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Changing the taste of apples by eurythmic treatments

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Eurythmy is a performing art based on anthroposophy which tries to make non-visible forces visible by human movements. According to the concept of anthroposophy a eurythmist is capable to come into an exchange with the life forces of organisms through his movements. In a field experiment – executed by the Institute ArteNova in cooperation with an apple farmer – a eurythmist treated trees of two apple varieties with a sequence of eurythmic gestures to observe the impact on the fruit quality. The apples showed no differences in the laboratory test of sugar content and firmness. In the sensory test, significant differences could be found in several parameters like freshness, crunchiness or the total judgement. The results present a basic effect of human movements on the taste of plants. Furthermore, it was possible to find appropriate movements for pre-determined aims. Eurythmic movements could be seen as a possible method for agricultural systems which refuse pesticides and other synthetic substances. Follow-up experiments with different varieties, fruits, and places should verify the effects.
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Open Agriculture. 2019; 4: 460-464
Research Article
Eckart Grundmann*, Tanja Baumgartner
Changing the taste of apples by eurythmic
treatments
https://doi.org/10.1515/opag-2019-0045
received August 29, 2018; accepted June 3, 2019
Abstract: Eurythmy is a performing art based on anthro-
posophy which tries to make non-visible forces visible by
human movements. According to the concept of anthro-
posophy a eurythmist is capable to come into an exchange
with the life forces of organisms through his movements.
In a field experiment – executed by the Institute ArteNova
in cooperation with an apple farmer – a eurythmist treated
trees of two apple varieties with a sequence of eurythmic
gestures to observe the impact on the fruit quality. The
apples showed no differences in the laboratory test of
sugar content and firmness. In the sensory test, signifi-
cant differences could be found in several parameters like
freshness, crunchiness or the total judgement. The results
present a basic effect of human movements on the taste
of plants. Furthermore, it was possible to find appropriate
movements for pre-determined aims. Eurythmic move-
ments could be seen as a possible method for agricultural
systems which refuse pesticides and other synthetic sub-
stances. Follow-up experiments with different varieties,
fruits, and places should verify the effects.
Keywords: Food quality; Biodynamic agriculture; Non-ma-
terial influences; eurythmic
1 Introduction
The Institute ArteNova’s subject is the research on the
effects of eurythmic movements on growth and quality of
plants. Since 2000, Tanja Baumgartner, a eurythmist at
the Institute, has been studying these effects. The original
goal was to show the potential of eurythmic movements in
their effect on other organisms and substances. From 2010
on, more and more people came to the Institute ArteNova,
founded in 2007, with the question about the practical
application of eurythmic treatment of plants. In 2010, an
apple farmer asked for a eurythmic treatment of apples in
order to enhance the apple´s taste, especially the sweet-
ness and crunchiness.
In a pre-project in 2011 the treatment of a small number
of trees showed a significant difference in sugar content
in comparison with the untreated control (Grundmann
and Baumgartner 2012). In 2012, the test question was to
confirm the results of two apple varieties in a sensory test.
2 Eurythmic treatment
At Institute ArteNova we presume that all organisms are
surrounded and pervaded by life forces. They shape our
body and keep the processes of life working in them. For
us humans, they usually go on unconsciously. Only when
feeling fresh or exhausted we perceive them indirectly.
With eurythmy, we have a tool to visualize the life forces
that are always in motion. From 1912 on, Rudolf Steiner
developed eurythmy with the aim to bring the movements
of the life forces into visibility: In eurythmy we do move-
ments that, in their diversity, demonstrate the qualities of
the living (Steiner 1984b).
With eurythmy we can also get into a lively dialogue
with the organisms around us. In the movement, we
can come into resonance with the life force of another
person or plant. So we can learn to perceive the live
forces outside of our body. Yet, we can also shape them
with eurythmic gestures. The gestures are effective on
their own. In curative eurythmy for example, we can
treat patients with different diseases. This leads us to
take responsibility for the further development of nature
and humans (Steiner 1984a, Edelhäuser et al. 2015).
