International Coordination
Anthroposophic Medicine
School of Spiritual Science
Medical Section at the Goetheanum

Chronic Pain

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Chronic and acute pain are frequently treated in Anthroposophic Healthcare. A variety of studies have investigated its impact (1-12). Case reports describe its procedures (13, 14) and qualitative studies, its basic concepts (15). Most, but not all, studies found a substantial improvement of pain levels, quality of life, sick leave and medication use (1-12).

An example is a recent study (12) from Kairos Rehabilitation Trust in London where a small National Health Service pain team provides eurythmy and rhythmical massage therapies backed by a number of social and work-related activities. A retrospective clinical evaluation was made on the first 30 chronic pain patients to attend the Kairos programme, who had been unresponsive to primary or secondary care pain clinic interventions. Despite initial higher than average levels of disability, there was a statistically significant improvement in quality of life, median average pain intensity and clinical depression, 19 months after participating in the project. Repeat analgesic and psychotropic medication prescriptions were reduced by 46% and use of hospital specialist services reduced by 51%, also, on average, 19 months after leaving the programme. The ‘Kairos Model’ was finalist in the BMJ 2017 Awards for innovation.

January 2018

Dr. med. Gunver S. Kienle*, Dr. med. David McGavin **
* IFAEMM Freiburg at the Witten Herdecke University  *Center for Complementary Medicine, Medical Center, University of Freiburg
** Kairos Rehabilitation Trust, Greenwich, London, UK


  1. Hamre HJ, Kiene H, Glockmann A, Ziegler R, Kienle GS: Long-term outcomes of anthroposophic treatment for chronic disease : a four-year follow-up analysis of 1510 patients from a prospective observational study in routine outpatient settings. BMC ResNotes 2013; 6(1), pp. 269.

  2. Hamre HJ, Mittag I, Glockmann A, Kiene H, Tr”ger W: Pulpa dentis D30 for acute reversible pulpitis : A prospective cohort study in routine dental practice. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 2010;

  3. Hamre HJ, Witt CM, Kienle GS, Glockmann A, Ziegler R, Rivoir A, Willich SN, Kiene H: Anthroposophic therapy for migraine: a two-year prospective cohort study in routine outpatient settings. Open NeurolJ 2010; 4, pp. 100-110.

  4. Hamre HJ, Witt CM, Kienle GS, Glockmann A, Ziegler R, Willich SN, Kiene H: Long-term outcomes of anthroposophic therapy for chronic low back pain : A two-year follow-up analysis. J Pain Res 2009; 2, pp. 75-85.

  5. Hamre HJ, Witt CM, Glockmann A, Wegscheider K, Ziegler R, Willich SN, Kiene H: Anthroposophic vs. conventional therapy for chronic low back pain : a prospective comparative study. EurJ Med Res 2007; 12(7), pp. 302-310.

  6. Huber R, Prestel U, Bloss I, Meyer U, Ldtke R: Effectiveness of subcutaneous injections of a cartilage preparation in osteoarthritis of the knee : A randomized, placebo controlled phase II study. Complement Ther Med 2010; 18(3), pp. 113-118.

  7. Ostermann T, Blaser G, Bertram M, Michalsen A, Matthiessen PF, Kraft K: Effects of rhythmic embrocationtherapy with solum oil in chronic pain patients : a prospective observational study. Clinical Journal of Pain 2008; 24(3), pp. 237-243.

  8. Pach D, Brinkhaus B, Roll S, Wegscheider K, Icke K, Willich SN, Witt CM: Efficacy of Injections with Disci/Rhus Toxicodendron Compositum for Chronic Low Back Pain : A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. PLoS ONE 2011; 6(11), pp. e26166.

  9. Gärtner C: Therapie der Arthrosen grosser Gelenke. Der Merkurstab 1999; 1, pp. 48-51.

  10. Gärtner C: Der akute muskuläre Okzipitalschmerz. Therapiestudie mit lokalen Infiltrationen Gelsemium compositum. Der Merkurstab 1999; 4, pp. 244-249.

  11. Simon L: Ein anthroposophisches Therapiekonzept für entzündlich-rheumatische Erkrankungen : Ergebnisse einer zweijährigen Pilotstudie. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd 1997; 4, pp. 17-27.

  12. Wright E, Zarnegar R, Hermansen I, McGavin D: A clinical evaluation of a community-based rehabilitation and social intervention programme for patients with chronic pain with associated multi-morbidity. Journal of Pain Management 2017; 10(2), pp. 149-159.

  13. Deckers B, von Schoen-Angerer T, Voggenreiter B, Vagedes J: External Nursing Applications in the Supportive Management of Prolonged Postoperative Ileus : Description of Interventions and Case Report. Holist Nurs Pract 2016; 30(4), pp. 216-221.

  14. Therkleson T: Ginger Therapy for Osteoarthritis : A Typical Case J HolistNurs 2014;

  15. Andermo S, Hok J, Sundberg T, Arman M: Practitioners' use of shared concepts in anthroposophic pain rehabilitation. Disabil Rehabil 2017; 39(23), pp. 2413-2419.