmy is a component of anthroposophic medicine, a system of alternative medicine which has been characterized as unscientific,pseudoscientific and as “pure quackery.”
      I assume you are the same Thomas Poplawski who has written Waldorf/Steiner books on eurythmy and how to use it in schools?
      If you could answer the question from “we escaped” first, that would be great.

      • we escaped!

        The answer given by the eurythmy teacher was that it was because he had no skin, he did not know himself and his astral body kept him awake at night. Still don’t actually understand what that all of that means and why it justifies abuse by strapping him down with weights?

      • Pete Karaiskos

        Hi Tom. While you’re at Wikipedia – look up HGilbert – he, like you, likes to hop onto websites and post as if he doesn’t have a conflict of interest. See what I did there? It’s proper netiquette to give a link when you make a statement – so that people know you aren’t pulling stuff out of your ass. As it turns out, you have a vested financial interest, it appears, in having Eurythmy (the embodiment of Anthroposophy) accepted by the mainstream. So if there are “a number of studies” that haven’t been produced by you personally, you should share a number of links to those studies so we can verify that they are, indeed, impartial studies. Otherwise, since you demonstrated above a proclivity toward dishonesty, I’ll assume your statement in its entirety is dishonest.

    • Rain17

      Hi Thomas,

      If you do a web search for Eurythmy Therapy, you will find that there are a number of published studies regarding the positive benefits published in peer reviewed scientific journals.

      Can you recommend the ones you feel would benefit us, here at SSIS? Thank you.


      • Thomas Poplawski I would add that the history of publication of research in all artistic therapies, anthroposophic or otherwise, begins with sympathetic journals and then slowly moves out into a broader field. Not all of the research studies in Eurythmt constitute good research but the trend is positive. Good research is very expensive and there are no large corporations or pharmaceutical firms who are likely to step up and fund this sort of research…

        • MarkHayes

          Thanks for the link Thomas.

          If I may summarise: this is a review paper looking at previous efforts to evaluate therapeutic eurthymy for a variety of serious conditions, including heart disease and anorexia. The authors searched several of the large online databases of medical literature (plus some specific to complementary medicine) and found 8 relevant papers documenting 5 studies. They do a reasonably good job of describing the limitations and reliability of these studies: only one used a control group, all but one other study used additional treatments alongside the eurthymy. None of them were randomised.

          The heart disease study (the only one with a control group) had “poorly defined primary aims; moreover, because all patients were in a health resort for several months, one may expect a spontaneous improvement of the clinical situation anyway.”

          Another study – the only one utilising eurthymy alone – consisted of 5 boys with ADHD. A very small sample and their criteria for inclusion in the study is unclear.

          The anorexia study patients also received psychotherapy. The authors note the difficulty in assessing the individual components of a full “therapeutic package”.

          The review was funded by the anthroposophical Raphael Clinic and by the anthro-sympathetic company Software AG Stiftung.

  7. Jim

    Welcome back Thomas – it’s been a while.

    I take your point about funding, though the likes of Weleda are not short of funds. But I think you may be giving too much weight to this in explaining the absence of mainstream study of eurythmy’s alleged therapeutic effects. Whilst I certainly make no claims to expertise in analysing medical statistics it does look to me as though the results are marginal at best. Indeed one could imagine them being reported as insignificant in a publication not already predisposed in favour of alternative medicine. But still, at least the study is relatively free of the uncritical endorsement of some of the wilder claims, apart from references to “soulful experience” and suchlike. However it seems to me to conclude that eurythmy gives much the same benefit as any other moderate exercise in a supportive environment. I don’t think Steiner critics would find that surprising but would not thereby feel less critical of the underlying anthroposophical pseudo science.

  8. alan

    It is apparently impossible to say (according to the NHS) which parts are publicly funded.” So public officials are handing over public money to private companies and they don’t know what for? Or is it ‘Anthroposophists are goodies so here’s a large cheque and we know you’ll spend it on good stuff?

