The Anthroposophic Doctor

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by Angelo Druda

imageMany good alternative health books have been written by naturopathic, traditional Chinese, and Ayurvedic doctors, some of whom are also MDs. In his well-written and user-friendly “The Fourfold Path to Healing: Working with the Laws of Nutrition, Therapeutics, Movement and Meditation in the Art of Medicine,” Thomas Cowan, MD and friends have finally given Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophical approach its long overdue place at the table.

Health and healing books written by actual working clinicians provide welcome relief from the miracle cure propaganda that bombards us every day. Whether it is the ecstatic TV faces of people using the “Purple Pill”, Cialis, or the constant drone of your best friend’s multi level marketing spiel, claiming that they possess a silver bullet’s healing power, has become the common strategy of all medical marketing in the modern world today.

Working clinicians know, however, just how challenging and difficult actual healing can be, and that the medicine itself is not nearly as important as the regime that is practiced when the medicine is actually taken. Real doctors understand: alas, there is no edible deity.

The empirical approach to healing, (this cure is good for this disease) is not nearly as effective as the rational approach in which the body is examined at every level, and restored to balance via a comprehensive regime that effects and heals the whole.

Such understanding and vision serves deeper and more fundamental healing and positions this school of medicine firmly among the other traditional and rational approaches.  A true Anthroposophical doctor can’t help himself. He wants to treat the root of the issue, not just the branch. He will not be satisfied by symptomatic relief alone.

The beauty of Antroposophical Medicine lies in its clear recognition that man’s physical body is merely the tip of a much more extended and subtler organism. The constituent elements of man then are four fold - physical,  - etheric, astral and the human spirit. Health is established by maintaining the proper equilibrium between the constituent parts of man who is healed then by a four fold path. 

So every good doctor requires a way of observing the body in its completeness and in its relationship to the universe and all the things of life. The great traditional medical systems that came out of the East, the Chinese, Ayurveda and Tibetan medicine, are all rational systems. They understand that the physical body is just the visible part of the extended person. The whole must be treated.  No meat body materialist will ever be a great healer.  In The Fourfold Path to Healing, the good doctor, Thomas S. Cowan, another allopath gone alternative, shares his rational approach to health and well being.

The book is a cooperative effort, combining the talents and experience of Sally Fallon, the author of Nourishing Traditions and Jaimen McMillian, the founder of Spacial Dynamics. Cowan’s approach is most deeply influenced by the thinking of Rudolf Steiner, founder of Anthroposophical Medicine, a school of practice which clearly acknowledges that man is much more than simply a machine and that we are as humans alive and functioning on energy levels subtler than merely the physical.

He has also been influenced by the work and teachings of Edgar Cayce, and the research of an American dentist named Weston Price who went in search of the perfect human diet in the early years of the twentieth century. Being a dentist, Price concluded that he would see the vision of that perfect diet in the mouth of his subjects, signaled by the sign of perfect upper and lowers. Price’s conclusions about the right human diet and the need for proper animal fats, may shock vegetarian purists but as Cowan says, he has the clinical proof in scans and in happy clients.
Dr. Cowan rightly understands that healing requires initially an address to diet.  The physical body is fundamentally a food body; therefore all healing begins with a dietary correction in the food body. Cowan’s conclusion, however, that the human body requires a regular dose of animal fat and even red meat in order to maintain health and well being may well be his most controversial offering.

Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine have been exhorting their vegetarian clients to eat red meat since the system first came to the West. Ancient Chinese medical texts show early oriental doctors treating epidemics of cold and damp diseases which are clearly exacerbated by cold, and phlegm forming raw vegetarian food substances.

So the anti-raw, anti-vegetarian, disposition has become part and parcel of that system even today. Traditional doctors are taught that just about any substance in nature can have medicinal value, and so they are willing to make temporary use of all kinds of foods and herbs in order to heal. Yet the call for the regular use of red meat stands in the face of more modern research.

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Currently, there is no course for the certification of AM practitioners, although every AM doctor is required to obtain training as a certified M.D. Afterwards, physicians may specialize in AM by taking a series of courses or by interning with specialists.
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