Michaela Glӧckler MD is an anthroposophical doctor and head of the Medical Section at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland (Steiner international headquarters). She has been sharing pseudoscience sorry, revelation, all over the world with her activities for the Anthroposophical Medical Movement;
- Establishing an International Network of Anthroposophic Medicine world-wide.
- Founder of Numerous Training Facilities.
- Prolific Publication Activities.
We have speculated here before about how apparently intelligent people with medical degrees can become entangled in anthroposophy and spout complete nonsense about, among other things, medicine.
Michaela wrote an article called Constitutional types in school age children, in which she expounds on how and why Steiner’s ideas should be implemented in Steiner schools.
She begins with “The large-headed and the small-headed child.”
She says children need to be categorised according to their temperament, and refers to a Rudolf Steiner lecture from 1923 entitled “Menschenerkenntnis und Unterrichtsgestaltung”2 (Knowledge of Man and the Form of the Lesson).
“…he describes children in terms of six constitutional types: large-headed and small-headed, earthy and cosmic, fantasy-rich and fantasy-poor.”
She says that with these six, together with the four temperaments Steiner picked out from medieval ideas on medicine (choleric, melancholic, sanguine and phlegmatic) the “constitutional characteristics connect” and the child can “reveal his inner being”.
Does that sound ok to potential Steiner parents? Well maybe, maybe not, but it doesn’t matter either way, because they won’t be told about this until later, when they’ve already signed up, if at all. There is nothing about it on the school websites or in the leaflets proponents give out.
Here we focus on details about the head size, and will save the sections on earthly/cosmic and fantasy poverty for another time.
Steiner made the “fundamental statement “on this subject;
“Steiner bases his description of large-headed and small-headed children on the three-fold nature of the human being… viewing the nature of the human being as threefold must become second nature to the teacher and the physician…in order to understand what they need in the classroom.”
She goes on to quote Steiner on characteristics of large-headed children; they have a tendency to dream because their
“astral body and ego do not really want to take hold of the nerve/sense system…. find it somewhat difficult to concentrate and to differentiate precisely, and tend to listen and grasp things in a superficial way… In terms of his temperament, he is predominantly sanguine/phlegmatic.”
And the treatment for these problems? cold water.
“Steiner recommended creating sensations of cold, especially in the area of the head, to help these “large-headed” children. For some children, wiping the head with cool water in the morning is sufficient; others need to be wiped down to the waist.
If…strong stimuli are given which encourage a differentiation in perception and shake the child out of his hazy dreaming, then the astral body and the ego are stimulated to a stronger connection with nerve/sense activity. The child would really prefer to just dream and let things pass before him rather than go into something that hurts, bites, is cold, that engenders consciousness and self-awareness… we are helping him into the world of the senses – the world of differentiation, of coldness, of hardness, of clarity. This is one aspect of the therapy.”
Not only must large-headed children suffer cold, but they must also be given salt. The teacher is advised to find out about the family’s eating habits and ensure sufficient salt in the diet, or medication may be prescribed in the form of lead compounds…
The small-headed children also need attention, according to the head of the Medical Section;
Because they often “eat greedily”, they will have irregular bowel movements, and need help;
“Sometimes they may have no bowel movement for two days… A marvelous way is through warmth in the form of a warm tummy wrap after the noon-day meal or in the evening before bedtime.”
They also need sugar to stimulate their metabolism;
“the important thing is the invigorating effect which sugar originating in the blossom and fruit warmth of plants has on the metabolism”.
Finally there is a homeopathic remedy for both large and small-headedness;
“These aids can be complemented medicinally by giving homeopathic doses of silver (argentum). Silver is a substance that completely conforms to this will to synthesize of the metabolism, giving the child’s astral body and ego the opportunity to find a connection to the digestive processes.”
Michaela advises (anthroposophical) school doctors to be careful about giving advice and recounts an instance where as a school doctor the “revelations and suggestions” she shared were not well received.
All this about constitution is of course utter nonsense. Steiner teachers are being urged to take the words of a charlatan from 100 years ago as gospel, and apply them in the classroom, and this advice comes from the top.
I really do find this kind of thing not just ridiculous, but offensive. It is not only patent rubbish, but also discriminatory and potentially harmful. She should know better as a Medical Doctor, than to quote Steiner on medical matters, and in the case of school children this seems particularly repulsive.
Do parents know this is what they are letting their families in for when they sign up for Steiner education? Of course not, the information is not shared, but concealed. Only later when teachers perceive a problem with a child’s “astral body” will the anthroposophy they have been trained to use show its face.