Human Physiology Why is Every Voice Unique

Illness and healing from the perspective of anthroposophic medicine
Dr. med. Christoph Zerm

Origin and Characterization

Anthroposophic medicine emerged around 1920 through the collaboration between the doctor Ita Wegman (1876-1943) and Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), the founder of anthroposophy (see below). It is an integrative medicine that is based on the one hand on the basis of scientific, conventional medicine with its methods and results, but expands these by taking into account the realms of being of the LIVING (e.g. the organ processes), the MENTAL and the spiritual self, ie of the I of man. She also considers their connection with the processes of nature and tries to make them useful for the therapeutic concept. The human being is understood as a developing individual, whose biographical stages represent the basis for this development. Life problems such as illnesses can also become building blocks for this. A treatment that would like to become a HEALING ART is therefore understood in the entirety of its concept as a helping accompaniment for the people who are in difficult life situations, i.e. the patients. In this way, new forces can emerge from the effort to overcome illness. Such a strengthening on the way to more and more mature, free self-determination of the individual personality is ultimately the goal orientation of every counseling and therapy. All of this applies analogously to the last stretch of life.

Anthroposophic medicine

Already at the beginning of the 20th century, references to medical questions can be found in Rudolf Steiner's published writings and lectures. But it was not until 1920 that Steiner began, in response to specific inquiries, with the systematic presentation of a medicine enhanced by anthroposophy. For the first time he gave a series of lectures aimed exclusively at doctors and medical students (“Humanities and Medicine” as well as other lecture series and individual lectures). Together with the general practitioner and gynecologist Ita Wegmann, anthroposophic medicine was subsequently developed and presented both in its theoretical and its practical bases. In 1921 Ita Wegmann founded the "Clinical-Therapeutic Institute", a practice center with inpatient treatment options, in Arlesheim near Basel. When looking after the patients there, it was always possible to seek advice from Rudolf Steiner. As a non-medical practitioner, however, he never intervened directly in medical treatment himself. A little later, another such medically managed institute was set up in Stuttgart. In 1925 Steiner and Wegmann published the book “Fundamentals for an Expansion of the Art of Healing According to Spiritual Science” (6), which is one of the most important written sources of the anthroposophic medical movement. At the beginning of this book it is emphasized that the basis for an expansion of medicine through anthroposophy must be a scientifically sound medical training:

“It is not an opposition to the medicine that works with the recognized scientific methods of the present. This is fully recognized by us in its principles. And we are of the opinion that what we have given should only be used in medical art who can be a fully valid doctor in the sense of these principles ”. (6)

At the same time, this conventional scientific basis is methodologically expanded:

“But we add to what we can know about humans with the scientific methods recognized today, further knowledge that can be found by other methods, and we therefore see ourselves forced to expand on this expanded knowledge of the world and people the medical art of working. An objection by recognized medicine can basically not be made against what we put forward 2, since we do not deny it. Only those who not only demand that one must affirm their knowledge, but also claim that one must not bring forward any knowledge that goes beyond their own, can reject our attempt from the outset. "(6)

Anthroposophic medicine advocates an impartial dialogue between the various directions within medicine. Today's pluralistic society needs a variety of methods in order to be able to do justice to the particularities and needs of the individual. Medical teaching that is reduced to the materially comprehensible part of human reality cannot generally bindingly stipulate what is right and wrong, especially not for areas that it does not research itself (9). In order to record these areas, anthroposophic physicians have long been working on presenting adequate scientific methods (13). As in anthroposophy in general, anthroposophic medicine applies the scientific method of knowledge in a corresponding way to phenomena that go beyond the materially tangible level. Its own basis emerges from an understanding of the world and people presented both in terms of content and method. This essentially distinguishes them from the two other “special therapy directions”, homeopathy and phytotherapy, which are also legally anchored in SGB V. (8th)

Today anthroposophic medicine is widespread in over 80 countries worldwide. Numerous doctors and clinical institutions are united on a national and international level (the center is the Medical Section at the Goetheanum in Dornach near Basel:, the international corporate medical association is the IVAA: ). In Germany this is the Society of Anthroposophic Doctors (, the umbrella organization for anthroposophic medicine in Germany ( and others. Anthroposophic medicine is currently being practiced and further developed in hundreds of doctors' practices, in therapeutics and in individual clinics. There are currently three large anthroposophic clinics in Germany providing regular regional care: the Filderklinik in Filderstadt near Stuttgart and the Herdecke and Berlin-Havelhöhe community hospitals, as well as a few other anthroposophic specialist clinics and specialist departments.

