Monthly Archives: July 2014

Swedenborgs influence

In reviewing the presentation material for the seminar, I am struck by the influence of Swedenborgs teachings in the American homoeopathic scene of the the late 1800s.  This deviation from Hahnemanns medical practice has been catastrophic for the practice since then. It is the foundation for what passes for homoeopathy today, and is no advancement in any regard for either the patient or the practitioner. It is the basis for all the modern false teachings prevalent in daily practice, and as such, can be built on in a quasi spiritual/psychological fashion and leaves the solid real medical practice in the shadows.

I see that most people in Europe and America starting training, will in a couple of years NOT know real homoeopathy. Most of the ‘teachers’ do not know real homoeopathy, and those that purport to, have sold out to one of the quasi Swedenborg based, Doctrine of signatures, incorrect psychologistic  essence prescribing methods in existence, which have made the developers of these systems very rich.

It is time for practitioners who try to emulate the correct application of the method to wake up and realise that their future is being dictated to by these people who have seized control of the colleges and the ‘registers’ of permitted practitioners in various countries.

It is nearly too late.

 

Completed Zaragoza Seminar

32 Delegates from the Zaragoza Association and independent homoeopaths joined together to discuss the practice of homoeopathy as defined by Hahnemann.

The viewpoint of Hahnemann was illustrated through the Organanon and his other writings in respect to casetaking, characteristic symptoms and what to prescribe for. Time was spent correcting erroneous viewpoints endemic in homoeopathy and pointing out the correct understanding again from sourced references.

We took a long hard look at miasms and stated Hahnemanns viewpoint and definition of what they were.

numerous case presentations underlined all the principles to cement the reliability of the practice.

The I.H.M.would like to state our gratefulness for the genuine caring and minding of the speaker in every respect. Dr Juan was the perfect host for attending to every need and requirement.

Dr Juan and his wife after picking me up from the airport.

Typical Lunch time menu for Spanish Delegates….. rows of us.

 

 

“If it is not done with exactness, let no one boast to have imitated me, nor expect a good result”

It is difficult to shift one’s mindset from an allopathic to a homoeopathic mode of interpreting and treating illness. However, once that shift is made, the new way of seeing things comes sharply into view, almost like the moment you are able to see an apparently three-dimensional image jump out of a two-dimensional page. Once you see it, you cannot “unsee” it.

Oddly enough, it seems to be even harder to make the shift from a Kentian, constitutional view of homoeopathy, to return to the original basics as practised by Hahnemann and Boenninghausen. Perhaps because so much is similar – even if the mistaken Kentian premise has catapulted the entire therapeutic method along a completely different trajectory than originally intended. The same terminology is used, often the Organon is quoted (usually minus Aphorism 6), the same polychrests show up, and despite the plethora of new and fantastically proven remedies (fantastic as in fantasy…), often many of the same older remedies are used.

Which brings me to a footnote that appears towards the end of the theoretical part of Chronic Diseases. I have always seen this quote as very clearly expressing the importance of experience over intelligence, the importance of recognizing and learning to use what works even if we don’t understand it. However, I find within this particular context, the following sentence stands out: “If it is not done with exactness, let no one boast to have imitated me, nor expect a good result.”

Or in colloquial British, ’nuff said. Over to Hahnemann:

  … It requires quite an effort to believe that so little a thing, so prodigiously small a dose of medicine, could effect the least thing in the human body, especially in coping with such enormously great, tedious diseases; but that the physician must cease to reason, if he should believe that these prodigiously small doses can act not only two or three days, but even twenty, thirty and forty days and longer yet, and cause, even to the last day of their operation, important, beneficent effects otherwise unattainable.

Nevertheless this true theorem is not to be reckoned among those which should be comprehended, nor among those for which I ask a blind faith. I demand no faith at all, and do not demand that anybody should comprehend it. Neither do I comprehend it; it is enough, that it is a fact and nothing else. Experience alone declares it, and I believe more in experience than in my own intelligence.

But who will arrogate to himself the power of weighing the invisible forces that have hitherto been concealed in the inner bosom of nature, when they are brought out of the crude state of apparently dead matter through a new, hitherto undiscovered agency, such as is potentizing by long continued trituration and succussion.

But he who will not allow himself to be convinced of this and who will not, therefore, imitate what I now teach after many years’ trial and experience (and what does the physician risk, if he imitates it exactly?), he who is not willing to imitate it exactly, can leave this greatest problem of our art unsolved, he can also leave the most important chronic diseases uncured, as they have remained unhealed; indeed, up to the time of my teaching. I have no more to say about this.

