Why Learn about Anthroposophic Medicine?
To Remember the Needs of the Whole Human Being
Today’s medicine struggles to see the whole person, with many health problems crying out for a new healing approach. As the technology and cost of our medical care increases, the humanity of our medicine is called more and more into question.
Tools for a deeper understanding come through Anthroposophic insights (Greek: “anthropos” human being, “sophia” knowledge or wisdom). Anthroposophic medicine teaches us to see illness at the levels of the: physical/structural; functional/recuperative; emotional/sensory; and spiritual/creative. It provides a pathway for understanding the interweaving aspects of our humanity—of the connection of body and mind. Anthroposophic Medicine offers a methodology and medical language for describing these connections.
Bringing Deeper Insights to the Care of the Whole Human Being
Anthroposophic Medicine is practiced by physicians who have undergone additional specialized training, learning to apply a broad array of effective natural medicines and therapies. This whole-person approach also incorporates art, music, movement and massage therapies as elements of collaborative, multidisciplinary health care. Founded in central Europe a century ago, Anthroposophic Medicine is now integrated into acute-care hospitals, specialty treatment centers, and university teaching and research programs. Here in North America, Anthroposophic Medicine has been successfully integrated into centers for chronic-illness care and elder care, as well as a large variety of medical practices. Trainings in Anthroposophic Medicine are offered for health professionals in thirty-two countries on five continents.
How to Get Started:
Learn Methods for Enlivening your Observation of the World
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 learn to see the living activities in the human being in new ways in order to understand how an overall process works. We find patterns and relationships. 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. Anthroposophic medicine provides tools that make this second half of the scientific method possible.
Can We Research a Medicine of Body, Soul and Spirit? Yes!
Standard medicine’s biochemical perspective cannot solve every problem. A whole-person approach offers broader therapeutic concepts and opportunities to meet complex medical challenges in innovative ways. Research shows that Anthroposophic Medicine can:
Building on the powerful foundation modeled by AM’s founders, Rudolf Steiner PhD and Ita Wegman MD, new approaches are continually being developed for meeting the real needs in medicine today.
The Heart of a Healer
Is medicine a calling? For millennia the role of the physician or healer has been recognized as something special—a role afforded respect and bearing great responsibility. This has stood as a unique task within the community, not just because of the special training and mentoring required, but because work at the threshold of illness and health challenges us on multiple levels. We are asked to continually renew our sense of reverence for the special connection created when we accompany a patient through the illness process. We are challenged to discover the deeper meanings of illness; to find personal practices for self-renewal; and to re-kindle the will to heal. Long after the book learning of medicine is done, these practices nurture and sustain us. Through meditative practice, through affirming that transformation can come through illness, and by strengthening our sense for goodness in the other, Anthroposophic Medicine offers a path of development for the heart of the healer.
“Will to Heal” excerpt from Course for Young Doctors