Anthroposophic therapy for asthma: A two-year prospective cohort study in routine outpatient settings

J Asthma Allergy. 2009 Nov 24;2:111-28.


Background: Anthroposophic treatment for asthma includes special artistic and physical therapies and special medications.

Methods: We studied consecutive outpatients starting anthroposophic treatment for asthma under routine conditions in Germany. Main outcomes were average asthma severity (0-10, primary outcome); symptoms (1-4); and asthma-related quality of life at 12-month follow-up (Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire [AQLQ] overall score, 1-7, for adults; KINDL Questionnaire for Measuring Health-Related Quality of Life in Children and Adolescents, asthma module, 0-100, for children) at 12-month follow-up.

Results: Ninety patients (54 adults, 36 children) were included. Anthroposophic treatment modalities used were medications (88% of patients, n = 79/90); eurythmy therapy (22%); art therapy (10%); and rhythmical massage therapy (1%). Median number of eurythmy/art/massage sessions was 12 (interquartile range 10-20), median therapy duration was 120 days (84-184). From baseline to 12-month follow-up, all outcomes improved significantly (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). Average improvements were: average asthma severity 2.61 points (95% confidence interval CI: 1.90-3.32); cough 0.93 (95% CI: 0.60-1.25); dyspnea 0.92 (95% CI: 0.56-1.28); exertion-induced symptoms 0.95 (95% CI: 0.64-1.25); frequency of asthma attacks 0.78 (95% CI: 0.41-1.14); awakening from asthma 0.90 (95% CI: 0.58-1.21); AQLQ overall score 1.44 (95% CI: 0.97-1.92); and KINDL asthma module 14.74 (95% CI: 9.70-19.78). All improvements were maintained until last follow-up after 24 months.

Conclusions: Patients with asthma under anthroposophic treatment had long-term improvements of symptoms and quality of life.

Keywords: anthroposophy; art therapy; asthma; combined modality therapy; drug therapy; eurythmy therapy; prospective studies; quality of life.