This methodology of French origin was created by Dr. Lily Ehrenfried (Berlin 1896, Paris, 1994), a German-born physician and physiotherapist. Fleeing Nazism, she settled in France in 1933 where she passed away at the age of 98. Unable to practice medicine in France but eager to continue her work in the health field, she introduced and developed a method of physical education that prioritizes conscious movement. This is based on the awakening of proprioceptive sensitivity, sensorimotor learning, and body awareness.
By simultaneously acting on 3 axes: balance, breathing, and muscle tone, Holistic Gymnastics aims to optimize the use of the body by giving it balance, harmony, and better performance for daily activities. Moreover, this method always takes into account the anatomical, physiological, and biomechanical structures of the body and respects the individuality and bodily limits of each person. Movements engage the body as a whole and are not limited to the worked segment.
For example, the movement called “small ball under the foot” releases the plantar fascia, improves foot support but also has a distant effect: cervical relaxation. There is a large repertoire of movements, over 800, that can be used in an educational, preventive, or therapeutic manner.
A characteristic of the GH session is that the movements are not demonstrated. The holistic gymnastics practitioner orally and precisely describes the movements, and the participants execute them themselves, experiencing unusual gestures that encourage sensitivity, body awareness, and the creation of new neuromuscular responses (creation of new cerebral synapses – brain plasticity).
Cushions, balls of different sizes and firmness, sticks, rolling pins, small buckwheat bags, PVC tubes, wooden blocks, are some materials used in GH to aid in body reorganization and education.
Sessions can be private or in small groups.
Holistic Gymnastics is open to all people, women and men, regardless of age who wish to improve their health. Children are also welcome, with more playful sessions that will help them develop their full physical potential.
Since the movements are not demonstrated, it is important that the participant in Holistic Gymnastics has intact cognitive functions. In group sessions, it is important that the person is able to lie on the ground.
Holistic Gymnastics has objectives such as:
- reducing stress,
- reducing pain (acute, subacute, or chronic),
- maintaining or increasing autonomy, joint mobility, flexibility, and muscle strength,
- allowing optimal performance in daily activities, in the workplace (repetitive movements and prolonged positions) or in the sports and artistic environment (refinement of gestures),
- prevention of pathologies,
- physical and mental relaxation,
- assisting women in pre and post-partum who wish to maintain and regain their physical integrity.
We are proud at the AMS clinic to have Adriana Kundrat Brasil, a physiotherapist, who has been practicing this method for many years.