I was looking through the archives and came across this post. It holds true today as it did 2 years ago. Worth another read.
Killing the Goose.
The I.H.M. presents a personal view of the present and future state of Homoeopathy as a medical therapy. Written by Vladimir Polony MSc. A homoeopathic practitioner with deep clinical experience in Slovakia and California, A Computer Engineer and program designer, one half of the P & W research team delving into the writings of Hahnemann and colleagues and presenting them in the original texts in the SYNOPSIS computer Repertory program.
With this background of extensive knowledge, and with hands on experience with the methodologies discussed in this article, Vladimir has presented a compelling and though provoking argument for the abandoning of false practices under the banner of Homoeopathy.
Rest In Peace Homeopathy
The current practice of homoeopathy is in an appalling state. Therapists call themselves “homoeopaths”, or even “classical homoeopaths” without the slightest adherence to homeopathic principles as outlined in Samuel Hahnemann’s Organon of Medicine. Any trace of empiric scientific methods that gave peer reviewed credibility to homeopathy is gone and has been replaced by the “transcendental” teachings of modern gurus.
The purpose of this commentary is to trace how we got from a very rational empirical science based on researched facts, to a collection of theories and teachings that are so absurd, that anyone in their right mind would not give credibility to homeopathy as a medical science.
I will especially reference the people responsible for this sorry state of homeopathy – the modern homeopathic gurus. Gurus, who claim to have a more precise and “transcendental” knowledge of homeopathy than the founder of homeopathy who practiced and researched medicine his whole life. These gurus make the claim to have seen the ultimate truth, to be able to see behind the symptoms, to perceive the elusive “essence” of homeopathy and essence of homeopathic remedies. They claim it is so simple, that even YOU can learn it very easily. It will be via an expensive training session of course. The sad thing is that once learned, it is less than useful in a homoeopathic medical clinic, and will fail you at every prescription.
You might be asking yourself, ‘who is this person to judge homoeopathy’? Apart from having been through an intensive and researched oriented University training and hold a Master’s Degree, I spent the first five years of my homoeopathic training learning the philosophy of, and working with the methods of Rajan Sankaran, Jan Scholten, Jeremy Sherr, Misha Norland and Peter Chappell. With Peter Chappell, I even purchased his self made remedies and prescribed on his indications. The net result was that I became VERY disappointed in the therapy and was considering giving it up as a career. Please note. Like many people in this position, I was listening to these modern guru “classical homoeopaths”, and even though I applied their teachings and methods religiously and followed accurately, I was not having success in my prescriptions. I concluded that Homoeopathy was too difficult and not accurate, and ultimately, if these were the best teachers, a failure of modern medicine.
I stopped seeing new patients. At this time I met Gary Weaver who was working in Florida in a medical faculty. We discussed homoeopathy and I discovered that he only used the works of the old Masters, especially Hahnemann and Boenninghausen. He presented me with a few cured cases to work out the prescriptions, and I applied my learning to them, and came up with remedies like Carcinosinum, the AIDS nosode, etc. I would then look at his prescribing notes and see that one or more of the old everyday remedies had been given for some deep conditions and had cured.
I then shared some of my cases with him, in which all the prescriptions were failing. He would look into his old Repertory from one of the early homoeopaths, and then cross check in an early edition of Hahnemann’s Materia Medica Pura or Chronic Diseases, and prescribe a remedy from there. I reluctantly would follow his prescription for the patient, I say reluctantly because it was not a new modern medicine, in the main it was just a standard old polychrest remedy. However, the patient would react well to the medicine and either be cured or had another remedy to finish the case!
I became fascinated with his approach and started studying the old masters of homeopathy – Hahnemann and Boenninghausen. I spent months translating the old writings, and reading through original texts. With the help of Gary I have finally abandoned the modern transcendental theories and started practicing the original science based homoeopathy.
My success rate has increased from roughly 20 % to 85 – 95 % (first prescription). When using the precise homeopathic teaching and tools left by Hahnemann, I have a confidence that even if the remedy is not absolutely correct, it is still close enough to produce a change in the patient that will allow me to discover the correct remedy more easily.