It seemed to me my duty to publish the great truths to the world that needs them, untroubled as to whether people can compel themselves to follow them exactly or not. If it is not done with exactness, let no one boast to have imitated me, nor expect a good result.

Do we refuse to imitate any operation until the wonderful forces of nature on which the result is based are clearly brought before our eyes and made comprehensible even to a child? Would it not be silly to refuse to strike sparks from the stone and flint, because we cannot comprehend how so much combined caloric can be in these bodies, or how this can be drawn out by rubbing or striking, so that the particles of steel which are rubbed off by the stroke of the hard stone are melted, and, as glowing little balls, cause the tinder to catch fire? And yet we strike fire with it, without understanding or comprehending this miracle of the inexhaustible caloric hidden in the cold steel, or the possibility of calling it out with a frictional stroke.

Again, it would be just as silly as if we should refuse to learn to write, because we cannot comprehend how one man can communicate his thought to another through pen, ink, and paper -and yet we communicate our thoughts to a friend in a letter without either being able or desirous of comprehending this psychico-physical miracle! [these days, we can add so much more to this list, driving a car, using a computer, using a cellphone and more…vr]

Why, then, should we hesitate to conquer and heal the bitterest foes of the life of our fellowman, the Chronic diseases, in the stated way, which, punctually followed, is the best possible method, because we do not see how these cures are effected?

Zaragoza arrival.

Today is the start of the seminar. I arrived yesterday from Palma Mallorca and was taken to the hotel where I am staying for the duration. Last night, one of the organisors of the seminar, kindly took me out with his wife and daughter for a tour of the city, a visit to the largest shopping Mall in Europe and a wonderful Tapas meal where we discussed many things.

This morning,  I am looking over the notes and finalising the presentation details. Later, I will go to the medical hall and we will hook up the projector to the computer and test it.

I decided to begin the seminar with a detailed overview of the development of homoeopathy, Hahnemanns thoughts regarding (from the results of his experimentation with provings) case taking and analysis and examine his rationale for symptom extraction via observation. We will then look at a couple of cases to demonstrate the points made.

Tomorrow and Sunday, we will progress along the theme, and take an in depth look at how the medical practice of homoeopathy grew after his death, and examine the different schools of thought and match them to the original methodology and see whether it is better or worse for the changes made. This will include a long hard dissection of the American homoeopathic scene as developed by Kent.

We have many cases to demonstrate the effectiveness of the scientific medical approach of using homoeopathy for a lasting curative result.

It is going to be an interesting weekend

Kent, the Constitutional Remedy, Aphorisms 5 and 6

Thinking-Man-Rodin

By Vera Resnick

So what should it be – Aphorism 5 or Aphorism 6?  Let’s look at them… (text taken from 6th edition)

Aphorism 5:

Useful to the physician in assisting him to cure are the particulars of the most probable exciting cause of the acute disease, as also the most significant points in the whole history of the chronic disease, to enable him to discover its fundamental cause, which is generally due to a chronic miasm. In these investigations, the ascertainable physical constitution of the patient (especially when the disease is chronic), his moral and intellectual character, his occupation, mode of living and habits, his social and domestic relations, his age, sexual function, etc., are to be taken into consideration.

Aphorism 6:

The unprejudiced observer – well aware of the futility of transcendental speculations which can receive no confirmation from experience – be his powers of penetration ever so great, takes note of nothing in every individual disease, except the changes in the health of the body and of the mind (morbid phenomena, accidents, symptoms) which can be perceived externally by means of the senses; that is to say, he notices only the deviations from the former healthy state of the now diseased individual, which are felt by the patient himself, remarked by those around him and observed by the physician. All these perceptible signs represent the disease in its whole extent, that is, together they form the true and only conceivable portrait of the disease.

So – which one is it?  If the information described in Aphorism 5 is what is needed to make an accurate homoeopathic prescription, we can understand the Kentian-style intake, lasting hours and sometimes even days.  We can also understand how Kent – with a little push from Swedenborg, ok, a hefty shove – came to the concept of the constitutional remedy.  A remedy which encompasses the patient’s entire soul and psyche, in this life and – depending on your beliefs – in all those that came before and will come after…

Since Kent’s time, homeopaths have worshipped at the altar of the Constitutional Remedy, the simple substance – a Swedenborgian, not Hahnemannian concept – and this is what most non-homoeopaths and homoeopaths alike believe  Classical Homoeopathy to be.