Eurythmic gestures are movements of the body, espe-
cially the arms. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of eurythmy,
gave a corresponding arm movement or gesture for each
letter of the alphabet, which simulates the life forces of
the speech process in its movement. For example, in the
case of spoken A, it is easy to understand the gesture of
*Corresponding author: Eckart Grundmann, Institute ArteNova, Im
Lohnhof 8, 4051 Basel, Switzerland, E-mail: forschung@institut-
artenova.ch
Tanja Baumgartner, Institute ArteNova, Im Lohnhof 8, 4051 Basel,
Switzerland
Open Access. ©  Eckart Grundmann, Tanja Baumgartner, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons
Attribution . Public License. Unauthenticated
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Changing the taste of apples by eurythmic treatments  461
the wide-open arms in correspondence with opening the
mouth while speaking. A spoken U appears, on the other
hand, when contracting and sharpening the lips and in
the gesture by a stretched merging of the arms. In addi-
tion, Steiner also gave gestures for soul expressions; this
includes the gesture of “Message”. In this gesture, the
stretched arms are opened forward like a funnel. The
upper hand is the communicating, pointing and the lower
hand the receiving, listening one. There are also euryth-
mic movements representing the planets and zodiac signs.
3 Materials and methods
3.1 Objects of treatment
The apple trees selected for the test consisted of two varie-
ties of apples and were divided into two groups: eurythmi-
cally treated trees and untreated trees. Four combinations
had been tested (Table 1).
Table 1: Combinations of apple variety and eurythmic treatment
variety treatment
Ariwa eurythmically treated
Ariwa untreated
Rajka eurythmically treated
Rajka untreated
3.2 Selection of plants
The apple trees in the experiment stood on a bio-dynamic
farm near Solothurn in Switzerland. The farmer initiated
the choice of two varieties, Ariwa and Rajka, which are
interesting for him due to their taste and their popular-
ity by the consumers. All trees are spindle-bushes stand-
ing in rows at intervals of two meters. For each version of
treatment (eurythmically treated and untreated) ten trees
of each variety were selected by parameters of size and
shape, number of flowers, and state of health. For the sim-
plification of the treatment the ten trees were chosen in
five pairs of neighboring trees. The distances between two
pairs were between 10 and 15 meters. In one row, treated
and untreated pairs alternated. The varieties Ariwa and
Rajka stood in different rows. According to the already
existing apple tree plantation the selected trees were not
randomized.
3.3 Eurythmic treatment
Tanja Baumgartner selected the appropriate eurythmic
gestures by searching similar qualities in the growth pro-
cesses and in eurythmic movements. For example, the
deep growth of the roots into the soil corresponds to the
gesture D and the flow of the water in the tree from the
roots to the leafs corresponds to the gesture L. The syn-
thesis of sugar in the fruits is related to the quality and
gesture of the sun.
The following sequence of gestures had been chosen:
Message-D-Sun-O-U-L-P
The apples had been treated seven times in intervals
of about three weeks from the flowering period in April to
the harvest in September 2012. Each treatment of a pair of
trees lasted about five minutes. All treatments were done
by Tanja Baumgartner (Figure 1).
3.4 Harvest
Eight apples per tree of a medium size and color had been
selected by the farmer – who is experienced in field exper-
iments – from the total harvest for the sensory test and
Figure 1: Tanja Baumgartner, treating an apple tree with the
gesture U
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462 E. Grundmann, T. Baumgartner
three for the laboratory test to judge the sugar content and
firmness.
3.5 Test methods
The analysis of the sugar content and firmness was done
by FiBL (Frick, Switzerland). The sensory test took place
at CSO (Centrum voor Smaakonderzoek, Wageningen,
Netherlands) with a panel of 80 skilled testing persons.
For each person one apple per combination (variety/treat-
ment) was served, total 320 apples. The test was rand-
omized and blinded. The testing parameters were flavor
amount (total amount of all flavors), freshness, full flavor
(impression of well-balanced flavors), sweetness, acidity,
juiciness, mealiness, crunchiness, and overall judgement.
The assessment was made in a scale from 0 to 100. The
raw data were adjusted by CSO with a so called shrink-
stretch procedure to normalize personal differences. The
analysis of variance had been done with the Fisher´s LSD
test (Statistica 10, StatSoft, Inc.).
Ethical approval: The conducted research is not related to
either human or animal use.
4 Results
4.1 Laboratory test
The apples of both varieties and treatments showed no
difference in the sugar content. The samples had a mean
of 15.2 degrees Brix (Figure 2).
The apples of Ariwa showed a much higher firmness
(mean: 7 kg/cm³) than those of Rajka (mean: 4 kg/cm³)
(Figure 3). For both parameters, no difference between
eurythmically treated and untreated samples could be
found.
4.2 Sensory test
The flavor amount was significantly increased by the
treatment at Ariwa (p < 0.001) but showed no difference
at Rajka (Figure 4).
The freshness was significantly increased by the
treatment at Ariwa (p < 0.001) but showed no difference
at Rajka (Figure 5).
