This was proposed by Rudolf Steiner, who intended the theory to be a natural extension of Western medicine. Steiner divided the body into two parts: sense perception and concept or thought. He believed that man as a functioning being had to bring both of these attributes together by his own inner activity to get in touch with reality. The theory behind anthrophysical medicine embraces three elements: a system of nerves and senses that provides a physical basis for sense perception and the formulation of thought; a system of metabolism and limbs that provides a physiological basis for life and life of the will; a rhythmic system of circulation and respiration that is the basis of life.
In terms of disease processes, the body is defined as having two poles: a cold pole (the brain) and a warm pole symbolised by metabolically active cells. Consciousness is seen as deriving from the continuous death process of nerve cells and illness is a process through which the individual achieves greater freedom and wholeness. Proponents believe that doctors should not attempt to eliminate illness from the body, but merely guide it in a beneficial way for the body, as it is seen that illness ultimately brings the individual to fulfilment.