Although there are two important methods for engaging therapeutically with the world, modern medicine tends to use only one. Modern medicine breaks the world down to its most basic material parts. It relies on a science which fixes an illness process in time and space analytically, through pathology, chemical assay, and genetics. This method is valuable because it makes the mechanics of the process much easier to see. But this method alone can have a rigidifying effect on our thinking because our view gets ever smaller.
A different, but complementary approach is to look at the world more synthetically. We can seek the living activities in the phenomena to understand how an overall process works. We find patterns and relationships, and we can strive to understand what lives both within and around a process. Anthroposophic medicine provides tools that make this second half of the scientific method possible.
Through specific methods of observation, we learn to recognize the archetypal patterns that work within the blossoming activity of a healing plant. We discover the formative principles that guide and orchestrate our physiology as a whole. We begin to see and appreciate the developmental rhythms that weave throughout a whole biography. This kind of relational observation brings an expanded understanding of healing and illness: new fields of clinical insight unfold.
For more introductory information:
See how (three) clinical patterns can be observed and addressed in the context of a single disorder: Lowering High Blood Pressure: The Three-type Approach
Read a series of clinical articles showing how this methodology can be brought into medical practice; see especially the first article “Whole person—twisted back. Anthroposophical medicine in general practice,” pages 3-9.
Read a published article on the scientific status of Anthroposophic Medicine, An assessment of the scientiﬁc status of anthroposophic medicine, applying criteria from the philosophy of science: Baars, E, Kiene, H, Kienle, G, Heusser, P and Hamre, H. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 2018.
Discover an enlivened study of nature: Holdrege, C. “Goethe and the Evolution of Science.” In Context, #31, Spring 2014, pp. 10-23.
Suggestions for more in-depth reading relating to a Science of Observation:
A Guide to Understanding Healing Plants. A phenomenological guide to seeing the activities inherent in medicinal plants; volumes I and II, each of which can stand on its own. Bockemühl, Jochen, A Guide to Understanding Healing Plants, Mercury Press.
Healing Plants: Herbal Remedies from Traditional to Anthroposophical Medicine. A vivid, readable survey of several dozen medicinal plants. Written for the layperson; illuminating for health professionals as well. Wonderfully illustrated. Sommer, Markus. Healing Plants: Herbal Remedies from Traditional to Anthroposophical Medicine. Floris Books: 2014.
Functional Morphology, The Dynamic Wholeness of the Human Organism. A masterful exploration of the anatomy and physiology of “dynamic wholeness."
Anthroposophy and Science. Thorough examination of the epistemological basis for anthroposophic medical science, written by a professor of medicine at Witten/Herdecke University: Heusser, Peter. Anthroposophy and Science. Peter Lang GmbH, 2016.
Essays on a “science of wholeness” by a teacher and researcher in quantum physics: Bortoft, Henri. The Wholeness of Nature, Goethe’s Way toward a Science of Conscious Participation in Nature. Lindesfarne Books, 1996.
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