Monthly Archives: August 2014

Why we use the Therapeutic Pocket Book

Why do the members of the I.H.M. use the Therapeutic Pocket Book?

  • Accuracy.
  • Speed.
  • surety

The Therapeutic Pocket Book was the most popular and useful repertory for nearly fifty years after being released in 1846. Sadly, as people moved away from the Hahnemannian method of prescribing, the ability to use the TPB or even understand its simple methodology got lost. It opened the door for the Swedenborg inspired works of Kent and Hering to enter into the schools and colleges, ultimately to the hindrance of our practice, and the precursor to the wild and fantastical methods employed by some under the name of homoeopathy.

Boenninghausen, the developer of the repertory, worked closely with Hahnemann in order to find out the method Hahnemann employed in his search for a medicine that would cure a patient. After observing many cases, after using the medicines on himself during sickness, and after using the method on others with excellent results, Boenninghausen worked on putting together rubrics as a guide to the Materia Medica. His initial attempts produced several books that were unwieldy in operation.

Ten years later, Boenninghausen had worked out a method for producing complete symptoms with the criteria of location, sensation and modalities by splitting a symptom in the Materia Medica into its components, so it could be reconstituted by combination.

In this way, each symptom can be recompiled without having to look for the EXACT symptom in a repertory or the Materia Medica. This synthetic approach has proven itself to be accurate and useful and always leads to medicines for consideration for prescribing that contain the symptoms that were being examined.

It also allows for remedies to be considered where perhaps the modality or sensation is NOT found under the location, but is a characteristic of the remedy in general in other locations, enough to suggest that if the proving had continued, that characteristic may have been in EVERY location.

90% of getting the remedy is in the accurate case taking. 5% is choosing which symptoms to take as prescribing symptoms, and the remaining 5% is choosing the right rubrics to lead to medicines for consideration.

Some say ‘but there are only 125 medicines contained within the work?’ That is true, however in practice, it has been our experience to see remedies that would NOT have been considered for a particular problem have a curative effect due to Boenninghausen and Hahnemanns knowledge of the Materia Medica having been transposed in the repertory for consideration in choosing.

 

 

 

A Stubborn Case of Doctor Failure-Boenninghausen to the rescue

from Dr Joseph Kellerstein. Canada.

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Marie is a 55 year old lady who walks down the hall using a cane. Her measured steps punctuated by physical effort and lots of obvious pain. She has a charming smile and soft manner that has been strengthened by determination over the years to counter the reflex grimace that suffering demands.

Chief Complaint. Patient presenting November 3/04 – Arthritis. Knees.

Beginning in 1990 she woke up one morning and the left knee ‘went out’. Since then it kept getting worse. She has had 4 surgeries on the knee. 2 arthroscopic,1 osteotomy,and finally a knee replacement. The patient relates that recoveries from the procedures have always been long. In general although the replacement has helped there is a feeling that the pain has been much worse since the first arthroscopic procedure.

For years there has been this incredible pulling down in my knee. Like a weight pulling me to the ground so severe it stops my legs from moving.

The right knee has a sharp pain that will make me cry out.

Stiffness is worse in the morning.

Knees are worse before rain or snow(latter is more obvious)

Better summer

Worse spring and fall

Worse hot humid

Worse warm applications.

Fibromyalgia.

I ache terribly in muscles. It all acts up at the same time (joints and muscles).

Hot flushes.

I am always hot. Profuse perspiration. It is worse any exertion. Since a recent D and C flashes are worse.

Emotional stressors.

Working as an assistant to an executive I felt like a servant, as if I was being targeted. I was ordered around and got all of the worst jobs. I have always had a problem taking things personally. I am a pleaser.

Chronic Case and Medical History.

Sleep.

I am tired at 10pm and go to sleep. Wake after 1.5 hours due to knee pain and become restless. Best sleep is 6 to 8am. Dream of snakes occasionally.

Grief.

In 1979 patient gave birth. Very shortly after all 4 parents died. This was followed by Hypertension. Soon after there were a series of 3 gout attacks.

Assessment

What struck me initially was the idea of great heaviness in the affected part,worse before the snow, slow healing and grief in a menopausal lady. Sepia sure looked good. Sep 30c

b.i.d.

November 17/04 – 25% less fatigue. Thinking is sharper. More dreams. No other changes Assessment; for this early on looks promising. Plan; continue.

