Treatment of the Feet
By: Andrea Rentea, M.D.
The feet have occupied a special place in many holistic systems of medicine. They have been known to represent the whole body in oriental systems of medicine, a crucial point in kinesiology and in chiropractic treatment for the alignment of the entire spinal system.
Because of the work of Rudolf Steiner in the field of anthroposophical medicine, we know that the feet are correlated with the spiritual constitution of man.
For example, people of different temperaments use the feet differently. The choleric child walks on the heels, with a more pronounced gait, whereas a sanguine child skips more or might be more of a toe-walker, the gait being light and airy. Already in 1919, Dr. Kolisko, the first school physician at the Stuttgart Waldorf School, insisted on observing the movement of students both in the eurythmy sessions and Bothmer gymnastic classes.
The sole of the foot can be said to represent three areas: the heel representing the will, the middle arch area the feeling, and the front and toes the thinking. That is why when one tests water temperature, one tries to "sense" with ones toes, not with ones heels.
What kind of treatments are being prescribed in anthroposophical medicine?
There are numerous curative eurythmy exercises that involve the foot gestures. All consonants and vowels have their own foot gesture that accompanies the arm movements. Furthermore using palpation, one can feel how some feet are dry and warm and reflect the corresponding element of predominance, whereas in others they are moist and cold. Some are pink in color and very youthful, whereas other feet are bony and slim.
One of the principles of anthroposophical medicine is the treatment of illnesses including the feet. I have been very successful, for example, in treating women's illnesses—especially migraines—by recommending that the patient do frequent foot baths with an anthroposophic remedy consisting of homeopathic silver in the water. (Specifically one can obtain Argentum D6 from several anthroposophical pharmacies and one would use a teaspoon of that for approximately two quarts of water.) The reason for the choice of silver is what we know through the spiritual resources of Rudolf Steiner's knowledge. It has also come down through tradition that the moon forces are represented by silver. The silver forces are especially connected to women's physiology.
Another example is a patient with swollen ankles where the diagnosis is a kidney weakness such that the water elimination from the body is impaired. One would then ask the patient to rub into the skin anthroposophically prepared homeopathic copper two to three times daily around the ankles and on the feet. (This also can be obtained from one of the several anthroposophical pharmacies.) The rationale for this treatment is that the kidney is essentially ruled by the planet Venus, a planet which in turn is associated with copper.
Thus, through taking into consideration the treatment of the feet one can have an effect on the entire spiritual constitution of man.
Andrea Rentea, M.D. has been a practicing anthroposophical physician since the 1970's. She has been a long term instructor in the course for Waldorf Education Remedial Teacher Program and the PAAM physicians' Training Course. Presently, she serves as a school physician to several Midwest Waldorf Schools.