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The Connection Between Apparently Unconnected Symptoms.

The connection between everything in the human, from emotions and intellect to fluids and organs, is the Vital Force, the conductor and coordinator of all functions and sensations in the human body. So if the vital force expresses a dry mouth and we stop that sensation with some emulsifier or other lubricant, the vital force still needs to make an expression of dryness to show its mistunement. It will give us the sensation of dryness in the throat, a slightly deeper level. If we take something to prevent this expression the vital force will then go deeper and express it as, for example, a cough. If again this is suppressed the vital force will find another outlet or vent for its expression. This could be in a different system and appear not connected anatomically but it is connected through the power of the vital force. If the person now got anaemia, "dryness of the blood", there would be seen to be no anatomical connection between that and a cough, but for the homeopath, the vital force is the connection. The proof of this is that when treated the person should go backwards in reverse order of appearance of symptoms. So in this case the patient would express the symptoms suppressed in reverse order ie, cough, throat, mouth etc. This serves as confirmation that the vital force has been tuned and that it no longer needs to express its dis-ease.

This whole process of getting sick can take years to develop, but when we look back and trace the history, it should become apparent. From first simple beginnings, although each symptom treated with conventional medicine has gradually yielded to treatment, the overall picture is clearly worse after five or twenty years. Usually the process involves two main factors. The first is that the intensity of the symptom gradually increases over time. This time scale may be months or even years. It may not have been apparent except for the need for stronger treatment, often in the form of tablets, over the years. The second aspect is that the symptom increases in frequency; what began as once a year in autumn or spring becomes once a month or two or three times a year. This slowly develops into once a month or even more frequently. When combined with the increased intensity it calls for attention. With the correct treatment therefore the symptoms should become less intense and less frequent. This is another sign that the treatment is taking the right course.

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Live to Eat or Eat to Live?

Lesley Isaacson

There is a plethora of information in the media about what we should or should not eat. Scientists decide which foods are the today’s “must eat” and these soon become tomorrow’s poison. The hapless individual is left increasingly confused. This article will attempt to provide some sound principles to help you decide what to eat, always bearing in mind the value of a good dollop of common sense.

The word diet comes from the Greek meaning “manner of living” and this etymology implies it is more than merely what we eat and digest. In the broadest sense of the word, it implies what we nourish and support ourselves with, what we take from the outside world to sustain life and nurture. This definition is not solely concerned with the digestive level. It might be helpful to try and identify what it is in our lives that we surround ourselves with, as part of our life support and contact network – not only in terms of food and drink, but also in terms of our friends, social activities, hobbies and interests.

The act of eating is essentially an act of transformation – we take something that is not us, which comes to us from the outside and during its passage through the digestive system, it becomes akin to us. We transform it into something that the Vital Force will recognise and be able to use to sustain growth and life and nurture and nourish us.

Perhaps therefore one idea to help us decide what is “good” for us to eat or not is to eat food which wants to be eaten by us, eat food that likes you, that supports your health. In other words, when you eat a particular food, does it sit well in the digestive system and is its transformation into the building blocks of life smooth and symptom free?

Our relationship to food can be healthy and positive or quite the opposite, just as our relationships with other people and the world around us. It depends on whether we control the food or it controls us. A few examples may serve to clarify this. We see 3 people eating a slice of chocolate cake. Is this healthy or unhealthy? The answer for each person will be different because the question of health does not reside in the cake, but in the person. Person A eats the cake, enjoys it and does not suffer any adverse effects afterwards. Person B eats the cake, regrets it all day and spends hours in the gym working off the calories. Person C eats the cake, immediately feels sick and vomits.

What is the relationship of these 3 people to the cake? For person A, the eating of the cake is nourishing because her relationship to the cake is healthy. The cake is neither good nor bad, fattening nor slimming; the cake is just the cake. Person B is not quite so healthy; she can eat the cake but must have a strategy to compensate for the guilt which the eating of the cake has produced. The person’s health has diminished, so the influence on her of the cake has increased. Person C can eat the cake but suffers. The only compensation she has is to vomit. She is less healthy and so the negative effect of the cake has further increased. There is, however, a fourth example. Person D longs to eat the cake but will not. She spends all day dreaming of the cake. She is the least healthy of the 4 examples and thus the cake rules her. This illustrates that it is the overall health of the person that determines the ability to digest the cake, but we can equally apply this principle in all aspects of life.

The importance of diet is, of course, nothing new. Hahnemann, in the Organon of Medicine, places considerable importance on ascertaining the details of the patient’s diet. He counsels a diet that is “strictly regulated; it should be as much as possible destitute of spices, of a purely nutritious and simple character” (Organon paragraph 125). How much more important this advice is now, in the 21st century, with ever increasing levels of contaminants in the food we eat and the emphasis on sensory stimulation on all levels in selecting our food.

There is also the question of dietary supplements, which are commonly used as drugs to make up for an apparent deficiency. It needs to be borne in mind that by giving these substances to an already suffering body, the natural ability of the body to cleanse is therefore further reduced and these supplements thus act in a suppressive manner. They are not conducive to greater health and freedom but work to further mask or alter the true nature of the person’s condition.

We should also remember that the amount of vitamin C, for example, occurring naturally in an orange is a fraction of what is to be found in a vitamin C tablet – something around 15-20 oranges. Imagine the time and effort it would take to buy, store, peel and consume that quantity of oranges daily. The vitamins that are found in the orange occur in combination with a range of other trace elements. By taking the tablets we are side stepping the natural product and overloading the system with an unrealistic quantity of one isolated element, to say nothing of its potentially suppressive effect.

We can leave the last word to Hahnemann who, in Chronic Disease, offers the wisest counsel: “moderation in all things, even in harmless ones, is the chief duty of chronic patients”.

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How People are Made Sick

Chris Jacob

In my experience it is very clear how many people become ill. Patients will have one symptom or another treated medically or otherwise and soon afterwards serious illness begins. But it seems often the connection is not made. It appears there is a common blind spot that prevents seeing this simple idea of one thing leading to another. Time and time again patients report other symptoms starting after taking this or that treatment. They become tired, depressed or other symptoms now appear or trouble them. Symptoms that occurred once a month now occur more often. Their general health is worse. With this similar onset occurring so many times, surely alarm bells should ring. But no-one is collecting all this information together and making the connections. In other words, the effects aren’t being properly monitored or reported. If they were, it would become clear that short term relief is leading to more serious long term suffering in possibly millions of patients. The more successful treatment is at removing symptoms, the more treatment will be required to treat further sickness. But this idea has still not been understood or put into practice in general medicine. More and more money is spent on treatments that create further sickness. The news, information and education systems all continue to shout loudly about the short term success of each treatment. Through habit and ignorance the long term problems that result are not observed. Billions are spent in promoting this effort to find further treatments for sick parts or disease names. In the general clamour the homeopath can only whisper that there is a better, cheaper and more effective approach.

