Tag Archives: hahnemann

LM posology

By Vera Resnick

I have recently been asked about changing potencies in LMs, with people mentioning using odd numbers, even numbers, going up in steps of 2 potencies (LM1 – LM3 – LM5) etc.

I came across this issue before I started studying with David Little, from a post he wrote on the Minutus list, sometime around 2005.  He mentioned that while most people do just fine on a series of ascending potencies (LM1 – LM2 – LM3 etc.) he had noticed that some seem to do better on odd or even numbers of dilutions or succussions.  He also noted that Hahnemann didn’t always start with LM 1.

There are two issues in play here, in my view.

The first is the risk of putting theory before experience.  The beauty of homoeopathy is that Hahnemann first observed, then developed a way of harnessing the power of the similar stronger artificial disease without harming the patient, and  what he thought was the most probable explanation for what he was observing.  In Aphorism 28 (and elsewhere), Hahnemann sets out the basis for his thinking on experience versus explanations of how something happens:

“As this natural law of cure manifests itself in every pure experiment and every true observation in the world, the fact is consequently established; it matters little what may be the scientific explanation of how it takes place; and I do not attach much importance to the attempts made to explain it.  But the following view seems to commend itself as the most probable one, as it is founded on premises derived from experience.”

The second issue is the sensitivity of the patient, something that is difficult to assess ahead of time.  In Aphorism 278 Hahnemann explains that individual sensitivity can’t be deduced through “fine-spun reasoning” or “specious sophistry.”  In order to learn the appropriate dose, “pure experiment, careful observation of the sensitiveness of each patient and accurate experience can alone determine this in each individual case…”

To my mind it comes down to “specious sophistry” if we adopt a theory of odds and evens, where there is no solid backing for the theory, or to apply it and then say it worked – especially when there is a body of material showing that many patients do well just going up through the potency scale.  On the other hand, some patients do especially well on a particular potency, but we cannot know if it was the potency itself or if the improvement was built up by the work of the previous potencies and only manifested itself with the current one.

And furthermore – although it is natural to look for protocols, for theories which provide rules for action which can be employed in every case, we will then have moved away from the individualization of the patient, and of the patient’s sensitivity.

In my own experience, many patients do very well going up the scale, some seem to advance more with specific potencies in the scale, and if the remedy is going to help it is usually already visible in the patient’s response to LM1.

However, looking for a pattern in the sensitivity of individual patients and developing theories to govern posology rather than drawing on pure experiment, careful observation and accurate experience on an individual case-by-case basis seems to be a case of putting the dazzling cart of theory in front of the plodding hardworking horse of experience.  Specious to say the least.

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“I knew that…” – the agonies of unlearning

By Vera Resnick

I knew that…

This is something I and other IHM practitioners often hear, or see on people’s faces when we talk about homoeopathy to homoeopaths. I can feel the thought echoing through the ether (so to speak…) when I write about homoeopathy to homoeopaths.

However, to warp an old idiom, knowing is as knowing does. If you really knew that – why don’t you do that?

Let’s start with the first basic tenet of homoeopathy: like cures like. Continue reading

What has changed, or constitution? Aphorisms 5 and 6 revisited

By Vera Resnick

James Tyler Kent

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.

P&W book edition – reviewed

By Vera Resnick

v11I recently received my copy of P&W’s book version of the Therapeutic Pocketbook. And I must admit, it was love at first sight, and second, and third…

I must own up to being old fashioned. However much computers may have helped us in referencing many books, in finding correct rubrics, in the process of repertorization – it has reduced us to a bunch of small-screen addicts with heavy-duty tunnel vision.

One of the central flaws of science, replicated in the use of a computerized repertory, is that we determine what we’re looking for, and we look for it. Peripheral vision becomes irrelevant. Apart from synonyms, which can sometimes be useful, either what we’re looking for is there – or it isn’t. Anything interesting that may be lurking in the background becomes effectively invisible. Our gaze is honed in to what we’re looking for, what we find, and then to a search for alternative expressions of what we’re looking for.

I invite you now, if you will, to put down the mouse (or take your finger off the touch pad) and pick up the nearest book (no, no, a Kindle absolutely does not count). Flip through the pages without even looking for anything. Do you notice some ideas as you do so, some words that just jump out at you? If you’re doing this with a homoeopathic text, or something that interests you, you may even find yourselves noticing things you want to go back to, look at in more depth. It’s true – this can happen on the computer, but it’s a much easier process when you know what you’re looking for is sitting in your hand within the pages of the book you’re holding, and is not something you’re going to have to hunt through your browsing history to get at.

Tunnel vision is considered a problem because we are hard-wired to give importance to peripheral vision, although as a race we seem hell-bent on destroying any abilities we have in that area. We are programmed to notice something that is moving which should be still, something that has a different colour, a different shape, and our brains process a tremendous amount of information beyond that which lies in our direct focus.

