May 6, 2015 | Posted in Anthroposophic Therapies, Concepts in Anthroposophic Medicine, Nursing Treatments

Anthroposophic medicine brings to a pinnacle the idea of providers working as a team to help the patient.



Doctor, nurse, therapeutic eurythmist, rhythmic massage therapist, art therapist, painting therapist, speech arts professional, singing therapist, music therapist – each learns from anthroposophic training the ideal of working together. In actual practice, it is not yet easy to find a setting which includes all members of this listing co-working in the United States, though the anthroposophic team care of a patient is more common in some other countries.

Rudolf Steiner describes the inner impulse of the physician as having the ‘courage to heal,’ while the nurse carries the ‘sense of healing.’ The will of the physician is called forward, and the heart of the nurse, to bring healing.

The healing professions can derive direct guidance from the tale of Parzival, whose long-sought goal could only be reached when he was finally able to ask the right question. In medieval language, ‘What ails thee?’ opened the connection of concern between Parzival and the Fisher King. The right question brings listening to hear the patient’s statement of his or her situation.


From the sense of healing, an anthroposophic nurse may find an approach to the patient that is an accurate or fitting response to the patient’s situation. One patient may need support for uprightness, and another may need to be enveloped or protected. Twelve nursing gestures are characterized in a newly-released book on anthroposophic nursing: Anthroposophische Pflegepraxis. (yes, it is still in German)

A phrase that summarizes the esssence of anthroposophic nursing is ‘professional compassion.’ The trained eye and mind bring value from study and experience with compassionate touch. The anthroposophic nurse is developing the ability to think with the heart. The profound benefit of anthroposophic nursing compresses provides the arena for ‘thinking with the hands.’

The anthroposophic nurse creates actions in the outer world which are directed by an inner sense for healing. The verse that supports this inner mood may be reflected on frequently:

In the heart dwells
In shining brightness
Man’s sense of help
In the heart weaves
In warming power
Man’s power of love
So let us carry
The souls full will
In heart’s warmth
And heart’s light
So we bring healing
To those in need of it
By God’s grace
        from Rudolf Steiner

Toward deepening the nurse’s role, there is now a training in Foundations of Anthroposophic Nursing, and also training towards becoming an Anthroposophic Nursing Specialist. Further information on both are available by contacting: North American Anthroposophic Nurses Association,  NAANA.  This link provides you information on membership and training.

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Christoph von Dach, Anthroposophic Nurse Specialist in Palliative Care, Switzerland, at International Postgraduate Medical Training, Fair Oaks, CA, April 29, 2015

Anthroposophische Pflegepraxis, Rolf Heine, Salumed Verlag,  2015 (push the ‘Translate’ button if you don’t read German)

Parzival, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Random House, Vintage books, 1961

North American Anthroposophic Nurses Association,  NAANA.  This link provides you information on membership and training.

Association for Anthroposophic Medicine and Therapies in America,  AAMTA, is the umbrella group for all national organizations of anthroposophic nurses, doctors, and therapists.

International Postgraduate Medical Training, IPMT, occurs annually, in conjunction with anthroposophic nursing training:

Physicians’ Association for Anthroposophic Medicine, PAAM, cooperates in sponsoring the nurses’ training at IPMT.

The Samaritan Course, compilation from Rudolf Steiner’s lectures,  not yet online at Mercury Press, so please email

Rato Health Natural Nursing Therapies!anthr/c18zc

Compresses and other Therapeutic Applications from the Ita Wegman Clinic, Monika Fingado, Floris Books, 2012.


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