Short term or long term

When we suddenly become ill immediately after having a medicine, then the cause is obvious. But sometimes this general deterioration in health does not happen so quickly. Initially symptoms may seem to disappear; only later does the deterioration in health become clear. By then it is forgotten how it all started and how it occurred. When given time to consider, a patient will often say “Yes, of course, now I see! Since I took that treatment things have got worse,” or “Yes, of course. I haven’t been well since I took this or that medicine”. If we go back to the beginning it becomes clear.

Whole picture, not just a part

The cause of this further suffering is treating one symptom of the disease. It is like pushing a balloon on one side and ignoring the shift to the other side. Only the person who can see the whole balloon can see that the problem is still there. When we change symptoms or treat them, we need to know how it is going to affect everything else. Any action we take has consequences. Any treatment we take has consequences too. Symptoms being treated or removed cause the general health to deteriorate in the long term. This explains stories such as; they did everything they could for him but he didn’t survive: or they went in for a minor procedure but caught a serious infection.

A Homeopathic Response

A homeopath’s work is often to antidote the treatments that have caused problems and side effects for the patient. Their role is to return them to their previous state and then cure them of their original sickness. Detailed assessment is made over the long and short term. Each patient is treated as a whole including physical, mental and emotional imbalances. In this way we can understand all changes and understand how health problems have started and developed. Once understood, a clear plan of homeopathic treatment is needed, over the short and long term, in order to return them completely to health.

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Jamie Taylor

Wherever we see compromise, sooner or later we see suffering. By compromise we mean going against our conscience. As every one has a different conscience, what may be a compromise for one person will not be for another and vice versa. If we perceive a truth, not only for our own sake but also for everyone else especially our patients, we must observe it or suffer. Compromises have always existed throughout the history of mankind. For example, we see quarrelling, but everybody when asked privately wishes in his true heart for quiet. In our own lives we also compromise, but as we perceive more, so we suffer more for our compromises.

Kent, the American homeopath, talks about compromise or doing things against one’s conscience. He always talks about the homeopath who compromises his principles for his wallet, for fame or for honour. Examples are abundant everywhere in everyday life. There is always a small amount of truth mixed in with the compromise, which hides it from those who do not perceive. The power to mix the right amount of truth with the false to give it the appearance of truth to the outside world is extremely dangerous. The greater our understanding and knowledge of truth, the higher is our responsibility to use it for the good. We must always battle not to allow ourselves to misuse this precious gift we have been given. We must as homeopaths strive to be above these things and never compromise the principles we know to be true.

Sometimes on a lower level it is possible to compromise, as for example, socially. If someone wants to meet us at 3 p.m. and we would rather meet them at 4 p.m., of course we can compromise and meet at 3.30 p.m. without compromising our principles. But in our practice we must never compromise any of our doctrines. We must always seek the simillimum. If a patient needs Ignatia, no other remedy can do its work. We cannot compromise and prescribe Natrum Muriaticum on a few keynotes and ignore the guiding and differentiating general modalities of Ignatia. The patients must know that with their homeopath there are no compromises and no ‘little games’. They are consulting someone who strives to live homeopathy in all areas of his life, not someone who practises so-called homeopathy in his office but at home lives a different life. This is why Hahnemann suggested to a prince that he should observe what the homeopath does in his spare time before choosing him as his physician. We all know the stories of doctors who are very happy to prescribe drugs for their patients but they are not willing to inflict them on their own family. This level of work is very damaging. I have more respect for the doctor who practises what he preaches than for the one who preaches one law for himself and another for his patients.

As I see it, the mission of the homeopath and indeed of all people on this earth can be summed up by quoting the magnificent first paragraph of Hahnemann’s preface to the first edition of The Chronic Diseases: “to become better myself as far as possible and to make better everything around me that is within my power to improve.”

Every time we compromise in our personal lives, and therefore also in the treatment and subsequent health of our patients, we deny ourselves the possibility of improving. This stage, where we either change or compromise, is very difficult because we are reaching our level of saturation and to protect ourselves we start to blame the external. We all do this, and I am sure that if you have not already observed, you will observe it more and more as your perception increases.

This means that our responsibility as a physician is very high because we have the responsibility in life not only of improving ourselves but also choosing to help those who wish to be helped. It is only possible for us to perceive the sickness of people if we ourselves do not suffer the same or a worse level of sickness. If we are jealous, then we are unable to recognise a jealous complaint of the patient and therefore may not be able to help him. On the contrary, we now come to another level of compromise. The poor patient is suffering so much they are pleading for help and indeed their story can pull at your heartstrings, but unless the case is fully understood, it is impossible to prescribe for this patient. Any prescription will be what Kent calls a shot in the dark, and if it cures it is only a lucky hit. This is no way to run a practice. It is not moral to prescribe any remedy before the case is fully understood. How can anyone take a fee for uncertain work? Hahnemann did not write the Organon without reason. It must be read and re-read, understood and followed. Hahnemann and Kent both knew how crucial this was.

Similarly, with our instructions to patients, we must be careful how we compromise. On the one hand we know that our instruction should be followed for the patient to improve, but on the other hand we must remember that the patient is sick and needs not only judgement but also the quality of mercy. So at first, in certain cases, we can compromise on our instructions, as otherwise the patient will not wish to continue. The art is to judge to what degree we can compromise without compromising the health of the patient. The patient should realise that if he does not follow the instructions, then we cannot continue to treat him or her. We can allow them to disobey once, but then we must dismiss them. A patient who truly wants to be cured will do everything in his power to achieve that. These patients we can help, and this must be our level of practice, and all those who come for help must know that it is not easy and that they must be responsible for themselves.

Kent repeats again and again that we must do what we know is right. He complains that the only reason for not doing this is for fame, honour, position and wealth. Money must be seen as a result and not as a motive. Our motive must be to strive for the love of our patient; then we can solve cases, find the remedy and finally receive our fee. If this process does not flow in the correct order, then we will suffer and have less and less ability to treat our patients successfully.

