Anthroposophic medicine (or anthroposophically extended medicine) is a system of healing developed by Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925): spiritual awareness is the foundation of individual health and of the health of society. He emphasized the need for medicine to again recognize spirituality and simultaneously maintain gains that science and technology have made. Thus, the anthroposophic approach goes further than conventional modern therapeutics adding knowledge of the psyche and personality. Anthroposophic doctors consider that human beings are made up of four levels ("fourfoldness") of being. The first level is the physical body. The second level is the life or etheric body which corresponds to the Chinese idea of chi and the Ayurvedic idea of prana. The third level is the soul (or astral body) and the fourth is the spirit. All levels of being influence a patient's health. The physical body is made up of a three-fold system: 1.) the "sense-nerve" system that comprises the head and nervous system supporting both the mind and the thinking process; 2.) the "metabolic-limb" system including the digestive system for elimination, energetic metabolism, and voluntary movement processes. Together, they support aspects of human behavior that express the will; and 3.) the rhythmic system including the heart and lungs which are responsible for balancing the head and digestive systems. According to anthroposophic medicine, these functioning systems tend to oppose each other in a fashion similar to the Chinese concept of yin and yang. For example, the digestive system is associated with heat which helps to remove elements from the body where as the head system is associated with cooling which facilitates in the formation of elements in the body. Certain illnesses may evolve within each system when one of the systems is out of balance.
Disease and diagnostics
Anthroposophic medicine is not pre-determined. Each illness manifests itself differently in each patient, a manifestation inseparable from the uniqueness of the individual. A visit to an anthroposophical physician may be different than a visit to a regular doctor. Anthroposophical doctors first of all tend to spend much more time with their patients in order to propose a hypothesis how the physical, psychological, and personal circumstances paved the way for the illness to evolve. The approach supplements “material science” with aspects of spirituality. Their training emphasizes improved powers of perception and an active meditative life.
Antroposophical doctors attempt to treat a patient on all four levels of being. For the physical body, remedies will be prescribed. There are hundreds of uniquely formulated medications, similar to homeopathic remedies, as well as botanical medicines. A special plant is mistletoe recommended for the treatment of cancer. The anthroposophic medicines are designed to stimulate the patient’s powers of self-healing. Anthroposophical physicians encourage patients to prepare for treatment by being responsible to change their behaviors and lifestyles in the interest of healing. Anthroposophical medicine also uses allied therapies to heal patients on levels other than the physical. These include massage therapy and a movement therapy called eurythmy. Eurythmy is a system of movements designed to help patients give expression to inner spiritual experiences. Psychotherapy, massage therapy, art therapy, music therapy may also be recommended to help heal some conditions.
Specific methods: Mistletoe therapy
Mistletoe has historically been considered one of the most sacred plants with powerful medicinal properties. Traditional herbal uses have included protection from misfortune and evil, poor circulation, headaches, convulsions, female disorders, exhaustion, hypertension, etc. In 1922 Rudolf Steiner recommended the potential role of a mistletoe preparation in the treatment of cancer. Modern science has reaffirmed the therapeutic importance of mistletoe by identifing viscotoxins (literally, "mistletoe toxins"), lectins, and alkaloids thought to be responsible for its anticancer and immune modifying activities.
Specific methods: Eurythmy
Eurythmy is a system of movements designed to help patients give expression to inner spiritual experiences.