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About - in English

About the subgroup Mensendieck in English. The Occupational Group for Mensendieck physiotherapists is a professional group classified under the Norwegian Physiotherapist Association (NPA).


The Occupational Group for Mensendieck physiotherapists is a professional group classified under the Norwegian Physiotherapist Association (NPA). Today the group has about 250 members.

The group provides the membership magazine “Mensendieckbulletinen” that is published twice a year.

The group aims to:

  • maintain and develop the Mensendieck tradition/philosophy
  • preserve and encourage professional development and research
  • increase awareness of Mensendieck physiotherapists’ role and opportunities in health policy context
  • create identity and unity
  • arrange courses and seminars

History

The Mensendieck system was developed in the late 1800s by Dr. Med. Elisabeth Marguerite de Varel Mensendieck. “Bess” Mensendieck was born in the U.S. in 1864, and travelled to Europe as a young woman to study singing and visual arts. Her interest in the human body resulted in her travelling to Switzerland to study medicine, and she became one of the first female doctors of medicine in Europe.

Based on the human anatomy, she designed her gymnastics system "The Mensendieck system of functional exercises", also known as Mensendieck gymnastics, a system of which the performer is precisely instructed in exact functional movement.

After the Mensendieck system was founded, Bess Mensendieck spent a lot of time training new teachers across Europe. Her thesis was that movement is perceived, recognized and made ​​aware through training. Through repetition, insight and precise movement, good movement can become part of the daily movements.

Bess Mensendieck worked on and developed her gymnastics system until her death in 1957. 

Mensendieck in Norway

The school of Mensendieck in Norway started its operations in 1927. It then educated ”Mensendieck gymnasts”. From 1974 it started educating Mensendieck physiotherapists. The education program is today called ”Bachelor of Physiotherapy, Mensendieck”, and is available at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. 

What is Mensendieck?

The therapy is based on an educational exercise system with the aim to learn, get to know, understand and experience ones own body. This is used as an approach to understand the appropriate use of the body.

The Mensendieck physiotherapist is engaged in making an evaluation of function of the whole person. In the treatment emphasis is placed on the individual's inherent ability to maintain their health. To learn about the body and its movements by knowing, recognizing and acknowledging the own body is central to the treatment. This learning helps to understand why problems occur and what the individual can do for him/herself. This provides a unique opportunity for taking responsibility for ones own health.

The treatment is an active collaboration between therapist and client. It switches between exercises, assisted movements and passive treatment of joints and muscles. Enough time and including relaxation are important parts of the treatment.

Mensendieck physiotherapists work in private practices, hospitals, community health services, rehabilitation, occupational health and other health prevention areas.

Mensendieck gymnastics

Mensendieck gymnastics is a safe medical training form. It emphasises awareness of posture and proper use of the body, and the change between tension and relaxation.

The training aims to inform, teach and motivate participants to their own efforts. The exercises are tailored to individual needs and tolerance for movement and load, and individual instruction in the group is provided.

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