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Introducing The World of Natural Therapy An Appreciation of Chinese Medicine Foundations of Medical Humanities Links
A Guide to Holistic Medicine

This section is devoted to my personal publications as manifestations of my holistic medical development. They reflect the philosophical foundations and therapeutic process of Whole Person Medicine which I have developed over a period of fifty odd years. I hope to have provided the means for an informed and considered view of the whole area of holistic medicine.

Along with each overview I have provided either the publication source, where the interested reader can find the full article, or in the case of books, where the actual book can be purchased if still in print. In those instances where a book is no longer in print it can probably be viewed through the library facilities of one of the numerous links in the 'Links' section.

Natural Therapy: An exposition of the Scientific and Educational Aspects of Nature Cure
Watts and Co. London 1953.

In this survey of modern medicine I draw attention to the enormous suffering especially from chronic disease, affecting the nervous system, the blood circulation and the kidneys, from diabetes, cancer, ulcers in the stomach and duodenum and from neurotic illness. I call for a radical change in medicine which involves attention to people's lifestyle.

The book includes a discussion of the theories on which scientific medicine is based and on the idea of wholeness, referring to Driesch, but also to Kant's Theory of Knowledge and offers an approach which makes the cognitive mind the basis of knowledge and which therefore does not concentrate on the phenomena which we observe. They are judged as manifestations of our ways of understanding nature. The scientific mechanistic approach and the Natural Therapy holistic approach can be understood in terms of two ways of grasping the phenomena of our bodies. The work of J.S.Haldane is also discussed. The importance of using food to satisfy some emotional need is stressed, and ethical principles of vegetarianism are included. The educational aspects are discussed, as patients can be expected to follow Nature Cure only when they have accepted responsibility for their health.

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Philosophy and Medicine
Tavistock Publications, J.B. Lippincott, London l970.
Revised edition: Gower: Avebury Series in the Philosophy of Science, Aldershot 1986.

This book marks a major development in my literary creativity. This is the text of the blurb, printed in the Revised Edition: ‘Writing as a philosopher and physician, Dr. Ledermann investigates both the scientific and ethical basis of medicine and demonstrates how the practice of different forms of treatment is the result of different underlying theoretical assumptions. The book examines the general presuppositions of medical theories and the philosophies of particular approaches to treatment, and works towards resolving the conflict between the two philosophies of medicine, mechanistic materialism and holism.’

A critical review of this book which was published in the American Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, provided me with an opportunity to contrast my approach to philosophy which is concerned with the application of theory to medical practice, with the approach that is only concerned with conceptual clarification of philosophical-medical terms.

The review said: ‘The book's greatest difficulty shows itself (in the fact) that the author wavers between offering (l) arguments concerning the status of general modes of giving explanations (e.g. mechanistic vs.holistic) and (2) arguments concerning the validity of particular modes of therapy... He comes close to confusing (if not actually doing so), (1) justification of general principles of explanation with (2) justification of particular therapeutic attitudes and regimens. This suggests that Ledermann holds that one could deduce the correctness of a particular mode of therapy from a general treatment of theoretical accounts in medicine.’

The example which illustrates the reviewer's criticism is my rejection of refined carbohydrates, but this matter is not one that ‘best be omitted’, as it is a fundamental application of the holistic philosophy. Other reviewers did not criticise my application of the philosophical principle to actual medical treatment.

D.E.Jenkins, who was later appointed Bishop of Durham, paid this tribute to my book in The Journal of Social Psychiatry: ‘This book is a brave and bold attempt, is well worth working through for reflective agreement and disagreement... Dr. Ledermann should provoke much useful reflection on the practice of medicine, especially psychiatry.’

A Professor of Philosophy, Anna-Louize Conradie, said in her review in The Cape Times that this book represents ‘the humanisation of medicine’... ‘Doctors as well as students should take note of this publication.’ My Holistic Medical view was also praised in a review in a South African newspaper as ‘a cultural enrichment’.

Writing in the official British Psychiatric Journal, Dr. F. Kraeupel Taylor remarked that ‘this book will appeal to thoughtful readers who wish to inform themselves of views which are unorthodox and provocative because they are imbued with philosophical vision rather than scientific or logical austerity.’

Dr. E. Stengel, reviewing Philosophy and Medicine in the official British Medical Journal, called my exposition ‘a scholarly book and written with remarkable lucidity... Doctors interested in philosophy will read it with benefit.’

The reviewer in The Lancet declared that ‘this book examines our warrant and our long-term aims in practising medicine.’

Sir Francis Walshe, Fellow of the Royal Society, OBE, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, headed his review with the words ‘More than just technology’ and he closed his review by saying, ‘if we are more than medical technologists we must become involved in the growing body of knowledge and opinion that is known in the philosophy of science.’