Dec 8/04 – As of one week the knee pain has gotten worse and continued bad steadily. Fatigue has returned. Patient has been weepy. Very reliant on cool applications which offer lots of relief. Assessment and Plan; Sepia had some degree of similitude but not enough to move the pathologies. No new symptoms but latest most intense symptoms indicate Puls.

Puls 30 b.i.d.

Jan 5/05 – Some improvement in stiffness, energy and muscle pain but it relapsed within 2 weeks. Now feel much worse. That incredible sense of weight pulling me down; worse before storm, worse weather change warm to cool. Assessment and Plan; A closer simile but no bull’s-eye. We relapsed to a more intense version of the initial case. The body is trying to tell us these are the leading indicators. I just can’t find the remedy.

I will spare myself the humiliation of the next 8 followups and a similar tale.The symptoms simply talking back to me saying nice try but no cigar.That is no movement in that small cluster of symptoms more than a week and if I went up in potency – no result.

Finally after these wrong prescriptions I sat myself down again and took stock of what was clear.The intense heaviness. The worse before a snow. The various other atmospheric modalities.I was unclear so I called the patient and went through it again carefully. As it turned out she was aggravated with any change of weather especially warm to cold. A computer search led me to a lovely little Boenninghausen rubric in the CompleteRepertory-Heaviness internal, as from a load. I lead with this rubric and followed with worse snow air and worse change of temperature; warm to cold. Suddenly Mercurius became obvious. It still is not a cure. Its too soon but there has been a steady improvement in all symptoms for the last 6 weeks.

And so it goes. Successive approximations until even I can see it.

The Swiss Governments Report on Homeopathic Medicine

The Swiss government has a long and widely-respected history of neutrality, and therefore, reports from this government on controversial subjects need to be taken more seriously than other reports from countries that are more strongly influenced by present economic and political constituencies. When one considers that two of the top five largest drug companies in the world have their headquarters in Switzerland, one might assume that this country would have a heavy interest in and bias toward conventional medicine, but such assumptions would be wrong.

In late 2011, the Swiss government’s report on homeopathic medicine represents the most comprehensive evaluation of homeopathic medicine ever written by a government and was just published in book form in English (Bornhoft and Matthiessen, 2011). This breakthrough report affirmed that homeopathic treatment is both effective and cost-effective and that homeopathic treatment should be reimbursed by Switzerland’s national health insurance program.

The Swiss government’s inquiry into homeopathy and complementary and alternative (CAM) treatments resulted from the high demand and widespread use of alternatives to conventional medicine in Switzerland, not only from consumers but from physicians as well. Approximately half of the Swiss population have used CAM treatments and value them. Further, about half of Swiss physicians consider CAM treatments to be effective. Perhaps most significantly, 85 percent of the Swiss population wants CAM therapies to be a part of their country’s health insurance program.

It is therefore not surprising that more than 50 percent of the Swiss population surveyed prefer a hospital that provides CAM treatments rather to one that is limited to conventional medical care.

Beginning in 1998, the government of Switzerland decided to broaden its national health insurance to include certain complementary and alternative medicines, including homeopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, anthroposophic medicine, and neural therapy. This reimbursement was provisional while the Swiss government commissioned an extensive study on these treatments to determine if they were effective and cost-effective. The provisional reimbursement for these alternative treatments ended in 2005, but as a result of this new study, the Swiss government’s health insurance program once again began to reimburse for homeopathy and select alternative treatments. In fact, as a result of a national referendum in which more than two-thirds of voters supported the inclusion of homeopathic and select alternative medicines in Switzerland’s national health care insurance program, the field of complementary and alternative medicine has become a part of this government’s constitution (Dacey, 2009; Rist, Schwabl, 2009).

The Swiss Government’s “Health Technology Assessment”

The Swiss government’s “Health Technology Assessment” on homeopathic medicine is much more comprehensive than any previous governmental report written on this subject to date. Not only did this report carefully and comprehensively review the body of evidence from randomized double-blind and placebo controlled clinical trials testing homeopathic medicines, they also evaluated the “real world effectiveness” as well as safety and cost-effectiveness. The report also conducted a highly-comprehensive review of the wide body of preclinical research (fundamental physio-chemical research, botanical studies, animal studies, and in vitro studies with human cells).

