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Reinventing the wheel
Reinventing the wheel – Spring 2002
This letter to the editor appeared in 'Simillimum' (Spring 2002, Vol.XV No.1, 9-14),the Journal of the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians(Wright. It is presented here with kind permission.
It is indicated to the importance of a solid education in homoeopathy, there are a lotof deficiencies in today's education.
A prescription based on conjecture and theory is - even if it heals - not homeoopathy,this is question of definition, if it is a duck, call it a duck.
Today's homoeopaths want to invent the wheel once more, there is a lot of self-promotion in it, it is better to hold to the Organon of Hahnemann.
Reinventing the wheel
Concerning the point and counterpoint between Dr. Mathieu and Dr. Wright: Dr. Wright hasstated most of the sentiments necessary to respond to Dr. Mathieu’s letter, as well as clearlyand diplomatically articulating the issues.
I would like to add the following. Consider the various schools and programs that teachHomeopathy, Bastyr University included. If you look at their catalogs, you will notice thatstudents take only a few courses in Homeopathy, herbology, acupuncture, etc., at Bastyr andother ND programs. It is a smattering of each subject, more like an exploratory program thana study of each method. There are other schools which have much more intensive trainingexclusively in Homeopathy.
The same issue applies to the NCH’s program, which is limited to MDs or licensed medicalprofessionals. If I understand the NCH’s literature, the program is 160 hours, which is theequivalent of six months of college courses, two courses at a time. This is also too limited.
And, as many licensed medical professionals practicing Homeopathy have pointed out, theirmedical training does very little for their ability to practice Homeopathy.It’s a misconceptionto think that just because someone is a doctor, therefore she or he can easily practiceHomeopathy.
This is because Homeopathy is not a specialty! Homeopathy is ist own medical art.
Homeopathy has its own philosophy of health and disease, which is at odds with conventionalmedicine.
The following analogy holds true for acupuncture as well as Homeopathy. A few courses willnot cut it. Several years of study in the discipline alone are necessary, followed by severalyears of practice. To be good at Homeopathy as well as acupuncture requires about 10 yearsof study, supervised clinical practice, and clinical practice. There are programs that requireentire semesters just studying remedies, an entire year studying homeopathic philosophy, andentire semesters just studying casetaking techniques, extracting themes, and rubrics. Twosemesters will not cut it. There has to be required readings. In addition, it takes time to readthrough and digest the Organon, Chronic Diseases,
Kent’s Lectures on HomeopathicPhilosophy,
and other works.
For example, a colleague of mine, a massage therapist, attended a five-week seminar in Indiawith experienced homeopaths. She saw these homeopaths treat serious diseases which shethought had to go to an emergency room and ICU wards. Certainly, in the States, those caseswould have gone to an emergency room. Yet, these homeopaths gave a remedy and said,
Reinventing the wheel – Spring 2002
“Come back next week to follow up.” And these patients did very well! This massagetherapist made a decision at that time that Homeopathy is so vast and broad that a five-weekcourse is not going to do. She realized that it would require years of study, to which she didnot want to commit at the time.
The lack of necessary training comes through in the quality of care, and is also seen in thepresentation of cases. Many of the cases that I have read, in many publications, seem topresent guessing games, uncertainty, low doses, and uncalled-for repetition of doses. Theseare not the principles in the Organon.
And the principles of the Organon,
matching symptomsto symptoms, are the basis of Homeopathy!
To clarify, cases often do not clearly present even a misguided argument for a remedy bymatching verifiable symptoms in the patient with symptoms in a remedy. There is a mixtureof dream therapy, dream imagery, archetypes, possibly plausible psychoanalysis of thepatient, extrapolated imagery, but not cold hard facts. There can be hard facts topsychoanalysis: repetition of words can be one indicator, a pattern of behavior with repetitiveincidents is a very important indicator, as well as dreams, if recurrent and clearly indicating anemotion. When a physical symptom is aggravated by an emotion, that is definitely asignificant emotional symptom!
And what about the physicals? Even though the mentals are very important, the physicals arenot to be forgotten! I do not get that from many cases that I read or see presented, but rather awishy-washy, airy-fairy, newage, “Maybe this is the patient’s makeup.”
