A comparison of the effectiveness of curative eurythmy, yoga and standard physiotherapy

Treatment of chronic back pain with non-pharmacological interventions

Back pain is now considered to be the most common ailment among the population, with millions of people affected by a chronic disease. The conventional treatment options that are available are limited. The Berlin Charité University Hospital is therefore conducting a study for a scientific evaluation of two innovative treatment concepts which serve the purpose of treating chronic back pain. This study is investigating the use of curative eurythmy and yoga in the standard care of pain patients. The aim of the project is to scientifically examine the very strong effects of curative eurythmy and yoga – as shown by experience – in cases of chronic back pain and to establish both treatment approaches internationally.

Chronic back pain represents a growing problem in the field of medical care. Besides the direct effects of pain chronicity, such as restrictions on mobility and the ability to work, the persistent experience of pain results in significant subjective stress, a reduced quality of life and a range of vegetative disorders. Conventional treatments with analgesics and pain therapies that use drugs are not suitable for long-term use due to the undesirable side effects. Non-pharmacological therapy approaches, such as exercise therapy, physiotherapy or psychosomatic therapies, are therefore being used with increasing frequency. Experience has shown that curative eurythmy and yoga achieve very positive results in the treatment of chronic back pain. The study being carried out by the Charité now intends to scientifically investigate the possible superiority of integrative therapies compared to the current standard treatments.

The project includes a study that uses high-quality methodology which is conducted at three centres: the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Havelhöhe Research Institute (FIH) and the University of Witten/Herdecke. This is a randomised controlled trial which will study the 270 patients with chronic vertebrogenic pain over a period of 16 weeks. To this end, the patients will be divided up into three groups and will receive either intensive curative eurythmy, yoga or a standard physiotherapy. In all three groups, clinically relevant parameters such as pain intensity, quality of life, psychological and physical well-being and subjective stress perception will be determined and compared after 8 and 16 weeks. The purpose of the study is to determine at a very high scientific level to what extent curative eurythmy and yoga are superior to the standard treatment and therefore constitute an appropriate therapy procedure in the standard care of chronic pain syndromes.


The Charité

The Charité is one of the largest university clinics in Europe and is spread over four sites. The clinical centre has around 100 clinics and institutes and employs 13,000 people. The long tradition of clinical naturopathy in Berlin was continued in 2009 when the Endowed Chair for Clinical Naturopathy at the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin was filled. The central location of the Endowed Chair is the Immanuel Hospital at Berlin's Wannsee. This consists of an entire clinical unit for clinical practice and research in naturopathy. The clinical centre has 50 beds and a day clinic, as well as a university outpatient department and a centre for clinical research.

How long has the MAHLE FOUNDATION been funding the project and what are the funds specifically used for?

The MAHLE FOUNDATION has been funding the project from 2012 to 2014. The funds were used for the implementation and performance of the clinical trial in all sub-areas.