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Suzan Dean

Most of us are quick to take the credit for anything that goes well in our life, and just as quick to put the blame elsewhere for everything unacceptable, unpleasant or tragic that affects us. People blame their parents, their schooling, their employers, their neighbours, the Government, anyone but themselves.

We live in what has been called the “blame” society, and certainly it is increasingly litigious. We hear daily of cases brought to court in an attempt to offload blame and seek compensation, many of which seem absurd, like the man who sued McDonalds for his obesity or the woman who sued the baker’s after catching her hand in the door. This is deeply worrying, as this attitude is becoming embedded in the general consciousness. By seeking continually to put the blame elsewhere and to find justifications for our actions, we are denying our own autonomy. In effect we are saying that we are not responsible for what we do, and thus may behave in any way we want. Perhaps this could be at the root of much of the immoral and anti-social behaviour we see around us.

The alternative, that is to accept responsibility for all our actions, is often difficult and even uncomfortable. Each person comes to this world with his individual path to follow, and we are all involved at all times in our own destiny. We choose the path we take in life and every choice brings consequences that are often not exactly what we wanted or planned, yet are often what we need at the time.

It is said that an accident happens when someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time. However when a traffic accident occurs, blame is nearly always apportioned to one or other party. Whose fault was it? It seems clear to all appearances that the driver who pulled out without looking or who ran into the back of the car in front was to blame. Yet how was it that the other car was there exactly in the place to be hit? Both drivers are implicated; the situation is reciprocal.

In the case of a burglary, the person who has his belongings stolen is as much involved in the event as the burglar himself. The burglar is behaving in an immoral and certainly illegal way. But there is some reason why the person he burgled attracted the loss. Why did the burglar choose that house, that time, those goods to take?

Thinking this way means we cannot entirely absolve ourselves from responsibility for the situations in which we find ourselves. It is a question of balance. We must take responsibility for our part, and realize that other people are responsible for theirs .If we blame ourselves for everything, we run the risk of thinking we are directing the whole universe. Yet, if we fail to accept our responsibility, we then behave with no restraint of conscience or moral.

Somewhere there is a reason for everything that comes our way, and it is important to examine our part in it, before we dismiss it as not being our fault at all. This kind of self-examination is not always comfortable. Sometimes the reason is very hard to see, and indeed it may be beyond our comprehension at that time, though with treatment we may be better able to understand.

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An Introduction to Hering's Law of Cure

Karen Gorman

Homeopathy is based on law. At every stage of treatment the true homeopath is able to use certain laws in order to understand and assess whether the disease, along with its symptoms, is going in the right direction i.e. the direction leading to cure. Based on this, Hahnemann understood the prognosis. He noted, as he followed his cases, that the oldest complaints were the last to cease. He recognized the direction of cure, which established the principles of cure. Dr. Hering followed the teachings and experiences of Hahnemann in order to establish his law.

Constantine Hering was born on January 1, 1800 in the town of Oschatz, Saxony (now in Germany). He grew up in a religious household and in 1817 he attended the Surgical Academy of Dresden and then went to study medicine at Leipzig University. At Leipzig he was the student-assistant of a Dr. Robbi who was an antagonist of homeopathy. Robbi had been approached by a local publisher to write a book about the homeopathic "heresy" but due to lack of time he referred the publisher to Hering, who enthusiastically pursued this task and studied all of Hahnemann's published works. He also undertook his own experiments. His mission was to disprove homeopathy, as we still see scientists and doctors trying to do today. During this period, Hering received a wound from doing dissections, that became inflamed and infected and on examination he was told by the medical profession that he would have to have his hand amputated. Instead he decided he would try homeopathy. As a result of this homeopathic treatment which saved his hand, he had a complete change of heart. He continued to research homeopathy and obtained more personal experience of it and as a result he transferred his allegiance. He graduated as an M.D. from the University of Leipzig in 1826. In his doctoral thesis, which was entitled "On the Medicine of the Future," Hering declared himself to be a homeopath! He was to become one of the most influential homeopaths of all times; his published works are still widely used today.

Homeopathy is holistic and so pays heed to the interconnection of all the symptoms. In the natural course of disease, the vital force expresses disease by producing symptoms in the lowest, least important and outermost levels that it can, so as to protect levels that are more internal and precious. But when the person suppresses his symptoms and disturbs this protective arrangement, it may have to express them in higher, more important and more inner levels e.g. from an unsightly skin eruption on the outside, to eruptions in the lungs which may impede breathing.

Like Hahnemann before him, Hering observed that cure occurs in a consistent manner. He described this pattern in the form of three basic laws which homeopaths use to assess whether or not cure is occurring.

  1. A true cure takes place from within to without and from the more important organs to the less important. For example, if a patient is suffering from anxiety and producing respiratory problems, during the process of healing the anxiety and respiratory problems will be cured and an eruption may appear on the skin. This means that cure takes place from the deepest part of the person, which is the mental and emotional level to the physical parts; from the inner vital organs to the outer skin and extremities, all of which are closely interconnected. In other words, the expression of the disease moves from the centre of the person to the circumference. This is demonstrated when, after the initial aggravation of the remedy, the mental and general symptoms of a patient are the first to ameliorate, but along with this the related physical symptoms may begin to aggravate more. This is a sign that the physical symptoms will get better, even if they seem worse for the moment, due to the primary action of the remedy. Once the curative, secondary action of the life force is complete, the physical symptoms will also be ameliorated or removed, when they are no longer needed to safeguard the person. This may occur after several remedies.

  2. A true cure takes place from above to below, i.e. from the upper levels to the lower parts of the body. For instance, a person with a rheumatic knee may find that the rheumatism in the knee will feel better after a homeopathic remedy but the pain may descend to the foot. If the rheumatic symptoms move from the knee to the heart, this would be opposite to cure and opposite to Hering's Law. The main vital organs are situated in the top half of our body i.e. brain, heart, lungs, and as we move down through the body the parts become less vital to life i.e. arms, fingers, feet, toes. Both of these directions (inner to outer and from above down) are clearly life-saving directions.