But then what do we do about Aphorism 6?  This Aphorism and its instructions have been swept under the constitutional carpets of so-called Classical Homoeopathy for so long that the simple clarity of focus and objective has been lost to many.

Hahnemann’s language in Aphorism 6 is very clear.  “Take note of nothing but the changes in the health of the body and the mind”.   How on earth is it possible to ignore that?  But it is ignored.

The thing is – this is not an “either/or” situation.  Both Aphorisms are essential, but they serve different purposes.  We cannot take what has changed (Aphorism 6), if we don’t know what was before (Aphorism 5).  We cannot assess those changes and prioritize them if we don’t know whether there is an exciting cause, a maintaining cause, a miasmatic origin (or something that is harming the patient’s health and can be removed – see Aphorism 4) – if we don’t do the work set out in Aphorism 5.

But the central focus, the torch that has to guide us through the often labyrinthine nature of a complex case has to be Aphorism 6.  So many patients today are subjected to never-ending sessions where they are asked to disclose their most intimate thoughts, dreams and fantasies, their sexual urges, their emotional relationships past present and future, their failed expectations and unexpected successes.  The process is usually emotionally draining, hugely time-consuming, potentially harmful in terms of the patient-practitioner relationship, and without the context set out in Aphorism 6, of no use whatsoever and potentially hinders us from finding the best homoeopathic prescription for the patient.

Specificity of Seat – James Compton Burnett and the Generalization of Locality

© Will Taylor, MD 2001

Section 1

Sections: 1 | 2

The previous 4 installments in this series have addressed the characterizing dimensions of symptoms. Last month’s article investigated Boenninghausen’s generalization of modalities and sensations, and the use of modalities and sensations by analogy in reconstructing complex symptoms. I’d like to turn attention now to investigating the dimension of Locality.

The characterizing value of Locality is often underrated by contemporary homeopathic practitioners. This may stem from a confusion between how we look at Local disease (as described in aphorisms 185-203 in Hahnemann’s Organon), versus how we can look at Locality as a characterizing dimension of complex symptomatology. The observation that we can generalize modalities and sensations and apply them by analogy across localities, along with the central importance of the mental/emotional state suggested by Hahnemann’s aphorisms 210-213, the writings of Kent, and the teachings of many contemporary lecturers, has sadly placed Locality somewhere in the background of our attention.

Yet Boenninghausen, in his grand essay A Contribution to the Judgement Concerning the Characteristic Value of Symptoms, reminds us:

” The seat of the disease … deserves to be more particularly emphasized, as it frequently furnishes a characteristic symptom, since almost every medicine acts more and also more decidedly on certain particular parts of the living organism.”

James Compton BurnettPerhaps no other name is as closely related to the topic of Locality, as that of James Compton Burnett (1840-1901). Burnett was born in Redlynch, England in 1840. He attended medical school in Vienna in 1865, where he remained 2 additional years studying anatomy, receiving a gold metal for his accomplishments in that field. He graduated from Glasgow in 1872, and completed an internship for his MD degree at Barnhill Parochial Hospital and Asylum in Glasgow in 1876.

Burnett was converted to homeopathy during his internship, by his friend and colleague Alfred Hawkes. He was contemporary with Richard Hughes (A Manual of Therapeutics, A Cyclopaedia of Drug Pathogenesy, A Manual of Pharmacodynamics), RE Dudgeon (Lectures on the Theory and Practice of Homoeopathy, and translator of many of Hahnemann’s works into English), and JH Clarke (Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica and many other writings).

Johann RademacherIn addition to the influence of homeopathy in his work, Burnett was highly inspired by a contemporary of Hahnemann’s, Johann Gottfried Rademacher (1772-1850, in Goch, northwestern Germany). Rademacher published his 1600-page Erfahrungsheillehre (empiric medical practice) in 1841, giving birth to the practice of Organopathy. (The full title of his work was Rechtfertigung der von den Gelehrten misskannten, verstandes rechten Erfahringsheillehre der alten scheidenkunstigen Geheimarzte, und treue Mittheilung des Ergebnisses einer 25-jahrigen Erprobung dieser Lehre am Krankenbette – “Justification of the empiric medical practice of the old alchemistic physician, misjudged by the learned, yet perfectly rational, …”). Rademacher based his work on his own empirical observations, which he supported on the writings of Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim (Paracelesus), the 16th-century Swiss alchemist/physician. Many of Rademacher’s remedies were introduced to homeopathic practice, or saw homeopathic applications inspired by their organopathic uses, via Burnett.