Anthroposophy in general

Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) developed and described a science of man in around 20 books and several thousand (mostly written) lectures at the beginning of the 20th century (anthropos = Greek for “man” and sophia = Greek for “wisdom, Knowledge ”), which, in addition to the physical-material existence of the human being, also takes into account his soul and spiritual aspects as well as his connection with the world and the cosmos. Steiner describes anthroposophy essentially as a path of knowledge, as something living, constantly evolving. “By anthroposophy I mean a scientific investigation of the spiritual world, which sees through the one-sidedness of a mere knowledge of nature as well as those of ordinary mysticism and which, before attempting to penetrate into the supersensible world, in the knowing soul first those in ordinary consciousness and Forces not yet active in ordinary science developed which enable such an intrusion. ”(R. Steiner, GA 35) Building on these suggestions, many fields of human life and work were expanded and redesigned through the ideas of anthroposophy. In the current social discussion of the 21st century, the areas of life that are most considered in addition to anthroposophic medicine are the area of ​​education (Waldorf schools and kindergartens, curative educational institutions) as well as agriculture and nutrition (biodynamic economy). Anthroposophy and the points of view for life-practical questions developed from it (see above) are founded on a scientific basis: "Anthroposophy (...) started out from the needs of science itself, as it has developed in our age after its has completed a great, mighty triumphal march through the last three to four centuries. Anthroposophy emerged from this scientific approach, while at the same time the attempt was made to carefully examine what the Goethean worldview can deliver in a fruitful way for the scientific spirit of the present. ”(Steiner, 7.4.1922) purely materially tangible phenomena of reducing conventional science and therefore still occasionally meets with astonishment. Their methods and results are presented in the fundamental works of Rudolf Steiner as well as in a wide range of secondary literature. ( and

Anthroposophical study of the human being

The basis for an understanding of the diagnostic and therapeutic procedures developed from anthroposophy is the anthroposophical study of the human being.

Three-structure of the human being and organism

The anthroposophical study of the human being describes the human being both in his physical existence (body; area of ​​scientific medicine) as well as in his soul and spiritual being. This trinity of human existence, defined by its own regularities (by the way, one of the oldest knowledge that accompanies mankind) simultaneously forms a mutually penetrating and interacting unit. In the event of illness, this unit is threatened or its harmonious interaction is disturbed. The main three-part structure of the human organism corresponds to this physical, emotional and spiritual life of the human being:

  • The upper pole or head area. Spherical design and firm substance formation are characteristic. This is where the nerve-sensory system is safe and secure (in the sense organs it is oriented outwards and in the (Z) NS inwards): It forms the basis of thought and imagination, which takes place in waking consciousness in particular, and communication with the world (and yourself) made possible. Although nerve and sensory activity can be found in the entire body, the main representation of the nerve-sense system is found in the head. Opposite this is polar
  • The lower pole or limb-abdominal area. It is characterized both by the provision of energy and substance due to the tendency of rapid metabolism (metabolic and cellular) as well as by internal and external movement. An inside and an outside orientation can again be seen here. The resorptive processes in the intestinal wall are very similar to inflammatory processes, just as the whole area represents the heat pole of humans. This metabolic-limb system also permeates the entire organism in a very differentiated way, but is physically obviously a functional context represented in the lower half of the body, which provides the basis of the will-life. In the formation of the limbs, a linear-radiating design principle emerges most visibly. The human being has no awareness of the actual metabolic processes.

Between these completely opposite poles, whose differentiated presence in the entire organism nonetheless determines its health, stands, as it were, mediating

  • The rhythmic system. Its bodily basis are all those processes that take place in connection with breathing (outward) and the action of the heart and 4 the circulation (inward). It forms the basis of the emotional life and is physically predominantly located in the thorax. The bony shape of the thorax represents an impressive synthesis of the spherical form principle of the upper pole and the linear form principle of the lower pole. There is at best a dream-like consciousness for the processes of the rhythmic system.

This representation already provides a clear indication that the different, unifying tendencies (hardening and dissolution, breakdown and build-up) are a constitutive part of the human organism in the right place, while in the wrong place, dislocated, so to speak, as a unified imbalance, they are disease-like gain. The healthy state consists in a state of equilibrium that is specific for each area of ​​the body and therefore very differentiated between breakdown and build-up, dissolution and compression, often in rhythmic and temporal changes. Healthy, balancing influences emanate (without our conscious involvement) in a special way from the rhythmic system. That is why the damaging influences of our lifestyle and the environment (cardiovascular disorders, arrhythmias, asthma, menstrual disorders, heart attacks, etc.) are particularly evident there.

