FondsGoetheanum: Medicine, Therapy and Healthcare

Integral and efficient – mistletoe treatment.

“It’s also good for the soul”
Margrit de Sepibus chose to have an intestinal operation at the Paracelsus Clinic in Richterswil, where complementary medicine is practised. Here is her account:

Social therapist, Margrit de Sepibus fully researched her choice of hospital. She was certain of one thing: she was not happy with conventional medicine. “In certain respects, it’s going in the wrong direction in that it seeks simply to remove whatever is causing the problem. It does not understand that illness and remedy are part of the same process.” Thus she explains her concerns regarding a purely conventional approach.

With heart and competence
She recalls the period preceding the operation. “We spent a lot of time discussing the operation – not only the surgeon, Dr Martin Seifert, but also the anaesthetist and the nursing staff. They all took part. Prepared by way of swaddling, foot massages and artistic therapies, she underwent the operation with serenity.

After the operation she learned that the tumour was malign – something not known earlier. This came as a shock, which took time to accept. “But the doctor informed me in a comprehensive way, taking into account my rhythm, my needs.”

Chemotherapy and mistletoe treatment combined
Herein lies another advantage of anthroposophical medicine. Margrit de Sepibus was given both chemotherapy and mistletoe treatment. “In what other hospital would such a combination be possible?” she asked. Considering herself to be a sceptic, she appreciated the security of conventional treatment, while the mistletoe therapy worked alongside to counter side effects and strengthen her immune system. Every therapy session prepared her with painting or curative eurythmy. To have chemotherapy was not an easy decision, but was helped by the depth of her discussions with her specialist, Dr Michael Decker.

The Paracelsus Clinic had pleased Margrit de Sepibus in another important aspect. “The building did not have the usual sterile hospital atmosphere. Its tranquillity, the use of natural materials in the rooms, the coloured walls and presence of flowers; all that brought peace to the soul.”

Complementary medicine also in clinics
For Margrit, all hospitals should include complementary medicine. “Hospitals still offer scarcely any complementary medicine. For this to change, money is needed.”

Marietherese Schwegler

News – May 2009

Anthroposophical medicine is effective and safe

Anthroposophical medicine is comprehensive. It works hand-in-hand with conventional medicine, is complementary, integrated, effective and safe.

Anthroposophical medicine aims at comprehensive healing. Using also the methods and understandings of modern science, it is not in opposition to conventional medicine. It is a complementary, integrated medicine. All anthroposophical doctors are conventionally trained, and have specialised. They always begin with a conventional diagnosis and include where necessary conventional methods and knowledge.

Patients share responsibility

Anthroposophically understood, illness is always seen as intimately linked to the individual. Its origin is in an imbalance between body, soul and spirit. In making their diagnoses, anthroposophical doctors take account of both other bodily and soul aspects of their patients, placing them also in a context of their biographies and personalities. This approach presupposes a relationship of confidence between doctor and patient. In this ‘medicine of meeting’, both research together to understand the problem in its entirety and to find ways to remedy it.
Anthroposophical medicine does not aim to suppress symptoms, but to awaken and reinforce the forces of healing that are dormant in everyone.

Anthroposophical medicaments and therapies

Anthroposophical remedies encompass a wide range of natural substances. They are administered both internally and externally. Artistic therapies such as therapeutic painting and rhythmical massage support the healing process. Above all, anthroposophical medicine enjoins patients to find a new inner equilibrium in order to recover their health and give it new longer-term stability.

Cheaper than conventional medicine

Anthroposophical medicine is not only effective, safe and compatible – as shown by the Complementary Medicine Evaluation Programme (PEK); it is also value for money. It often takes up extra time, for example in biographical conversations, but its extra costs are largely offset by savings on laboratory analyses and diagnostic techniques; not to mention conventional medicaments.
Anthroposophical medicine was developed at the beginning of the 1920s by Dr Ita Wegman (1876–1943) and other doctors in cooperation with Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). It has been developing ever since.

Anthroposophical medicine coordination service (SIAM)


Complementary medicine should no longer be the poor relation

Dr Hansueli Albonico, Principal Doctor for Complementary Medicine, Emmental Regional Hospital took part in the Complementary Medicine Evaluation Programme (PEK).

Dr Albonico, people generally appreciate complementary medicine a lot. Its critics claim they are not serious. As one who took part in the PEK study, what is your view?

Complementary medicine covers a vast field, which makes the need for solid criteria indispensable. The therapeutic disciplines that we evaluated scientifically (see foregoing article) are effective and safe and, in general, less costly than conventional medicine. This is particularly so for the medicaments.

You are responsible for one of the few hospital-based complementary medicine services. What is its advantage from a patient’s point of view?

What is often called ‘integrated medicine’, the alliance between conventional and complementary medicine, is what we offer. There are still many difficulties, but I am confident we can continue to encourage complementary medicine. It is crucial that they are recognised by professionals and politicians, as this will enable their general use in hospitals.
But we also need to increase research and training collaboration with universities. As soon as patients generally make use of such medicines, future doctors will need to be familiar with them. Complementary medicine must not remain the poor relation.

Not enough research is done in complementary medicine. What has to change?

It is true that there is insufficient research in this area. The time has come to give it the necessary financial resources. For this it is important not to conceive conventional and complementary medicine as opposites, but as sensible complements which, when used well, are also economic.