Understanding Anthroposophical medicine
by Dr Ulrich Doering
Would you like to understand more about Anthroposophical medicine? If so, check out the discussion below....
Anthroposophical medicine is practised only by fully qualified medical doctors. One uses the knowledge and science of modern medicine as a basis and deepens this approach further and looks at the whole human being, his health and his illnesses.
The medical history, the examination, further testing with bloodtests and scans and possible specialist referrals are done as required as in any other medical consultation.
In addition to the above I ask myself when I see a patient how the patient’s illness has something to do with them. This includes looking at the illness in the context of the life of the patient. In this way we can see the illness gives us a task which we need to work with. We need to ask ourselves: What has this problem to do with me?
Let's take, for example, a skin condition like eczema or dermatitis.
A part of our skin becomes itchy and raw, we scratch it and it starts oozing.
We may notice that it is worse when we are stressed, don't sleep well, eat too much of the wrong food, drink too much coffee, alcohol etc.
What is this telling us?
Let's take the illness as a picture - we have lost our healthy skin, we have become "thin skinned". We have lost that which protects us from the outside world. Our skin separates us from the outside world and enables us to contact the world selectively. We can choose to touch and feel something or turn our attention to something else.
With a skin disease our inside is open to the world, everything disturbs us, we can't take anymore, we can't turn away from the world around us. We have no buffer. Does that sound familiar? What stress does to us has become a bodily experience.
Now it becomes obvious what we have to do to counteract this - specific life style changes in order to gain a healthy rhythm again. Rhythm is the secret of health. All life is dependent on rhythm. Rhythm gives strength. The rhythm of breathing in and breathing out again can teach us the right rhythm of work and real relaxation again. In terms of our life this means taking hold of a task in the outer life and turning away from it again and looking after ourselves. This can give us our lost inner freedom again because we can relearn to free ourselves from the burden of being pressured by stress constantly.
And the medicines?
It is clear that putting on Cortisone might be necessary sometimes but it is a shortcut and will not solve the problem. The problem might even go deeper.
If the patient wishes I often offer natural remedies, Anthroposophical medicines*. These are sometimes homoeopathic, sometimes herbal or mineral based remedies which may well help to heal the illness by showing the body how it has to function again in a healthy way. This means healing from the inside out.
In the case of eczema and dermatitis this usually means stimulation of the liver and digestive organs in the right way and protecting the body from the overpowering influences of the stressed nervous system.
When we become well again we see we have changed. The illness has led us through a process, a learning curve. We can say: The illness fulfilled its mission to teach us something. (The concept of the illness as a teacher can be applied to all illnesses even to minor illnesses such as a flu or a sore throat. The hidden message will reveal itself once we learn to read the illness as a picture and realise which important impulse has yet been overlooked by us and needs to be taken up.)
*Anthroposophical medicines are based on a holistic understanding of the human being as described by Anthroposophy. The word Anthroposophy is a combination of the greek words 'Anthropos' meaning human being and 'Sophia' meaning wisdom (Wisdom of the human being). Anthroposophy is a philosophy and not a religion. It was initially developed by Dr Rudolf Steiner. Anthroposophy has become a world wide movement which has influenced and renewed many areas of our life such as nutrition (organic- biodynamic agriculture), pedagogy (Rudolf Steiner schools are the biggest school movement in the world), in the social sphere ethical banking, the arts (eurythmy, painting etc), medicine and curative education etc etc. All striving to heal the human being and create a better Earth.
© 2000 Dr Ulrich Doering. All rights reserved.