What does anthroposophic medicine do?

What does anthroposophic medicine do?

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Anthroposophic medicine focuses on people

Anthroposophic medicine promises a holistic view of the patient, which overlaps with the approaches of naturopathy in many areas and can be a good addition to conventional medicine, especially with complex symptoms. Anthroposophic medicine “sees itself as an extension of modern, science-based medicine,” explains the umbrella organization for anthroposophic medicine in Germany (DAMiD).

According to the approach of anthroposophic medicine, “man is more than his body. And also more than the sum of his illness symptoms, ”reports the DAMiD. The individuality of the person is also determined in the case of illness by the complex interplay of physical, mental and spiritual characteristics, which should be taken into account accordingly in the treatment. Many seriously ill patients want the treating physicians to take the time to consider their state of mind. However, due to cost and time constraints, conventional medical practices often do not offer this, according to the news agency "dpa". Anthroposophic medicine started here and, in addition to conventional treatment, is also dedicated to the general condition and the individual life situation of those affected.

Considering the state of mind of the patient All methods and procedures of conventional medicine can be used in anthroposophical diagnostics and therapy, but the humanities-based findings that go back to Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman are also included, reports the DAMiD. Professor Alfred Längler from the umbrella organization for anthroposophic medicine in Germany explained to the “dpa” that anthroposophic medicine not only uses modern scientific knowledge, but also spiritual, holistic approaches to anthroposophy according to Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Thus, not only would the measurable findings of the sick person be taken into account in the diagnosis and treatment, but the state of mind also played an important role. According to the user, this is particularly advantageous in the case of complex clinical pictures.

Activating the organism's self-healing powers The "dpa" news agency reports on the example of a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, which can be clearly identified with an endoscopic examination, but in which mental factors have a major influence. Many of those affected also wonder what the disease does to them and how it affects their life planning. "The question is: what do I deduce from this for the therapy?" Quotes the news agency Professor Längler, who works as a pediatric oncologist and senior physician in the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at the Herdecke Community Hospital (North Rhine-Westphalia). The hospital is one of nine acute care clinics in Germany where inpatient anthroposophic medicine is offered. The aim of anthroposophical treatment is to choose a suitable therapy together with the patient, to find a way to deal with the disease and to stimulate the self-healing powers so that the patient can contribute to overcoming the disease on his own, explains the DAMiD. "The purely mechanical story is one thing (...) For a therapeutic doctor-patient relationship to work well, it is generally necessary to look at more than just the purely physical-physical level," quotes the "dpa" the pediatric oncologist Professor Längler .

Active participation in the recovery process First of all, in the context of a thorough medical history, anthroposophic medicine asks not only about the physical symptoms, but "also the personal circumstances, the individual biography or possible crises in the patient's life," reports the DAMiD. A conventional medical diagnosis follows. "In a detailed discussion, the doctor and patient then decide which medical approach makes sense individually," continued the umbrella organization for anthroposophic medicine. Anthroposophic medicine sees the patient as an active partner, who should confidently participate in their recovery process. They are said to have an active role in overcoming their illness. In this way, patients would be “encouraged to actively work for their health and to find new, healthyTo learn behaviors, ”explains the DAMiD. An important factor in strengthening the self-healing powers in anthroposophic medicine are also the artistic therapies with plastic design, drawing and painting, making music or speech. Eurythmy therapy, a special form of rhythmic movement art developed by Rudolf Steiner, is also used here.

Correcting negative behavior patterns The child oncologist Professor Längler is quoted by the news agency "dpa" with regard to the effect of the artistic therapies with the statement that these "should influence physical processes through my emotional experience". According to the umbrella organization for anthroposophic medicine, dealing with artistic processes in the patient can trigger a process of self-awareness and thus correct established and pathological behavior patterns. "I experience something emotionally, and that gives me a piece of vitality that is then available on the organic level," quotes the "dpa" Professor Längler. For example, children with cancer would experience when they were painting that they were able to do so and that they would free themselves from the negative feeling of illness that "I can't do anything, I need to be repaired".

Criticism of anthroposophic medicine The umbrella organization for anthroposophic medicine also mentions various physical and therapeutic measures on its website that are intended to stimulate breathing, blood circulation, digestion and metabolic processes as important components of anthroposophic medicine. The same applies to rhythmic massage according to Dr. Ita Wegman (1876-1943). Although anthroposophic medicine has had a remarkable success story in the hundred years of its existence and, according to the DAMiD, is now practiced in over 80 countries worldwide, it has met with massive criticism in many cases. "In my view, anthroposophic medicine is anything but scientific, on the contrary, it wants to redefine the rules of science for itself," quotes "dpa", for example, Edzard Ernst, Professor Emeritus from the University of Exeter (Great Britain). Since every anthroposophic doctor in Germany must have completed a medical degree with a license to practice medicine, the DAMiD believes that conventional medical competence is ensured here and the doctors also have knowledge of anthroposophic medicine.

Is it possible for the SHI to cover costs? Despite his criticism of anthroposophic medicine, Professor Ernst sees certain advantages of this method in certain points. For example, "anthroposophic doctors are usually very emphatic and care for their patients fairly well," quotes the "dpa" the British doctor. However, he advises against the specific therapies of anthroposophic medicine. The statutory health insurance (GKV) in Germany, however, often see anthroposophic medicine much less critically. For example, some health insurance companies offer to cover costs for individual anthroposophic treatment methods, reports the “dpa”. Ann Marini from the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds says that anthroposophic medicine as an example of treatment methods, medicines and remedies for the particular therapeutic directions in the GKV service catalog cannot be excluded, according to the news agency. However, those insured by law should inform themselves before the start of treatment that b their health insurance company will cover the costs. (fp)

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