About Anthroposophic Healthcare
Anthroposophic healthcare (AH) originated at the beginning of the 20th century as a broadening of the contemporary medical system. AH focusses on the preventative and curative promotion of health in addition to the fighting disease approach. It is a form of integrative healthcare making use of complementary anthroposophic diagnostics, medicines and various supplementary therapies as an extension to conventional treatment options.
Values of the care
AH is concerned with the relationship between body, soul and spirit in relation to disease and health. Attention is also paid to lifestyle, the relation between the condition and personal performance, environmental factors and providing meaning. Frequently mentioned and valued characteristics of anthroposophic healthcare include:
- the strong, individual-oriented approach,
- supporting and actively stimulating the self-healing capacity of patients,
- stimulating patients' competence, personal control and self-management,
- an equal relationship between care recipient and caregiver,
- spending time with and paying attention to the care recipient,
- restraint in the use of medicines and a responsible preference for natural medicines.
AH values patients highly and has built up considerable experiential knowledge and expertise.
Anthroposophic healthcare utilises many therapies in which the patient actively influences his/her state of health. For example, classical therapies with an anthroposophic approach are offered, such as psychotherapy, physiotherapy, nursing supervision and treatment involving nutrition. But also therapies that are specifically anthroposophic: anthroposophic art therapy (music and fine art), speech and eurhythmy therapy, and rhythmical massage. These therapies are applied in both primary and secondary healthcare. In almost all of these professional groups, the caregivers are first trained in conventional healthcare before taking a supplementary, certified anthroposophic vocational qualification.
The specialist field of anthroposophic healthcare
Anthroposophic healthcare consists of several sectors: general practice (primary healthcare), well-baby clinics, occupational medicine and school doctors’ services along with richly variegated specialist care. The primary care physicians work in independent practices or in multidisciplinary healthcare centres together with other disciplines. There are about 160 practising anthroposophic doctors, GPs and specialists in the Netherlands. In addition, there are 15 well-baby clinics for infants and children up to the age of four years, some of which are embedded in regional institutions. An estimated 200,000 clients make use of these services. The anthroposophic specialist care includes mental healthcare (GGZ) and addiction therapy (VZ) to care for the elderly and clients with developmental, mental and/or physical disorders (VGZ).