Anthroposophic Medicine was inaugurated by Rudolf Steiner PhD ( 1861-1925), an Austrian Philosopher, Goethe researcher, originator of the Anthroposophic Method of knowledge with the Dutch Doctor Ita Wegman, MD ( 1876-1943), by establishing Clinics in Arlesheim and Stuttgart, Germany in 1921. The steady growth of this methodology has now established itself as a practice in Anthroposophic medicine in > 80 countries.
With the knowledge of this methodology being accepted by physicians there was a need to create a more acceptable training program that allowed for practitioners of medicine to take it up and learn the material and methods of Anthroposophic medicine. This created a program of "Off campus education" in Anthroposophic medicine which is the International Post Graduate Medical Training that has travelled to different corners of the world and this has encouraged many to partake of and train themselves in Anthroposophic medicine. This has been offering a way to train in General and Specialist practice and its therapeutic options since 2002.
The program entails residential, intensive 7 day programs where topics of mutual interest are discussed and allows for intermingling of cultures. The study of Goethean plant observation that helps in clinical practice and the introduction to other therapeutic modalities like External treatments, Eurythmy, Art therapy, Psychotherapy, etc., widens the perspective for treatment options. While looking at the man from a holistic perspective of the "four fold" and "three fold" nature and thereby understanding the disease, makes the physician see the patient from a different perspective than the physical alone. The emphasis is also on personal inner spiritual development and professional ethics, healthy forms of collaboration of different professionals who are partners in the exercise to bring about a "salutogenic" result for the wellness in the human being wracked by illness. A.M. also takes help of Biography and counseling, Nutrition from Bio-dynamic agricultural methods, movement from engaging the will forces in exercise or Eurythmy. The integration of Anthroposophic medicine allows for a participative process by the person with illness rather than only a receptive process ot treatment that may be practiced usually. Furthermore the importance of preventive medicine that starts with good practices of age based experiential learning that stems from the Waldorf Education schooling model is important to be addressed to enable healthy young people graduate from these schools..
Many such topics that are dovetailed into the practice and understanding of health or lack of it, find a place in the curriculum of the IPMT. It is made available in English and many other European languages based on the geographic centres where it is held. This program is conducted and coordinated by the Medical Section, Goetheanum, School of Spiritual Science, Dornach, Switzerland and In India in association with the Anthroposophic Medical Society , India Chapter.
The schooling of sense perception, movement and thinking as a basis for diagnosing the members of the fourfold human being
1. Schooling sense perception:
After an introduction to the phenomenological method of working according to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), we divide into small groups in order to engage in practical exercises in observation. According to Goethe, the processes of certain aggregate states in nature – the solid state of matter (mechanics), the liquid state of matter (hydraulics), the aeriform state of matter (aerodynamics) and pure warmth, a non-material state of matter (thermodynamics), are directly connected to the fourfold nature of the human being: solid matter constitutes the human physical body, the liquid element is the prerequisite for life processes, the aeriform state and breathing are linked to the inner experiences of the soul, and warmth is the basis for the will activity of the "I". Knowledge of the life processes, mental-emotional aspects and spirit inherent in the human being thus leads to an understanding of how they are connected to the elements of nature and the macrocosm, enabling us to find the healing forces that the realms of nature hold for us. For this we require suitable methods which enable us to grasp the nature of each phenomenon. In modern medicine we have a differentiated knowledge of many details, revealing complex processes in the human organism but losing sight of the overall context. For the art of healing it is not enough to rely on the customary analytical way of looking at the world, which leads to dissection of the organism and ultimately to its destruction. We require a holistic methodology that places the separate phenomenon into the greater context of body, soul and spirit. "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly", wrote Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Goethe's ethical-religious attitude towards life points in the same direction: one only comes to know what one loves. Developing love as a force of cognition and thus creating a capacity for spiritual empathy is the highest goal of this work. As Goethe said, the kind of observation used depends on the kind of thing being observed.
Over the course of five training modules we will practise the principles of speech and tone eurythmy. Eurythmy is an art of movement that was developed before World War I by Rudolf Steiner in collaboration with movement artists and particularly Marie Steiner, an artist in the field of speech formation. All processes in nature, in the human being and in the arts can be made visible with the help of movement. Therefore, eurythmy movements do not have a symbolic character, but rather correspond to inner formative movements and shaping gestures, just as these correspond to the formative language of the realms of nature and of human speech. This is the archetypal alphabet of vowels and consonants which may be found in all languages. When we perform and practice these movements (eurythmy as “visible speech”) we may develop a more subtle appreciation of formative and shaping processes in nature and in the human being, and hence for the processes of illness and healing.
The first training block covers the basic vowels and consonants, aided by a study of Rudolf Steiner's sketches for these gestures. In subsequent training weeks, gestures corresponding to the tones and intervals in music will be added, as well as cosmic gestures linked to the planets and the signs of the zodiac, and the basic principles of eurythmy therapy.
3. Schooling thinking:
The third step is the schooling of thinking. For this purpose we will use chapters from the book Fundamentals of Therapy written jointly by Steiner and Wegman. After a short introduction, the work takes place in the same small groups as for our Goethean studies. The groups use the text to practise a four-stage thought-schooling process:
a) Reading the text, numbering the paragraphs, and working through what has been said, in writing. Connections that remain incomprehensible or give rise to questions are written down for later discussion.
b) The train of thought is followed from the first paragraph through to the last: How does one thought join to the next? Where does the train of thought apparently break off, in order to be taken up again at another place? Where do new thoughts start – perhaps standing next to the first and second thoughts with no apparent connection? What is the thread running through? Are we in a position to be able to reproduce the train of thought, developed by Steiner, ourselves? And what about the inner evidence of these thoughts?
c) While the first and second steps have more to do with the way in which the content is brought as thought forms, in the third step the emphasis lies in comprehending the composition of the chapter as a whole: How are the beginning and end related to each other? In the course of the paragraphs, do various important points reveal themselves or does the whole move towards a climax which is all-important? Does one thought develop out of another in a more sculptural style or is it a more inspirational style where one thought does not directly join to the next, but rather has a loose illuminating association, i.e., a complementing form? In this third step, which has to do with a deeper, artistic grasping of the way in which the inner and outer structure of the chapter is built up, the possibility arises of unlocking the text in a much more intimate way as a work of art, a composition. Through this it may then be possible to come to a further, deeper understanding of what is expressed by the text.
d) The final stage of grasping in thought and understanding is the attempt to penetrate to its essential nature or inner reality. Rudolf Steiner's spiritual-scientific research rests upon supersensible experiences, which he was able to translate into clear concepts and thought connections. Because he could also put them into words, he was able to make them reproducible and comprehensible for present-day people. We want to take the reverse path: We go from the written text, to the activity of thought, to the artistic revelation and finally to the inner nature of what was described, its source, and our own authentic experience of it.
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