And still further, this report evaluated systematic reviews and meta-analyses, outcome studies, and epidemiological research. This wide review carefully evaluated the studies conducted, both in terms of quality of design and execution (called “internal validity”) and how appropriate each was for the way that homeopathy is commonly practiced (called “external validity”). The subject of external validity is of special importance because some scientists and physicians conduct research on homeopathy with little or no understanding of this type of medicine (some studies tested a homeopathic medicine that is rarely used for the condition tested, while others utilized medicines not commonly indicated for specific patients). When such studies inevitably showed that the homeopathic medicine did not “work,” the real and accurate assessment must be that the studies were set up to disprove homeopathy… or simply, the study was an exploratory trial that sought to evaluate the results of a new treatment (exploratory trials of this nature are not meant to prove or disprove the system of homeopathy but only to evaluate that specific treatment for a person with a specific condition).

After assessing pre-clinical basic research and the high quality clinical studies, the Swiss report affirmed that homeopathic high-potencies seem to induce regulatory effects (e.g., balancing or normalizing effects) and specific changes in cells or living organisms. The report also reported that 20 of the 22 systematic reviews of clinical research testing homeopathic medicines detected at least a trend in favor of homeopathy.* (Bornhöft, Wolf, von Ammon, et al, 2006)

The Swiss report found a particularly strong body of evidence to support the homeopathic treatment of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections and Respiratory Allergies.

The report cited 29 studies in “Upper Respiratory Tract Infections/AllergicReactions,” of which 24 studies found a positive result in favor of homeopathy. Further, six out of seven controlled studies that compared homeopathic treatment with conventional medical treatment showed that homeopathy to be more effective than conventional medical interventions (the one other trial found homeopathic treatment to be equivalent to conventional medical treatment). All of these results from homeopathic treatment came without the side effects common to conventional drug treatment. In evaluating only the randomized placebo controlled trials, 12 out of 16 studies showed a positive result in favor of homeopathy.

The authors of the Swiss government’s report acknowledge that a part of the overall review of research included one negative review of clinical research in homeopathy (Shang, et al, 2005). However, the authors noted that this review of research has been widely and harshly criticized by both advocates and non-advocates of homeopathy. The Swiss report noted that the Shang team did not even adhere to the QUORUM guidelines which are widely recognized standards for scientific reporting (Linde, Jonas, 2005). The Shang team initially evaluated 110 homeopathic clinical trials and then sought to compare them with a matching 110 conventional medical trials. Shang and his team determined that there were 22 “high quality” homeopathic studies but only nine “high quality” conventional medical studies. Rather than compare these high quality trials (which would have shown a positive result for homeopathy), the Shang team created criteria to ignore a majority of high quality homeopathic studies, thereby trumping up support for their original hypothesis and bias that homeopathic medicines may not be effective (Lüdtke, Rutten, 2008).

The Swiss report also notes that David Sackett, M.D., the Canadian physician who is widely considered to be one of the leading pioneers in “evidence based medicine,” has expressed serious concern about those researchers and physicians who consider randomized and double-blind trials as the only means to determine whether a treatment is effective or not. To make this assertion, one would have to acknowledge that virtually all surgical procedures were “unscientific” or “unproven” because so few have undergone randomized double-blind trials.

In my view, for a treatment to be determined to be “effective” or “scientifically proven,” a much more comprehensive assessment of what works and doesn’t is required. Ultimately, the Swiss government’s report on homeopathy represents an evaluation of homeopathy that included an assessment of randomized double blind trials as well as other bodies of evidence, all of which together lead the report to determine that homeopathic medicines are indeed effective.

_____

Statement of correction (9/18/2013): The report on homeopathy (2012) that was described above has now been verified to be a second edition of a report that was initially commissioned by the government of Switzerland, but it was not a report that was issued by the Swiss government nor endorsed by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. Therefore, it is my intention here to state clearly that the first publication listed in the “References” section was not commissioned by the Swiss government, but the second reference that was written by most of the same authors as the first reference was commissioned by Swiss government. The conclusions of this publication (2006) are the same as those asserted in more detailed in both book forms, 2005 (ref. Bornhöft G, Matthiessen PM (Eds.). Homöopathie in der Krankenversorgung – Wirksamkeit, Nutzen, Sicherheit und Wirtschaftlichkeit. Frankfurt/M. 2006 VAS Verlag für Akademische Schriften.) and 2012. The conclusions of the commissioned report and the more detailed books are basically the same in the safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of homeopathic medicine.