Cause of a disease – necessity or an empty speculation
Samuel Hahnemann was the founder of homeopathy, his works are essential to understanding and practicing homeopathy. Among the most important works are, the Organon of Medicine (all versions but especially the 6th edition), Materia Medica Pura and Chronic Diseases. In terms of defining what homeopathy is, there cannot be a more important book than the Organon of Medicine. In this work, Samuel Hahnemann has very precisely defined homeopathy as a science and all the necessary steps leading to prescription of correct remedies, methods of discovering their actions, regimen for the sick as well as manufacturing of medicines and their administering.
In the 1800’s when the physicians were trying to find the CAUSE of the disease and prescribing on a speculative and unproven postulation, Hahnemann proposed a radical new approach. Instead of looking for this elusive cause, the physician should use his senses (empirical approach) and determine the CURRENT STATE of the disease in the patient. The physician’s role is not to determine the cause of the disease, but to heal the patient.
Organon of Medicine by Samuel Hahnemann – Aphorism 1:
The physician’s high and ONLY mission is to restore the sick to health, to cure, as it is termed. 1
1 His mission is not, however, to construct so-called systems, by interweaving empty speculations and hypotheses concerning the internal essential nature of the vital processes and the mode in which diseases originate in the interior of the organism, (whereon so many physicians have hitherto ambitiously wasted their talents and their time); nor is it to attempt to give countless explanations regarding the phenomena in diseases and their proximate cause (which must ever remain concealed), wrapped in unintelligible words and an inflated abstract mode of expression, which should sound very learned in order to astonish the ignorant – whilst sick humanity sighs in vain for aid. Of such learned reveries (to which the name of theoretic medicine is given, and for which special professorships are instituted) we have had quite enough, and it is now high time that all who call themselves physicians should at length cease to deceive suffering mankind with mere talk, and begin now, instead, for once to act, that is, really to help and to cure.
In the first few aphorisms, to define what homoeopathy is, Samuel Hahnemann dismissed EVERYTHING that the modern homeopathic gurus are doing. Their teachings consist solely of empty speculations, trying to discover the “essences” behind the homeopathic remedies, and have produced a spiritual transcendental approach to the medical science.
In aphorism 11 Hahnemann wrote:
“When a person falls ill, it is only this spiritual, self-acting
(automatic) vital force, everywhere present in his organism, that is
primarily deranged by the dynamic influence upon it of a morbific agent
inimical to life…”
In short, Hahnemann has described a perfectly empirical definition of a disease. We know that there is a cause of the disease which is some dynamic force, but with certainty we can only use the information collected by our senses (our observation). Anything else is a pure speculation. However, the modern homeopathy is full of these speculations.
Causes of diseases as described by some of the modern gurus:
Rajan Sankaran – The diseases are caused by some delusions that the patient has about the reality.
Peter Chappell – The diseases are caused by the “CEED” – Chronic Effects of Epidemic Diseases.
Jan Scholten – The cause of the disease is described as coming from desires, disappointments and fears arising from them.
Notice that, in each individual approach, the empirical principle is non-existent and application has once more moved from observation to speculation. The modern gurus seem to be able to peer behind the veil of reality and give us their unique insight into the causation of disease. However, from the empirical standpoint it remains a pure speculation, and a return to the dark days of the 1800’s medical system pre Hahnemann.
Interesting fact is, that in order to cure the disease using homeopathy, we do not need to know this transcendental causation. All we need to know are facts gathered by our senses (physical observation, tests, patients medical history, present exhibition of symptoms) and through the homeopathic principle (like cures like), we can observe the effects of homeopathic remedies on healthy subjects and prescribe the remedy that causes the similar symptoms in the healthy person.
Why do these modern gurus then insist on “discovering” the “true nature” of disease ? The answer is quite simple. Money, Power and Adoration. It requires that a new method of “science” be created in order to market classical homoeopathy in a manner that makes a lot of income, is copyrighted and keeps an individual in the Public focus. There are no facts involved in this presentation, just ideas and concepts.
