Anthroposophy is a philosophy developed by Austrian spiritual teacher Rudolf Steiner in 1923. It attempts to bridge the gap between science, art, and religion by connecting the soul in the individual and in society to that in nature. It originated as a splinter sect of theosophy.
Anthroposophical medicine is a woo that attempts to mix the theories and practices of real medicine with quack cures, physical and artistic therapies and biographical counseling. The medical approach has its foundation in a spiritual-scientific understanding of the human being that regards human wellness and illness as biographical events connected to the body, soul and spirit of the individual.
The anthrosophical medical system was invented in the 1920s by Rudolf Steiner in conjunction with Ita Wegman as an extension to conventional medicine based on the spiritual philosophy of anthroposophy. Anthroposophical physicians must have a conventional medical education, including a degree from an established and certified medical school, as well as extensive post-graduate study. There are currently anthroposophical medical practices in 80 countries worldwide.
Steiner also started an educational system known as Waldorf or Steiner schools, most of which are in Germany but also the US, UK, Australia and other countries. They place more emphasis on expression, art and integrating children's sensory development by age (e.g. they feel that TV and computers harm the imagination if introduced too early). Their use of religious themes has so far prevented them from receiving government funding in the US (except for one school in Montana) despite many attempts, which the organization PLANS, Inc. (People for Legal and Non-Sectarian Schools) has fought.
Anthroposophy has beliefs that steal from Eastern and Western religious ideas, such as veneration of Christ along with reincarnation. They believe not just in an immortal soul, but a number of other spiritual entities, called astral, ethereal, etc. Their anti-vaccination stance derives from a dangerous and ignorant belief in diseases being something you must go through to strengthen the soul in its present incarnation. Reincarnation is believed to occur regularly in 500-year cycles to enlighten the soul over time, and suffering that occurs during life (including that from diseases, hence their stance against vaccinations) is deemed necessary for this. Still, treatment of diseases through conventional medicine is not discouraged by practising anthroposophic physicians, and anthroposophical medicine is primarily used as an additional way of treating diseases where conventional medicine is believed to fall short.
Many other pseudoscientific beliefs stem from Anthroposophy, such as Astrosophy.
- "Anthroposophical Society in America." 1998-2011.
- Mays, Robert; Nordwall, Sune. "Waldorf Answers." 2004-2011.
- Rudolf Steiner's Quackery by Roger Rawlings, Quackwatch
- Catherine Zollman, Andrew Vickers, ABC of Complementary Medicine, 2008, p. 1