ParacelsusTheophrastus is often credited with a pre-Hahnemannian understanding of the phenomenon of cure by similars, but there are important differences between Hahnemann’s homeopathy and Theophrastus’ appreciation and use of the principle of similars. Theophrastus emphasized a relationship between microcosm and macrocosm, a bringing of “the external lung” to “the internal lung” – the organ of the remedial substance to the organ of the person. Theophrastus’ similitude was based not on the detailed investigation of the totality of symptoms that characterized Hahnemann’s work, but rather on a gestalt that included empirical observations along with information from arcane sources such as astrology and the discernment of remedy signatures.

Rademacher’s Organopathy – drawing on Paracelsus to rationally support his empirical observations – posited the physical organs as the seat of disease, often creating symptoms seen & felt elsewhere in the body “through sympathetic affections of the strangest nature”. As with Hahnemann, Rademacher did not seek the nature of these diseases in the “invisible interior of the organism,” but rather identified them by similitude to their remedial substance – a Celandine liver disease, a Carduus Mariae liver disease, etc.

Remedies were selected on the basis of their affinity for the organ in which the disease was felt to reside, and differentiated further on the basis of the “genus” of the disease – a concept less well defined than Hahnemann’s totality of symptoms, and based on empiricism and considerations arcane to the practice.

It is immediately apparent how such a system would entice the anatomist in Burnett – author of Diseases of the Spleen, Diseases of the Liver, Enlarged Tonsils, Cataract, Consumptom, On Fistula, Gout, Diseases of the Skin, On Neuralgia, Tumours, Tumours of the Breast, Diseases of the Veins, et.al. (n.b. – Organopathy survives today principally through its vestiges in the “drainage” school of homeopathy in France, based on the teachings of Nebel and Vannier in the early 1900’s).

It would be superficially easy to disregard Burnett as a fringe-homeopath, mixing homeopathy inelegantly with an eclectic medical tradition, or to identify him more closely with the contemporary “drainage” practitioners, were it not for his close association with JH Clarke. Clarke references Burnett 140 times in his Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica. Clarke and Burnett met over dinner weekly for many years, as part of the “Cooper Club;” Clarke described Burnett as one of “the three most potent influences on the evolution of British Homeopathy … during the last twenty years Burnett has been the most powerful, the most fruitful, the most original force in homeopathy.”

Following Burnett’s death, Clarke devoted himself to writing Burnett’s biography, The Life and Work of James Compton Burnett. Margaret Tyler, a later member of the London-based “Cooper Club,” described Burnett as having “a genius for grasping [remedy] idiosyncrasies and possibilities and employing them with success for the patients that besieged him”.

Although Burnett initially cut his teeth on the writings of Richard Hughes, he came to regard Hughes’ work as “homoeopathic milk for allopathic babes” and fell in with the less allopathically-oriented group of Clarke, Cooper, and Thomas Skinner. Early on in his homeopathic career, he attended the clinic of Dr. John Drysdale at Liverpoole, along with Alfred Hawkes and JH Clarke. Drysdale came at the matter of Locality from a direction that must have touched closely on Burnett’s fascination with Organopathy. Of this, Richard Hughes wrote, in A Manual of Pharmacodynamics:

“Dr. Drysdale also has laid much stress on what he calls “specificity of seat,” connecting it with the special irritability displayed by the various parts for their natural stimuli and for causes of disease, and extending it to the minutest localities or nerve-branches which have anything independent and special about them.”

Burnett adopted Drysdale’s concept of “specificity of seat,” and used this term and concept liberally in his writings.

This concept of “specificity of seat” of a remedy, and Burnett’s borrowed Organopathic concept of organ-specific remedies for diseases “of the organs,” seem to stand in conflict with the homoeopathic understanding of disease originating in the dynamic plane, and of remedies acting on the dynamis, rather than on specific tissues of the body. Burnett fuels this seeming contradiction with his assertion (in Diseases of the Liver):

“That the organ in the organism does indeed possess not only autonomy but hegemony, i.e. the organ is an independent state in itself and in and on the organism exercises an important influence