Case taking – symptoms, essences, vital sensations
The real damage to homeopathy does not come from empty speculations regarding health and disease or from deliberations on the causes of diseases. It comes when they apply their foolish nonscientific, non-proved speculative theory to the process of case taking.
Samuel Hahnemann has clearly stated that:
The unprejudiced observer … takes note of nothing in every individual disease, except the changes in the health of the body and of the mind … which can be perceived externally by means of the senses … he notices only the deviations from the former healthy state of the now diseased individual… (Aphorism 6)
Symptoms are the language of the disease and we take note of only the symptoms themselves as they can be perceived by our senses (including lab tests and disease knowledge) but always noting the individual expression of a disease state as the patient expresses them. This is again a perfect example of homeopathy being an empirical science – we use only the data we can gather through our senses, we do not make deductions or rationalizations. In empirical science, there is no room for abstractions, speculations or deductions.
Let’s have a look at the Rajan Sankaran’s system of “vital sensations”. Vital sensations push homeopathy deeper into the realm of empty speculation by disregarding all the symptoms and by using the mental observations as devised by one person – Rajan Sankaran.
In his system, he separates the remedies into “kingdoms” such as plant, animal, mineral, nosode, etc. Based on his speculations, he attributes to each “kingdom” some “vital sensations”. These vital sensations have nothing to do with the drug provings and with the symptoms of remedies. He looks at the original substances and sees how they behave or feel like and then makes a deduction, that since the original substances have certain properties, then the homeopathic remedies must have the same properties.
There are a few problems with this approach. First of all it ignores the data from drug provings that were gathered using scientific methods and replaces them with observations of one person.
Secondly, it overly generalizes by using deductions and speculations that have not been tested or proved.
Thirdly, all interpretations of the vital sensations are by definition subjective and change from observer to observer – this means that objectivity in observation which was so strictly applied by Hahnemann and which makes homeopathy scientific has been removed. This makes any result speculative, subjective and not reproducible. Totally poor and bad science.
The question arises how it is possible that such a non-scientific approach can be so easily accepted by the homeopathic community. The roots of this lie in the acceptance of the “doctrine of signatures”. Doctrine of signatures originally taught that substances (plants) that resemble various parts of body can be used to treat them. Snakeroot was used to treat snake bites, Liverwort was used to treat liver, etc. In homeopathy this was again generalized further and expanded to include all other substances as well. Modern gurus such as Frans Vermeulen and Peter Chappell teach us, that if a person looks like something or in our mind resembles something, the remedy prepared from this will be the similimum.
I have heard multiple stories of patients that came to the homeopath wearing green and brown colors being prescribed plant remedies, because they resemble plants. Those wearing red aggressive colors got prescribed animal remedies because animals are aggressive and even cases when people wearing striped shirts leaving with a remedy prepared from Zebra. It does not stop here. The speculations have no end. People working as pilots get only remedies make from birds, people working with earth such as gardeners get only plant remedies and if you are unfortunate enough to have a hobby such a playing football and being a goalkeeper, you will get a remedy prepared from a web-weaving spider.
As you can see, the ideas presented in “vital sensation” method by Rajan Sankaran are by no means new. They have been around for a long time and all he has done is to create a framework for them so that they can be perceived as a new and exciting concept, copyrighted of course, and marketed for lots of money.
Another good example of this is Jan Scholten. He pushes the idea of non-scientific abstraction and speculation to a new level. In his system he looks at the periodic table of elements and deduced that elements in the same groups and periods share the same “essences”. Then the intersection of the group and period will make it possible to “explore” even the remedies which were never proved.
Just to give an example how simplistic this method is, let’s have a look at some of the remedies:
Ferrum Metallicum (Iron) – Iron is used to create tools, so according to Scholten theme of this remedy is “Worker, Task, Duty”. Since peasants work with iron or use iron, the region is “Village” and philosophy is “Practical”.
Argentum Metallicum (Silver) – Silver is a precious metal, so “logically” theme is “Artistic, Queen, Scientist” and philosophy is “Aesthetics and Beauty”.
