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

Authors Hamre H, Witt CM, Kienle GS, Schnürer C, Glockmann A, Ziegler R, Willich SN, Kiene H

Published 24 November 2009 Volume 2009:2 Pages 111—128

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JAA.S7184

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2


Harald J Hamre1, Claudia M Witt2, Gunver S Kienle1, Christof Schnürer3, Anja Glockmann1, Renatus Ziegler4, Stefan N Willich2, Helmut Kiene1

1Institute for Applied Epistemology and Medical Methodology, Freiburg, Germany; 2Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Economics, Charité University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany; 3Internal Medicine Practice, A Fraenkel Centrum, Badenweiler, Germany; 4Society for Cancer Research, Arlesheim, Switzerland

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

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