An integrative and holistic approach to medicine
Anthroposophic-based medicine and allied health services inspired by anthroposophy are offered around Australia by health and medical practitioners, arts therapists, curative eurythmists and massage therapists, and practitioners using counselling and psychotherapeutic approaches based on areas such as biography,
A unique approach to individual health and wellbeing
Anthroposophic-based care is based on a unique approach to the individual, taking physical, mental, soul and spiritual needs into account in prescribing therapy, treatment or remedies. Holistic wellbeing in mind and body is the aim, so therapy is not necessarily about relieving symptoms or curing disease. Rather, the origin of the problem is equally addressed.
For those looking for a practitioner, a first port of call is the practitioner directory of the Australian Anthroposophical Medicine Association (AAMA) (your local branch may also provide information about local initiatives in health and wellbeing). The AAMA supports Anthroposophic medical practices and services throughout Australia by actively supporting research, training and colleagueship among its members both nationally and internationally.
Anthroposophic medicine is a system developed in the early 1920’s in Europe that supports and complements conventional medicine and uses both conventional and anthroposophic medicinal products. Anthroposophical and homoeopathic medicines, creams and lotions prepared according to Anthroposophical principles can be ordered through a registered doctor, homeopath or directly from Weleda or Southern Swan Pharmacy
Medical and therapy centres
Melbourne Therapy Centre provides a range of medical and therapeutic services, with four fully registered GP’s who have training in integrative and anthroposophic medicine in addition to their conventional practices and supporting allied health practitioners.
Raphael’s Rooms, based in the northern suburbs of Sydney, is carried by a small group of health professionals, working together to integrate indications given by Rudolf Steiner for health and healing. Services includes anthroposophic medicine and nursing care, art therapy, etheric massage and acupuncture, and anthroposophic counselling. You can find the contact details of each practitioner here.
Charlotte’s Retreat, located in Bellingen, NSW, offers anthroposophical nursing treatments such as foot baths, organ compresses, bath therapy and rhythmical body oilings. Charlotte Rogers is a registered practicing general nurse trained in Anthroposophical nursing, an anthroposophic art therapist and is also trained in rhythmical massage, sometimes known as Hauschka massage.
A brief overview of the development of Anthroposophic-based medicine and therapy in Australia can be found here.
Social therapy centres
There are two established communities in Sydney offering disability services, with a variety of flexible support and community programs tailored to individual needs. Founded together with families in 1958, Inala offers day, community and accommodation support throughout Sydney’s North West and Hills Districts and the Eastern Suburbs. Warrah Disability Services is part of a larger organisation – Warrah Society. Founded in 1969, Warrah is a living example of how a community nurtures the life and purpose of each individual from childhood through to adulthood and into the senior years.
Also in the northern suburbs of Sydney, is Christophorus House Retirement Village, a senior living community in Hornsby. There are 23 independent living units, and a 24 bed aged care facility on site, set amidst tranquil gardens in a peaceful village setting. The location offers convenient access to required services such as public transport, shops, clubs, medical centres and hospitals.
Becoming an anthroposophic practitioner
If you are interested in training in the anthroposophic approach to health and wellbeing, there are limited face-to-face opportunities in Australia, but several online trainings and programs exist if you already have a qualification in your field.
APOAM Australian Post Graduate Orientation in Anthroposophic Medicine
There is an initiative to restart an anthroposophic medical/therapeutic training in Australia and New Zealand (since the IPMT was discontinued here in 2017). A core Initiative Group was formed in October 2020 and planning is underway to bring a rich training that specifically caters to the Australian medical and therapeutic context. Contact Sarah Mann for more information.
For naturopaths and natural therapists (herbalists, nutritionists, homeopaths), there is an active prescribers group that meets online each month to study and support each other. They are aligned with the International Society of Anthroposophic Naturopathy (ISAN) and are active in training and endorsement opportunities for practitioners. If you are a student or practitioner interested in Anthroposophic Medicine contact Sarah Mann.
The aim of anthroposophic nursing is to support people at the level of body, soul and spirit. Nurses play a crucial role in bringing the spiritual art of nursing into care during illness and work in close collaboration with doctors and therapists.
Taruna College in New Zealand offers the Foundation Course in Anthroposophic Nursing (FCAN). This part-time education process over two years aligns with the criteria developed by the International Forum for Anthroposophic Nursing (IFAN) for foundation courses in anthroposophic nursing and will prepare nurses to work with external treatments including hydrotherapy, compress use and body oilings.
Body therapists, art therapists and eurythmy therapists work closely with medical professionals, but especially nurses.
For people interested in the creative arts as therapy, there are trainings in therapeutic painting, dramatherapy and speech therapy.
Sienna Academy offers a 3.5 year training for art therapists in painting and drawing and develops a highly refined colour perception in practitioners. The training has a strong medical basis and is supported by an anthroposophic doctor.
For those in Sydney interested to become a qualified dramatherapist, there is clinical supervision through The Dramatherapy Centre. To hear more about what a dramatherapist does, listen to this interview with Dr Joanna Janniste. Dramatherapy has been found to be especially effective for people with dementia.
Exploring the word in colour and speech is a Melbourne-based practice which offers painting and formative speech as therapy, privately and in groups. Katherine Rudolph offers a synthesis of anthroposophical speech and painting therapy and is especially effective for primary and secondary school students who have speech disturbances or centering problems. For more information, click here
For those interested in counselling work there is a (currently) online program through Holistic Biography Work.