REFERENCES:

Bornhoft, Gudrun, and Matthiessen, Peter F. Homeopathy in Healthcare: Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs. Goslar, Germany: Springer, 2011. http://rd.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-642-20638-2/page/1 (This book is presently available from the German office of the publisher, and it will become available via the American office as well as select booksellers in mid- to late-February, 2012.)(NOTE: When specific facts in the above article are provided but not referenced, this means that these facts were derived from this book.)

Bornhöft G, Wolf U, von Ammon K, Righetti M, Maxion-Bergemann S, Baumgartner S, Thurneysen AE, Matthiessen PF. Effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of homeopathy in general practice – summarized health technology assessment. Forschende Komplementärmedizin (2006);13 Suppl 2:19-29. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16883077

Dacey, Jessica. Therapy supporters roll up sleeves after vote. SwissInfo.ch, May 19, 2009. http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics/Therapy_supporters_roll_up_sleeves_after_vote.html?cid=670064

Linde K, Jonas W. Are the clinical effects of homeopathy placebo effects? Lancet 36:2081-2082. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67878-6. http://download.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140673605678786.pdf

Lüdtke R, Rutten ALB. The conclusions on the effectiveness of homeopathy highly depend on the set of analysed trials. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. October 2008. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.06/015. http://www.jclinepi.com/article/S0895-4356(08)00190-X/abstract

Rist L, Schwabl H: Komplementärmedizin im politischen Prozess. Schweizer Bevölkerungstimmt über Verfassungsartikel «Zukunft mit Komplementärmedizin» ab. Forsch Komplementmed 2009, doi 10.1159/000203073.
(Translation: Complementary medicine in the political process: The Swiss population votes on the Constitutional Article “The future with complementary medicine”
http://www.ayurveda-association.eu/files/swiss_referendum_on_cam_-_forschkomplementmed_2009.pdf

*Although this Swiss government report was just published in book form in 2011, the report was finalized in 2006. In light of this date, the authors evaluated systematic reviews and meta-analyses on homeopathic research up until June 2003.

Prescribing on well indicated symptoms.

HOMOEOPATHIC LINKS
vol 13 2-3/2000
Phyt / Ars-alb / Opium / Hyos / Rhus-t

 This combined issue is dedicated to George Vithoulkas recognizing the enormous contribution made by him for propagating Homoeopathy, with contributions by Vassilis Ghegas, Alfons Geukons and Roger Morrison, his able disciples. The major portion is the interview with Vithoulkas by the editors of the Journal and its fallout. Vithoulkas has deprecated the attempts by some noted Homoeopaths for advocating new theories, approaches and methods of proving. In particular he castigated Dr Rajan Sankaran and Jan Scholten. He says “Sankaran and Jan Scholten alone has done more harm to Homoeopathy than all the enemies of Homoeopathy together with all the nonsense that they circulate” The interview is full of such venomous attack on fellow Homoeopaths, something one would normally not expect from a mature, senior Homoeopath like Vithoulkas.

 If criticism, it should be an informed and constructive one after reading and understanding the works of these Homoeopaths. It leaves a bad taste. The interview leaves an uneasy taste and a little sad, since they are unfounded, have not violated the fundamental principles of Homoeopathy. The synthetic prescriptions advocated by Dr Jan Scholten is nothing new. Even ICR, as early as 1978 did lot of pioneering work on this. Of course, the aggrieved homoeopaths and others have rebutted Vithoulkas in no uncertain terms. These are published in the next issue along with an assuaging reply by the editors.

 In a moving tribute, Dr Roger Morrison writes about his experiences in learning homoeopathy from Mr Vithoulkas. He says that Vithoulkas’s results in his practice were beyond any results that he had observed by any other practitioner. There were, in his view, hundreds of miraculous cures.

 Case 1
A Government official was suffering from a severe form of psoriasis; every inch of his skin was covered with whitish scales though the whole skin was purplish underneath. The itching was terrible. After a relatively short interview, Vithoulkas prescribed Phytolacca saying that purplish hue of the lesions matched his previous experience with that remedy. Within two weeks the skin resumed its normal appearance.

