Anthroposophic Nursing and External Applications

Anthroposophic nursing was initiated by Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman and through its development has now spread worldwide. It is used in inpatient and outpatient care and in all areas of medicine (oncology, intensive care, pediatrics, etc.). Anthroposophic nursing is based on an understanding of the human being and an ethical attitude that leads to encountering each patient with respect for the person’s autonomy and human dignity, and as an individual possessing a body, a soul and a spirit (1).Nursing care measures do not consist only of their “outer” characteristics, they also have “inner” qualities which are decisive for their efficacy. Basic nursing care thus encompasses a living, enlivening caregiving process, expressed in the way that each measure is implemented, as well as in the external care itself. This can, for example, significantly promote the patient’s ability to experience and immerse himself in the day—and, then at night, to sleep. In addition, great importance is attached to accompanying the soul of the patient. The significance of the soul for healing and, in particular, wound healing, has been by now well documented. Wounds heal less well in patients suffering from depression, agitation or mental tension (2, 3). Rudolf Steiner drew attention to the importance of the soul for healing already almost 100 years ago: “Contentment […] strengthens the etheric body in relation to its life force [so] that wounds […] in a satisfied person […] heal more easily […]” (4, p. 215). A caregiver’s inner attitude can have a direct effect on the mental/emotional world of the patient and thus promote the person’s vital forces in wound healing. Finally, the nurse’s therapeutic attitude has key importance for nursing work. When therapeutic measures follow spiritual goals, inner convictions and therapeutic intuition, they have a stabilizing effect on patients. The patients experience a will to heal that can give rise to new prospects, even to hope, and this can have a positive effect on the course of the illness and possibly also on the prognosis. Thus, different dimensions develop within the nursing activities which directly connect with healing and therapy. These qualities require ethical and spiritual development in addition to professional training. They belong to the identity of the nursing profession, and they are indispensable in modern patient care (see also career profile Nursing: ).

To the Vademecum of External Applications: .

1 Heine R (ed.). Anthroposophische Pflegepraxis. Grundlagen und Anregungen für alltägliches Handeln. 4th corrected and expanded ed., with DVD. Berlin: Salumed Verlag; 2017.

2 Godbout JP, Glaser R. Stress-induced immune dysregulation: implications for wound healing, infectious disease and cancer. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology  2006;1(4):427–427. [Crossref]

3 House SH. Psychological distress and its impact on wound healing. An integrative review. Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing 2015; 42(1): 38–41. [Crossref]

4 Steiner R. Paths and goals of the spiritual human being. Life questions in the light of spiritual science. Hudson: Rudolf Steiner Press; 2015.

Research news

Practiced-Based Research of Complementary and Integrative Therapies for Pain Management in Clinical Settings   
This systematic review identified 23 studies (including 8464 patients) that fulfilled the quality criteria for evaluating individualized complementary and integrative pain therapies. The studies included chiropractic, acupuncture, multimodal individualized intervention/programs, physiotherapy, and anthroposophic therapies. Retention rates ranges from 53% to 91%. Although all studies reported beneficial impacts on various pain outcome, future practice-based CAM and IM research should be more comprehensive and scientific. Results, recommendations, and the call to action are available at:

Further information on Anthroposophic Medicine