    The thing about criticisms of rubbish ‘alternative’ therapies is that too many of the criticisms work on the assumption that the mainstream ‘health’ system isn’t also essentially corrupt and largely rubbish, with

    * its useless treatments, tests and uses of equipment just to justify large contracts oiled with the usual backhanders;

    * its back-scratching promotion system;

    * the casual frequent dishonesty by most medics almost every time they open their mouths;

    * moneygrabbing medics who adopt the honorary style of ‘doctor’ (little-known fact: anyone is allowed to call themselves ‘doctor’; personally I think the term should be reserved for people who really are qualified, in any subject, to doctoral level, which at least 99% of medics aren’t);

    * all the fiddles and daily blasé corruption which goes on in hospitals and surgeries both NHS and private;

    * attitude to punters that’s no better than the one that’s prevalent among second-hand car dealers or Vodafone or most solicitors or whatever

    * medical ‘research’ paid for by pharmaceutical or equipment interests and of course made to look oh-so-independent (just start to have a look into this and if you have your wits about you, you will soon lose any trust in academia or science)

    There’s been no move for the better since the 1950s when Mogadon was advertised to medics with the line “Mogadon – Whatever the Diagnosis”, or for that matter the period before Rockefeller interests created the modern medical system in the aftermath of the formal break-up of Standard Oil, namely the period when patent medicines were advertised largely locally.

    Some of these bullshit aspects of the mainstream are precisely why there’s a demand for ‘alternative’ treatments in the first place.

    Almost all vaccination is a complete racket. GPs are offered bonuses to get high ‘coverage’, so lo and behold they try to get high coverage. ‘Science’? Like yeah, right.

    It’s possible to get a handle on vaccination without having been caused to do so by followers of an Austrian Buddho-Malthusian charlatan who imagined he was retrieving information from the ‘Akashic records’.

    Last I heard, if you take all the money pharmaceutical companies spend on research, development and production and add it all together and multiply by 3, you don’t get anywhere near what they spend on propaganda. Far too few people are aware of that. One who is who springs to mind is David Cornwell, better known under the pen name John Le Carré.

    And for those who are going to jump up and defend the mainstream and its oh-so-independent ‘peer review’ and so on – please don’t read the above as any kind of support for the idea that stirring cow crap in a figure of eight is the way forward :-)

    Concentrating on rejection of vaccination as what is supposedly one of the worst things about Steiner schools and Camphill communities is likely to make them stronger.

    • alan

      Lest I be accused of being too negative… I’ll say that rather than focusing on vaccination it’s better in my opinion to concentrate on things such as

      * the cow crap and quartz in the buried horns;

      * the labelling of children according to body and face shapes and their abuse by cult-indoctrinated nutcase ‘teachers’ on that basis;

      * the making of children to all paint the same pictures;

      * the wacko insanity about physical, astral, etheric and spiritual bodies and reincarnation which underlies the whole culture in Steiner so-called ‘education’ (including eurythmy, the importance of seven-year steps in age, the allowing of bullying, and the contempt the teachers have for parents);

      * the equally nutcase stuff about Atlantis and races and epochs

      * the systematic lies about the role of the cult in its schools, and the knowing involvement of the teachers in these lies

      * the role of the cult’s hierarchy with its centre in Switzerland

      * the Weleda financial machine

      * the Triodos Bank financial machine (which has been on the march for some time)

      * the Lucis Trust financial machine

  9. alan

    I read through Michael Evans’s CV. It seems he got his medical degree (MC ChB, which is one degree at bachelor’s level, just like a BA or BSc), and er, that’s about it as far as qualifications go, unless you count his “Certificate as an Anthroposophic Physician”.

    He refers to “Post-graduate training” (he has punctuation and spelling difficulties) in a British hospital and then to “Post-graduate” training and posts in Steiner cult organisations, but “postgraduate” just means after you’ve got your bachelor’s degree and he doesn’t mention any postgraduate degrees. I’m sure he would have done if he’d ever got any.

  10. Jim

    Well Alan, wouldn’t it have been quicker just to say what you do approve?

    I don’t believe it is fair to assume that critics of alternative medicine imagine that the mainstream is without faults but there is a fundamental difference between them. Alternative medicine, with perhaps a few marginal exceptions, is utterly without any scientific basis or therapeutic value. And it remains so whether practised by outright charlatans or those with the highest ethical values. Whereas mainstream medicine, again with exceptions, has a sound scientific basis and proven therapeutic value. However like any other enterprise it can be corrupted by commercial interests. In the past this has mainly been a concern in relation ( as you point out ) to “big pharma” promoting drugs of limited value and being selective in the evidence they submit to regulators. Now with increased commercialisation in healthcare and pressure on the system I would agree there is more scope for such corruption but I still think you present a gross caricature of medicine in the UK today.

    One last point – maybe you haven’t read much of this site but I think you’ll find that, far from focussing on vaccination, all the other concerns you raise in relation to anthroposophy have been frequently discussed. Indeed the main concern is with education and as you rightly say the lies parents are told about it.

Any thoughts?

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