The history of Kinaesthetics

The following is a small historical overview of the content and entrepreneurial development of Kinaesthetics.

The beginnings (- 1980)

The term Kinaesthetics was created by the two Americans Frank Hatch (* 1940) and Lenny Maietta (* 1950) as an art word during the 1970s. It was to designate the doctrine of a conscious and differentiated movement or movement perception and control, with an allusion to the aesthetics, the "science of the beautiful" (since A. G. Baumgarten, around 1750). F. Hatch had completed a dance education and studied and received his doctorate in behavioral cybernetic K. U. Smith (1907-1994, University of Wisconsin, Madison). He shared his interest in the meaning and description of the human movement with his partner L. Maietta, who had a doctorate in clinical psychology (Fielding Institute Santa Barbara, California).
On this basis, they created together with John Graham (* 1933) in the early 70s, a concept that dealt with the search for a natural, supple and healthy movement in everyday life under the name "Gentle Dance".
In the late 1970s, F. Hatch and L. Maietta developed the fundamentals of Kinaesthetics. At the center was the idea of a systematic description of the differences in quality that can be experienced by every person in his movements in everyday activities. A second key question of her research was the importance of movement development for the entire development and health of a person. Particularly interesting was the question of how people learn patterns of movement and what significance the interaction of movement has with other people.

The Development of the Conceptual System and First Programs (1980-1992)

Since the 1980s, F. Hatch, L. Maietta and J. Graham have offered courses and seminars on movement in Germany and Switzerland. Since the subjective experience represents a starting point for their research, they involved the attendees of their courses in the development of their concepts right from the start. At the beginning, their viewing angles met with great interest especially among nurses. Through this collaboration, the description of the perceived differences in movement condensed into a system of six concepts. At the same time a program "Kinaesthetics in Nursing" was developed. These findings were later made available to the public in book form (F. Hatch, L. Maietta, S. Schmidt, Kinaesthetics - Interaction through Touch and Movement in Nursing, 1992).
The program "Infant Handling" was a research focus of L. Maietta and F. Hatch. Together with infant nurses, they developed a kinaesthetics course that took into account the specifics of infant care from a movement and development perspective.
A third branch was the "Creative Learning" program in the 1980s, which dealt with the significance of movement for one's own personal development and health. Various people supported the content and organisational development of Kinaesthetics in this phase in particular and were often included in the training activities. Important personalities in this initial phase were besides the founders Suzanne Schmidt, Christel Bienstein, Heidi Bauder, Rosmarie Suter and others. The former participants were organized in the "Association for Kinaesthetics". This association organised the educational events and published the "Kinaesthetik Bulletin," a journal that appeared regularly for several years.

The establishment of an educational organisation (1992 - 2001)

The demand for Kinaesthetics courses increased in the late 1980s. For this reason, the first Kinaesthetics trainers were officially trained at the beginning of the 90s and entitled to offer courses in cooperation with the then IfK AG (Institute for Kinaesthetics, Aarau). As a result, Kinaesthetics has been developed into an education system that offers a multi-level trainer education in various programs, covering the demand for basic courses at different levels. On the other hand, the close co-operation of the trainers with the founders and the IfK AG guaranteed the further development and quality development of Kinaesthetics. The importance and esteem of this common development is also reflected in the fact that in all these years - with few exceptions - the Kinaesthetics trainers worked constantly with the IfK AG.
In 1998, F. Hatch and L. Maietta published the current state of knowledge in the book "Kinaesthetics - Health Development and Human Functions". During this development phase of Kinaesthetics, the first major training projects in clinics, nursing homes and homes for the disabled also came into being. These projects showed that Kinaesthetics is not only valuable for developing individual movement skills, but also has positive effects on all levels of an organisation.

The systematic development of curricula (2001 - 2005)

The administrative effort and the requirements for content development had increased continuously in the 1990s. This required a new organisational and leadership structure from Kinaesthetics. With the foundation of the European Institute for Human Development (EIHD), the leadership was first transferred to different persons. Thanks to these adjustments, both in terms of content and organisation, many innovations and optimisations were initiated. The new form of organisation made it possible for topics such as curriculum development in the various programs, the development of course and training material, methodology and didactics to become more important aspects of the Kinaesthetics field research process. Nearly a dozen Kinaesthetics trainers were trained during this time, which ensured that the growing demand for trainer education could be met. In 2004, L. Maietta and F. Hatch published the book "Kinaesthetics Infant Handling". At that time, Kinaesthetics in Europe included around 800 trainers, which came on stream each year with about 30,000 attendees.

The European Kinaesthetics Network (from 2006)

In 2005 it became clear that a centrally managed organisation could no longer meet the demands of the trainers and the market. With regard to the question of how the company should react to these circumstances, unresolved differences emerged at management level. In order to prevent an imminent collapse of the entire system, almost 95% of the trainers decided within a few months to take the destinies of Kinaesthetics into their own hands.
They joined together to form a network of decentralised country organisations and a parity-led framework, the European Kinaesthetics Association (EKA). Unfortunately, this step, which was not supported by the founders of Kinaesthetics, not only saved the company and its proven structures, but also expanded its offer and opened up new markets. During the construction of the new network structure special attention was paid to the fact that the joint substantive and qualitative further development of Kinaesthetics can take place - according to the "primal kinaesthetic" principle of joint research.
In the new frame appeared 2006 the book "Praxisbuch Kinaesthetics" by M. Asmussen. Since January 2007 "Lebensqualität", the professional journal for Kinaesthetics, is published four times a year.

The current organisation of Kinaesthetics is described on the info sheet "The European Kinaesthetics Network".