Anthroposophic Arts Therapy

Matthias Girke

Last update: 20.02.2019

Art has accompanied medicine for a long time. Art brings spiritual reality into perceivable manifestation and can develop a healing effect. Everyone has certainly experienced the manifold effects of music on their mind, soul and body. Even in ancient times (the earliest documents date back to the Sumerian period) music was used as a healing power. Its therapeutic efficacy has meanwhile been documented in numerous studies (see, e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Four kinds of art therapy are used in Anthroposophic Medicine:

  • therapeutic sculpture
  • painting therapy
  • music therapy
  • therapeutic speech

The therapeutic indication results from the activity of the constituent members of the fourfold human being determined by the diagnosis. Accordingly, we distinguish between a physical (somatic) indication for art therapy and its effect on soul and spirit. For example, allergic, “outflowing” diseases call for forming elements in art therapy. In cases of mental pain and suffering, art is used in another, more freeing way to strengthen and heal the soul. Finally, art can help to give meaning and orientation and develop new perspectives through artistic creativity. Anthroposophic art therapy is thus used for numerous somatic and psychosomatic illnesses and it is applied both in pediatrics and adult medicine.


  1. Krüerke D, Simões-Wüst AP, Kaufmann C, Frank M, Faldey A, Heusser P, von Bonin D. Can speech-guided breathing influence cardiovascular regulation and mood perception in hypertensive patients? Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2018; 24(3):254–261.
  2. von Bonin D, Klein SD, Würker J, Streit E, Avianus O, Grah C, Salomon J, Wolf U. Speech-guided breathing retraining in asthma: a randomised controlled crossover trial in real-life outpatient settings. Trials 2018; 19:333.[Crossref]
  3. Hamre HJ, Kiene H, Ziegler R, Tröger W, Meinecke C, Schnürer C, Vögler H, Glockmann A, Kienle GS. Overview of the publications from the Anthroposophic Medicine Outcomes Study (AMOS): A whole system evaluation study. Global Advances in Health and Medicine 2014;3(1):54–70.[Crossref]
  4. Hamre HJ, Witt CM, Kienle GS, Glockmann A, Ziegler R, Willich SN, Kiene H. Anthroposophic therapy for anxiety disorders: a two-year prospective cohort study in routine outpatient settings. Clinical Medicine: Psychiatry 2009;2:17–31.
  5. Hamre HJ, Witt CM, Glockmann A, Ziegler R, Willich SN, Kiene H. Anthroposophische Kunsttherapie bei chronischen Erkrankungen: eine vierjährige prospektive Kohortenstudie. Der Merkurstab 2009;62(2):113–121.

Research news

Case series: Topical application of Viscum album extract in keratinocyte carcinomas shows remissions 
A retrospective case series examined the safety and clinical effects of topical application of 10% lipophilic Viscum album extract (VALE) in individual cases of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC), basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and actinic keratosis (AK). The study population consisted of 55 patients with 74 skin lesions. Risk factors, concomitant therapies and diseases, adverse drug reactions to VALE and other relevant information were documented. As a result, the clinical response rate was 78% for cSCC, 70% for BCC and 71% for AK. The complete remission rates for individual lesions were 56% for cSCC, 35% for BCC and 15% for AK. Overall, the results suggest that VALE is a safe and tolerable extract, and complete and partial remissions of ceratinocyte carcinomas were observed with its use. The article is published in Complementary Medicine Research

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