  3. The vital force makes symptoms disappear in the reverse order of their development. Homeopaths have consistently observed that their patients re-experience symptoms from past conditions. When a person has suffered from a few consecutive symptoms and now he comes for treatment complaining of the most recent ones, while the others have disappeared, with correct homeopathic treatment his former symptoms will reappear. In this way, the most recent symptoms will be the first to leave and the last symptoms to be cured will be those that came first. So we see the symptoms disappearing in the reverse order of their arrival. This process of cure will take the person back to the beginning of his sickness, to the root cause, so that this can be cured in time. These three principles constitute the Law of Cure.

As the symptoms change in accordance with Hering's Law, it is common for individual symptoms to become worse than they had been before treatment. If healing is truly in progress, the patient feels stronger and generally better in himself, in spite of this aggravation. Before long, the symptoms of the aggravation will pass and the person will be left healthier on all levels. There are, however, exceptions to the rule that can disrupt the natural process of cure. If the natural course of the disease has been altered by suppression e.g. by drugs, the symptoms are likely to have found expression on more internal and higher levels of the person and so will have taken an unnatural course, which will need to be antidoted.

Kent sums it up for us when he says "The only cure known to man is from above down, from within out, and in the reverse order of coming. When it is otherwise, there is only improvement, not cure. When the symptoms return there is hope; that is the road to cure and there is no other."

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How Samuel Hahnemann Discovered the Cause of Sickness

Chris Jacob

Why is it that health matters appear so complicated? Every day there are new discoveries and ideas concerning our health. New hopes and new efficient methods replace old theories and medicines. But true homeopathy hasn't changed since Hahnemann first practised it 160 years ago. Our medicines remain the same today as they were then and the principles upon which they are used haven't changed either. Homeopathy is just as effective now as it was in Hahnemann's day.

Hahnemann searched through thousands of cases of sickness over a period of 11 years. He gradually began to see a pattern connecting the huge variety of illnesses of his patients. He discovered there was a common root to all sickness. This discovery is fundamental to our understanding of health. We have been educated to think there are many different unconnected kinds and forms of disease. But Hahnemann showed that all these diseases came from the same origin. Today, unfortunately, much of our health treatment is dedicated to specialists fighting ‘different diseases’ that ‘appear’ to exist separately. This is a myth and a misunderstanding.

Hahnemann understood that there was a common root to all illness and found medicines that could be specifically used to reverse the process of chronic disease. He understood that chronic disease is present in all of us and that it starts in early life and, if left untreated progresses through life until we die.

The following are some of the conclusions of Hahnemann's work:

  1. We all have our own unique form of chronic disease.
  2. Symptoms in childhood are the beginnings of chronic disease and warning signs of disease to come later in life.
  3. Each symptom is a small part of the bigger part of our chronic disease.
  4. Symptoms are connected to each other; they are all part of the same chronic disease.
  5. Removing or treating one part only accelerates the chronic disease in other parts.
  6. Treatment should be towards removing the total picture of chronic disease rather than separate parts.

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Treating the Person

Jamie Taylor

It can often seem as if homeopaths are playing with words when they say: “We treat the person, not the symptoms.” It appears that if the symptoms disappear, then surely it must have been the symptoms that were treated. However it is not possible for one medicine, prescribed homeopathically, to remove so many various symptoms by direct action. The medicine is instead directed to the centre. The centre is the person whom we can only know by the symptoms they narrate and display. That central, spiritual point - the person - we cannot know. We can only know his outwardly reflected picture, portrayed by his character, his demeanour, his physical characteristics and his individual suffering. So when the homeopath, guided by the symptoms alone, gives the medicine to the person, the person is ‘tuned’, put into order, and as a result the parts will start to function in harmony, i.e. the symptoms will disappear.

So homeopaths should not claim to treat particular symptoms, diseases or conditions. These are used only to understand what central disturbance the person has. And it is at this central disturbance that the remedy is aimed. Not at the symptoms themselves.

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Writing Reports

Suzan Dean

When you visit the doctor and receive a prescription, you may be asked to come back if the condition persists. However, when you receive a medicine from your homeopath, you are asked to send regular reports at clearly defined intervals. Why?

The first few reports enable the homeopath to assess the patient’s reaction to the medicine and also to ensure the medicine’s suitability for that patient. If for some reason the prescription is not suitable, an antidote can be administered quickly. This is important to prevent any unnecessary suffering.

With subsequent reports, the homeopath can study the course of the healing process in each individual case and have a clearer idea of when the next prescription may be needed. In a chronic case, an improvement in the general state may be expected in a few weeks, though it can take a couple of months. The general picture during this time can often be very dynamic, with interchanging spells of improvement and worsening. This is a good indication of the remedy working. In an acute case however the pace is much quicker and improvement may occur in just a few minutes or even seconds.

If no reports are sent, and at a later stage the patient contacts his homeopath with a problem, it is considerably more difficult to assess this new problem in the light of the previous prescription. It may be part of the healing process, or it could be a new picture emerging. The homeopath needs these progress reports to answer any questions that may suddenly arise.

What should these reports contain?

All reports should be clearly dated. To begin with you may be asked to send reports after a few days, and then weekly. You are asked to describe what has happened since taking the medicine. This may include physical, intellectual or emotional symptoms, dreams, sleep patterns, etc. Wherever possible as much detail about each symptom should be given: when it occurred, exactly where, what it felt like, how long it lasted, any accompanying phenomena. Also it is useful to note if anything made it better or worse: change of position, heat or cold, moving around, staying still, eating or drinking, times of day, etc. Sometimes a symptom can be brought on by a preceding phenomenon or event, so if you can report what was going on prior to the appearance of the symptom, this information will help the homeopath. Always mention if you have had the symptom in the past, whether recently or many years ago. You should also note any changes in your life that occur following the time when you took your medicine, even if you feel that they have no connection at all with your treatment. Changes in our personal relationships or in our work, problems with the car, the house, the washing machine, unexpected events: all these may be connected to our health.

After a month or two you may be asked to send a summary every four to six weeks. For this it is often helpful to keep a diary, making notes of anything that occurs as it happens. Then you can look back over these and make a summary of progress since the last report. The same details should be given.
However difficult this task of report-writing may seem at first, it is always worth remembering how important it is for the success of your treatment. This feedback is essential for monitoring progress. And with time the task becomes easier.

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Maintaining Causes

Karen Gorman

Hahnemann says that the homeopathic physician is "a preserver of health if he knows the things that derange health and cause disease and how to remove them from persons in health." He is saying that it is not sufficient for the homeopath to take the case, work on it and then prescribe the correct remedy. In some cases, if this were all the homeopath did, even if it were the correct remedy, the treatment would not be successful. It is the responsibility of the homeopath to ensure that any obstacles to cure are removed.