 Case 2
In another case Dr Morrison while studying under Vithoulkas had prescribed Ars to a child with severe eczema. After some improvement for some months there was a relapse and after careful case taking again Dr Morrison prescribed Sulphur as the complementary remedy but by next day there was severe aggravation and the child was covered with an oozing rash. The child felt awful and hysterical with the itching and parents were desperate. Despite requests from Morrison to see and prescribe Phos, Vithoulkas asked him to wait and remarked that if one prescribed before the next remedy was clear one would lose the case. The next day at the insistence of the parents of the boy Vithoulkas found that the boy was afraid to be alone because he would die. The prescription was Ars 1M potency. Within 3 days the skin was almost perfectly clear and the child needed no more remedies.

 Case 3
Another case of a businessman who developed severe complications after surgery resulting in drug resistant septicaemia and renal failure. He was in coma and Vithoulkas was consulted. With Opium the patient became semi-conscious and later Sulphur. The patient started talking with muttering delirium. It did not respond to Lach but after questioning the attending nurse, who said that the patient was using shocking language, he prescribed Hyos and the patient returned to normal consciousness.

 Dr Bill Gray discusses a case: a 31 yr old woman having hiatal hernia, food allergies, hemorrhoids and carpal tunnel syndrome and easy tendency to sprain her ankles or wrists or injury to her knee or other bony structures in. She was too conscientious, perfectionist and people pleasing. She was cured with a small remedy Actea-spicata as she did not earlier respond fully to Rhus-tox, though it was indicated and given in varying potencies over a 2 yr period.

 Actea-spicata is a rheumatic remedy similar to Rhus-tox, both < cold, damp weather and have joint pains. Actea-s is agg motion unlike Rhus-t > continued motion and specially affects small joints (fingers, wrists and ankles), has easy spraining of joints and ligaments. This patient was frequently involved in auto accidents: dashed against other cars or was dashed on the broadside. On the mental side: tries to please her bosses and husband and consequent resentment of not being appreciated. In her case even the poison oak she had on her lips, responded to the remedy confirming that the constitutional remedy should act as well in acutes.

Aphorism 95

Aphorism 95

In chronic diseases the investigation of the signs of disease above mentioned, and of all others, must be pursued as carefully and circumstantially as possible, and the most minute peculiarities must be attended to , partly because in these diseases they are the most characteristic and least resemble those of acute diseases, and if a cure is to be effected they cannot be too accurately noted; partly because the patients become so used to their long sufferings that they pay little or no heed to the lesser accessory symptoms, which are often very pregnant with meaning (characteristic) — often very useful in determining the choice of the remedy–and regard them almost as a necessary part of their condition, almost as health, the real feeling of which they have well-nigh forgotten in their sometimes fifteen or twenty years of suffering, and they can scarcely bring themselves to believe that these accessory symptoms, these greater or lesser deviations from the healthy state, can have any connection with their principal malady.

One of the major issues with case taking and analysis is the mistake of thinking a symptom comprises of:

  • Location
  • Sensation
  • Modality
  • concomitant.

This is not the reality. a COMPLETED symptom comprises only of:

  1. Location
  2. Sensation
  3. Modality

On this basis then, a CONCOMITANT is a complete symptom which itself comprises of these three parts. It is this/these symptom/s that is present during/with/alternating) with the main complaint which often determines the choice of remedy/ies to consider during an analysis and OFTEN is the key to the prescription. Use of a concomitant determines the CASE.

Aphorism 95 makes this very clear.

 

Julian Winston at the 2000 NCH conference……

……….Outlining the development of the first repertory by Bonninghausen in 1832, he brought the past and present together with a quote from a letter from Hahnemann to Bonninghausen, dated December 26, 1834, where Hahnemann says: “Even if the homeopathician perceive that the repertory is insufficient for finding the best remedy for every case of disease, nevertheless, they calm down when they have such an overview in their hands, and even believe with some probability to be able to dispense with sources, and they don’t buy them and use them.”

So even at that time, 166 years ago, Hahnemann expressed concern that people were using the repertory as a shortcut to finding the remedy, without bothering to look further in the materia medica for the remedy.

After Bonninghausen’s repertory came the Jahr Repertory in 1834. I was amazed to learn that the Lippe Repertory in 1879 was the first new repertory in 45 years. It was this repertory of Lippe that was further modified by E.J. Lee (who published the Mind section in 1889) and that eventually formed the conceptual base of Kent’s Repertory in 1897.

