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This article has been peer-reviewed. It was published in Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice, 24(4): 867-887, December 1997. (Journal homepage: Copyright is retained by the W. B. Saunders Co.


A core challenge of contemporary medicine is to integrate the technological successes of biomedical science with a comprehensive under-standing of the physical, psychosocial, ecological, and spiritual dimensions of health and illness. Toward this end, bridges are being created between conventional medicine and alternative systems of healing which reflect a holistic model of the human being. Even when both conventional and complementary approaches are used side-by-side in the same patient, they remain separate in their basic assumptions and goals. Today's mechanistic disease model is cut off from such notions as life-energy, consciousness, and spirituality, so integral to many alternative paradigms. Anthroposophically Extended Medicine (AEM) is a comprehensive healing system that successfully integrates biomedicine with a more complete understanding of human reality. Originating in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, AEM has its roots in the Western, scientific worldview. By expanding this worldview, anthroposophy offers the clinician new possibilities for scientific investigation; it also creates bridges to the wisdom of older healing traditions of both East and West.