Four structure of the human being

The physical, material body of man is first of all directly accessible to ordinary perception. Materialistic habit of thinking leads us to assume that this is the only certain perception of humans (today this is increased and supplemented by technically highly developed detailed representations of materially tangible conditions). Strictly speaking, however, this view would only apply to the lifeless corpse.

A wide variety of organ processes are found in this body throughout life, i. H. (the physiological) life processes take place, the material substance itself is subject to constant growth and decay, and these processes decisively shape the appearance of this body. In an even more subtle way, the radiation of this body is subject to the constantly changing emotional states, the state of mind and mood, which indicates tone and color, etc., sympathy and antipathy. But not only the radiation, but the whole how the organ processes, especially those that have to do with movement of any kind, with excretion and secretion, are modulated to a decisive extent by this emotional level of being (“I catch my breath”; Blushing, etc.)

In a completely different way, the impression of a person is differentiated by his posture (internal and external), his handshake, the color of his voice and his thoughts, by all his expressions that point to his unmistakable, innermost personality core and thus to his individuality. Of course, this cannot be viewed directly, but it can be experienced indirectly. For this perception, life experience is usually more important than purely intellectual education. It is evident that the strength of the individual personality plays a decisive role in how a human body can become a tool for the implementation of a dedicated life plan, whether a strong spirit can prevail despite a manifold defective body or whether a largely intact one Organism remains lying idle in lifelong delusion. This inner manager also gives direction, limitation or appropriate space to the emotional waves and thus in turn decisive impulses for the modulation of life and organ processes.

In this way, the subtle consideration of our daily experience of self and life can become a very complex, structured image of the human being, which essentially reveals four distinguishable levels (called by R. Steiner "members of the human being"). These are the levels of the

- Physical body or material body: The physical body of the human being forms the basis of the human form with all its fixed tissue and organ structures. It is mainly subject to the laws of chemistry and physics. Form and durability 5 as characteristics of the mineral world describe the material body in anatomy. It is formed from hereditary forces (including genetics) and experiences its individual characteristics in the course of individual-human development. Without the influence of the other members of the body, the physical body would completely succumb to the laws of the mineral world, as happens after the death of man in putrefaction.

- the body of life, which is also referred to as the etheric body in anthroposophy. It is the principle that keeps the material body alive and permeates it with life. Its level of action is the watery element ("water is life"). His activities are expressed in the phenomena of growth, nutrition, regeneration and reproduction that can be perceived by everyone and are particularly described in physiology. These processes are most pronounced and most pronounced in the nature of plants. Vitality and health have their home here. Temporal processes (in contrast to the spatial processes of the mineral world) characterize the activities of the life body, which Steiner also calls the image-forces-body.

- Soul body: Man has in common with the animal world the level of his emotionality, the world of sympathy and antipathy in the broadest sense. For certain reasons Steiner called this connection of forces the astral body. As a dynamic entity that can only be grasped in its utterances but not sensually, this level of the soul is difficult to define in its configuration. The prerequisite for the manifestation of an individual psychic power center, i.e. a soul body, is interior space. The plant is essentially two-dimensional, so it does not yet have a soul body as an integral part.The specific level of action of the soul is the air element, bodily also all gaseous processes. The actual body consciousness, which expresses itself e.g. in such feelings as pain, pleasure, hunger or thirst, is conveyed through the sentient body. The instincts that are based in it - not infrequently mediated by hormones - are always geared towards the future.

- and the ego organization: Of all the kingdoms of nature, only humans are distinguished by their own individuality, an ego organization, which develops in the course of their biographical progress. Through them, people can develop a self-awareness. It is of a purely spiritual nature and eludes material consideration, but can be read from various traces. It is the spiritual principle that is turned towards the body and inscribed in it, which makes every person unique in their physical, emotional and spiritual condition and which confronts you as a personality even in the child. The ego organization is able to encompass all opposites of the human being, in its body-facing part it shapes both the most solid in the body (teeth, bones) and the most sculptural (the blood), it is integrating e.g. in organ formation and analytically e.g. in the Breakdown of food. The human waking consciousness has its basis in the body-independent part of the ego organization, while the other body members represent increasingly weaker levels of consciousness in descending order (up to the "coma" in the physical body). The specific working level of the ego organization in the organism is the warmth element.

