FondsGoetheanum: Medicine, Therapy and Healthcare

“The soul needs nourishment too.”

Anthroposophical Therapies

Anthroposophical medicines give guidance for the human organism to realign itself.

After examination and diagnosis the doctor accompanies the patient through therapy. As the symptoms of an illness mirror the constellation of the soul-spirit component of the human being, the medicinal substances are manifestations of the spiritual forces behind them. They are connected to the human being through the process of evolution, which unites nature and humanity. This relation enables the doctor to recognise why the medicines resonate in the human being at all. The medicines are a kind of guidance for the functions of the human organism to realign themselves.Unlike medicines with immediate, and, in acute situations life-saving, effects, therapy for chronic illnesses is a path taken by doctor and patient together in their attempt to come to the essence of a particular illness. A first therapy scheme is applied, its effects evaluated jointly, then the therapy will be developed accordingly.

Made from minerals and plants.

Minerals and metals are used in the production of Anthroposophical medicines. The ‘main metals’ silver, mercury, copper, gold, iron, tin and lead are especially important. Plants with healing properties and some medicines derived from animal sources, such as venom from ants and bees, are also essential. The medicines are applied in concentrated or potentised (homeopathic) variants. These medicines have very few side effects. The production process, performed by a pharmacist, is significant for the outcome. Substances are affected by the temperature during the production process: cold, 37°C (the human body temperature) or glowing.
The pharmaceutical process has thus a great influence on the particular characteristics of the effectiveness of the medicine. If necessary, and depending on the particular case, an Anthroposophical doctor might use conventional medicines. He also has the possibility of accompanying a patient for the duration of an illness in cooperation with other specialists.
The method of application, orally, as an injection, packing or ointment, will again influence the effect a substance has on the human organism.

The therapies

Curative eurythmy, artistic therapies like sculpturing, painting or music, as well as speech formation and rhythmic massage, are unique features of Anthroposophical medicine. These forms of therapy are a valuable and enriching addition to conventional medicine and they offer a variety of treatment possibilities to the doctor. Just as our relation with nature is governed by certain laws, so is our relation to the creative and transforming forces underlying human movement, speech, music and artistic activity with colour and form.
These therapies are especially helpful with long-term illnesses as they support the patients in regaining their activity and enable them to take an active part in the healing process. They also let the patient find a new balance between activity and regeneration.

Questions of destiny

The point in time at which an illness first reveals itself is often significant. Thus, in relation with any illness, questions need to be asked about this specific point of time in a patient’s life and the time preceding it. The susceptibility for an illness may be congenital, connected to difficulties during childhood, or related to present imbalances in the patient’s life. In addition to this review of the past, it is also very important to look at the future: What is the illness telling me? Every illness is a reason to ask if changes should be made to one’s life. Am I doing too much? Is my professional life in balance with my free time? Have I maybe even lost sight of my aims in life? What does my life look like if I take a bird’s eye view of it? It is essential to give nourishment to the soul as well, for example through artistic activity, experiencing nature, reading, prayer, meditation etc.

Questions about birth and death.

If medicine is extended to in include a spiritual aspect, birth and death gain new significance. Novalis once noted that the angels cry at a human being’s birth, as a soul is taken away from them, whereas here on earth it’s a joyous event. At death people feel sad and left behind, while the angels are happy to greet the soul again.
The treatments and medicines of Anthroposophical medicine are suitable to accompany a patient in any period of life, all the way to its end.

Dr. Christoph Wirz, St. Gallen, Switzerland