Winston briefly discussed a few other repertories that appeared at the time of Kent—the Concordance of Gentry (in six volumes), the Symptom Register of T.F. Allen, and the Repertory of the Guiding Symptoms compiled by Calvin B. Knerr.
     The most important point that Winston made was the need to see the repertory as a flawed tool that should not always be taken at face value.

To stress this point, he mentioned several examples, but the one that really struck me was the rubric in Kent’s Repertory, “Mind, Fear, destination, of being unable to reach his,” and the single remedy it contains: Lycopodium. “Someone on the lyghtforce [e-mail] list asked if this was a proving symptom, so I searched it out,” said Winston. He found it in Allen’s Encyclopedia under “Generals.” The symptom is: “Weariness and exhaustion while walking, so that he feared that he would be unable to reach his destination, at 5 p.m. (twenty-first day).” That is very different than that which one would understand from the rubric in Kent.

Stephen Messer, ND, who was in the audience, mentioned that he once looked for the original symptom for the rubric in the Synthesis Repertory, “Mind, seasons, autumn, mental symptoms aggravate in.” He said he found the original symptom in Allen: “Feeling of sadness and some disposition to tears, caused by an impression that he was soon to die and leave his friends; disposition to take a sad view of the beauties of autumn.” Once again, the original symptom appears to be quite different than one would understand from the repertory rubric.

So it is important to verify the rubric in the original sources—the provings. But there is even another problem doing that. We know that many of the provings done with crude (non-potentized) doses contained both a primary action and a secondary action—for example, the wakefulness of Coffea is followed by sleepiness. Both primary and secondary actions are contained in the proving. Yet Kent did not differentiate between these in his repertory. One of the comments that Winston shared from Dr. Gypser is that if you prescribe using the symptoms of the secondary action, you’ll get a palliation but not a cure. So to make the repertory even more accurate as a tool for prescribing, one has to go through it and take out (or at least mark) the secondary action symptoms.

This then leads to a closer look at the provings themselves. Were the provers really healthy? Hahnemann’s son Friedrich had a back injury as a child and was deformed as a result. What symptoms do we get from Friedrich in his provings? Vertigo and backache!

Winston quoted a discussion he had with Frans Vermeulen where Vermeulen mentioned that the remedy Origanum was proved on 17-year-old girls in a boarding school and “of course they would have a ‘desire for boys.'”

When looking at the repertory, one should look at the symptom and try to first find where it came from (by going to the original sources) and then decide if it is reliable.

Commenting upon how the repertories are getting bigger and bigger, Winston quoted the English homeopath Nhoj Eel, who suggested that, “If we extrapolate the number of these additions which will appear over the next 50 years against book size we can see that by the year 2050 we can confidently expect the new repertory size to be 9 foot by 6 foot by 3 foot. Either this, or the repertory will remain Kent-sized and come complete with a microscope.”Although offered as a tongue-in-cheek commentary, there is certainly a grain of truth in it.

We should be cautious about additions, and we should be aware of the shortcomings of the original—since all the newer repertories—Synthesis, Complete, and Phoenix—derive from Kent’s Repertory.

Winston, once again, impressed me with his encyclopedic knowledge which appears so effortless to access. It was an informative and entertaining presentation.

Time to go home and start looking at my Kent Repertory with new eyes!

Thoughts………..

……………………………………………………….When old ideas which are antithetical to Homeopathy (as defined by its founder) are promoted as the latest developments in the art, leaders may well feel obliged to speak up. and wonder, “…rather should we experiment and test what is true and effective in Homeopathy today?” I can’t resist responding to this question with another question: has something about disease and healing so fundamentally changed that today’s Homeopathy must be different from that of previous eras? What was this event, when did the change occur, and how must Homeopathy therefore change?

He asks, “how do we ‘know’ the medicinal action of homeopathic drugs?” and whether the Organon’s principles remain verifiably true. Many seem to be unclear about the

 

meaning and importance of Hahnemann’s inductive logic, relative to “other ways of knowledge.” The implication is that these principles are simply one man’s ideas, to be tested and improved in the course of time, along with the ideas of many other theorists and thinkers.

I would respectfully suggest that these concerns show a failure to grasp the true stature of this man and his work, and the extent to which recorded experience has long since verified his teachings.