That’s not Homeopathy. Even if it works, it isn’t Homeopathy.
This is not to say that other healing modalities do not work or should not be used. I am a bigfan of, “If it works, use it!” But “it” may not be Homeopathy. And, if it’s a duck, call it aduck!
This is true inside as well as outside the profession. By what right do acupuncturists have theright to administer (to prescribe, in plain English) homeopathic remedies, while professionalhomeopaths cannot? Can professional homeopaths just go around sticking needles intopeople, or applying pressure to “points” on the body? After all, I can buy a book onacupuncture, and have a meridian chart on my wall, or a doll on my desk.
The mark of the classical homeopath has always been considering all the symptoms, giving
high potencies (C, M, and LM, the infinitesimal dose), single doses, and no theories. If
someone says she or he is a classical homeopath, then they should practice what they preach
and truth in advertising. A homeopath should follow the guidebook of Homeopathy, theOrganon.
Also, a classical homeopath will use high doses and single doses, because they
work. Classical homeopaths should know that high potencies work, because they should have
done some provings on themselves, as Hahnemann recommends in the Organon.
article about Aloe
in the last issue.) Hering gave a dose of Aloe
because the patient
experienced the same symptoms that Hering had, when he proved it. As Hahnemann clearly
states in the Organon,
doses should be repeated only when symptoms return, if the original
prescription was effective, and there was some kind of contradicting cause.
Hahnemann observed the phenomenon, like cures like, for decades and transcribed hisobservations. He explains it in detail. It behooves anyone who calls himself a homeopath tofollow Hahnemann’s teachings. Even though Hahnemann didn’t have a patent, he developedthe process. If people want to credit themselves with someone else’s work, they should followthe original process.
When people talk to me about MD homeopaths, I always want to ask, what does your MDhomeopath do for bronchitis, or anthrax? Does he take penicillin and Cipro, or Phosphorus
30C and Anthracinum
200C? Does he vaccinate his children, or use homeopathic remedies?
Reinventing the wheel – Spring 2002
Does he feel he can cure an ovarian tumor with a homeopathic remedy, or must he operate? Ishe the kind of homeopath that knows by laboratory experiment that Homeopathy works, i.e.
proving a remedy on himself? Does he give entire tubes of remedies for asthma, or the singledose?
Provings do not have to necessarily be done for new remedies only. Student homeopathsshould do provings of polycrests and other remedies to feel what the symptoms are like andhow remedies work. Is there any better way to know what a remedy does than proving theremedy? Reading is good, but a proving will make it stick in the mind! The provings don’thurt. They simply strengthen the constitution. Does Hahnemann not say all this in theOrganon?
Yet, how many student homeopaths have themselves done provings of regularlyprescribed remedies?
The true art of Homeopathy is matching the symptoms of the patient to the remedy andposology. Posology was something that Hahnemann did not complete in his lifetime. If wewant to constructively use our creativity and add refinements, we can further polish the studyof the phenomenon of “like cures like.” We can prove more remedies. We can better definethe symptoms of remedies, especially polycrests. That is what Sankaran has done in hisworks. We can, and have, developed better guidelines for posology. Obviously, there weresome areas of Homeopathy left open, particularly posology. This is clear, because theOrganon
went through six editions. But most of the ground work has been done and shouldn’tbe tampered with, certainly not for the sake of self-promotion. In my opinion, self-promotionis the cause of most of the theorists with new improved “wheels.”
Sadly, modern Homeopathy or homeopaths can be bashed quite justifiably by doctors andquackbusters for the very same reasons that people get into Homeopathy and bash doctors!Egotism and greed have no place in the medical profession. The practice of medicine is noplace to “milk” people for money. No one has the right to think that they can definitely cureanything. Certainly, no one has the right to think that they can cure everything! And no oneshould present themselves or Homeopathy as the panacea.
Some modern homeopaths present the university syndrome—“If you don’t publish everyyear, you’re dead.” (You won’t be reappointed to your position, etc.) There seems to be somekind of need to improve the wheel, to demonstrate who is better, and to massage egos. To bebetter, homeopaths must increase their success rate. Knowing materia medica and perfectingadherence to the Organon’s
principles will both help increase a homeopath’s success rate.
