External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Anthroposophic Nursing – an Introduction

The aim of anthroposophic nursing is to assist people to find their individual way – on the level of body, soul and spirit – during phases of life when they are ill and dependant on care. Nurses in collaboration with doctors and therapists have been contributing to the realisation of a spiritual art of healing.

Foundations of External Applications

Baths, compresses and rhythmical embrocations have been part of the treasury of healing remedies of all cultures for thousands of years. Already in 1921 the founders of Anthroposophic Medicine integrated such procedures into the science-based art of healing that they were developing – countering the trends of the day.

An Overview over the Different Kinds of Applications

Compresses and poultices

To understand external applications we require a more precise description of them. Different terms may be used to describe the same thing, depending on the context.
External applications are used to convey healing processes via the skin. Many of them are three-part compresses.

Rhythmical embrocation according to Wegman/Hauschka

Rhythmical embrocation was developed by the physician Ita Wegman in the first half of the 20th century based on Anthroposophic Medicine and rhythmical massage therapy. After World War II, it was elaborated into a teachable concept by Dr. Margarethe Hauschka and has been modified and further actualized since about 1980 – primarily by nurses – for professional application and everyday life.

Rhythmical embrocations for specific areas of the body

Rhythmical embrocation according to Wegman/Hauschka can be applied to the whole body as well as to specific areas of the body only. In the two sections below, you will find an overview of the medical indications and effects of treating specific body areas. They are grouped below as “general” and “organ” embrocations.