Hahnemann also tells us that there are certain diseases that are inappropriately named chronic disease. There are two types of chronic diseases, one that is a true natural disease, and one that is not. The artificial man-made diseases are caused from exposure to influences that damage the health of the patient. If the period of exposure has not been too long, it is possible that when the influence is removed the patient's health will be restored. However, if the patient has been exposed to the poisonous agent for a longer time, it may be that the person's vitality has been so weakened that it will not be able to restore itself to its previous state without assistance from a remedy. Not all people will be affected to the same degree or by the same influences. This will depend on the individual's susceptibility. All of these influences can be avoided. If they are not they can act like a fuel to the disease, just like petrol dripping on a fire maintains the burning of a fire, but as soon as this is stopped the fire goes out.

So what are these poisonous influences? Hahnemann, who lived in the 1800's, warns about living in unhealthy places such as marshy districts, cellars and confined spaces. He warns of the damage that is done from the over indulgence in alcohol from lack of exercise and fresh air and from overexertion of the mind or body. All of these still apply today. However, as society has become more "civilised" there has been a huge increase in these noxious influences. Civilisation has brought about intensive farming along with the use of chemicals and sprays. Industrialisation has increased pollution in our crowded cities and increased exposure to radioactive contaminants. Radiation is everywhere, even in our homes, from computers, television and microwaves etc. Continued exposure to most of these maintaining causes of disease, especially in large doses, can lead to death. Ralph Waldo Emerson, a 19th century American poet, lecturer and essayist, said that, "The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilisation."

People today are addicted to many things, from drugs, alcohol and chocolate to sex, stealing or earning money and gambling, to less obvious things such as reading the morning paper or going to the gym. Such addictions can also be maintaining causes.

Most addictions are self-destructive. When you are addicted to something you give yourself up to the thing and begin to lose who you are as well as control over your life. The thing you are addicted to now controls you. An inanimate thing such as a drink or a food etc. can have power over us. As soon as a person desires something that is destructive, the love for their life and for their own self-preservation begins to disappear. Man has two choices in his life, to make himself and things around him either better or worse. The healthier a man is, the more he will improve himself and the things around him; the sicker he is, the more he and the things around him will deteriorate.

Certain ways of life can also be maintaining causes to disease. For instance, working nights which can upset the natural cycles that work within us, not eating correct food, living in cramped conditions or not having a home at all, continued worry or stress, a bad relationship etc.

It is very often the things that man loves that maintain his disease. Not all the "bad" things that are part of our lives are maintaining causes. Many of them are symptoms that are necessary for us at the time in order for the correct remedy to be found and which will gradually disappear through the process of cure. It can be dangerous to take away something from a man's life at the wrong time. Your homeopath will always advice you on these issues.

It is man's nature to desire things that are harmful to him. If it wasn't we would never become sick in the first place. Many times we are not aware of these things ourselves. This is why our homeopath draws them to our attention to ensure that we receive the most rapid, gentle and permanent cure in the most reliable and most harmless way.

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The Homeopathic Consultation

Christopher Jacob

The homeopathic consultation can be a profound experience for the patient. It is the moment when they can tell their story in full often for the first time. There are several principles behind the homeopathic consultation that can make this possible.

A first principle in homeopathy is to listen and work without prejudice or preconceived ideas. In the consultation this is about listening without any comment or judgment. The homeopath’s role is to be a clear receiver of the information given by the patient. The more receptive the homeopath can be the more at ease the patient will be to tell their tale and give their full story. Inherent within this principle is the need to make the patient comfortable and at ease to talk and give their case. It requires the homeopath to be able to talk to anyone and be adaptable to each patient. They generally wait quietly to hear what the patient has to say about their story of health and life and write down accurately what the patient has said. It is quite an art just to note down what the person has said in the way they say it. If this occurs it is likely the patient will be able to talk about themselves in a more detailed light than ever before often about things they have never told anyone else.

Time is an important factor in a homeopathic consultation. Homeopathic consultations allow each patient the time they need to relax and express their innermost thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it takes a while for someone to think more deeply before they answer a question about themselves and express what they remember or feel. To talk without such a pressure on time allows the person to talk more freely and easily and share their thoughts and feelings at their own pace. Unpressured time allows each of us to express deep or inner feelings and explore the innermost of ourselves.

A homeopathic consultation involves gathering information about the totality of the patient. It covers all aspects of health which means emotional, intellectual and physical areas. By considering the whole patient we mean everything that is in their life. The principle involved here is that each of us work as an integrated whole. We can’t be unwell in one part of our lives or body without also being affected in many other areas. In order to understand the total picture of dis-ease we need to know all the areas that are affected.

The homeopathic consultation is about the individual and their whole particular experience in health and life. Every homeopathic consultation is different because each patient is a unique individual with their own very different story to tell. The combination of symptoms each person experiences does not occur in anyone else in the same way. The homeopathic consultation then is about the person not the parts or any named disease and is also unique because of that.

In conclusion the homeopathic consultation is about a shared time where one person really talks and the other person really listens. It is a place where the space and time is allowed to get in touch with the deeper issues of health and life in a safe and supported environment. With all these factors in place it is possible to get a full picture of all the individual problems a person is experiencing and look at these as a whole experience. The homeopathic consultation then fulfils its function to be the beginning of a true healing experience.

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What is a Drug?

Jamie Taylor

Nowadays the understanding of what is a drug is very unclear. There is wide debate about cannabis and alcohol. Why is one legal and the other not? Substances in this world are either nutritional or poisonous. Some substances are poisonous but through culinary expertise they can be brought to a state of nutrition, e.g. red kidney beans must be boiled for a minimum period of time or they remain poisonous. Other substances were thought to have no effect but were later found to be poisonous, e.g. the pollen of the moss Lycopodium was once used to coat medicines that were sticky.

There is classification of drugs into good drugs and bad drugs. This is very misleading and comes from a lack of understanding of the relationship between poisonous substances and human beings.

Medicines are poisonous substances. These, because of their ability to alter the healthy state of the healthy individual, are termed medicinal substances or agents. Human beings’ response to the same poisonous substance is varied. Rarely are the responses the same. The same poisonous substance may excite little or no response from one human being and in another cause death. Between these two are a great range of responses. This varied response is dependent on susceptibility.