Inductive logic makes Homeopathy unique

Inductive methods are indeed valued over others in Homeopathy, due to Hahnemann’s awareness of the long history of false hopes and dead ends in medical approaches which relied on other sources of knowledge such as deduction and intuition. The very relentlessness that makes his chastisements sound so harsh also drove him to painstakingly work out an inductive approach to healing which differs in logical type from any other before or since.

This fundamental distinction is the basis of its superiority over the standard medicine of his day (and of our own), and the reason that repeated attempts to amend it, lacking the inductive foundation, have never been acceptable as extensions of his work. Some ask whether “…we must reject and denounce the premises of Electroacupuncture by Voll, radionics, medical psychics, Jung, Whitmont, shamans, and Rife as folly and quackery?” I think the best response here is to quote Jesus: “By their fruits you shall know them.” Many traditions and individuals have touched on certain aspects of the territory, and of course conventional medicine has accumulated masses of fragmentary data.

Homeopathy, however, offers us something qualitatively unique: a comprehensive map including a system of principles that illuminates the energetic basis of disease and health, sets out an effective method of removing illness, provides a way to understand the process, and applies to every curable case.

200 years after Hahnemann’s discoveries, persistent and skillful application of homeopathic principles will still lead to genuine cures. If we know and understand the value of this system, if our work is Homeopathy, we are ethically obliged to rely on the principles, and on trustworthy information derived from them, rather than on intuition or hypothesis. Judges are bound to follow the law and the principles of justice, navigators must use the compass and map, and homeopaths must apply the truths of the Organon

The “advances” and “innovations” in question do not build on the principles, but ignore and contradict them. Hahnemann was well-acquainted with the medical hypotheses of his day, which included the doctrine of signatures and the use of compound chemical medicines chosen for the presumed activity of their constituents. He clearly repudiated both of these ideas as clinically unreliable and logically inconsistent with the empirical foundations of Homeopathy. This is not string theory, nor rocket science—it is more like trying to use mud and thatch to build a new wing onto a structure made of marble and granite.

“…in many published cases as demonstrated by Scholten and Sankaran, successful prescriptions were made of a combination salt such as Natrum arsenicum based on the indications of its constituent elements, rather than its recorded provings. How is this not inductive reasoning similar to that of Hahnemann?” This is an example, rather, of deduction—attempting to deduce the properties an unknown remedy from those of two others which have been proven, rather than building step by step on observation, from the ground up, as required by the inductive method Hahnemann taught. For instance, Calcarea sulphuricum and Hepar sulph. are both remedies containing sulphur and calcium; we know about their respective medicinal properties only through provings. “Synthetic prescribing” was unsound

 

when Kent proposed it 100 years ago, and it is still an instance of putting the theoretical cart before the empirical horse. “Hahnemann indeed provided us a true compass to find our way in healing humanity.

Though the principles of Homeopathy he expounded are not broken and are still reliable, it isappropriate to question their immutability and infallibility.” This passage strikes me as contradictory. Either the principles are reliable and fully proven, or not. How does one see it—“broke,” or “don’t need fixing”? Does the compass need to be verified again at each use, or can we count on it tomorrow, as we did yesterday?

The lure of novelty

Why has Homeopathy’s history been so marked by recurring conflicts between strict Hahnemannians and those who wish to redefine and transform the discipline? I suspect that there are three major factors which motivate the advocates of transformation: the search for short cuts, the creative urge, and self-promotion. None of these motivations are evil or unusual, but each puts “the physician’s high and only mission” at grave risk. Better education for homeopaths, grounded in the principles and promoting critical thinking and high standards, is urgently needed to act as a restraining influence on these natural tendencies. As a culture, we are entranced with newness. We confuse novelty with significance, knowledge and cleverness with understanding. We expect constant updates and revisions, the periodic appearance of revolutionary new paradigms replacing all that came before. The impact of this obsession is at least as problematic for Homeopathy as for other areas of science, technology, and the arts. While the data of Homeopathy will continue to be updated and revised, its foundation ofessential principles is deeply rooted in the bedrock of Creation. The law of similars, proving of medicines, potentization, single remedy, minimum dose, hierarchy of symptoms, miasmatic basis of disease—there’s very little need to revisit these points. We can count on them.