Aurum Metallicum (Gold) – Gold is used as currency and is valuable, so of course themes are “King, Leader” and philosophy is “Politics”.
The gist of this “system” is to ignore any provings that were done using the scientific methods described by Hahnemann in the Organon. This unfortunately means, that people start prescribing remedies that have not been proven, using just one generalized indication.
When I started studying homeopathy, I was prescribed 4 remedies based on this system by an expert in this method and needless to say all of them failed. It was not until I was treated by a homoeopath using the Hahnemannian protocol of matching real symptoms with proven medicines that I was cured.
Provings – from Science to Speculation
Homeopathy as described by Samuel Hahnemann in the Organon of Medicine a scientific method of discovering effects of remedies. The main principles of a scientific proving are: objectivity and empiric approach. This means, that provings need to be conducted in a way that would remove all speculations and in a way that would assure objectivity of a proving. Needless to say the principle of a double blind trial is necessary to assure that the provers or conductors of the proving to not distort the information gained by provings.
The scientific proving should be conducted based on these simple rules:
- Provers cannot know the remedy being proven.
- Provers cannot know whether they are taking the remedy or placebo.
- Conductor of the proving cannot know the remedy being proven.
- Conductor of the proving cannot know which people take the placebo and which ones take the remedy.
- Provers should write down any deviations from their normal state in their diary.
- The provers must be healthy.
- After the proving is finished all the information gathered by the provers that were taking the placebo must be erased.
Unfortunately even proving methodology has not escaped the creativity of the modern homeopaths.
Let’s start with the dream provings and meditational provings. Dream provings are conducted by most of the modern gurus and involve multiple modalities. The prover either does not take the remedy but places it under his pillow and goes to sleep and then records the dreams he had. The contents of the dreams are then considered to be the essence of the remedy.
Other modality involves a group of provers taking the remedy with a group of “psychics” dreaming in the room adjacent to the room with the provers. Again, the people dreaming and recording their dreams have not taken the actual remedy.
Meditational proving is very similar. A group of people makes the remedy from the 3rd potency and records ideas they had during making the remedy. Then they meditate on this and record their thoughts. Again, no scientific method and no objectivity.
Even provings that are conducted following a “scientific-like” method are compromised for instance by provers knowing that they are taking the remedy and even which remedy they are taking (as an example I would like to use the proving of Latex Vulcani by the School of Homoeopathy). Two of the provers knew the remedy and their “symptoms” were similar to the symptoms of the other provers, so they were recorded in the proving. By symptoms I do not mean physical symptoms of course, these are mental “symptoms”. I think it is reasonable to question the fact that these 2 provers could have influenced by their interactions the rest of the group and lead the proving towards the desired results. And again, since this was probably the case, the themes of the condom proving are what the thoughts and “themes” that you would get if you would think about everything related to a condom – separation, bubble, fear of diseases, etc.
In other provings this is even more evident where proving information includes also information by people who have not taken the remedy, but were given a placebo, because “they were influenced by the remedy regardless of taking it”.
Other provings blatantly skip the whole double blind trial aspect and declare that everyone is taking a particular remedy and even what is the remedy made of. So, if the proving is about a remedy made from bear’s blood, everyone will feel like a bear.
The other provings are even less scientific, the whole groups of provers know that they are taking a particular remedy and they know which remedy it is. Therefore they make an image in their mind of the symptoms they should have and they WILL experience them. This is no different to a brainstorming session.
These “provings” only prove one thing – the fact that they are worthless and that any scientific credibility the homeopathy had is lost.
The problems outlined here only demonstrate the decline of homeopathy from a controversial, but nevertheless empirical science to a strange spiritual nonsense. The scientific methods gave way to transcendental speculations and the scientific credibility homeopathy had is lost.
The only thing left to say is “Rest in Peace homeopathy”. In the current state how it is taught by Rajan Sankaran, Jan Scholten, Frans Vermeulen, Peter Chappell, Jeremy Sherr and all their followers. If this is to be the new face of homoeopathy, I can only hope, In its present form that the practice is banned before too much damage is done.