Ita Wegman

Last updated
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.

Contents

Early life and education

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.

Career

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 complementary cancer treatment in Germany and a number of other countries, [2] and is undergoing clinical trials in the U.S.A. [3] There is no evidence that Iscador heals cancer or improves the quality of life of cancer patients. [4] [5] [6] [7]

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 disabled 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.

See also

Related Research Articles

Anthroposophy is a spiritual new religious movement which was 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 engage in spiritual discovery through a mode of thought independent of sensory experience. While much of anthroposophy is pseudoscientific, proponents claim to present their ideas in a manner that is verifiable by rational discourse and say that they seek precision and clarity comparable to 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 his wife, Marie, 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 based on pseudoscientific and occult notions. Devised in the 1920s by Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) in conjunction with Ita Wegman (1876–1943), anthroposophical medicine 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ehrenfried Pfeiffer</span> German soil scientist

Ehrenfried Pfeiffer was a German scientist, soil scientist, leading advocate of biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophist and student of Rudolf Steiner.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elisabeth Vreede</span> Dutch scientist

Elisabeth Vreede was a Dutch mathematician, astronomer and anthroposophist.

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 German-Austrian chemist, anthroposophist, pharmacist, gardener and anthroposophical medicine practitioner.

Oskar Schmiedel was a pharmacist, anthroposophist, therapist, Goethean scientist and theosophist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Weleda</span> Alternative medicine and beauty products 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blackthorn Trust</span> UK charity in Maidstone, Kent

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 a private 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Liane Collot d'Herbois</span> British painter (1907–1999)

Liane Collot d'Herbois was a British painter and anthroposophical painting therapist. She researched light, dark, colour and their application in painting and 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.

Joachim Drevs is a German medical specialist in internal medicine with a focus on hematology and oncology, as well as a university professor at the University Medical Center Freiburg and former leader of the Health Center at the University Clinic in Tübingen.

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. "Mistletoe Extracts (PDQ®)". National Cancer Institute. 8 June 2023. Retrieved 22 August 2023. Although mistletoe was found to be therapeutically effective in most of the reported studies, many of the studies had one or more major design weaknesses as mentioned above that raised doubts about the reliability of the findings. These weaknesses include the following:
  4. Quang, Tony S.; Taft, Michelle S.; Beriwal, Sushil (2022). Understanding The Principles and Practice of Legal Oncology. McGraw Hill LLC. p. 250. ISBN   978-1-260-47408-4 . Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  5. Ades TB, ed. (2009). "Mistletoe". American Cancer Society Complete Guide to Complementary and Alternative Cancer Therapies (2nd ed.). American Cancer Society. pp.  424–428. ISBN   9780944235713. Available evidence from well-designed clinical trials does not support claims that mistletoe can improve length or quality of life.
  6. Lordick, Florian (21 July 2014). "Mistletoe Treatment for Cancer". Deutsches Ärzteblatt Online. Deutscher Arzte-Verlag GmbH: 491–2. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2014.0491. ISSN   1866-0452. PMC   4150025 . Mistletoe has been used to treat cancer patients for a century, and this era, which has been mostly one of therapeutic impotence, is now ending. ... In the 1920s, the New England Journal of Medicine published multiple articles on the treatment of hypertension with mistletoe extracts (12), but, as the pathophysiology of hypertension became clearer and effective treatments for it were developed, mistletoe disappeared from cardiovascular medicine. Something similar may well happen in the domain of oncology.
  7. de Giorgio A, Stebbing J (2013). "Mistletoe: for cancer or just for Christmas?". Lancet Oncol. 14 (13): 1264–5. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(13)70560-6. PMID   24275128.