Evaluating Symptoms

It rained in Palma Mallorca yesterday. I took a long walk in it to remind me of what Im heading back to.

The rain gave me time to think about how to explain Hahnemanns methodology in ascertaining prescribing symptoms through his instructions in the Organon. It is very clear in each section (aphorism) but it is not until ALL the instructions are put together and looked at collectively, does it become absolutely clear for each case.

What needs to be clarified is the true meaning of aphorism 153:

“In this search for a homoeopathic specific remedy, that is to say, in this comparison of the collective symptoms of the natural disease with the list of symptoms of known medicines, in order to find among these an artificial morbific agent corresponding by similarity to the disease to be cured, the more striking, singular, uncommon and peculiar (characteristic) signs and symptoms of the case of disease are chiefly and most solely to be kept in view; for it is more particularly these that very similar ones in the list of symptoms of the selected medicine must correspond to, in order to constitute it the most suitable for effecting the cure. The more general and undefined symptoms: loss of appetite, headache, debility, restless sleep, discomfort, and so forth, demand but little attention when of that vague and indefinite character, if they cannot be more accurately described, as symptoms of such a general nature are observed in almost every disease and from almost every drug.”

Only by keeping this in mind whilst looking at the other instructions given in the Organon can we see what we are looking for in selecting symptoms for prescribing. When I got back from my walk in the rain, I spent a couple of hours putting together a lecture for the Seville Seminar in October explaining this…..

Members of the I.H.M. in the main use the Therapeutic Pocket Book of Boenninghausen, The reason for this is because Boenninghausen managed to create the perfect tool to facilitate Hahnemanns methodology in case taking. This again will be explained in detail at the seminar.

Latest news

It has been a strange month. The seminar season started well and hopefully will continue, however on another level, the plans to expand physically into Spain have hit a stumbling block. Firstly, the world economic situation is much worse than most realise, and the sponsorship we had in place has been put on hold for at least 12 months.

The I.H.M. have opened the International Register for Hahnemannian Homoeopathic Practitioners. The I.H.M is not making a political organisation out of the Register. It will just be a list of practitioners some who hold medical qualifications and some who do not, but whom practice in the Hahnemannian method. Currently there is no charge for this service. The Register link can be found at the top of the front page.

Today is a festival day here in Mallorca and everything is closing early. Im currently enjoying cafe con leche and an ensaimada. A little overcast today but a welcome relief from the 34C weather of the last 2 weeks.

Apologies for the lack of posts, issues with internet and time and many meetings. Next week we will be able to catch up.

Miasmatic thoughts by Richard Pitcairn

……………..when M. Barré, the umbrella-maker, came for his first consultation the day after a major attack of epilepsy, still suffering from smaller convulsive attacks in its wake, Hahnemann treated him with Valerian every two hours for two days during the acute attacks, then with Cuprum every two hours. When these attacks had subsided he began to treat the underlying case with Sulphur, followed by a series of remedies in response to the emerging symptom picture, and finally with Sulphur again for some weeks. He succeeded in completely eliminating the problem….”
“When Mme Rougier came with lancinating pains around the heart and continuous palpitations, Hahnemann prescribed Causticum every hour in the first instance, followed by Pulsatilla and Valerian and only went on to Sulphur when this condition had improved a little. When M. Dupart came for treatment in the middle of a gonorrheal discharge, Hahnemann gave him Cannabis immediately. Only when the acute symptoms had subsided did he begin to treat the underlying case with Sulphur. When M. Voisin de Gartempe consulted him, speaking darkly of domestic vexations, perpetual anxiety, melancholy, discontent with himself and thoughts of suicide, Hahnemann gave him Staphysagria immediately and, when it did not help, went on quickly to Aurum.”
This quick overview gives us, perhaps, an idea of how Hahnemann used homeopathy in his later years. It might be interesting to add what he did not do. He did not prescribe on the healthy characteristics of his patient, their likes and dislikes, preferences and so on. These expressions of individual personality were put aside in preference for the symptoms of illness. “He prescribed largely on the basis of pathological symptoms, and the patient’s physical pathology was taken fully into account and not regarded as subsidiary.”
He did not give special significance to psychological symptoms. “Although in the Organon he wrote eloquently about the importance of such symptoms, he also stated clearly that this was because they tended to be more characteristic than others, not because they were psychological symptoms as such