Healing is the broad term for practice of managing and restoring health, and curing illnesses or diseases.
In the contemporary worldview of mineral science, the term medicine is more often used for healing, as wikipedia describes:
Medicine is the science and practice of caring for a patient and managing the diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, treatment or palliation of their injury or disease. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Contemporary medicine applies biomedical sciences, biomedical research, genetics, and medical technology to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and disease, typically through pharmaceuticals or surgery, but also through therapies as diverse as psychotherapy, external splints and traction, medical devices, biologics, and ionizing radiation, amongst others.
In few areas does the spiritual scientific worldview provide such a dramatically different and impactful way to look at the human being with a direct impact on human lives and physical health. Whereas 'mineral science' considers man as a purely mineral or material, physical being, the reality is that Man is a much more complex being, consisting of four bodily principles and three functional subsystems.
Illnesses arise due to irregularities in any of these bodily principles, and/or misalignment and unbalance between these bodily principles and subsystems. Any 'issue' at a higher level (such as the human 'I') ripples through the lower bodies and find expression in the astral body, etheric or physical body.
Due to the origin of illnesses related with the Fall and the related concept of 'original sin' (see Model for hereditary physical body), the deepest causes of illness lie in the astral body and in its bad effects on the etheric body, and by way of the etheric body on the physical body. (1908-12-08-GA107)
Therefore, not just physical material processes need to be considered but also alchemical processes in which the full spectrum of elements and higher ethers is at work, see eg the principles of potentization for treating the human etheric body, or the processes of transmutation in the metabolic subsystem. Furthermore the curing of irregularities in or unbalanced between the human astral body and the Human 'I' are in the area of the soul.
Contemporary medical science strength lies in the mineral side of medicine, all that has to do with the material physical body of Man (eg correcting bone fractures etc). For most other areas the limited materialistic frame of thought with which Man is studied does not allow true diagnosis to root cause, nor healing. In many ways therefore the contemporary medical practice focusing on the mineral only can not come to an understanding and focuses treatments on symptoms and not root causes. In case there is no real understanding, reference is often made to genetic reasons, problems with the auto-immune system, etc.
- what is Illness and different types of illnesses
- healing: principles of treatment
- different types of treatment such as:
- homeopathy and the principle of potentization
- healing with plants, and healing with metals
- pastoral medicine for the soul (see eg 1924-09-GA318)
- curative education (see eg 1924-GA317)
- curative or therapeutic eurythmy (see eg 1921-04-GA315)
- the effect of mineral substances as used in contemporary materialistic medicine and focusing in the mineral physical body only: the mineral substance becomes diffused and acquired the human form, a phantom or double consisting of the substance taken in. This prevents the physical body to obey the influences of the astral and etheric bodies, artificially disconnecting it, whereby the physial body becomes an hardened independent being subject to its own laws. (1908-12-08-GA107)
- geographic medicine, ao given the dependency of the influence of the higher ethers on geography (re GA178: 1917-11-15-GA178 and 1917-11-16-GA178, see also: The double)
Lecture coverage and references
The following contains a base course of 82 lectures. It is supplemented with additional lectures and 'Extending practical medicine' (see references below)
- 1920-GA312 - Spiritual science and medicine 
- 1920-GA314 - Physiology and Therapeutics 
- 1921-04-GA313 - Second Course for Doctors and Medical Students 
- 1922-10-GA314 - Anthroposophical Approach to Medicine 
- 1922-GA348 - Health and illness: Q&A with workmen of first Goetheanum 
- 1924-GA316 - Course for young doctors  incl 1920-12 bridge lectures 
- 1924-09-GA318 - Pastoral Medicine 
as well as: 20 extra lectures on other aspects:
- 1921-04-GA315 - Curative Eurythmy 
- 1924-GA317 - Curative education  focusing on treatment of children “in need of special care”. This includes retarded and handicapped and cases such as: epilepsy, hydrocephalus, infantilism, adenoids, kleptomania, the autistic child, etc.
