Questions that have been asked regarding homoeopathy

The following article, posted by Gary Weaver on the main IHM site, sheds light and clarity on issues which are constantly confused, sometimes among homeopaths and frequently among the general public:

What is Psora?

220px-hahnemannPsora is Hahnemanns model for a disease process stemming from a singular root. Hahnemann considered it as the most common ailment to affect mankind. He also made the point that it was acquired by INFECTION and therefore was not transferred by hereditary.  A full and thorough examination of the medical models of Psora Sycosis and Syphilis is conducted in the IHM Advanced training course. It is not a disease per se, it is a process via infection and the resultant sequela.

What are Homoeopathic remedies?

Homoeopathic remedies are medicines. They are powerful substances that should not be given except when required in a particular circumstance for a set of matching symptoms in a disease state to aid the immune system to overcome the illness.

Schuesslers Tissue Salts.

Not homoeopathy. Not based on proper evaluation or proving protocol. Dangerous if misused.

Remedy repetition, alternation of remedies and changes of remedies.

Sadly, a lot of information on the web is incorrect. Remedies should always be given in water, not repeated whilst a curative action is taking place, and not alternated morning and night. Remedies are given on a totality basis and when that totality changes, only then should the remedy be changed. Also, whilst under the action of a remedy, symptoms may change, HOWEVER a change of remedy should not be thought of unless the disease picture changes, not just a single symptom. Qualification of this statement is discussed in the advanced training course.

Use of remedies.

They should not be used to ‘boost’ the immune system and should always be used sparingly and just enough to let the body do the work. The totality of symptoms is not the same as the totality of all the symptoms of the disease. (Aph 6, 153 and Aph 253). It is hard enough for a trained physician to elicit prescribing symptoms so for the home user it is even more difficult. Repetition or change of medicines should be done judiciously, and not using a whole plethora of medicines. Chasing symptoms with medicines will make a person very sick.

Q1/. I have experienced aggravation of the symptoms after taking what seems to be the correct remedy. Itch and headache for example. Is this due to the low potency? I mostly use 30C.

Q1A/ Impossible to qualify in an answer without knowing the problem or whether the remedy is correct. It depends on dose frequency, how is taken and what is termed an aggravation of symptoms.

tpbpwQ2/. When selecting the symptoms of a disease in the TPB, selecting two different areas of the body and two different modalities for the sensation, how does the program recognize which sensation is related to which modality? Or is this irrelevant?

Q2A/. The evaluation model used by Boenninghausen is a synthetic approach which sorts out the relationship of rubrics/symptoms.

Q3/. In a chronic case, how can a homeopath tell how long to continue the first dose and how often?

Q3A/. A dose is a single application of a medicine. Evaluation of its action will be a combination of re-action, changes, and watching carefully. Repeating the dose will be based on the criteria in the Organon.

Q4/. In order to verify that patient has a latent psora, does the physician always have to look for sign of an itch that may have been present only in the past?

Q4A/. The homoeopath does not need to verify this. The totality of symptoms is the only method of prescribing. Most information on the web regarding Psora.Sycosis and Syphilis is totally incorrect therefore treatment of a ‘miasmatic’ disease may be for the wrong miasm. A careful understanding of the medical model may include using Sulphur or Mercurius but will be applied on the basis of symptoms exhibited or suppressed.

Q5/. Should the remedy Warnings always be checked before prescribing?

Q5A/. Given that again, most of the information regarding remedies is incorrect, we have found it best to heed the comments by Hahnemann in his writings on each individual remedy.

Q6/. I remember you saying that one symptom is not a disease. If there are modalities associated with that symptom, is it still a single symptom? Or does the physician have to look for another symptom as well?

Q6A/. A symptom comprises of a location, a sensation and modalities. A symptom for prescribing does not exist without these three components. This is then a complete symptom. It will need the same criteria applied to each symptom considered for evaluation. One symptom does not a case make.

