Training in Anthroposophic Medicine

Anthroposophic Medicine builds on established scientific medicine and natural science. Anthroposophic Medicine augments this methodology using a Goethe-oriented phenomenology and the anthroposophic methods developed by Rudolf Steiner. In particular, it applies to the interaction of body, soul and spirit of the human being. This approach contributes to the fields of diagnosis, therapy, prevention and public health. Fundamental goals are the healing of the patient, maintenance of health and prevention of disease, particularly by stimulating the patient's own activity and salutogenetic potential. The human being is understood as continuously evolving, both as an individual and as a part of humanity. Anthroposophic Medicine emerged in the beginning of the 20th century inaugurated by the physician Ita Wegman in cooperation with Rudolf Steiner and is continually developing, through clinical practice and scientific research.

Competences of the anthroposophic physician

After post-graduate training in Anthroposophic Medicine, physicians should be able to

  • empathetically establish a doctor–patient relationship based on dialogue, in which they perceive the patient as an individuality in his/her particular social environment
  • take into account current anthroposophic-medical knowledge and practice in diagnosis and therapy
  • establish a differentiated evaluation of the bodily, vital, emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions (also called the human fourfold nature below), taking into account the patient's biography and arriving at an individualized, multidimensional diagnosis
  • based on this identify the patient's individual needs for therapeutic interventions
  • design a therapy plan based on this that appropriately takes into consideration the patient's bodily, vital, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects, as well as resources
  • include the intentions and preferences of the informed patient in diagnostic and therapeutic decision making, avoiding all unnecessary procedures and treatments which can weaken the patient's own activity and self-healing capacity
  • take into account the spiritual dimension of the human being in the treatment plan and where appropriate, possible and desired also discuss this with the patient
  • treat the most common diseases encountered in general and specialist practice by means of or including anthroposophic medications and therapies communicate appropriately and collaborate effectively in a therapeutic team with colleagues, nurses and therapists
  • accompany, evaluate and adapt the therapy to the course of the illness
  • document the course of the anthroposophic medical treatment, including mental, emotional and spiritual aspects
  • reflect on own actions and deal with own mistakes
  • develop a connection with nature and the cosmos, as well as with the substances at the origin of important anthroposophic medications
  • independently pursue a path of medical-spiritual development
  • explain the scientific foundations and research methods of Anthroposophic Medicine and independently search the anthroposophic-medical literature (1).

Learning objective

The physician trained in Anthroposophic Medicine is able to treat patients on the basis of anthroposophically extended conventional medicine. In particular, he/she demonstrates advanced competence in establishing a trusting doctor-patient relationship, anthroposophic anamnesis, examination and diagnosis. He/she is able to establish treatment goals and an individual treatment plan and implement, evaluate and - when needed - adapt the treatment (2).

Centers of training and further education

Training in Anthroposophic Medicine

International Postgraduate Medical Training / IPMT

1 Medical Section of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum (ed). International Core Curriculum for medical student's and physician's training in Anthroposophic Medicine. 2018. Available at: https://medsektion-goetheanum.org/fileadmin/user_upload/pdf/Physicians_International_Core_Curriculum_Sep_2018.pdf

2 Scheffer C: Research in medical education. Available at: https://medsektion-goetheanum.org/forschung/educational-research/medical-education/ (07.11.2018)


Research news

Yarrow liver compresses in cancer patients and their effect on the autonomous nervous system    
Liver compresses are frequently used in Anthroposophic Medicine for cancer treatment and are believed to have an energizing effect. In a randomized pilot study, the influence of this external application on the autonomous nervous system was now evaluated. For this study, heart rate variability was measured in metastatic cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy and suffering from cancer-related fatigue (CRF). A total of 20 patients (10 per group) were available for analysis. The results show that yarrow liver compresses led to increase sympathetic activity during the day in the intervention group, while increased parasympathetic activity was observed in the control group, which received no external application. The study is published open access: 
https://doi.org/10.1177/15347354221081253
Previously in 2021, Georg Seifert´s research group had demonstrated that liver compresses reduced (CRF) in this clinically relevant range. The current study clarifies the correlation.
https://doi.org/10.1186/s13014-021-01757-x


Further information on Anthroposophic Medicine