Methods of healing
1923-02-17-GA349 and discusses the success rate of various types treatments and difficulties that follow from slogans or only a single type of treatment method
.. it is not possible to cure all illnesses homeopathically, some have to be treated alloapthically .. the allopath addresses himself above all to the stomach, intestines, kidneys; there he gets his results, the homeopath gives effective treatment if the sicknesses have their point of origin in the head, as in the case of influenza. Many sicknesses have their origin in the head
1923-02-21-GA349 talks about sickness and health in relation to colours
1908-12-08-GA107 'lets the cat out of the bag' regarding the effects of chemically produced drugs by the pharma industry, as a result of the contemporary materialistic mineral worldview
I will now speak of ordinary mineral medicaments. A medicament from the mineral kingdom works in the first place on man's physical body. Now what is the significance of man giving his physical body a mineral medicament? Please note that we are not going to speak of any plant medicaments but purely mineral ones, what is prescribed in the way of metals and salts and so on.
Suppose someone takes one or another mineral medicament. Something very remarkable is then seen by clairvoyant consciousness. This clairvoyant consciousness can carry out the following feat — it always has the ability to divert its attention away from something. It is possible to divert the attention from the whole physical body. Then you still see the etheric body, the astral body and the ego aura. You have suggested away the physical body through strongly negative attention. Now if someone has taken a mineral medicament, you can remove everything from your attention and just direct your clairvoyant vision to the mineral or metal that he now has within him. That is, you suggest away everything in him of the nature of bone, muscle, blood and so on, and turn your attention solely to the particular mineral substance that has permeated him. Something very remarkable presents itself to clairvoyant consciousness.
This mineral substance has become very thinly diffused and has itself acquired the human form. You have before you a human form, a human phantom consisting of the substance taken in by the man. Supposing the person has taken antimony, you have before you a human form of very finely diffused antimony, and it is the same with every mineral medicament a man takes. You create a new man within you consisting of this mineral substance; you incorporate it.
Now let us ask ourselves what the purpose and significance of this is?
The significance is that if you were to leave a man as he is and withhold from him the medicine he really needs, then because of certain bad forces in his astral body, the astral body would work on the etheric body, and the latter on the physical body and gradually destroy it. You have put a double into the physical body. This works to prevent the physical body obeying the influences of the astral body. Imagine you have a bean plant. If you give it a prop it winds up it and is no longer blown by the wind. This double made out of the incorporated substance is a prop like this for the man. It attaches the physical body to itself and removes it from the influences of the astral and etheric body. In this way you make the human being's physical body independent as it were of his astral and etheric body. This is the effect of a mineral medicament.
But you will immediately see the bad side of it, for it has a very serious drawback. Since you withdraw the physical body artificially from its connection with the other bodies you have weakened the influence of the astral and etheric body on the physical body and have made the physical body independent. And the oftener you take such medicines the more the influence of the astral and the etheric body disappears, making the physical body a hardened, independent being, subject to its own laws.
Imagine what people are doing who take mineral medicaments of this sort all their lives. A man who has in course of time taken a lot of these mineral medicaments has within him a phantom of all these minerals, a round dozen of them. It is as though the physical body were surrounded by solid walls. And what kind of influence can the astral and etheric body still have on it? Such a person is actually dragging his body around with him and has very little power over it. If a man who has been dosing himself in this way for a long time applies for treatment to someone who wants to treat him psychologically and work especially on his finer bodies, he will discover that he has become more or less unreceptive to psychological influences. For by making his physical body independent in the first place, he has deprived it of the possibility of being affected by anything that might take place in his finer bodies. And this has happened mainly because the human being has so many phantoms in him that are not in harmony, that they pull him hither and thither. If the human being has deprived himself of the possibility of working from out of his soul and spirit, he need not be surprised if spiritual treatment is not very successful either. In cases of psychological treatment, therefore, you should always give consideration to the kind of person the patient is. If he has made his astral or etheric body powerless by making his physical body independent, then it will be very difficult to help such a person by means of spiritual treatment.
So now we understand how mineral substances affect a man. They create doubles in him that preserve his physical body and remove it from the possible harmful effects of his astral or etheric body. Because materialistic medicine is ignorant of man's higher members, almost all our present-day medicine works in the direction of treating the physical body in some way or another only.
We have begun today by looking at the effects of mineral substances. Some time we shall have to speak of the effects of plant forces and animal substances on the human organism, and then we shall go on to those influences or remedies that work from one being to another in a psychic or spiritual way. But you will see that it is essential for our studies for us to acquire once again such concepts as the concept of original sin and understand it correctly. With certain things nowadays people just do not see what lies in front of them and show no understanding for them at all.
References and further reading
- Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman: 'Extending practical medicine' (1925)
- anthromedics website