During sleep, the connection between the physical body, permeated by life processes, on the one hand and the carriers of consciousness, ego and soul body, on the other hand, is loosened. In their full harmony, they can only be experienced in wakefulness.

With the exception of the material body, the four bodily elements briefly characterized here are not yet fully developed at the time of human birth. In the child's development, the growing person conquers and “individualizes” his physicality. Outwardly, this can be most clearly experienced in the change in shape from the infant to the toddler to the schoolchild. In this phase of life, changing teeth is a crucial milestone. The next big hurdles in the body grabbing are the 6 puberty and finally the entry into the adulthood. Knowing about this successive “birth” of the individual members of the body is important for the understanding of often critical biographical events, which not infrequently also express themselves in the form of an illness.

In the case of illness, the interplay between the individual parts of the human being is disturbed by the dominance or underfunction of one of these parts of the body. This can also be differentiated in each case depending on the localization, with shifts in equilibrium - between build-up and breakdown processes, between excessive compression or dissolution and thus - between the lower and upper pole. As already shown, ordinary perception is initially only accessible to the physical or material body. The other levels of being (“members of the being”) can be experienced and perceived indirectly as phenomena of their activities in and on the physical body. It is important to learn to read their traces.

In these bodily phenomena, their connection with soul and spirit becomes evident. Interested readers should refer to the more specific anthroposophical literature for a differentiated presentation of these phenomena.

The anthroposophical concept of illness

The anthroposophical concept of health and illness forms the basis for understanding a therapy that has been expanded through anthroposophy. The study of man outlined above already gives rise to essential approaches to this. The healthy state is the result of lifelong active processes of maintaining balance between polar, unifying creative forces. Both health and that which deviates from it (= illness) develop from the interaction of body, soul and spirit. Physical changes are understood as an expression of mental and spiritual processes.
In anthroposophic medicine there is no abstract concept of health that applies to all people. Rather, there is only individual health, which is not primarily expressed in non-deviation from defined norms. In addition to the objective finding (norm), the individual state of mind must always be taken into account. What is sick for one person can still mean healthy for another or is already healthy again. In this respect, illness and health are factors on an individual's path of fate and therapy is here to help - in the real sense of the word - “overcoming” an imbalanced interplay between the limbs and the mutual influence of body, soul and spirit.
These internal (endogenous) factors presented here form the basis for the pathogenic effectiveness of external factors, the pathogenicity of which, however, is often viewed as secondary for the individual illness in anthroposophic medicine. The individual-physiological conditions change due to a disturbed harmony, an imbalance occurs and as a result an external (exogenous) pathogenic agent (e.g. pathogen, allergen) can trigger the outbreak of the disease. The prerequisite for exogenous pathogenicity to take effect is the individual's different disposition at every moment. Thus, the healthy and the sick state are each resultant of the interaction of endogenous forces and exogenous influences. According to Sieweke, "the disease (...) is the passage that the I-being man seeks for further development and forms itself". (4)

Individually oriented understanding of illness

In anthroposophic medicine, health and illness are therefore seen as an autonomous achievement of the individual. This autonomously oriented understanding of illness (as opposed to the heteronomous term of illness in conventional medicine) can be summarized as follows: - Understanding of illness through synthetic recording of the organismic inherent laws,

- Equal consideration of findings and well-being,
- Illness is personal performance of the individual in the sense of a changed overall performance in interplay with the environment,
- Disease symptoms are active functional expressions of the organism, they are the starting point for successful or unsuccessful self-healing processes,
- External stresses can lead to active adaptations and also to an increased level of health.

Symptoms of illness are always associated with self-healing processes. These self-healing processes must be supported in order to integrate the directional activity in the case of an illness into the overall life context of the sick person. Human development at all levels experiences the most important impulses mostly from the resistances of life, which also includes diseases. This applies particularly, but not exclusively, to diseases in childhood, to which anthroposophic medicine attaches special importance. In this respect, the question arises as to whether child development can be achieved at all through the complete absence of children's diseases.

Therapeutic approach

In the dynamic understanding of disease on which anthroposophical diagnosis and therapy is based, the fact that disease processes are just as natural as the maintenance of health plays a central role. This means that a process that represents health both spatially and temporally in the “right” place can cause illness in the “wrong” place. Therapy as support for the regulative self-healing powers of the sick person means, in the anthroposophical sense, the initiation of a process that leads the pathological process in the "wrong" place back to the "right" place and thus enables development and achieves a higher degree of health.

Therapy is primarily not understood as eliminating symptoms or normalizing findings that deviate from the norm. Rather, the sick person should be enabled by the chosen therapy to reintegrate the individually occurring disharmonious forces into the overall context of the organism.