Just because one person is not harmed by a substance does not mean it is harmless for everyone; it just means that that particular person is not affected by the medicinal substance, he is not susceptible. Similarly, if one person is affected by a medicinal substance it does not mean that everyone will be affected. However, if continually repeated it will, sooner or later, have some effect on everyone.

What are nutritional substances? They are those substances that allow a person to continue their life. They also satisfy the appetite.

Everything else is poisonous i.e. changes or alters the healthy state of the healthy individual. A medicinal agent should only be used to change the healthy condition of the state of health of the diseased individual, i.e. to restore the sick to health. Medicinal agents should only be used to medicate a human being to bring about a restored condition of health. Any other use is potentially as dangerous as the person is susceptible.

It does not matter if it is a small dose, a “mild” dose, a leisure drug, a legal drug, a prescribed drug or an illegal drug. The title does not make a human being react differently. They are all poisonous and will affect each individual according to their susceptibility.

Alcohol, whether beer, wine or spirits; tobacco, herbs such as Echinacea or chamomile, vitamins, antibiotics or painkillers are all medicinal agents. They may sometimes be disguised in the form of a hot drink or sweets, but they are still medicinal agents.

Use of such medicinal agents should be according to a thorough knowledge of their actions. These actions are always on the emotions, the intellect or understanding, the fluids of the body, the internal organs and the external organs. It is NOT possible to affect just one single part.

The variations of response to medicinal agents are in relation to susceptibility. The scale of response to a single dose can be from zero, because one is too sick to respond, through all degrees of response until at the other end of the scale there is again no response because the person is in such good health.

Both the too sick and the healthy person can usually finally be affected if the dose of medicine is repeated sufficiently. Similarly, according to individual susceptibility, the recovery rate from stopping the repeated dose can be either short and quickly thrown off or take much longer. Some people may even not be able to throw off the influence of the medicinal agent for the remainder of their life.

The principal idea behind understanding drugs is individuality and susceptibility. It is extremely misleading and potentially damaging to generalise drug response.

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Homeopathy: The Exclusive Treatment

Suzan Dean

Patients sometimes ask about having other kinds of treatment while they are under homeopathic treatment.

Genuine homeopathy is a complete system of medicine in itself and as such does not need to be mixed with or supported by other systems, whether conventional medicine, psychotherapy, or alternative or complementary treatments and dietary supplementing. In this respect, it is exclusive.

Unlike almost all other treatments, homeopathy does not set out to remove the symptoms directly, but rather to address the underlying cause of the symptoms. This may seem like nit picking, but what it means in essence is that the success of treatment depends on a very clear picture of all the symptoms. This is essential as an indicator of both the progress of the action of the remedy given as well as the nature of the next prescription needed.

Furthermore, without interference, the symptoms fall into a natural order, a condition which is easier to treat and more likely of success.

Therefore any other treatment which in some way affects the symptoms, which by their nature all treatments must do, will interfere with the clarity and order of this picture and consequently will interfere with the process of treatment. The degree to which this other treatment alters or even removes the symptoms will reflect the degree to which the homeopathic process will be affected. A radical surgical operation, like organ removal or transplant, clearly has a much greater effect than a daily cup of chamomile tea.

If the treatment is very invasive or powerful, or even if it is regularly repeated, the action of the homeopathic remedy may be interfered with or suspended. In some cases it can be antidoted, which would then entail waiting a considerable time in order to be able to assess the case clearly enough to prescribe again.

Homeopathic treatment may still be possible, but its outcome will not be as successful or rapid as it might have been if the process had not been disturbed.

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Advice to Patients

Suzan Dean

Patients are often surprised and perhaps even irritated by the advice given by their homeopath when they come to take their remedy. It can seem like an unnecessarily long list of prohibitions. In all his work, the homeopath’s over-riding concern should be the best possible treatment for his patients, and this advice is only given to ensure that the optimum conditions for taking a medicine are obtained in order that the treatment can be as effective as possible.
There are three main issues to consider:

First, there are specific antidotes to the particular remedy prescribed, and the homeopath will pay special attention to these. It could be coffee, camphor, vinegar, chamomile, etc. These should obviously be avoided, since they could interfere with the remedy working.

Secondly, there are medicinal substances, that is to say, substances which alter the state of health of a person. In this category I would place coffee, tea, herbal teas known for their medicinal properties, alcohol, spices, as well as ‘natural’ remedies, dietary supplements, and tonics. I would also include anything else that is used for medicinal purposes, so other therapies which are intended to change physical and mental symptoms should be avoided. The reason for this is to enable the true effect of the medicine given to be assessed without interference from other sources. As the homeopath charts the progress of the treatment from the patient’s reports, he examines carefully each symptom in turn in order to assess the effect of the remedy. If a symptom has been modified in any way, whether it is a back pain eased by massage, a toothache relieved by clove oil, or insomnia masked by chamomile tea, the total picture may be distorted.

Thirdly, there is the question of advice concerning diet and life-style. It is generally suggested that a person who has just taken a remedy should avoid excessive physical and mental sensations, which may over stimulate the mind or body. This could be a particularly strenuous game of squash, a visit to a perfume store, a rich meal, a horror film or a thriller, an all-night party, a bungee jump etc. The idea is to put as little strain as possible on the vitality at this sensitive time. It is not so much the activity or substance in itself, but rather the effect it has on the individual. It is therefore impossible to issue a definitive list, since it is different for each person. However, if the avoidance of any particular substance or activity presents a problem, further advice should be sought from your homeopath.

The main consideration in all of this is moderation, a recurring theme in Hahnemann’s extensive writing on matters of health and life-style. In earlier times doctors would prescribe this kind of simple nutritious diet and gentle quiet regime for those convalescing from illness, since the body’s extraordinary ability to heal itself in the right conditions was recognised.

I would like to stress that these are no more than guidelines, to enable a person to gain the most benefit from the treatment. It is an integral part of a homeopath’s responsibility to offer the best possible advice to his patients. It is up to the patient what he does with this advice.

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The Vital Force and Prana

Lesley Isaacson

The concept of the Vital Force comes from the homeopathic lexicon and that of prana from the yoga tradition. In this article, I want to briefly explore the use and meaning of these two terms to try and understand their similarities and differences.