Richard Thomas, Associate Editor of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine claimed in his review of the Revised Edition that ‘this version is today more relevant than it was in l970. I would go further: it may represent salvation (of a recognition of the two branches of medicine, the scientific and the holistic one)’. He called my book ‘A belated classic’.

Existential Neurosis
Butterworths & Co. London 1972

In this book I argue that neurosis is basically a moral phenomenon - a manifestation of the existential predicament of modern man. This is intensified by the attitudes of those philosophers and scientists who deny the existence of personal freedom by interpreting the human mind in a totally deterministic way. I oppose these views which have profoundly affected psychiatrists as well as lay people.

Michael W. Whan, a social worker, raised an important issue in his review with regard to my use of LSD. He asked: ‘is it not an admission of the failure of self ethically to transcend its ‘given thus-ness’, advocating authenticity through chemical manipulation of consciousness?’ My reply is that by treating patients with LSD, they are not just objects of scientific psychiatry. For they are provided with the means of realising their ethical freedom. One of the patients was transformed from a ‘block of ice’ into ‘a feeling and real human being’ and this ‘wonderful thing’ could not have been achieved without LSD.

Other reviewers did not refer to my use of LSD. W.H.Trethowan, writing in the British Medical Journal found that my book ‘contains much which is of thought-provoking interest, even where the reader is forced into disagreement.’

E.B. Ritson, writing in the Pergamon Press in l973, agreed that the book is thought-provoking, but he went further: the book ‘would be of value to clinicians, psychologists and to all those who are interested in psychotherapy and would like to learn more about the existential approach.’

Martin James, writing in The Lancet admitted that I had not addressed psychiatrists and psychologists who hold established views. The book ‘is voicing experience which will be echoed by GPs, counsellors, priests in their pastoral role, who are finding their way and training themselves with individuals at all levels. It encourages experiment and confidence in the agent.’

J. Christie Brown, reviewing Existential Neurosis in the British Journal of Hospital Medicine, stated that ‘the author has done us a service by drawing attention to two of the most thorny and challenging problems facing psychiatry today. The first is how to fit the private experience of the individual into schemes of objective explanation, and the second is how to allocate treatment between medical authority and the patient's own responsibility.’

I. Grunfeld, writing in the Jewish Chronicle recalled the questioning of religion in our age, causing anxiety. He held that my book provides clarification and is an important possible solution of ‘this vital problem’. He accepted the validity of the ethic of conscience for all and calls my book ‘most valuable’, enquiring into the ‘knowability of the human psyche.’


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Good Health through Natural Therapy
Kogan Page. London 1976.

The Common Sense Guidebook to a Healthier life: Good Health through Natural Therapy
Pan Books Ltd. London 1978.

This book argues for a need to understand natural wholeness, which means an avoidance of any detrimental habit such as smoking and unnecessary taking of drugs. Personal responsibility for health is again stressed. The limitations of Natural Therapy are discussed which means that scientific medicine must always be kept in reserve or used when no response from Natural Therapy can be expected. A chapter on posture, exercise and relaxation is illustrated by pictures which demonstrate correct ways of standing, sitting and walking, and different bodily movements to increase healthy functioning. A chapter on allies to Natural Therapy deals with homeopathy, with acupuncture, with osteopathy, chiropractic and massage. I also find room for twelve case histories which illustrate the use of Natural Therapy and homeopathic medicine.

Reviews of Natural Therapy

This book received favourable reviews in daily papers. The Sun had a large-sized report on it. Its heading was ‘Are You Fit for the Good Life?’, and described the author as ‘a top Good Life doctor Erich Kurt Ledermann’. The review includes Natural Therapy diet, breathing exercises, water treatment, and four reproductions from the book, illustrating various exercises. Current medical methods of scientific medicine are criticised for not taking note of people's lifestyle.

The Daily Mail chose as a heading ‘The Wetter the Better’, referring to my recommendation of hydrotherapy, water treatment. The importance of using Natural Therapy as providing natural stimuli is stressed, so that healthier functioning of the body is achieved.

The reviewer of the British Naturopathic Journal and Osteopathic Review, praises the book for being extremely comprehensive, the style being ‘direct and succinct’. There is a reference to the other printed publications on Natural Therapy and the conclusion is that this book fills a long-standing gap in the literature of Natural Therapeutics.

Mental Health and Human Conscience, the True and the False Self
Gower: The Avebury Series in the Philosophy of Science, Amersham l984.

(Copies are available from the author)

The title conveys the tenor of my conception of medical holism. David Lamb, Head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Manchester, contributed the Foreword: ‘Ledermann' s thesis stands or falls on the analysis of conscience which is the essential key. Freedom and consequent health of the patient depend upon the regulative force of conscience... Hedonism is rejected, not only for its inauthenticity and faulty assumption that man ultimately strives for pleasure, but also for its imperative, that man ought to strive for pleasure... The overall result is a book that can be read simultaneously as a medical text which draws upon years of valuable clinical experience, and as a philosophical text of considerable worth, which is addressed to the question of meaning, freedom and self-consciousness.’

