Complementary medicine and other healing methods

How can we stay healthy?

There are many different medical practices that are thousands of years old. What traditional healing methods are there, besides classical medicine?

What is complementary medicine?

The Latin word complementum means “fulfilment, completion.” Complementary medicine is an umbrella term for healing methods that complement conventional medicine, which is based on the natural sciences. It is sometimes referred to as integrative medicine. Medical treatments used instead of conventional medicine are referred to as alternative therapies or alternative medicine. In general, these two terms cover a variety of approaches, from traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture to homeopathy, naturopathic medicine and anthroposophic medicine. We explain the most important ones here.

Why do we need complementary therapies?

In the last 100 years, modern medicine has made incredible advances. At the same time, more and more people are looking for remedies that integrate complementary therapies or medicines. Some people have concerns about the side effects of conventional medications. Others want to help their body overcome an illness on its own. Instead of suppressing symptoms, this means restoring the body’s own balance through natural methods and a process of self-healing. Complementary approaches have often evolved from traditional practices that have stood the test of time.


The principle of homeopathy

To treat similar with similar – that is the basic principle of homeopathy. The term combines the Greek words for “similar” and “suffering”. Homeopathic medicine was developed over 200 years ago by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann. In this process, a natural substance that causes certain reactions in a healthy body (for example, nux vomica causes nausea) is highly diluted. In this potentised form, also called a dilution, it alleviates exactly those symptoms of illness (in this case, nausea). Homeopathic medicines are often available as globules (from the Latin for “little balls”), but also in the form of drops or triturations (a finely ground powder). For legal reasons, often no indication may be given. Only doctors, non-medical practitioners and pharmacists are allowed to give information about the complaints for which these medicines should be used, and in what dose they should be taken.

Weleda also offers homeopathic medicines. In a special potentising process, active ingredients are gradually diluted by hand, and activated by intensive rhythmic movements.

Ayurveda – knowledge of life

The Vedas, the major scriptures of Hinduism, were written down around 3,000 BC in the Indian Himalayas. Therein lie the origins of Ayurveda, a holistic, preventive medicine that has both philosophical and practical elements, such as meditation, yoga, nutrition and massage. In Ayurveda, illnesses are defined as the result of a disruption to one’s inner balance. Across Asia, Ayurveda is accepted as a scientific healing method. In the West it is often used in wellness treatments.

Flow of life: the Qi

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is also thousands of years old. Its focus is on qi – the life energy that flows through the body. This harmonious flow follows specific pathways, so-called meridians, and supplies the organs. If the qi is disturbed, it can lead to complaints and sickness or disease. Treatment is based on five therapeutic pillars. Of these, acupuncture is the best known and most widely used. TCM also includes Chinese herbal remedies, nutrition or dietary therapy, exercise through the movement therapies qigong and tai chi, as well as tui na, a type of body work or massage therapy.

Healing with nature

When a family doctor prescribes fango mud packs, this already belongs to the field of naturopathy. Natural medicine is a medical system that uses natural cures and remedies to optimise health. It includes classic natural therapies such as herbal medicine, also called phytotherapy, as well as physical therapies, many of which use water or heat, like Kneipp baths, infusions and wraps or compresses. Aromatherapy and reflexology count among the advanced natural therapies.

Herbal medicine serves as the basis for a large part of Weleda’s medicines. For a century we have been researching the power of medicinal plants and herbs, using them for health and healing. The Weleda Garden in Wetzgau near Schwäbisch Gmünd in Germany is the largest biodynamic medicinal plant garden in Europe. For anyone who can’t visit in person, Weleda offers a virtual visit to the gardens via the Open Garden.

In harmony with yourself thanks to anthroposophic medicine

As with the healing methods described above, anthroposophic medicine is not solely concerned with symptoms or the elimination of an illness, but with the holistic care of body, mind and spirit. The focus is always on the individual needs of the patient. Anthroposophic medicine is an integrative, regulatory medicine. But what does that mean? Anthroposophic medicine integrates medicine based on the natural sciences, and complements it with spiritual scientific knowledge from Anthroposophy. Its aim is for the body to overcome an illness on its own and to restore its natural balance and harmony in a process of self-regulation.

Anthroposophic medicines: sustainable and ecological

Anthroposophic medicines heal the body with natural active substances. Weleda manufactures these medicines sustainably and ecologically, in an environmentally friendly and resource-saving manner, in respectful cooperation with our partners. Not only the ingredients of a substance are important for its effect, but also its biography, meaning how it is sourced and its transformation in the pharmaceutical process. Weleda has developed some of its own processes for this purpose. In addition to its unique medicines, anthroposophic medicine also includes special forms of therapy, such as rhythmic massage, eurythmy movement therapy and speech therapy.