The full flavour was significantly increased by the
treatment at Ariwa (p < 0.001) but showed no difference
at Rajka (Figure 6).
The apples of Rajka were sweeter than those of Ariwa.
The eurythmically treated version of Ariwa was sweeter by
trend (p = 0.052). The sourness, juiciness, and mealiness
of both varieties had not been changed by the treatment.
The crunchiness had been increased by the treatment at
Rajka (p = 0.019) but not at Ariwa (Figure 7).
Figure 2: Sugar content of the apples per variety and treatment,
mean and boxplots with median of napples = 120
Figure 3: Firmness of the apples per variety and treatment, mean
and boxplots with median of napples = 120
Figure 4: Flavor amount (mean ± SD, nappels = 320, npersons = 80, means
without a same letter vary significantly, p ≤ 0.05)
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Changing the taste of apples by eurythmic treatments  463
The total judgement (Figure 8) had been high-signif-
icantly increased in both varieties Rajka (p = 0.006) and
Ariwa (p < 0.001).
5 Discussion
In this present project could be shown the possibility of
achieving quality changes in apples that have been tar-
geted with eurythmic treatments of apple trees during the
growing season. In the intensive study of the processes
taking place in the apple tree, one can find qualities
which are corresponding between eurythmic gestures and
processes in the organism. This is shown by the conclu-
sion that these gestures lead to expected changes in the
present experiment.
In the present study, several parameters in the sensory
test could be significantly influenced by eurythmic treat-
ment. The difference in the overall assessment of both
apple varieties by the eurythmic treatment became par-
ticularly clear. In some parameters the results of the Ariwa
and Rajka varieties were different. We assume that apple
varieties react differently to eurythmic treatments, as is
generally known from other environmental factors. The
change of several parameters with eurythmic treatment
in apples confirms the results of Henatsch (2012). She
observed changes in the growth of lettuce after eurythmic
treatments.
The change in sensory parameters in the present
study also confirms the results of the eurythmic treatment
of garden cress (Lepidium sativum) by Grundmann and
Baumgartner (2011). The application of gesture B there led
to a significant change in the sensory properties.
Despite significant differences in the sensory tests,
no differences were found in the laboratory analysis of
taste-forming substances. This raises several questions:
Are there any other substances to be tested? Is the taste
of sweetn ess or crunchiness influenced by other sensory
perceptions? The process of taste perception may be influ-
enced by additional factors. These could be, for example,
processes of varying intensity or speed in the develop-
ment of taste in the mouth.
In the present study, treatment with eurythmy was
performed by only one person. The cause of the changes
could be both in eurythmy and in the person. In further
studies the experiment should be done with more than
Figure 5: Freshness (mean ± SD, nappels = 320, npersons = 80, means
without a same letter vary significantly, p ≤ 0.05)
Figure 7: Crunchiness (mean ± SD, nappels = 320, npersons = 80, means
without a same letter vary significantly, p ≤ 0.05)
Figure 6: Full flavor (mean ± SD, nappels = 320, npersons = 80, means
without a same letter vary significantly, p ≤ 0.05)
Figure 8: Total judgement (mean ± SD, nappels = 320, npersons = 80,
means without a same letter vary significantly, p ≤ 0.05)
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464E. Grundmann, T. Baumgartner
one person, but also in different places, with more varie-
ties and different cultures.
The parameters sweetness and firmness do not say
anything about a „better“ or „healthier“ quality of the
apples. The better overall judgement for eurythmically
treated apples may be an indication of higher apple
quality. It should be noted, however, that the popularity
of a taste depends strongly on the current culture and also
on our habits.
For the further development and practical application
of eurythmy treatment to plants, the question of practical
implementation also arises. Results from Grundmann and
Baumgartner (2018) show that water can possibly absorb
the specific properties of eurythmic movements and pass
them on to the plants. This should be tested in further
experiments.
Financial support: Our thanks go to the following insti-
tutions: Damus Donata e.V., Stiftung Evidenz, Stiftung
Edith Maryon, Zukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft, and
Anthroposophische Gesellschaft in Deutschland.
Conflicts of interest: The authors declare no conflicts of
interest.