The new P&W book allows us to do both. On the one hand, the book is quite large in terms of page size and lettering, and all sections are very clearly presented. When I’m looking for something specific, it’s very easy to find it. On the other hand – as I leaf through the Cough section looking for sweetish expectoration, I cannot help but notice all the other forms of expectoration appearing on the page. As I take a broader look at the page, I cannot help but notice how frequently Phos and Puls seem to stand out in their four point bold capitals, and notice the incidence of other remedies in these rubrics too. Looking at the page on Leucorrhea, I find myself wondering why I’m seeing much less of the Sepia I expect, and more of Mercury and other remedies to think about.

The point I’m trying to make is that while you can turn every computerized repertory search into a learning experience if you choose to do so, a hard copy book search will bring things to your attention just by looking through the book’s pages.

Another plus of the book is that it brings the Concordances section into focus and allows for clearer study and use of that section in repertorisation and case management.

The editors have kept their intervention to a minimum, and thus I know what I hold in my hands is faithful to Boenninghausen’s 1846 Therapeutic Pocketbook. To quote from the editor’s introduction:

“…We translated from the original German of the published first edition and had use of the handwritten printer’s edition in Boenninghausen’s own hand. We translated each rubric to bring it into modern English but retained the original meaning of each word and sentence…” P&W’s Synopsis program also has the original German edition, so it is possible to check back to the original rubrics as desired…”

Since I wrote most of the above, my software was knocked out by my antivirus gone rogue. Until I worked out the problem, which ultimately was easy to resolve, I was dependent on the book – and extremely relieved that I had it at hand. I think that for those of us who work constantly with computer software, having a hard copy which offers a faithful non-electricity non-computer dependent version is crucial for those days when nothing is working properly.

 

 

The book is available from ed@instituteforhomoeopathicmedicine.com

Drop an email and he will invoice you via PAYPAL for $85 plus delivery, usuallyabout $10.

 

Viewed through proving – a mystery

Ladies and gentlemen – a mystery. Not really, but I’d like you to look at the symptoms below before scrolling down, and think what remedy proving they belong to.

– Anxiety, thinks he will be ruined (aft. 1 h..).
– Anxiety in the region of the heart, with suicidal impulse, and feeling of inclination to vomit in the scrobiculus cordis.
– Trembling anxiety, as if about to die (aft. 1 h.).
– Anxious solicitude about his health.
– Restless state of the disposition, as if he did not do his duty properly (aft. 18 h.).
– Extreme hesitancy.
– Neglect of his business, hesitancy, sobbing respiration and loss of composure.
– Sometimes he wants to do one thing, sometimes another, and when he is given something to do, he will not do it (aft. 10 h.).
– Dull, cross, very chilly.
– Sullen, lachrymose, anxious. [Stf.]
– He is very silent. [Fr. H-n.]
– He hesitates in his speech; it vexes him to have to answer.
– Everything disgusts him; everything is repugnant to him.
– Her head is so quiet and all about her is so empty as if she were alone in the house and in the world: she does not wish to talk to anyone, just as if all around her were no concern of hers and she belonged to nobody. Continue reading

Sepia, storytelling and delusional seductions

fairy story

By Vera Resnick

Now you tell me, which of the following is more interesting:

“Sepia is suited to tall, slim women with narrow pelvis and lax fibers and muscles; such a woman is not well built as a woman… the remedy seems to abolish the ability to feel natural love, to be affectionate… she may even be estranged and turned aside from those she loves. This is on the border land of insanity… (Kent’s lectures)”

or:

Sepia is suited to all men and women who exhibit symptoms pertaining to that remedy, to be determined first with reference to the proving and subsequently to other materia medicas. (VR et al, 2015)

Continue reading

Restrictions during homoeopathic treatment – in Hahnemann’s words

By Vera Resnick

 

han2Reading Hahnemann is often a bracing experience. When I read his thoughts, which he expresses so succinctly and sharply, I find myself looking at my practice and wondering… Hahnemann’s introduction to China offers many expressions of the bracing sort… This particular subject, relating to medications and lifestyle of the patient while in treatment , appears in Hahnemann’s notes on his proving of China. Continue reading

Pathological desires in homoeopathy…

By Vera Resnick

But is it part of the disease state?

But is it part of the disease state?

A recent sample case showed a patient who said he kept wanting to move – even though he knew it would hurt him. When and how should we use such symptoms?

In this case the patient had dislocated his shoulder. He stated a constant desire to move even though movement was painful for him. Continue reading

Viewed through proving: Opium aggravates

Most of Opium’s proving symptoms can be summarized very simply in the following words: Opium aggravates.

The best overview of this remedy is that which Hahnemann gives in the introduction to the proving – so here it is. Go on, read the whole thing. You know you can do it. For those who get bored quickly, look for an important prescribing tip in the text relating to how to prescribe Opium effectively homoeopathically for pain relief.

Read on! Continue reading

Viewed through Proving: The Perfidious Poppy

red poppies

“It is much more difficult to estimate the action of opium than of almost any other drug.”

By Vera Resnick

You may already be familiar with my penchant for tables.  There’s a quote below which in usual unwieldy translation of originally unwieldy German is difficult to read.  Here’s the information in table form, and then read the quote: Continue reading