Polar types of diseases

From the three-way structure outlined above, the diseases can initially be divided into two large polar groups:

  • Diseases that tend to harden and condense, such as sclerosis and tumor formation, usually go hand in hand with a tendency to cool down
  • The diseases that tend to dissolve, soften, such as inflammation, abscesses, which show a tendency to overheat.

This orienting assignment can be further differentiated on the basis of the four-way structure of the human being, whereby four basic types of illness can now be described:

  • sclerosis
  • inflammation
  • tumor
  • allergy

At the same time, these types of diseases represent, within certain limits, the basic abilities of physical formation, without which human life would be inconceivable. Anthroposophic diagnostics and therapy are not limited to these four disease groups. Nevertheless, this schematization can help to describe disease tendencies in the sense of disharmony of the 8 human beings more precisely and to choose the right therapeutic steps as a result.

Knowledge of anthroposophic remedies

In accordance with the preceding brief characterization of the four-part structure of the human being in the sense of anthroposophical understanding of the human being, there is a relationship between the human being and the extra-human natural kingdoms that surround him. In anthroposophy, human life is understood as an interplay of the kingdoms of nature that have been individualized into members of the human being, whereby the I-organization structures and guides this interplay. In the illness, these otherwise harmoniously interacting natural processes now have one-sided effect. For the healing process, if it is to be influenced by medicinal measures, it is important to seek out a natural process that is like a counter-image to the dynamics of the physical limbs in the diseased organ system. This natural process in the form of a substance is then prepared in the further pharmaceutical process in such a way that it can intervene in the dynamics of the disease process.

Anthroposophic therapy methods

Requirements for anthroposophic therapy

The following restriction must be made for all therapeutic methods in anthroposophic medicine: From an anthroposophical perspective, health and illness can only be defined and understood individually. In this respect, the basic prerequisite for the success of an anthroposophic therapy is the establishment of a doctor-patient relationship. Based on the knowledge of the individual situation, an individually indicated therapy is prescribed. However, certain diseases can appear again and again in a very typical form, so that it can be justified to use typical remedies for typical situations and diseases. If a therapy suggested here from clinical or practical experience is ineffective in an individual case, the attending physician must ask himself whether the patient's special situation deviates from the typical course and whether he or she relies on an individually indicated other substance or a different potency of the same substance should grab. This requires in-depth study and a more intimate knowledge of anthroposophic medicine and its methods. In addition to the classic drug therapy methods, non-drug therapy methods also have a firm place in anthroposophic medicine. Sometimes they complement and support healing processes initiated by medication, but sometimes they are also used as the sole therapeutic method.

Eurythmy Therapy

With eurythmy therapy in the early 20s of the 20th century, parallel to the development of anthroposophic medicine, a form of therapy originally developed from anthroposophical human studies was created. By animated - and not purely mechanical - movement of the patient according to sound forms, musical rhythms or the rhythms of language, a beneficial interaction between the soul-spiritual and the physical forces of the person is stimulated. Thus, as far as possible, all levels of the human personality are addressed. The eurythmy therapy movements carried out by the patient have an effect on the formal laws of the diseased organs, so that

“That which is carried out externally continues into the organs in a healthier way if the gesture is precisely adapted to an organ disease. Because this way of working through movements in people affects body, soul and spirit, it works more intensely into the interior of the sick person than all other movement therapy. "

Eurythmy therapy as a supplementary therapy component has meanwhile proven itself in decades of use with positive experience, especially on the course of chronic diseases, not least as supportive in malignant diseases, but also, for example, in dysregulatory disorders in gynecology. In the case of acute febrile illnesses, eurythmy therapy is contraindicated. It is always and exclusively to be prescribed by a doctor experienced in this special therapy method and applied by a suitably trained and qualified therapist ( (2)

Artistic therapies

In addition to eurythmy therapy, artistic therapies are also used in anthroposophic medicine. The aim of all artistic forms of therapy is that the patient himself stimulates healing processes under the guidance of the therapist and heals through this self-active and creative action. No particular talent or previous experience is required for these artistic therapies. The latter can sometimes even be a hindrance. A result that is as perfect as possible is not what counts, but rather the artistic act as such awakens new perceptual qualities and inner powers. Each art form addresses certain, different areas of the human being in its own unique way. The respective indication of a particular therapy is derived from this knowledge. J.W. On his trip to Italy, von Goethe expressed the conviction that the artistic process is based on the same forces as found in creative, living nature. The artistic process, which has been condensed into a therapeutic instrument, aims to tap into this archetypal regulative ability. Experience shows that these beneficial effects can be experienced by almost every patient, even if it is often difficult to put into words. In detail, the following art genres have been further developed into therapeutic instruments:

  • Music therapy,
  • Painting therapy, which also includes shape drawing,
  • three-dimensional design (e.g. with clay, wood, stone, etc.)
  • Speech therapy (language as an art form and not as a motor skill in the sense of speech therapy) (10)

There are special, state-recognized training courses for this purpose, which take into account the aspects of anthroposophical knowledge of the human being as elementary training content ( In this respect, the therapeutic procedure must also be seen in close connection with an anthroposophical diagnosis based on the human understanding and requires an intensive dialogue between the prescribing doctor and the performing therapist.

Rhythmic massage

As a further development of the classic massage, especially the Swedish massage, ita Wegman and later Margarete Hauschka developed the "rhythmic massage" in the early days of anthroposophic medicine under the special aspects of anthroposophical human studies and taught and taught in their own training centers in the following decades further developed ( While in eurythmy therapy the active movement aims to bring the soul-spiritual and the physical-body into a wholesome exchange, the rhythmic massage focuses on the passive movement (not in the sense of physiotherapy!) By the therapist, which directly flows into the flowing Processes of the life body of the patient intervenes.

External Applications / Physical Therapy

The external applications have a special place in the practice of anthroposophic medicine, some of which were completely new on the basis of the anthroposophical image of man, but some of them have also been taken over from traditional naturopathy 10 and developed further. The following aspects are common to all external applications:

  • Stimulation of the self-activity of the diseased organism (autonomous disease concept);
  • Measures to make the remedy effective in a special form;
  • Through regular use, rhythmization in the course of the day and illness;
  • Intensification of the relationship between the sick and those caring for them.

On the one hand, the external applications speak to the patient's mental state in a very subliminal way; on the other hand, they have a particularly direct effect, similar to rhythmic massage, on the flowing processes of the life body; in the case of organ rubbing, this relates to a specific organ. Essentially, it is

  • regional rubs, including salt rubs
  • Organ rubbing
  • Wraps and pads.

Other methods are available using the water element (hydrotherapy):

- Partial and full baths with different additives (lavender for calming, rosemary to invigorate and stimulate, sloe blossoms for regeneration, nutrient baths with milk, egg yolk, lemon and honey, sulfur baths, mud baths, mustard flour foot baths and many other variants; cf. 5 Husemann / Wolff Vol. 3, p. 337)
- Oil dispersion baths. With a special device (according to Junge), essential oils are finely dispersed in a full bath. The skin can also be stimulated or soothed with brushes or by massaging by hand
- Surf bath according to Lieske / Schnabel. With the addition of horse chestnut, bracken and sedum plant (formerly sold as "aescusal"), a sequence of rhythmic, specially developed waves is generated with the patient's hand (without touching him), which results in beneficial effects for a wide range of indications
- overheating baths.

Biography - work

The structured preoccupation with one's own biography under expert guidance has developed into an independent field within anthroposophic medicine in the last few decades. The therapeutic level here is entirely in the consciousness, in the spiritual. This makes it possible to support the personality of the sick person in a targeted manner in order to take control of their own life in a more powerful and targeted manner by means of their body and to strengthen the ego organization in its structuring, regulating activity in the organism.
The recognition of more general biographical laws as well as of individual peculiarities serves as a step towards more awareness in one's own life of finding meaning and better orientation. However, looking back at the past should never be an end in itself. They should only be pursued as far as they can give rise to a greater understanding of the present and fruitful impulses for the future.

Medical therapy

In the practice of anthroposophic medicine, both potentiated homeopathic remedies and remedies that have gone through a special pharmaceutical process in addition to the potentially necessary potentiation are used. From the beginning of anthroposophic medicine, anthroposophic pharmaceuticals have also developed, from which anthroposophic medicinal products companies (e.g. Weleda, Wala, Abnoba, Helixor) have been formed. Many of the initially internal manufacturing guidelines have found their way into the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia (HAB) over the years. A commission C set up at the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices 11 (BfArM) specifically for anthroposophic medicinal products defines their quality and manufacturing processes and publishes AM monographs in the Federal Gazette. The starting substances used are almost exclusively natural substances that meet defined quality criteria.