Q7/. I can understand by reading the chronic Diseases that if the itch is suppressed by means of ointments, baths of sulphur or mercury or other modern methods, it can bring about other diseases or symptom. If a symptom of a disease that is not an itch, and it is supressed, can that also act like a psora and bring about another disease or a symptom? What about Syphilis and Sycosis, are they supposed to be treated as Psora?

Q7A/. You understand incorrectly. There is no such thing as ‘a Psora’. Psora is in the medical model a singular disease process from which all expressions of the Psoric disease originate. Suppression on any level will not create a ‘new’ disease, but will produce a different expression of the same disease and possibly of a more dangerous nature due to having to find an alternate outlet. All diseases are treated via the methodology of how the organism reacts to the infecting agent. It is an individualising of the REACTIVE process rather than the infection that guides for a prescription.

Q8/. Lastly which may sound awkward or silly. Can psora be treated and got rid of completely?

Q8A/. I see the disease in question can be removed with treatment. As to removal of Psora completely, I do not think so. A person is always liable to reinfection.

Link to original article

Viewed through proving: IGNATIA’s alternating symptoms

Alternating Ignatia

OK, you prescribed Ignatia.  You’re absolutely sure of the remedy.  You’ve looked at it, repped it, slept on it, thought about it, checked materia medica, checked your patient notes, and you know.  You just do.

You gave the remedy and it did nothing.  Or it aggravated but didn’t seem to do anything interesting, worthwhile or exciting for homoeopathy.  But you were absolutely certain!

Time to look at Hahnemann’s Organon aphorism 251, and (if you can stomach what looks like an 11 line sentence with nary a full stop but lots of commas) the introduction to the proving.  Time to examine Ignatia’s membership in the club of remedies with alternating actions.

Here’s Aphorism 251.  The bold in the text is mine.

“There are some medicines (e.g., Ignatia, also Bryonia and Rhus, and sometimes Belladonna) whose power of altering man’s health consists chiefly in alternating actions – a kind of primary-action symptoms that are in part opposed to each other.

Should the practitioner find, on prescribing one of these, selected on strict homoeopathic principles, that no improvement follows, he will in most cases soon effect his object by giving (in acute diseases, even within a few hours) a fresh and equally small dose of the same medicine.

(Hahnemann’s footnote: As I have more particularly described in the introduction to “Ignatia” (in the first volume of the Materia Medica Pura).)”

And I’ve paraphrased the introduction to the proving to make it readable – with a little literary license :

When Ignatia is used, sometimes the first dose doesn’t help as it’s acting on the disease with its opposite symptoms and not as a similar.  It could even aggravate.  Don’t give any other remedy, just give one more dose of Ignatia in the same dilution.  You’ll get the cure with the second dose. This is probably because of the alternating actions of this amazing remedy. But you won’t see this often, as usually in an acute disease (which is what Ignatia is best for), the first dose will do all it can if it was really homoeopathic to the case. (my version)

Original: (breathe deeply)
“In its employment it sometimes happens, which is seldom the case with other medicines, that where the first dose has not done what was intended, because (for some unknown cause) it first acted on the disease with its opposite symptoms and consequently soon caused an aggravation of the disease in its secondary action, like a palliative remedy, then (without any intermediate medicine having been given in alternation) a second dose of the same dilution can be given with the best curative effect, so that the cure is only obtained by the second dose. This is no doubt owing to the directly opposite symptoms (alternating actions) of this remarkable drug, of which I shall speak further on. But such cases do not often occur, for, as a rule, in an acute disease, the first dose effects all that this medicine can do in a homoeopathic way, if it has been accurately selected according to similarity of symptoms.”

So from Hahnemann’s directions here, we can use Ignatia’s alternating symptoms to understand and manage the progress of a case where we have prescribed Ignatia, are absolutely sure of our prescription, but the remedy doesn’t seem to be doing what we want it to do.

Where can these alternating symptoms be found?  Here are several examples from the proving, taken from Hahnemann’s notes referring to alternating states:

Does stooping low aggravate or ameliorate?

