Ita Wegman (22 February 1876 – 4 March 1943) co-founded Anthroposophical Medicine with Rudolf Steiner. In 1921, she founded the first anthroposophical medical clinic in Arlesheim, known until 2014 as the Ita Wegman Clinic.She also developed a special form of massage therapy, called rhythmical massage, and other self-claimed therapeutic treatments.
Ita Wegman, as she was known throughout her life, was born as Maria Ita Wegman in 1876 in Karawang, West Java, the first child of a Dutch colonial family. Around the turn of the century, she returned to Europe (she had visited before) and studied therapeutic gymnastics and massage. In 1902, when she was 26, she met Rudolf Steiner for the first time. Five years later, she began medical school at the University of Zurich, where women were not discriminated to study medicine. She was granted a diploma as a medical doctor in 1911 with a specialization in women's medicine and joined an existing medical practice.
In 1917, having opened an independent practice, she developed a cancer treatment using an extract of mistletoe following indications from Steiner. This first remedy, which she called Iscar, was later developed into Iscador and has become an approved cancer treatment in Germany and a number of other countries,and is undergoing clinical trials in the U.S.A.
By 1919 she had a joint practice together with two other doctors, also women. In 1920 she purchased land in Arlesheim, where she opened her own clinic, the Klinisch-Therapeutisches Institut, or Clinical-Therapeutic Institute, the next year. A number of other doctors joined the institute, which grew steadily over the next years as a first center for anthroposophical medicine. In 1922 she founded a therapeutic home for mentally handicapped children, Haus Sonnenhof, also in Arlesheim, and co-founded a pharmaceutical laboratory, Weleda, that has since grown into a significant producer of medicines and health-care products.
In the following year, Rudolf Steiner asked Wegman to join the Executive Council of the newly reformed Anthroposophical Society at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. She also directed the Medical Section of the research center at the Goetheanum. Together, Wegman and Steiner wrote what was to be Steiner's last book, Extending Practical Medicine (earlier editions were published as Fundamentals of Therapy), which gave a theoretical basis to the new medicine they were developing. The book was partly written while Wegman cared for Steiner, who was already terminally ill. Wegman founded a new medical journal, Natura, the following year.
In 1936, the clinic opened a second home in Ascona, Switzerland. Shortly thereafter, difficulties between Wegman and the rest of the Executive Council flared up, and Wegman was asked to leave the Council; in addition, she and a number of supporters had their membership in the Anthroposophical Society itself withdrawn. The medical work flourished, however, and Wegman travelled extensively in support of the rapidly growing movement to extend medicine's limits; she was especially active in the Netherlands and England during this time.
Wegman died in Arlesheim in 1943, at the age of 67.
Anthroposophy is a philosophy founded in the early 20th century by the esotericist Rudolf Steiner that postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world, accessible to human experience. Followers of anthroposophy aim to develop mental faculties of spiritual discovery through a mode of thought independent of sensory experience. They also aim to present their ideas in a manner verifiable by rational discourse and specifically seek a precision and clarity in studying the spiritual world mirroring that obtained by scientists investigating the physical world.
The General Anthroposophical Society is an "association of people whose will it is to nurture the life of the soul, both in the individual and in human society, on the basis of a true knowledge of the spiritual world." As an organization, it is dedicated to supporting the community of those interested in the inner path of schooling known as anthroposophy, developed by Rudolf Steiner.
Eurythmy is an expressive movement art originated by Rudolf Steiner in conjunction with Marie von Sivers in the early 20th century. Primarily a performance art, it is also used in education, especially in Waldorf schools, and – as part of anthroposophic medicine – for claimed therapeutic purposes.
Anthroposophic medicine is a form of alternative medicine. Devised in the 1920s by Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) in conjunction with Ita Wegman (1876–1943), anthroposophical medicine is based on occult notions and draws on Steiner's spiritual philosophy, which he called anthroposophy. Practitioners employ a variety of treatment techniques based upon anthroposophic precepts, including massage, exercise, counselling, and substances.
Karl König was an Austrian paediatrician who founded the Camphill Movement, an international movement of therapeutic intentional communities for those with special needs or disabilities.
Sergei Olegovich Prokofieff was a Russian anthroposophist. He was the grandson of the composer Sergei Prokofiev and his first wife Lina Prokofiev, and the son of Oleg Prokofiev and his first wife Sofia Korovina. Born in Moscow, he studied fine arts and painting at the Moscow School of Art. He encountered anthroposophy in his youth, and soon made the decision to devote his life to it.
Ehrenfried Pfeiffer was a German scientist, soil scientist, leading advocate of biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophist and student of Rudolf Steiner.
Elisabeth Vreede was a Dutch mathematician, astronomer and Anthroposophist.
Louisa Edith Church Maryon, better known as Edith Maryon, was an English sculptor. Along with Ita Wegman, she belonged to the innermost circle of founders of anthroposophy and those around Rudolf Steiner.
Rudolf Hauschka was an Austrian chemist, author, inventor, entrepreneur and anthroposophist.
Willem Frans Daems, PhD was a pharmacist, anthroposophist, pianist, teacher and editor.
Wilhelm Pelikan was a chemist, anthroposophist, pharmacist, gardener and anthroposophical medicine practitioner.
Oskar Schmiedel was a pharmacist, anthroposophist, therapist, Goethean scientist and theosophist.
Weleda is a multinational company that produces both beauty products and naturopathic medicines. Both branches design their products based on anthroposophic principles, an alternative medicine which has heretofore not proved its effectiveness. The company takes its name from the German form of the name of the 1st-century Bructeri völva Veleda. As well as being known to use green energy, Weleda uses natural ingredients grown using biodynamic methods and none of their ingredients or products are tested on animals.
Blackthorn Trust is a UK charity in Maidstone, Kent which offers specialist therapies and rehabilitation through work placements in the Blackthorn Garden. They offer help to people with mental health difficulties, chronic pain and type 2 diabetes. The charity's work is based on the work of Rudolf Steiner, and the charity aims to assist individuals to progress towards their full potential.
Peter Selg is a German psychiatrist. He was born in Stuttgart and studied medicine in Witten-Herdecke, Zurich, and Berlin. Until 2000, he worked as the head physician of the juvenile psychiatry department of Herdecke hospital in Germany. Selg is director of the Ita Wegman Institute for Basic Research into Anthroposophy and professor of medicine at the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences (Germany). He lectures extensively and is the author of numerous books.
Carl Friedrich Wilhelm "Fried" Geuter, was a pioneer of anthroposophical Special Needs education, the co-founder of Sunfield Children's Home and teacher at the Ravenswood Village Settlement near Crowthorne in Berkshire.
Sunfield is an Independent special school, Children's Home and charity on the border of Worcestershire and the West Midlands in England. It was founded in 1930 and now supports boys and girls, aged 6 – 19 years, with complex learning needs, including autism.
Liane Collot d’Herbois was a British painter and anthroposophical painting therapist. She researched light, darkness, colour and its application in painting and in therapy.
Frederik Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven, was a Dutch psychiatrist and anthroposophist. From 1923 until his death in 1961 he was chairman of the Dutch Anthroposophical Society. He was a familiar figure in public life and had a considerable influence on the anthroposophic movement, particularly through his numerous lectures and his work as an author, which included the first biography of Rudolf Steiner.