(Investigator 149, 2013 March)
The Anthroposophical Society was founded in 1912 by Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925) at Dornach in Austria. It is a spiritual movement based on the notion that there is a spiritual world accessible only to those with occult faculties.
In 1919, the first of the Waldorf Centers was created to teach anthroposophy, and there are now about 300 world-wide. Steiner also established "Bio-dynamic Farming" which, in essence, is similar to the homoeopathic approach in so far as it uses diluted amounts of compounds as fertilisers.
Closely associated with bio-dynamic farming was Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, Steiner's chief researcher who directed the anthroposophists' Biochemical Research Laboratory at Dornach and the 800-acre experimental farm at Loverendale, Holland. After the Nazi invasion of the Low Countries, Pfeiffer went to the United States where he established a model farm at Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
Anthroposophical Medicine (AM) refers to medical practitioners who adhere to Steiner's teachings.
Steiner's doctrine is based on cosmology. He believed in the existence of the mythical "Akashic Records" — a history of the world available only to clairvoyants, and in the epochs on the lost continents of Atlantis and Lemuria.
Steiner schools teach, among other things, a study of musical instruments, prayer and meditation and eurythmics (a form of dance created by Steiner). In Sweden, the casting of horoscopes and the belief that sprites inhabit trees and rocks are also part of the curriculum. The former is central to the belief that the phases of the moon and its zodiacal position selectively influence the growth of different parts of plants.
Anthroposophical doctors use "natural" medicines, closely related to homoeopathy.
Pseudoscience is evident in Steiner's teachings and the practices of AM practitioners. Dr. van Dam, of the Michael Medical Clinic in San Francisco, which specialises in anthroposophical medicine, had this explanation when taxed on the improbability that any molecules of the active ingredient remain in typical dilutions such as those used by them:
"...the process accumulates 'periphial forces' in the solvent as the concentration of the original substance vanishes. The periphial forces are then 'attracted' by tossing the solution into the air for three minutes at each stage of dilution, which reduces the effect of gravity."
This of course is similar to the dilution process and beliefs of homoeopaths and is based on an unproven and unscientific theory.
One remedy proposed as a cancer cure by Steiner in 1920 was Iscador, a mistletoe extract. It is promoted by the Society for Cancer Research, founded by Steiner, at Arlesheim, Switzerland.
The use of Iscador is listed by the American Cancer Society as a questionable method.
(From: Edwards, H. 1999 Alternative, Complementary, Holistic & Spiritual Healing)