References
[1] Edelhäuser F., Minnerop A., Trapp B., Büsing A., Cysarz
D., Eurythmy Therapy Increases Specific Oscillations of
Heart Rate Variability, BMC Complementary and Alternative
Medicine 15 (June 6 2015): 167, https://doi.org/10.1186/
s12906-015-0684-6
[2] Grundmann E., Baumgartner T., Geschmacksausbildung von
Gartenkresse durch eurythmische Behandlung bei Anbau
auf verschiedenen Standorten, unpublished report, Institut
ArteNova, 2011 (in German)
[3] Grundmann E., Baumgartner T., Eurythmische Behandlung
von Apfelbäumen zur Qualitätsentwicklung, unpublished
report, Institut ArteNova, 2012 (in German)
[4] Grundmann E., Baumgartner T., Screening of analytical
methods for eurythmically treated water, in Section for
Agriculture at the Goetheanum (ed.), Proceedings of Evolving
Agriculture and Food - Opening up Biodynamic Research, (5-8
Sep 2018, Dornach, Switzerland), Dornach, 2018, 31
[5] Henatsch C., Wirkt gerichtetes Verhalten auf Pflanzen?
Zum Einfluss von eurythmischen Gesten auf Wachstum und
Bildekraftgestik von Kopfsalat. Lebendige Erde, 2012, 6,
40-44 (in German)
[6] Steiner R., Curative Eurythmy, Rudolf Steiner Press, London,
1984a [1921]
[7] Steiner R., Eurythmy as Visible Speech, Rudolf Steiner Press,
London, 1984b [1924]
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Article
Full-text available
Mind-body therapies are beneficial for several diseases (e.g. chronic pain, arterial hypertension, mood disorders). Eurythmy therapy (EYT) is a mind-body therapy from Anthroposophic Medicine. In each EYT exercise a short sequence of body movements and simultaneous guided imagery is repeated several times. In this study, the simultaneous effects of two different EYT exercises on cardiac autonomic regulation as assessed by spectral analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) were investigated. Twenty healthy subjects (age: 29.1 ± 9.3 years, 13 female) performed two different EYT exercises (EYT-A and EYT-B) for 8 min. Each EYT exercise was compared against two matched control exercises: control exercise 1 (CE1-A and CE1-B) consisted of a repetition of the body movements of the EYT exercise but without guided imagery, control exercise 2 consisted of walking on the spot (CE2-A and CE2-B). Spectral power of HRV during each exercise was quantified on the basis of Holter ECG recordings. During EYT-A the frequency of the peak oscillation in the very low frequency (VLF) band matched the repetition rate of the sequence of body movements (0.02 Hz). Low frequency (LF) oscillations were augmented when compared to the control exercises (EYT-A: 7.31 ± 0.84, CE1-A: 6.98 ± 0.90, CE2-A: 6.52 ± 0.87 ln ms2, p < 0.05). They showed a peak frequency at 0.08 Hz indicating that the body postures had an impact in HRV. Performing EYT-B increased VLF oscillations when compared to the control exercises (EYT-B: 9.32 ± 0.82, CE1-B: 6.31 ± 0.75, CE2-B: 6.04 ± 0.80 ln ms2, p < 0.05). The frequency of the peak oscillation again matched the repetition rate of the sequence of body movements (0.028 Hz). The repetition of the sequence of body movements of both EYT exercises clearly affected cardiac autonomic regulation in a rhythmic manner according to the stimulus of the specific body movements of each EYT exercise. These results offer a physiological basis to develop a rationale for specific clinical indications of these EYT exercises such as stress reduction or prevention of hypertension. Trial registration Clinical trials registration number: DRKS00006760 (registered on 10/10/2014, i.e. retrospective registration); view details at http://www.drks.de/DRKS00006760
Screening of analytical methods for eurythmically treated water
  • E Grundmann
  • T Baumgartner
Grundmann E., Baumgartner T., Screening of analytical methods for eurythmically treated water, in Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum (ed.), Proceedings of Evolving Agriculture and Food -Opening up Biodynamic Research, (5-8 Sep 2018, Dornach, Switzerland), Dornach, 2018, 31
Wirkt gerichtetes Verhalten auf Pflanzen? Zum Einfluss von eurythmischen Gesten auf Wachstum und Bildekraftgestik von Kopfsalat
  • C Henatsch
Henatsch C., Wirkt gerichtetes Verhalten auf Pflanzen? Zum Einfluss von eurythmischen Gesten auf Wachstum und Bildekraftgestik von Kopfsalat. Lebendige Erde, 2012, 6, 40-44 (in German)
Geschmacksausbildung von Gartenkresse durch eurythmische Behandlung bei Anbau auf verschiedenen Standorten unpublished report Institut ArteNova in
  • Grundmann
Behandlung von zur Qualitätsentwicklung unpublished report Institut in
  • Grundmann
Screening of analytical methods for eurythmically treated water in Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum ed Proceedings of Evolving Agriculture and Food - Opening up Biodynamic Research
  • Grundmann