The term the Vital Force is used in homeopathy to describe an energy whose essential characteristics are described by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, in his Organon of Medicine, aphorism 9. “In the healthy condition of man, the spiritual Vital Force (autocracy), the dynamis that animates the material body (organism), rules with unbounded sway, and retains all the parts of the organism in admirable, harmonious vital operation, as regards both sensations and functions, so that our indwelling, reason-gifted mind can freely employ this living, healthy instrument for the higher purposes of our existence.”

Thus, without the Vital Force, the physical body would remain inanimate; in fact what distinguishes the living body from a dead one is the presence of the Vital Force. The action of the Vital Force is to keep the organism operating with “unbounded sway” and ideally no matter what challenge is presented to the Vital Force from the outside world, One could compare the Vital Force to the conductor of an orchestra, whose job it is to keep the different instruments in tune, playing the right note at the right time at the right volume. No one instrument is allowed to take control and run its own agenda and the result is beautiful music, rather than a cacophony of sound. So too the Vital Force as it maintains the whole organism in “admirable harmonious vital operation” The Vital Force is the energetic link which connects the individual with the universal, so that the individual can achieve the “higher purpose of existence”. Hahnemann does not elaborate here as to what this purpose might be and it is beyond the scope of this article to explore this further, but his use of the word “spiritual” [Vital Force] as opposed to “material body” may give us a clue. The material body is merely an instrument or tool to be used by the individual in pursuit of the spiritual path.

When an individual becomes ill, it is due to the inability of the Vital Force to provide an equal and opposite answer to the external world, resulting in the display of signs and symptoms. So we can see that the primary disturbance occurs on an energetic or Vital Force level, followed by suffering on a material level - emotional or physical. It is when the person loses their spiritual connection that symptoms arise.
In yoga, the concept of Prana is analogous to that of the Vital Force, as this quote from the Prasna Upanishad shows:

“Prana burns as fire; he shines as the sun;
He rains as the clouds; he blows as the wind;
He crashes as the thunder in the sky.
He is the earth; he has form and no form;
Prana is immortality.
Everything rests in prana, as spokes rest in the hub of the wheel.”

(The Upanishads 1987 Penguin Arkana, Eknath Easwaran, Prasna Upanishad II.5&6, page 160)

Prana is described as an animating principle, infusing all living things with vitality and strength. This Upanishad, one of the great classic yoga texts dating back some 2 millennia, compares Prana to the sun whose life-giving rays bring life to all it touches, without discrimination. It is all pervading, supreme, sustains life and, like the Vital Force, differentiates between life and death. It is a constant, given force, which cannot be diminished or die. “As when the queen bee goes out, all the bees go out and when she returns all return”, so too do the senses depart when Prana departs and likewise return.

A modern yogi, Andre van Lysebeth, describes Prana as “cosmic energy in its entirety, ...Undifferentiated universal energy…everything in the universe that moves is a manifestation of Prana; thanks to Prana the wind blows, the earth trembles, an axe falls, an aeroplane takes off, a star explodes, a philosopher thinks. …Prana exists in our food, water, sunlight, but it is neither vitamin nor warmth nor ultraviolet rays. Air, water, food, sunlight: all convey Prana on which all animal and vegetable life depends. Prana penetrates the whole body, even where the air cannot reach. Prana is our true nourishment, for without Prana there can be no life. Vitality itself is no more than a special and subtle form of Prana, which fills the whole universe. To make itself manifest on the material plane, the spirit uses Prana to animate the body and its organs.”

Interestingly, van Lysebeth quotes extensively in his book from Dr. C. de Hufeland’s The Art of Prolonging the Life of Man, about the Vital Force when explaining Prana. De Hufeland was a contemporary of Hahnemann’s, a personal friend and in his journal, Hahnemann published some of his articles about homeopathy, which back in the 1800’s was still in its infancy. So it seems that more learned scholars than this writer had made the connection between the Vital Force and Prana.

Another modern master, B.K.S. Iyengar describes Prana as “the energy permeating the universe at all levels. It is physical, mental, intellectual, sexual, spiritual and cosmic energy. Prana is the hub of the Wheel of Life.”

In common with homeopathy, the practice of yoga works on the energetic plane, on the pranic level, to reduce and eliminate blockages and disturbances so that the person can achieve a greater sense of freedom and ease in their life and increase their connection to the spiritual life.

We can say that both yoga and homeopathy affirm the concept of an animating, life giving energy, without which the manifest world as we know it would not exist. There is a universal Prana or Vital Force and out of that comes the material world in all its myriad manifestations. We can call it a spiritual energy, from which source all life flows and on which all life depends.

Both disciplines hold in common the aim of reducing suffering, increasing the freedom of the individual in their life and expanding their spiritual connections.

Let us leave the last word to the Bhagavad Gita, dating from the fifth century BCE to second century CE (scholars cannot agree), where Krishna explains to Arjuna the philosophical vision which underpins the practice of yoga and with which I am sure no homeopath would disagree:

“Freedom from fear, purity of heart, constancy in sacred learning and contemplation, generosity, self-harmony, adoration, study of the scriptures, austerity, righteousness;
Non violence, truth, freedom from anger, renunciation, serenity, aversion to fault finding, sympathy for all beings, peace from greedy cravings, gentleness, modesty, steadiness;
Energy, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, a good will, freedom from pride- these are the treasures of the man who is born for heaven.”

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Why Are Fevers Good For Us?

Karen Gorman

Patients who undergo homoeopathic treatment are advised not to take anything medicinal, as this may interfere with their treatment. A question that is often asked, therefore, especially by parents of young children, is "What should I do if my child gets a high temperature?" The average temperature of the body in health can range between 98.4º and 99.5 º F (36.9º and 37.5º C) Body temperature varies naturally when we are digesting food, exercising and when it adapts to the temperature of our surroundings. It is naturally lower after midnight until we wake and highest in late afternoon and evening when the liver is doing most of its processing.

A fever is a rising of this temperature above the normal level. It is one of the most common accompaniments to illnesses in general. The process generally starts with a sensation of coldness, a fever usually follows and perspiration may then occur which can give relief. After reaching a peak the fever will usually then decrease. After two or three days of allowing this natural process to take place the individual feels better. The raised temperature is often accompanied by hot sweats and/or shivering. Shivering is the body's way of elevating the temperature and sweating cools it. Headache aches and pains, rapid breathing and rapid heartbeat may also accompany it.

