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Park Attwood Clinic - An individual approach to health care

by Glyn Lewis(more info)

listed in clinical practice, originally published in issue 14 - August 1996

In Britain there is one well established residential clinic where people who are chronically ill may receive treatment of body, soul and spirit. It is unique, and deserves to be better known and supported. It combines conventional with anthroposophical medicine, massage and hydrotherapy treatments, nursing which displays a care for the whole person, and art therapies to heal the wounds of the soul.

Park Attwood

A Medicine For The Whole Person – Body, Life, Soul and Spirit

Park Attwood is situated a few miles outside Kidderminster in Worcestershire, and is Britain’s only residential centre for anthroposophical medicine. Anthroposophical medicine offers treatment of the physical body, but it also takes into account the life, soul and spiritual dimensions of a person, which are the sources of many illnesses, and which, like the body, need to be healed.

The life element holds the raw materials of our bodies together, organising them into a complex whole which it constantly maintains, repairs and strives to keep in good health. This self-healing does not happen by chance; it is the result of our life element’s constant striving to prevent death and decay in our physical bodies.

The soul is where our consciousness arises, and where reside our feelings, instinctual drives and sense of the world around us. The soul experiences the physical world through the body’s sense organs, and is aware of bodily pain when the physical body becomes damaged. The soul additionally inhabits a realm in its own right, a realm it enters when we fall asleep or die, and can experience inner pain when our feelings are hurt. The effect of the soul upon the physical body is that it shapes and directs the pattern of our growth from our embryonic development to our death.

The spirit dimension is our ego or I – our inner sense of identity as a unique human being. Our ego has a dual effect on our physical body: it works with our soul in the breaking down and reforming processes associated with change and development, and with our life element in its building-up and nutritive processes.

Anthroposophical medicine treats the whole person based upon knowledge of these four aspects – physical, life, soul and spirit. It describes how disturbances in each aspect and in their interrelationships can bring about illness, and aims to treat the causes of such illnesses rather than solely relieving their symptoms.

Park Attwood uses both conventional and anthroposophical medicine in its treatment of the physical and life elements of a patient, a range of artistic therapies which work primarily through the soul element, and through consultation and counselling its doctors work with the patient’s spirit in resolving changes beneficial to their lifestyle.

In its treatment of the physical and life elements, anthroposophical medicine describes the human organism as differentiated into three main systems: the nerve-sense system, which includes the nerves, brain, spinal cord and sense organs; the metabolic-limb system, which includes the assimilation of nourishment, the metabolism and the limbs; and the rhythmic system, which includes breathing and the pulse. The maintenance of physical health is very much a matter of keeping these three main systems in equilibrium.

When an illness arises from an imbalance between these systems, a means of restoring balance is required to effect a cure. Bearing in mind the relationship between our physical body and the life element, anthroposophical medicine looks for and studies similar processes in nature from which to extract substances to make remedies. For example, all plants have a physical substance and a life element. It is possible to identify a relationship between the life processes which give rise to certain substances in a plant, and the medicinal effect an extract from that plant will have on the physical body and on the life element of that patient.

Healing Through Art Therapies

The development of art is a reflection of the development of human consciousness, both in individuals and in society as a whole. Conversely, we ourselves are affected by our observation or performance of art. For example, music speaks to our soul; sculpture becomes a physical encounter.

With its knowledge of how the physical body, life element, soul and spirit of a person are involved whenever artistic activity is undertaken, Park Attwood develops artistic therapies which work on those aspects of the patient. The overall therapeutic aim is to influence whichever of these elements requires strengthening in order to restore or strengthen a healthy balance. Each exercise is designed to work back into the patient’s inner nature, and the emphasis is on the effect of the therapy upon the patient, rather than what is artistically created. In addition, the overcoming of artistic problems bring encouragement and self-confidence, both of which are needed for a patient to overcome problems with life and with their health.

Park Attwood uses therapies involving painting, sculpture and eurythmy. Painting is a manifestation of the soul upon the life element of the patient. Colours evoke feelings within the soul, but the two-dimensional canvas upon which the water colours are painted are closer to our view of the cellular and fluid body as a planar structure which the life element looks after in the human organism.

In sculpture, the laws of the life element of the human organism are expressed in the physical realm. Its three-dimensional form and muscular working of physical material manifests the work of the life element upon the physical body as it constantly builds up physical substances into human form.

Eurythmy is an art of movement which expresses the forms of movement of the life element in the physical realm. While the life element expresses itself in the human body through tissue and fluid movements, music and speech, which are derived through the spirit and soul, also find expression through the life element. Eurythmy exercises allow the entire human organism of spirit, soul, life element and physical body to be treated through movement.

Rhythmical Massage, Hydrotherapy and Warmth Harmonise the Life and Spirit

Park Attwood offers rhythmical massage and hydrotherapy. The semi-fluid muscles and soft tissues which the life element seeks to build up in the physical body can become tense due to emotional and nervous disturbances within the soul, and in an extreme form can lead to illness. In rhythmical massage, the first part of the massage brings a kneading, awakening quality akin to the soul’s enlivening influence on the muscles and tissues, while the second part is softer, relaxing and corresponds to the life element’s building up influence. Like a steady breathing in, pausing, then breathing out, rhythmical massage brings a harmonising effect upon these two influences, while the rhythmic curving forms of the massage have a natural kinship to the semi-fluid quality of the tissues.

The warmth organisation of the human body is viewed by anthroposophical medicine as being a reflection of the influence of the spirit, and as such of great importance in the maintenance of health. An anthroposophical development of hydrotherapy is an oil-dispersion bath, where droplets of oil enter the bath through a rapidly spinning vortex of water, and the oils remain dispersed in the bath for a considerable time before separating out from the water. In the bath, the whole skin of the patient comes into contact with the oils, and their warming effect continues for many hours after the patient has left the bath. Plant oils selected for their warming effect used in massage and warm oil-dispersion baths can raise the warmth of a patient, thus re-enabling the spirit to bring quietness and composure to the physical body.

Nursing with Reverence

Central to the treatment and care offered by Park Attwood is nursing. Nurses administer medicines with a deep reverence for them and for the nature of the treatment. They watch over the rhythm of each patient’s day, caring for their physical environment as well as their soul environment – those aspects of their surroundings received by their senses. They are trained to apply warming plant oils, using a technique which the patient finds soothing and upbuilding. Such nursing bring together all the treatment and therapies at Park Attwood into a harmonious whole. Most important of all, it treats the patient as a person with a spirit and a soul and not simply a physical body in a bed.

A New Awareness Brings Health

In addition to providing treatment for their illnesses, Park Attwood gives patients the opportunity to become more aware of themselves as persons with a spirit, soul, life and physical body, as a step towards becoming more responsible for their own health.

Photographs by Glyn Lewis: Park Attwood Clinic, Trimpley, Bewdley, Worcestershire DY12 1RE. Tel: 01299 861444;  Fax 01299 861375.


  1. Priscilla McEwen said..

    Please could you give me information about how I may stay at Park Attwood and the cost
    Thank You

  2. Michael Miller said..

    Please can you contact me via my email, have been trying to telephone you but with no joy.
    I live in Australia, suffering with a cancer and would rather use alternative cures, I am very interested in coming to England to see if you can help me.

  3. Michael miller said..

    I suffer from cancer, and I follow the Budwig plus other protocols, but I would like information on your treatment. I am from Birmingham many years ago, and still have family there. Thank you, Michael

  4. Michael Miller said..

    I have already filled this in, do you really want it again?

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About Glyn Lewis

Glyn Lewis is a freelance photographer and writer. Tel. 01598 753440

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