Symptoms  16, 17, 19, 47 and 51  describe situations where the prover must keep his head down, where raising the head will aggravate.
Symptoms 20, 21, 22 and 58  describe situations where stooping aggravates.

Do the pupils dilate or contract?

Symptom 106 describes contracted pupils.
Symptoms 107 and 108 describe pupils that are dilated, and have a tendency to dilate easily.

Is music agreeable to the Ignatia patient or not?

Symptom 120 states that “music causes an uncommon and agreeable sensation”.
Symptom 121 describes “insensibility to music”.

How about sour things or fruit?

According to symptoms 194 and 197, they really like sour things and fruit and do well on it.
But symptoms 193, 196 and 328 imply that it would be best to keep the Ignatia patient far away from the fruit bowl.

What about fears – fearful or fearless?

Symptom 762 says “fears every trifle”, whereas symptom 763 declares – “audacity”.

These are only a few of the alternating states highlighted by Hahnemann in the proving – Hahnemann notes around 25 issues in total.  If we work based on the principle that Ignatia is a remedy with alternating states – it’s very likely that we could see many situations of alternating states that won’t appear in the proving.

Homoeopathy at Wikipedia – research and pathological scepticism

wikipediaI’m often told that there is no research showing the benefits of homoeopathy and much research showing that it is nothing more than placebo at best and pure charlatanism/lunacy at worst.  Of course, those who express such learned opinions usually have no idea what homoeopathy is, and when asked parrot something vague about tiny doses and, on a good day, some garbled version of “cure by similars”.

Wikipedia, the source of information for many of the learned masses, is particularly delinquent in its treatment of homoeopathy.  The following is excerpted from an article by Dana Ullman who tried to rectify the situation in 2014.  Judging from today’s Wikipedia entry on homoeopathy, any such attempts have not yet been successful.  Continue reading

Viewed through repertory: Intellect vs Emotion

I’ve mentioned previously in this blog that I enjoy reading books  in hard copy. When looking at a page, elements and patterns jump out in a way that does not happen when searching for rubrics in software. (The software does provide better screenshots though.)

This article was prompted by casual leafing through Mind symptoms in the P&W hardcopy edition of the Therapeutic Pocketbook.  I was looking at the pages on disposition and intellect, flipping back and forth between the two sections, and noticed that while Belladonna appears frequently in four points in Intellect, it only appears in that grade in the main Mind Disposition rubric, and not in other more emotion-related rubrics. Continue reading

Homoeopathy studies in extremis

hahnemann monument at Leipzig

Hahnemann monument in Leipzig

How long to study homoeopathy?  There are four-year courses which are considered very prestigious.  There are courses of several hours in some countries offered to medical doctors who wish to add some homoeopathic letters to their names – and it might be added here that the extent of instruction is often homoeopathic in terms of the size of the dose, but not necessarily the aptness of the prescription… Continue reading

10 Tips for Homoeopathy Students

Read Primary Sources!

10 Tips for Homoeopathy Students

1.  Read the Organon yourself.  Read Chronic Diseases.  Read Hahnemann and Boenninghausen’s Lesser Writings.  You are not a baby, don’t stick to the pureed version.

2. Never let anything go unchallenged.  Ask why, and if you don’t get answers from your teachers look for them yourself.  This includes everything from the law of similars, to plastic cups, dosing methods, antidotes, choices of remedies, concepts of miasms. Continue reading

Where to study homoeopathy – a dilemma

booksPeople often ask “where’s the best place to study homoeopathy in ……. (fill in town of choice).” I no longer know how to answer. Or more precisely, I know how to answer, but it’s usually not the answer they are looking for.

In the past, I used to be able to give a breakdown of schools in my area which offer a qualification that will be acceptable to the local associations. I myself studied at a “recognized school”. With the world’s direction towards uninformed regulation, it is the associations, the boards, and the schools connected with them that have the best chances of survival.

