The Anthroposophic Doctor

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.


DharmaCafe asked Ori Hofmekler, author of The Warrior Diet Book, to comment on the regular use of flesh foods in the human diet. He provided the following from his book:

As for meat, let me say it upfront: Humans haven’t fully adapted to eating meat. Unlike other predators, we lack enzymes that convert degraded “D” proteins into live “L” proteins. All life forms on this planet are made from “L” proteins. Nonetheless, upon the death of an organism, “L” proteins convert spontaneously into “D” proteins. This process, known as racemization, typically occurs during the decomposition (rotting) of meat.

Meat has one of the highest rates of racemization. Improper storage or exposure to high temperatures increases the level of raceant proteins, rendering the meat unsuitable for human consumption. Our bodies are virtually defenseless against the intake of “D” proteins. Accumulation of these degraded proteins in the body’s tissues, particularly the brain, is associated with aging and disease. Racemization isn’t the only problem.

Due to inhumane treatment, livestock animals produce a highly toxic byproduct of stress. It’s an adrenalin metabolite called adrenochrome, which catabolizes (wastes and destroys) muscles and other tissues in the body. This metabolite occurs in high concentrations in the meat that we eat.

Meat is known to be a good source of protein, iron and zinc. Nonetheless, one should always be aware of the downside of meat eating. 
Cowan’s book opens with his theoretical approach to healing and diet and then moves on to a discussion of the other and subtler forms of healing that are almost always required. In the heart of the book, (25.US) Cowan offers his sometimes very unique considerations of the common human diseases, their causes, and his own approach to healing them.  His sections on cancer and heart disease are worth the price of the book. Everyone should read these chapters, since together these conditions are the great killers of mankind. 

Cowan calls for cancer suffers to contemplate great works of art. I was reminded of the time that I had the opportunity to view Adi Da Samraj’s artwork, The Breather, with a group of thirty-five people or so. After twenty minutes of viewing this monumental image, everyone had come to rest and balance, their nervous systems harmonized by the mere contemplation of the piece. Art is made great and it heals, when it invokes the Eternal Sustenance upon which the body the depends. 

Female clients will account for up to seventy five per cent of any clinician’s workload. Their complex reproductive physiology requires constant attention and they tend to seek out help more easily than men do. Thus as a group they have tended to be more easily exploited by modern industrial medicine.

The Fourfold Path to Healing contains an ample section on women’s health issues and it is written with a good heart. Dr. Cowan offers life positive and sex positive instructions to serve women in their wellness regimes.  His section on osteoporosis should be read by all women, but particularly those who may be underweight and at greater risk for this terrible disease. His instructions on how to target calcium supplementation so that it actually gets to the bones are quite unique.

Of course what every reader of health books wants is lots of exercises and lots of remedies that they can do on their own. Cowan does not disappoint in this matter as he details many of the homeopathic and herbal remedies that he prefers. All disease begins with a knot, a contraction or stagnation of energy in the natural flow of the body and so exercise can be a critical part of any healing regime. Cowan grants significant portions of the book to Jaimen McMillian’s Spatial Dynamics, which are designed to:

“Move in an economical manner using the laws known to physics, engineering, and biomechanics to maximize your mechanical advantage, thus benefiting the Physical Body.”

As McMillian notes, “by practicing movement that provides wholeness to the Emotional Body, an individual will progress from a condition in which he is a pawn of fate, to one in which he is the architect of his relationships, goals and health.”

Exercise lovers will derive many hours of pleasurable activity from the detailed instructions and diagrams included in the book.

Like many fine doctors, Cowan is not above commenting on how political and economic issues are effecting our personal and social health. Consider these statements from his homily on cancer:

“What can we conclude after over 30 years of a strategy that attempts to kill every last cancer cell in the body? In the case of the most common forms of solid tumors (breast, lung, pancreas, colon, prostate, etc.), when the tumor has spread (metastasized), this strategy never works. It never results in the permanent eradication of the cancer and the restoration to health. Never!


“In the war on terrorism, as with orthodox cancer treatment, the toll on the host increases as “treatment” progresses. To combat terrorists, we have already passed laws that define any citizen who speaks out against government policies as a terrorist and that allow the security establishment unprecedented powers to deal with non-conformists. Ask any oncologist. He knows where all this leads. The patient will soon die, partly from the assault of the “terrorists”, but also from the debilitating effects of the therapy.”

Thank you Dr. Cowan



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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