- Naturally occurring, - Minerals produced using our own processes (e.g. Plumbum mellitum®),

- Dignified, i.e. as they occur in nature, - Chemically reduced from compounds (metallicum), - Obtained using special processes (metallicum praeparatum),

Compositions based on the models of medicinal plants (e.g. Solutio Ferri comp.).

- tinctures from fresh plants and drugs according to HAB,
- vegetable press juices (produced using rhythmic processes),
- "Vegetalized metals": from plants that have been fertilized with certain metal preparations over three vegetation cycles (e.g. Melissa cupro culta).

Animal Medicines:
- trituration of whole lower animals (e.g. corals),
- From organs of healthy animals for slaughter from biodynamic rearing .;

Choice of drug

The natural starting substance suitable for the therapy is selected by carefully studying the extra-human nature to identify the process that comes closest to the one-sidedness of the one-sided process that takes place in the course of the disease. The natural substance described in this way is changed in the pharmaceutical process towards humans. In this respect, the pharmaceutical process is more than the isolation or manufacture of active ingredients.

Remedy effect

In principle, different models of therapeutic effects can be distinguished:

- Guiding support of an acute illness (e.g. Naja comp. In the treatment of a febrile infection): Choosing the right time for the use of a certain remedy in the course of the illness is very important.
- Remedies that serve the organism as a model for overcoming the pathological process (e.g. quartz compounds in the therapy of exudative processes).
- Remedies that "take over" the pathological activity themselves (one aspect of the therapy with mistletoe preparations for tumor diseases). (11)
- Remedies that stimulate the polar forces underlying the actual disease process (e.g. stimulation of the nervous-sensory system by a mustard flour foot bath when the metabolic limb activity predominates in frontal sinusitis).

Principles of drug therapy

The following systematic remarks on drug selection can only be used as a guide. If such a system is applied roughly schematically, the desired therapeutic success will hardly be achieved in a reproducible manner. Nevertheless, the explanations should be helpful as a rough orientation framework for understanding the therapy recommendations given in the field of anthroposophic medicine.

Choice of substance group

As mentioned above, animal, vegetable and mineral substances can be used as starting substances for the production of anthroposophic remedies. Depending on the natural kingdom from which the starting substance is chosen, there is a fundamentally different element of the being as the primary target "organ":

  • Animal parent substance (e.g. Sepia, Corallium rubrum) Life body;
  • Vegetable starting substance (e.g. arnica, tormentilla) Soul body;
  • Mineral starting substance (e.g. quartz, argentum) I organization.

In addition to individual substances, so-called remedy compositions are also used, in which substances from different natural kingdoms are combined in a special manufacturing process. These combination preparations (similar to the homeopathic complex remedies) imitate the contemplated disease process or its reversal in their combination. Such typical remedy compositions were first described by Steiner / Wegman in the basic work already cited. (6)

Choice of potency

In anthroposophic medicine in the narrower sense, decimal powers up to a maximum of about D30 are essentially used. Depending on the selected level of potency, different elements of the being, but also functional areas are addressed:

- Substantial use (e.g. Bryophyllum 5%) and potentised remedies up to about 6th dose (usually several times a day): Metabolic limb system and Life body;
- Medium potencies up to about D20: Rhythmic system and Soul body;
- High potencies from around D20 (usually given once a day or less often): Nerve-sensory system and I organization.

Choice of application form

Ultimately, the choice of the form of application also influences the primary effectiveness and thus the primary location of the drug's effect in functionally three-part people:

- External use (rub-in and rub-off, wraps, pads, massage, baths): primary effectiveness via the nervous-sensory system;
- Parenteral use (s.c .; i.m .; i.v.): primary effectiveness via the rhythmic system; (The sc administration is the form in which the patient has to be most active in order to absorb the remedy. IV administration can be better, especially in critical illness situations in which the patient can hardly show any activity) .
- Internal administration (oral, rectal): primary activity via the metabolic limb system.

Indications and contraindications


Anthroposophic medicine is widely used in both clinical and outpatient medicine. According to the principles outlined above, it sees itself as an extension of conventional medicine. Depending on the severity and complexity of the clinical picture, especially sometimes in clinical use, it is practiced “complementary” in the sense of supplementary. Very often, however, the anthroposophic therapy methods can replace the conventional therapy methods with the same effectiveness, insofar as they are de facto "alternative". Two important principles have particularly proven themselves:

- Openness, honesty and comprehensive information for the patients in order to enable them to make their own decision;
- Clear guidelines with regard to success criteria and time horizons:

E.g. a non-antibiotic therapy of acute infections should lead to a significant, objectively and subjectively ascertainable reduction of the acute symptoms within 48 hours (analogous to the experience with antibiotic therapy). Even before that, there should at least be no significant deterioration in condition. Otherwise, conventional care must be initiated immediately. Real alternative therapy is only responsible under such conditions. However, it should be mentioned that under these quality criteria, many years of clinical experience have resulted in numerous positive experiences.