In this work I choose the term ‘existential’ to refer to my true-self psychotherapy and I provide details of such treatment, applied to individual patients and groups of patients.


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Your Health in Your Hands, A Case for Natural Medicine
Green Books, Hartland Bideford 1989.

As the title implies, this book stresses the patients' responsibilities for their health. The limitations of scientific medicine are emphasised; it ignores the unity of body, mind and spirit by a classification of specific diseases which lead to specific treatments. There is the emphasis that ‘your body is not a machine’ and an account of the co-ordination of bodily functions explains the holistic integrative approach. There is a criticism of the excessive use of vitamins and minerals as the main methods of Natural Therapy. The response to natural methods which act as stimuli to healthier functioning is stressed. The need for scientific medical and surgical interventions is freely admitted when they are necessary because natural methods cannot be expected to be successful.


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Medicine for the Whole Person; A Critique of Scientific Medicine
Element Books, Rockport MA, USA, Shaftesbury, UK, Ringwood, Australia 1997.

(Reprint agreed by Chrysalis Books Limited. 2001)

My aim in this work is to stress the need for an acceptance of an ethic of conscience and to demonstrate that science, including medical science, cannot do justice to man's highest dimension. This spiritual holism also presides over biological holism which has many followers today among the public, served by homeopaths, osteopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists, herbalists, reflexologists and other practitioners who follow a course that is complementary to scientific medicine. In this synthesis the wholeness of the person involves an attention to all the aspects of life, it culminates in a true-self psychotherapy which extends to people's lifestyles on which their health depends. Thus Natural Therapy is incorporated.

In a special part of this work I deal with interpersonal relations and I demonstrate the need for doctors to enter into a human and not academic understanding of their patients.

A review in Yoga and Life International pointed out: ‘This is a practical approach as well as a theoretical one. The author gives advice - including a sensible note on posture - and interesting case histories... The integrity of living cells calls for different treatment from that which is appropriate in the case of a machine, a dead object made for a purpose by human beings... In living organisms the faculty of self-organisation must be assumed to exist in cells as a hierarchical order. Dr. Ledermann is concerned with the underlying ethic of personal conscience, the universal guideline to life arising of our consciousness.’


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Holistic Medicine 1908 –1999. Personal Steps, 1999.
Available from: The Nutri Centre, 7 Park Crescent, London W1 3HW.

This fascinating autobiography by Dr Ledermann explores his own professional development. Born in Germany in 1908, he studied medicine and philosophy at the Universities of Freiburg, Berlin and Heidelberg. He then moved to Edinburgh in 1933 where he requalified as a doctor and later came to London where he has practised a wide range of holistic medicine.

In this book Dr Ledermann advocates a revolutionary extension of medical wholeness - its supreme manifestation to be found in an ethical and spiritual freedom of conscience. His ideas are applied to the malaise of drug addiction, suicide and self-harm which manifest themselves in anxiety and depression and, in his view, are often the results of an acceptance of the ethic of pleasure. He calls for a True self Psychotherapy. Biological wholeness is interpreted in response to changes in lifestyle, to homeopathic medicine, acupuncture, osteopathy and chiropractic.

The book is illustrated with numerous case studies and applications of his holistic approach. Also included are details of the author’s numerous publications, as well as full references to the many works quoted in the book itself.


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Faithlessness: A Therapist’s Concern; An Ethical, Social Cultural Investigation, 2001. Available from: The Nutri Centre, 7 Park Crescent, London W1 3HW.

This is a summary of my latest book: ‘ In this wide-ranging and thoughtful work, Dr E.K. Ledermann continues the work he began with his recent title, Medicine for the Whole Person. Drawing on this lifelong experience as a doctor and therapist, he explores the problem of faithlessness in the modern world. His essential thesis is that all forms of treatment, physical and psychological, ignore the spiritual dimension of humanity’s need at their peril.

‘In the first part, by examining schools of thought (Freud, Jung, Husserl, Spinelli, Heidegger, Sartre, Krishnamurti, among other) the author presents a critique of the consequent neglect of the ‘ethic of conscience’. The inhumanity of medicine, the medical profession's; erroneous reliance on rationality, and various forms of ‘reality’ are analysed as part of the social-cultural forces which either confirm or detract from our fundamental spiritual need.

‘In the second part of this work, Dr Ledermann proposes True-self Therapy as the alternative approach that acknowledges the complexity of the human being, and arrives at appropriate ethical-spiritual solutions for patients’ crises. As he expresses it, “the stakes are high: to save man from being stifled by his supposed factuality”.’


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