From her personal experience of recovering from an attack of tuberculosis (by concentrating to breathe with her healthy lung and rest the diseased lung) Gindler helped originate an entire school of bodywork, in close collaboration with Heinrich Jacoby.
What Gindler had called Arbeit am Menschen (work on the human being) emphasised self-observation and growing understanding of one's individual physically related condition. Simple actions such as sitting, standing, walking etc. were explored, also in everyday situations.
This became one of the bases of body psychotherapy since many of the most influential body psychotherapists studied with her or "Sensory Awareness" with Charlotte Selver at the Esalen Institute around 1962. Two other students of Gindler were Elsa Langenfeld then the wife of Wilhelm Reich and Laura Perls wife of Fritz Perls
During the Nazi-period of Germany, Gindler used these investigations and experimental exercises with her students to covertly help people who were persecuted by the regime. For her assistance to the Jewish population of Berlin, she was distinguished as a righteous among the nations and a tree was planted in Yad Vashem in her honour.
Influences on other therapies by Elsa Gindlers work and by Sensory Awareness
Gindler's work has been continued and influenced the following movement and health-care therapies/originators:
- Germany: Sophie Ludwig (1901–1997)
- Hungary: Emmi Pikler (child-care) (1902–1984)
- Israel: Moshe Feldenkrais (1904–1984)
- Switzerland: Ruth Matter (1904–1995)
- Switzerland: Heinrich Jacoby
- France: Lily Ehrenfried:Methode Ehrenfried / Gymnastique Holistique
- United States of America:
- Marion Rosen "Rosen Method"
- Carola Speads "Physical Re-Education"
- Charlotte Selver "Sensory Awareness"
- Kinetic Awareness®: Elaine Summers
- Esalen Massage
- Gestalt Therapy, Fritz Perls and Laura Perls
- Body-Mind Centering
- Strozzi Somatics
- History of Esalen Institute
- German Wikipedia article on Elsa Gindler (translation requested)
- Saltonstall, Ellen, Kinetic Awareness® Discovering Your Bodymind. pages 19-24. Kinetic Awareness® Center, New York City (U.S.A.) 1988. ISBN 0-89062-232-9
- Swiss Association for Elsa Gindler/Heinrich Jacoby
- Jacoby/Gindler Foundation Germany
- Ways of Development, German Association working on pedagogy following Gindler/Jacoby
- Ruth Matter Foundation
- Emmi Pikler, The Emmi Pikler Institute US-website
- Rosen Method US-website
- Sensory Awareness Foundation