The same points of view apply accordingly to many other areas of indication (cf. the remarks on contraindications!). Another example is endometriosis. The quality criteria for diagnosis and operative indication should be carefully observed. In the case of hormonal therapy, conventional therapy often still faces unsatisfactory results. Here there is a broad demand for other and / or complementary therapeutic options. At the same time, the question of a meaningful therapy goal arises. This could consist in a largely symptom-free state, the physical basis of which allows the realization of one's own life planning to the greatest possible extent. Measured against this, the anthroposophic therapy paths offer a promising option which, in our experience, is not inferior to the conventional results. The anthroposophical expansion of gynecology, for example, does not exclude operative activity. However, when establishing the indication for surgical interventions, it helps to develop a deeper awareness of the classic principles of “Nil nocere” and “As little as possible and as much as necessary”. Here, too, it is important to respect the patient's autonomy

- to provide comprehensive information,
- Carefully consider the subjective complaint pressure (in the absence of this, for example, the meaningfulness of an intervention is difficult to convey, apart from special exceptions)
- and to pay as much attention as possible to the aspect of organ preservation.

In terms of the concept of illness explained above, the subjective state of mind is given a very large, mostly decisive, value. There must be very serious, irrefutable reasons (these can also be explained!) To go beyond these points of view. Ultimately, however, the patient's will should never be “broken”, not even indirectly through massive fear. The doctor is an advisor, companion and not a guardian. An example should illustrate this: patient in her forties, recurrent hemorrhages with a larger uterus myomatosus, endometrial degeneration histologically excluded. The patient does not yet agree to follow the doctor's advice about a hysterectomy (there was no alternative here). Appointment: The patient reports when she is internally ready. This happened 2 years later. She now experienced the operation as her decision with the corresponding subsequent well-being! Elements of holistic anthroposophic therapy are also helpful in pre- and post-operative support in many cases, but should not be schematized. An exception could be the administration of Arnica 6X 3x10 drops (or globules).

In intensive care medicine, on the one hand, supportive measures are used; on the other hand, the anthropological aspects described above result in new aspects for dealing with extreme borderline situations.


Provided that the prescriber is a licensed doctor who makes a solid diagnosis on the basis of conventional medical training, correctly assesses the severity of the disease and has sufficient experience in anthroposophic medicine and thus also knows the limits of his therapeutic options there are no general contraindications to the use of anthroposophic therapeutic methods. This applies primarily where anthroposophic medicine is used as an alternative to established and scientifically founded therapy methods.


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3 Selg P, From the Logos of Human Physis - The Development of an Anthroposophical Human Physiology in Rudolf Steiner's Work, Dornach, 2000

4 Sieweke H, health and illness as forms of realization of human existence. Philosophical-anthroposophical, Dornach, 1967

5 Husemann F, Wolff O; The image of the human being as the basis of the healing art, 3 vols., Verl. Free Spiritual Life Stuttgart 1977/78

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9 Gerhard I et al .; Problems of randomized studies in complementary medicine ... Forsch Komplementärmed Klass Naturheilk 2004; 11: 150-157

10 Bettermann H., von Bonin D., Frühwirth M., Cysarz D., Moser M .; Effects of speech therapy with poetry on heart rate rhythmic and cardiorespiratory coordination. International Journal of Cardiology 84: 77-88; 2002

11 Kienle G.S., Kiene H., Mistletoe in Oncology. Facts and conceptual bases. Stuttgart New York 2003

12 Ritchie J., Wilkinson M., Gantley G., Feder Y., Formby J., A model of integrated primary care: anthroposophic medicine. London: National Center for Social Research Department of General Practice and Primary Care, St Bertholomew's and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London, 2001

13 Heusser P; Criteria for assessing the benefit of complementary medical methods. Forsch Komplementärmed Klass Naturheilk 2001; 8: 14-23

14 Gerhard I., Kiechle M., integrative gynecology; Elsevier Munich 2006

This presentation is a revision of the chapter on anthroposophic medicine published by me in the overview volume "Gynäkologie integrativ" (Eds. Ingrid Gerhard and Marion Kiechle, Urban & Fischer / Elsevier, Munich 2006).