Ita Wegman

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Ita Wegman in 1899 in Berlin Ita Wegman 1899.jpg
Ita Wegman in 1899 in Berlin

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. [1] She also developed a special form of massage therapy, called rhythmical massage, and other self-claimed therapeutic treatments.

Rudolf Steiner Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, economist and esotericist

Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian clairvoyant, philosopher, social reformer, architect, economist and esotericist. Steiner gained initial recognition at the end of the nineteenth century as a literary critic and published philosophical works including The Philosophy of Freedom. At the beginning of the twentieth century he founded an esoteric spiritual movement, anthroposophy, with roots in German idealist philosophy and theosophy; other influences include Goethean science and Rosicrucianism.

Contents

Biography

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.

Karawang Place in West Java, Indonesia

Karawang is the capital of the Karawang Regency of West Java, Indonesia. It is 32 miles east of Jakarta.

West Java Province in Indonesia

West Java is a province of Indonesia on the western part of the island of Java, with its provincial capital in Bandung. West Java is bordered by the province of Banten and the country's capital region of Jakarta to the west, the Java Sea to the north, the province of Central Java to the east and the Indian Ocean to the south. The province is the homeland of the Sundanese people, the second-largest ethnic group in Indonesia after the Javanese.

University of Zurich university in Switzerland

The University of Zurich, located in the city of Zürich, is the largest university in Switzerland, with over 25,000 students. It was founded in 1833 from the existing colleges of theology, law, medicine and a new faculty of philosophy.

Before 1900 in Berlin Ita Wegman vor1900.jpg
Before 1900 in Berlin

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, [2] and is undergoing clinical trials in the U.S.A. [3]

Mistletoe

Mistletoe is the English common name for most obligate hemiparasitic plants in the order Santalales. They are attached to their host tree or shrub by a structure called the haustorium, through which they extract water and nutrients from the host plant. Their parasitic lifestyle has led to some dramatic changes in their metabolism.

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.

Arlesheim Place in Basel-Landschaft, Switzerland

Arlesheim is a town and a municipality in the district of Arlesheim in the canton of Basel-Country in Switzerland. Its cathedral chapter seat, bishop's residence and cathedral are listed as a heritage site of national significance.

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.

Anthroposophical Society

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.

Goetheanum building in Dornach, Switzerland

The Goetheanum, located in Dornach, in the canton of Solothurn, Switzerland, is the world center for the anthroposophical movement.

Dornach Place in Solothurn, Switzerland

Dornach is a municipality in the district of Dorneck in the canton of Solothurn in Switzerland.

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.

Ascona Place in Ticino, Switzerland

Ascona is a municipality in the district of Locarno in the canton of Ticino in Switzerland.

Wegman died in Arlesheim in 1943, at the age of 67.

See also

Related Research Articles

Anthroposophy philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner

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Eurythmy expressive movement art associated with Anthroposophy

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

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.

Elisabeth Vreede was a Dutch mathematician, astronomer and Anthroposophist.

Edith Maryon British artist

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.

Walther Cloos was a pharmacist, alchemist, Anthroposophist, lecturer, researcher, inventor, author and pioneer in anthroposophical pharmacy.

Willem Frans Daems, PhD was a pharmacist, anthroposophist, pianist, teacher and editor.

Wilhelm Pelikan was a chemist, anthroposophist, pharmacist, gardener and anthroposophical medicine practitioner.

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Weleda beauty product company

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 organization

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.

Frederick William 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.

References

  1. Arlesheim Klinik, http://www.klinik-arlesheim.ch/de/klinik-arlesheim/
  2. Kienle, Kiene and Albonico, Anthroposophic Medicine, Schattauer 2006 ISBN   3-7945-2495-0, Chapter 3 and 6
  3. National Cancer Institute, Mistletoe extracts