Anthroposophic medicine views health as a matter of mind-body-spirit balance. It is centered on the idea that humans are not independent organisms but, instead, beings composed of the interactions of physical body, inner life body, soul (mind and emotions), and spiritual ego (self-awareness). Whereas conventional medicine focuses on "fixing" the part of the physical body that is "broken," anthroposophic medicine prescribes treatment for the whole being through conventional methods in combination with holistic methods. As such, anthroposophic medicine integrates theories and practices of modern medicine with alternative, nature-based treatments and a spiritual-scientific understanding of the human being. The practice is based on Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner’s concept of anthroposophy, a scientific and philosophical world view that connects the spiritual within the human being to the spiritual in nature, the world and the cosmos.
Anthroposophic Medicine Fundamentals
- Healthy nutrition and lifestyle are the basic foundation for successful treatment in anthroposophic medicine.
- Good health is dependent on the harmonious interaction and balance between the following three systems that make up the human being:
- The Nerve-Sense System (centered in the head and spinal column).
- The Metabolic-Limb System (centered in the limbs, reproductive and digestive systems — those systems in constant inner and outer motion).
- The Rhythmic System (centered in the heart, lungs and blood circulation), which is responsible for balancing the other two systems.
- These three systems aren’t just anatomical but are functional systems that have obvious "centers" but also interpenetrate each other throughout the human organism.
- The human being is intrinsically connected to nature’s mineral, plant and animal kingdoms through physical and spiritual forces and anthroposophic medicine must therefore consider natural elements during times of treatment.
- An anthroposophic treatment approach might include conventional medication accompanied by any of the following complementary therapies:
- Natural remedies (herbs, plant extracts, essential oils, potentized metals, etc.)
- Medicinal baths
- External compresses or ointments
- Artistic therapies (clay modeling, painting, music therapy and therapeutic speech formation)
- Therapeutic Eurythmy (movement therapy)
- Rhythmical massage (a form of light-touch massage)
- Psychological and biographical counseling
- Anthroposophic nursing care
- Many of the anthroposophic medical healing modalities can only be offered in an inpatient setting such as at the Rudolf Steiner Health Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
- Many anthroposophic remedies are specially prepared using homeopathic or modern alchemical pharmaceutical processes to naturally stimulate healing processes in the ill person.
- Since working in concert with the vital connections between the human being and nature can enhance the effectiveness of treatment, special attention is given to timing of dose and biological rhythms when making and administering these medicines.
Health and Illness: The Anthroposophical View
- Health involves a dynamic balance and high functioning of all aspects of a person’s life.
- Illness is the result of disharmony and imbalance amongst the three systems of the body and their related forces and effects.
- Illness is a tragedy, but also an opportunity for learning and transformation.
- The signs and symptoms of an illness are often the body’s attempts at healing and, in general, should not be suppressed, but rather, aided, observed and resolved.
- Many illnesses, especially benign ones, should not be artificially prevented, but should be allowed to occur and be treated and healed. The patient thereby gains strength and experience, both biologically and spiritually.
- True prevention of illnesses involves a healthy lifestyle with positive habits, strengthening the biological, psychological and spiritual aspects of a person, and avoiding the detrimental and illness-producing effects of much of modern civilization.
- A major determinant of healing and a healthy outcome involves the quality of the therapeutic relationship between physician and patient.
- Not all illnesses can be cured. Chronic disease, disability and death can be a necessary part of an individual’s spiritual path, but elements of healing can still be possible. The medical and nursing care of the seriously ill or dying patient is an important aspect of anthroposophic medicine.
www.paam.net - Physicians Association for Anthroposophic Medicine
www.usa.weleda.com - Weleda - USA
www.weleda.co.uk/anthint.htm - Weleda - U.K.