Background Long-lasting musculoskeletal diseases, including rheumatic disease, are a main cause of illness and disability in Norway. They may have physical and psychological impact on the person’s movement and function, body image and self-confidence. For physiotherapy, this implies that interventions have to include promotion of psychological factors and personal resources, through movement. Basic Body Awareness Therapy, BBAT, is a movement modality that includes bodily, psychological and existential perspectives, and focuses on promoting the person’s movement quality. The patient is involved in an active learning process based on mental contact with the body in daily life movements.
Objectives The aim of this study was to evaluate an existing physiotherapy movement group for inpatients with rheumatic disease at Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway. BBAT was implemented as group intervention twice a week during three weeks of rehabilitation. Movements from daily-life were explored in lying, sitting, standing, walking, pair-movements and with use of voice. The aim was to study the patient`s experiences from participating in the movement group, and how they were able to use what they learned in every-day life. The study seeks to identify factors for further development of the movement group.
Methods A phenomenological approach was chosen, including focus group interview of 7 persons and individual in-depth interview of 4 persons. Ethical considerations were followed. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed according to the Giorgi four-step phenomenological method, aiming at the essence of the participants’ descriptions. Meaning units in the text were identified, categorized, extracted and recontextualized.
Results From the data, 3 main themes emerged. Theme one, “Process learning”, illustrates the participant descriptions of exploring bodily signals, based on being in contact with the body during movement and rest. In the interview they described how movement-patterns were linked to challenges in every-day activity. In theme two, “I have a tool”, the participants describe how their learning was transformed into new strategies for movement and action in daily life. At work or in family activities, experiences were used to find rhythm, easiness and adjusted muscular tension in their movements. Theme three, “To be in and to learn in the group”, concerns factors that can promote learning from the group situation. Becoming more aware of own bodily and mental resources being in a group, the participants described how they developed new strategies for relating to others in daily life.
Conclusions In this study, experiences from participants suffering from long-lasting musculoskeletal disease, including rheumatic disease, indicated that BBAT used as group intervention did involve the participants. The participants described how they learned to handle the body in new ways and to adjust movement patterns to life challenges, using group experiences as a tool. This study indicated that a learning process based on contact with the body in daily life movements may have an influence on movement quality, body image and self-confidence. Further research within this field is needed to explore and generalize the findings. Key-words: Rheumatic diseases, movement quality, physiotherapy, movement awareness learning.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared