"Eutony helps the individual to discover the possibilities contained within his [and her] biological reality and to adapt himself [and herself] in a continuous constant, dynamic and creative process to the wholeness of life".
Eutony is a body practice that was developed from the beginning of the 20th century. In this period, many avant-garde scholars were seeking alternatives to traditional ways of understanding the human body, mind and movement, developing researches that addressed body-mind integration, highlighted our ability to perceive our own body from the first person experience, established relationships between learning and lived experience, and promoted self-regulation. Around 1970, the American researcher Thomas Hanna coined the term "somatic" (from the Greek 'somatikos', soma: living, present, corporeal being) in view of "the art and science of an internal relational process between consciousness, the biological and the environment, these three factors being seen as a whole acting in synergy" (1983). Around these principles, there are different somatic practices (also called "somatic education" techniques) such as Eutony, Feldenkrais, Alexander, Ideokinesis, Body-Mind Centering®, Body Mind Movement, Laban/Bartenieff, Anti-gymnastics, Rolfing, among others. Each practice has the particularities of the research of its creators and its training schools. Eutony was developed by Gerda Alexander (1908-1994), born in the town of Barmen-Elberfeld (now Wuppertal) in Germany - more about Gerda Alexander here.
The word "eutony" combines two concepts: "eu" is related to "good, well, pleasant", and "tony" (or "tonia") is related to "tension, tone". The word "eutonia" is present from ancient philosophies to music studies. In our organisms, tension is modulated by neuromuscular tone (or tonus), the ongoing activation between the nervous system and the musculoskeletal structures. From the living body perspective, Gerda Alexander developed a set of practices that enables the variability and modulation of neuromuscular tonus according to the situation, from deep relaxation to intense activity.
Eutonists have contributed to different pedagogical, therapeutic and artistic contexts, such as neurological and motor rehabilitation, pain and stress relief, improvement of vegetative functions (as circulation, digestion, bioelectricity, part of breathing, sleeping, etc), changes involved with pregnancy, childhood and aging, development of artistic expressivity, and ever-new somatic discoveries.