Chirophonetic Therapy or Chirophonetics was developed out of the principles of Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy by Dr Alfred Baur, a curative educator and speech therapist from Austria.
Baur worked on it from 1972 and started to make it known in the world from 1976 when, accompanied by his wife Gunde, an anthroposophical doctor, he began to teach it to others. Baur found that every sound has a characteristic form, made through the air that streams through the speech organism. This form can be be stroked onto a patient’s back, legs or arms. The therapist speaks the sounds while simultaneously massaging the form of that sound onto the patient’s body, so that the patient is essentially listening to the sound with their whole body.
This therapy began as a means of stimulating speech in non-speaking children but has broadened to cover many kinds of developmental and medical conditions. It stands alongside therapeutic eurythmy and anthroposophical speech therapy, which are the two other arts that have evolved from the pioneering work at the beginning of the Twentieth Century by Rudolf Steiner and his wife, Marie Steiner von Sivers. These three healing modalities all work out of the healing capacity that lives in the Word or Logos – the creative power, recognized by the ancients, as active throughout the universe and to which human beings have access through being bearers of the gift of language.
In our time an entirely new relationship to the Logos is becoming possible on the foundations that such people as Baur and Steiner have built. Receiving chirophonetics, you hear sounds in a completely new way – not as the bearers of meaning, as usually happens when listening to speech, but as creative forces in their own right. The hidden power of speech is revealed through chirophonetics – the patient experiences his body as moulded by speech.
This power, alive within the sounds of speech, is what is working as the real healing agent in the practice of chirophonetics. We are only at the beginning of our ability to use it. The life-works of Rudolf Steiner and Alfred Baur direct us towards new potentials for therapy in the future that we can have good reason to hope will gradually be developed.
CHIROPHONETICS FOR PARENTS WITH THEIR OWN CHILDREN:
One of the great qualities of chirophonetics is that it can be applied by a parent to their own child. While doing chirophonetics on others normally needs at least four years of study and practice, an exception is made in the case of parents who are in the position to be guided by a therapist to learn just the sounds necessary for them to work with their own son or daughter. Some individual instruction is needed, and the therapist in a one-to-one situation must find the sounds that are appropriate for that child, but parents can be taught how to make the sounds with other parents in a group. This extends greatly the usefulness of chirophonetics in practical situations. Many parents go on to learn how to work with other children, but their first encounter with the sounds applied to their own child can happen almost right away, without the need for them to learn any theory.
Parents who have done chirophonetics with their own child have found that the regular daily practice of chirophonetics is healing, not only on the child, but also for themselves, for their own relationship with the child and for the health and well-being of the whole family. It is the role of human speech to bring people together, and applying chirophonetic sounds at a regular time – for example, every evening before the child goes to sleep – can become a beautiful ritual that celebrates the unique bond of parent and child and supports what they are going through together.
People who learn chirophonetics, usually doctors, therapists and curative educators, learn it through short, five or six-day courses done twice a year and conducted by teachers trained through the “Weltweite Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Chirophonetik”, the working-group of chirophonetics practitioners based in Europe. There are a minimum of eight courses, spread over a period of at least three years. In the six-month intervals between courses, participants must practice the sounds, generally in groups that come together as circumstances permit. In the Pacific region there are small groups practicing in such a way in Sydney, Adelaide and Auckland. These groups generally meet fortnightly, and individuals must also take on study in the anthroposophical idea of human development and Anthroposophy in general and must practice the arts of eurythmy and speech.
Chirophonetics today is small as regards total numbers of those who are practicing it, but it is proving its effectiveness in many varied situations and is growing steadily. Because chirophonetics works with the basic sounds of language, similar in expression in all languages, it can be done all over the world and is a genuinely global movement. It is strongest in the area where it first developed, in the German-speaking areas of Austria, Germany and Switzerland, but it is also practiced in various other parts of Europe (the Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Russia and Scandinavia) and in North and South America (Brazil and the United States) as well as Australia and New Zealand.