Qualifications are important. Society shows them respect. They offer some form of validation for what you do. Oh, so you’re a homoeopath? What qualifications do you have? Well yes, I have a …… (fill in string of letters after the name), and I studied with…. (fill in names of many homoeopaths both living and late). So you must be good, right? (at which point, homoeopath gracefully inclines head in modest acknowledgement…)

So here is the difficult question: do you want good qualifications, or do you want to be the best homoeopath you can be? Unfortunately, these goals often don’t overlap.

The underlying principles of homoeopathy are simple and straightforward. When you identify the core principle of “like cures like” and separate it from the doctrine of signatures, for example, when you learn it correctly, it becomes clear that whatever happens to homoeopathic methodology this principle is unchanging, and the nature of the sources of information which enable us to make use of this principle also don’t change.

If someone is open and desires to learn, it would take about a day to teach this – if not less. Here, let’s do it in 5 minutes:

Me: Homoeopathy is based on the principle of like cures like
Fred: What does that mean?
Me: If a substance causes symptoms in a healthy person, it can, and by default will heal similar symptoms in the sick, if nothing is holding it back
Fred: So you give substances to healthy people to find out what symptoms they can cause?
Me: Yes, exactly. What do you think the prescription should be based on?
Fred: Well, I guess they should be based on the symptoms you got from giving substances to healthy people, at least first of all…

QED. I have had this conversation so many times with people who have no idea about homoeopathy, and follow simple logic. It is that central and basic, and unchanging. It is also based on the most boring reading material in the homoeopathic bookcase – provings. Grocery lists of symptoms, many of which you really don’t want anyone reading over your shoulder in a crowded cafe.

How do people practice homoeopathy without ever accessing this basic material? By studying regurgitated material provided by teachers and gurus. Without anchoring the material in the primary proving sources, we are now in the land of hit-and-miss, and have moved very far from ideas of certainty and unchanging principles.

So you can do a fine qualifying course without ever reading a proving. Many such courses are available. “But we give our students a solid foundation in Kent and Phatak,” declare those schools which have not chosen to follow the route to the far more exciting pastures of Sankaran’s sensations and Scholten’s magic minerals and elements. Students emerge from such training equipped to hunt the snark of the Kentian constitutional remedy through endless hours of case-taking, rather than to hone in on prescribing symptoms and exploit the default in nature, the cure by means of similars. (with apologies to Lewis Carroll).

It is possible to find qualifying courses which do not rest on Sankaran and Scholten. But to the best of my knowledge, it is almost impossible to find qualifying courses which are not based on Kent and Phatak.

How about the nature of the work, the “how-to” of homoeopathy? Those who are familiar with my writing know well what’s coming here. The primary “how-to” of homoeopathy is Hahnemann’s Organon, preferably in 6th edition. This is the work where the building bricks of homoeopathy are presented, each logically built on the previous, tracing back to the principle of like cures like.

Many qualifying courses give minimal attention to the Organon, dismissing it to dusty shelves as a philosophical work. I am told that there are courses where the Organon is not taught at all. That’s the same as trying to replicate a scientific experiment while refusing to follow the method set down by the scientist who devised it.

It is the nature of man to look for ways to improve what he is doing. When this is done to principle it is an excellent thing. But when it’s done to avoid the boring work of studying provings, to shrug off the somewhat archaic language of the Organon, to take shortcuts which distort the work or to gain personal fame by providing something new and so much more interesting – none of this leads to courses which will ensure better practice of homoeopathy.

You can learn more about actual practice of homoeopathy in one week with the IHM, such as in the intensive course currently offered by Gary in Spain which will also be available in Israel and in other countries, than you would learn in many of the qualifying courses available today.

But… the study of how to practice focused, practical, uncompromising homoeopathy in a brief period of time will not bring you the qualifications you may think you need. And the courses which grant the qualifications you may be seeking , in addition to being time consuming and probably expensive, will ingrain information which you will need to painfully unlearn in order to practice homoeopathy the way it should be practiced.

Hahnemann and Boenninghausen – or Kent and Phatak….a dilemma indeed.