Is Homeopathy being promoted? Or, is some new wunderheilungshaft
being promoted toeither enrich a practice or inflate an ego?
I understand everyone needs to make a living and has to promote his or her practice and skillsto do so. Does this mean promoting unique innovations? Or promoting a competenthomeopath who adheres to the guidelines of the Organon?
There are many good lectures being given and books being put out by dedicated homeopathsexpounding on homeopathic philosophy, clinical experiences with remedies and provings ofnew remedies. Unfortunately, some works are tainted with arrogance, which casts doubt upontheir dedication.
Our goal is to heal the sick
Dr. Wright’s explanation about Hahnemann’s deductive logical approach to medicine is 100%on target. In fact, Hahnemann was even more scientific than even modern medicine.
Hahnemann’s work, the Organon,
is timeless. Hahnemann dealt only with what he saw in theclinic and could repeat. He spent years doing research; he denied theories, most dramaticallythe doctrine of signatures. His work is logical, well-laid-out, and systematic. His approach isobviously scientific. In my opinion, Hahnemann was following Bacon to the tee.
Reinventing the wheel – Spring 2002
Do we know how Homeopathy works? In the sense that we cannot give a chemical equation
or explanation, we cannot explain Homeopathy. But we can explain the existence of a natural
phenomenon, like cures like,
and rules and guidelines for applying that phenomenon to
healing. It is not conjecture. It can be repeated under laboratory circumstances.
Hahnemann advances this approach by stating that the phenomenon is “energetic.” In myopinion, Hahnemann did not mean bioelectric, as George Vithoulkas likes to explainHomeopathy. Rather, “energetic” means exactly what Hahnemann says. There is some kind ofcause and effect between the remedy and the human body which we cannot explain. However,the relationship exists, just like magnetism which was one of the first phenomena of fields andenergy to be studied, followed by electricity and then atomics. Magnetism was also theanalogy that Hahnemann used in the Organon,
to describe how homeopathic remedies work.
The basic definition of a field and energy is that a force which cannot be seen is generated bysomething, and will cause work, as defined by physics, i.e. moving some other object over adistance, to take place.
You cannot improve upon the wheel. A circle is a circle. There is nothing you can do toimprove upon its beauty, simplicity or natural laws. Just as Euclid’s work cannot beimproved, so too Hahnemann’s work cannot be improved upon. Hahnemann discovered anatural law. Can you improve upon a sunset? You can paint it, but can you improve it? Therewill always be 360 degrees in a circle, any circle that circumscribes a triangle will have 360degrees, and the angles of the triangle will always have 360 degrees. Because it appears thathomeopaths are trying to improve upon a natural law, I get the impression that self-promotionis a very important point that has to be considered even more. A material dose of humilitywould do the profession good, especially with these improvements on the circle.
The only things we can “improve” upon, or alter, are the theories, the assumptions, thepostulates. How many lines parallel to a line pass through a point not on the line? One, none,many? How many postulates are in the Organon?
Very, very few, almost none.
Another area that is open to homeopaths today is scholarly work on the history ofHomeopathy. This work, including articles published in Simillimum,
that discusses the historyof Hahnemann’s research, the differences between the editions of the Organon,
and thesubtleties and various meanings that different translations impart, is all very necessary for theunderstanding of homeopathic principles and good Homeopathy. These articles are veryenlightening and broaden the understanding of the Organon
as well as the teachings of manyother homeopaths. Studying the work, including case histories, of successful homeopathssheds a lot of light upon how to practice successfully. There are also other areas that need tobe studied and put into perspective.
In sum, it would behoove the profession to do what Hahnemann said in the Organon,
paragraph 1 and its footnotes. Work with what is real, rather than produce theories usingfancy words that nobody understands; come to the realization that the body is too complex forus to understand. Therefore, we should use an immutable natural law to cure the sick.
Unfortunately, the profession, with the bioelectric theories, the Zwitteronic complexsubstance theories, and other theories is doing exactly what Hahnemann disagreed with.
Research is nice, but when it comes to curing the sick, stick to the facts and use what works:like cures like, and other principles listed in the Organon.
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