Anthroposophical Medicine


Anthroposophical medicine builds on conventional medicine by focussing on the health of the soul and spirit as well as on the physical body. Founded by Rudolph Steiner at the beginning of the twentieth century, it is based on a number of his beliefs. He thought that each human being is a unique individual and should be treated accordingly. He believed that to restore health, scientific, artistic and spiritual insights could be influential; that losing the sense that life has meaning and purpose could lead to a deterioration of general health; and that illness can provide opportunities for positive change and new balance in the life of an individual.

Steiner believed that human beings consist of four interrelating bodies: the astral body which governs the senses, impulses and emotions; the etheric body which is seen as the source of life and growth and contributes to physical shape; the ego, the consciousness of self; and the physical body. The four bodies interrelate within three distinct systems: the nerve-sense system, the rhythmic system and the metabolic system. The nerve-sense system is the basis of conscious waking life that continually erodes the life and vitality of the physical body. During sleep this is replenished when physical and etheric forces assert themselves in the metabolism.

Anthroposophical medicine has a strong belief in the psychosomatic basis of illness. While the brain is acknowledged as the centre of thinking, Steiner also believed that the organs of metabolism and the limbs were the bodily foundation for the life of will. Feeling is believed to arise through the interplay of the conscious thinking processes and the unconscious life of will and believed to be expressed directly in circulatory and respiratory functions.

Steiner believed that inflammatory or feverish conditions, common in childhood, occur when physical and etheric forces working in the metabolism gain the upper hand. Degenerative or sclerotic conditions, characteristic of the second part of life, are seen to occur when the waking activity of the nerve-sense system has been the dominant one over a long period of time.

Conditions That Respond To

Childhood infections
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Hay fever
Musculo-skeletal problems


Anthroposophical medicines are prepared from substances taken from the mineral, plant or animal kingdom. They are prepared by the homeopathic system of potentisation and are grown by a system of "biodynamic agriculture" which makes allowance for cosmic influences on plant growth. Essential oils are used and may be applied directly to the skin, by massage or compresses, or they may be finely dispersed in water and administered by way of medicinal bathes.

A number of schools of artistic therapy have developed including sculpture, painting, music and speech, and a form of movement therapy called "eurythmy" (which Steiner created). Artistic therapies direct the patient into specific exercises based upon a deep understanding of the physiological effects of colour, form, sound and movement. A special form of rhythmic massage based on the Anthroposophical understanding of the relationship between the nerve-sense and the metabolic systems is also used.


For further information

Anthroposophical doctors can be found within the NHS, privately, and many also work for Rudolph Steiner schools both for normal children and those with special needs. Residential treatment is also available. For information on finding a practitioner contact:

Anthroposophical Medical Trust

St Luke's Medical Centre
53 Cainscross Road
Gloucestershire GL5 4EX
01224 869621
Website: http://www.am-trust.co.uk/index.html

For information on Steiner schools, homes and day centres for both children and adults suffering from learning disabilities, psychological disturbance or physical handicaps contact: 

Chairman of the Committee for Steiner Special Education
The Committee for Steiner Special Education
c/o Philpots Manor School
West Hoathly
East Grinstead
Sussex RH 19 4PR


These are some of the references that have been passed to us; the list is not exhaustive. We haven't necessarily read the books, and cannot say how easy it will be to get them.

- Bott V. Spiritual Science and the Art of healing: Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophical Medicine.
Steiner R. Fundamentals of Anthroposophical Medicine.
King F. Rudolf Steiner and Holistic Medicine


- http://www.skepdic.com/steiner.html - gives a critical view of anthroposophy.

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