Adults do not always have the vitality to produce high fevers, neither do children who have had suppression and who have a low vitality. But those who do have the vitality to produce a high fever will have the ability to overcome it in a short time. Children with high fever can look quite ill, even when it is just from a cold, and because of this it is often the mother who "suffers" more than the children. However, a little patience will allow the body's natural defence mechanism to do its work and as a result of its efforts the immune system will be strengthened and, therefore, more equipped to handle any situations in the future. We know from our own lives that if we always have help to do things or never use our own powers we will naturally become lazy and hence weaker. So if the immune system is allowed to work it will grow stronger. This is especially important in young children in order to allow their immune system to go through the natural education and learning curve and to be "exercised."
External symptoms indicate that the vital force is taking care of the person and working on his or her behalf. An increase in the body's normal temperature is a natural process and is produced by the vitality as a response to infection. A fever helps the body to fight off the infection. "When a poison enters Man, his system goes into a state of emergency, and only those who are strong are able to overcome it. The body must neutralise the toxins, and it does this by using proteins. These proteins are produced in the liver with the help of a high temperature (fever). If the fever is then suppressed, the result will be an interruption in the protein production. The consequence of this interruption is an accumulation of proteins, which there is no possibility of excreting from the body, as the information does not exist."¹

During a fever a person should rest quietly and drink tepid water. If there is no desire to drink sipping small amounts can be encouraged. Don’t try to bring the temperature down by cold sponging or taking a cold bath, or even a hot bath. Stay away from draughts and don’t uncover or wrap up excessively. In other words avoid trying to force any change of temperature on the organism as this can interfere with the natural process that is taking place.

“After children have gone through "children's diseases" that are accompanied with high fever, they become immune to those diseases for their whole life. (Dr. Voegeli)." ² Since a fever is the body's natural response to infection it is better to allow the natural process to happen, especially if our children are to grow up with strengthened immune systems. As with other challenges in life, it is more advantageous to have short-term suffering while resolving the problem rather than putting it off and then enduring greater suffering in the long run. Letting nature take its course will be of benefit in the long run when we see children grow up to be more vital and healthy adults.

¹ & ² 24 Chapters in Homeopathy - J. Reves.

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The Most Precious Gift of Health

Chris Jacob

Our most precious gift is health. However we don’t always appreciate how important it is until we lose it. When sick we are not able to do all those things we can usually do, we may be confined to bed or need to sleep or rest. Plans, occupations, relationships etc have to go on hold and our freedom to do what we want is restricted. Hahnemann gave instructions for protecting and conserving our health and preventing risks. Some of these risks may be eating the wrong things, drinking too much or not managing emotional stress such as grief or relationship difficulties. With these influences our health can begin to break down quickly or more often, so our first priority then must be to conserve and protect it before we even think of improving it further.

The Signs of Losing our Health

Symptoms begin as our health starts to be out of balance. At the beginning these symptoms may be quite subtle and gentle but as the sickness develops symptoms increase and change to reflect this. These symptoms show us there is something wrong and action needs to be taken. If we take heed of them we can often avoid further suffering by paying more attention to our health. If we don’t listen to these warnings further symptoms arrive as a reminder. We perhaps all know the scenario where we are feeling unwell but have work we feel we must do. That conflict between our health and what we feel we should do can mean we don’t always listen to our health and the warnings it is giving. Quite often that means we take a longer time in bed once our work is done.

Prevention is the first step

So what can we do to protect our health? There are some really common sense approaches that will help us stay well. A healthy diet and lifestyle will help; the less vital we are the healthier should be the food we eat and water we drink. Fresh clean air and fresh clean water are a necessity. Trying to live according to the natural rhythms of day and night and the seasons mean we are also listening to our own rhythms and needs. Having some sort of exercise every day such as walking in fresh air for half an hour is a good habit to develop and being active in the day but slowing down in the evening and quietening as we approach sleep is helpful.

Another side of preserving our health is avoiding those influences that are harmful. We can start by avoiding putting into our body things that make us sick. These could be over processed foods with little or no goodness, foods that are over spiced or sprayed with toxic pesticides, medicines that keep us going but ignore the underlying causes of why we have become sick, toxic drugs or stimulants that give us a buzz initially but deplete the vitality in the long term. Uplifting, restful and inspiring influences are helpful to maintain health. Long periods of time spent in front of television or computer screens or on mobile phones can have a detrimental effect.

With all this in mind there is one final aspect which is exclusively homeopathic about protecting health and that is homeopathy itself. Used in the right way your homeopath can help you to detect early signs of sickness and act before disease develops further. A homeopathic medicine (stitch) in time saves you from nine stitches later on. Children and adults treated in time will prevent many of the illnesses and sicknesses that would occur otherwise. Homeopathy is first and foremost in protecting the health you have and then improving it. Our most precious gift is the health we have now.

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Why Do Homeopaths Use Potencies?

Jamie Taylor

Homeopathy is based on the law of similars. Traditional medicine mostly uses the law of opposites; hence the suffix to many groups of medicines is anti, i.e. against or opposite.

Amongst the many things a homeopath has to take into account during his or her work are:
a) The similarity between the symptoms of the Materia Medica of a medicine and the symptoms produced by the sick person, and
b) The similarity or suitability of the potency or strength of the medicine to be given. That is the medicine must be as subtle as the sickness of the patient.

Here I want to talk about the second part, the selection of the potency. The lowest potency is what is called mother tincture, the material substance itself. As we rise in potency we enter into a realm of intangibility which can be represented in the human being by the sphere of the understanding and will. Even those who call for all things to be measured will not deny love exists or even that a will exists, variously described as either weak or strong. There are no machines that can measure this energy but despite this, the will, love and understanding are undeniable.

Next we move to the sphere where there is clear differentiation between what people will accept and will not - the sphere of the spiritual world. The materialist finds no evidence, from machines or even in his or her own feeling, to support the existence of a spiritual world. The homeopath believes there is a spiritual world and that it is an integral part of the health and sickness of humans.
With reference to the law of similars and the relationship between potency and depth of sickness, if the sickness is deemed to be purely physical then in order for a so-called homeopath to prescribe the similar, a material medicine must be given. If the level of sickness starts in the mind then the medicine given must have that degree of subtlety. If the real disturbance is spiritual and the sphere of the mind and physical body are just a reflection of this, then we must find a medicine that is similar in potency to the spiritual level of sickness the person is suffering.

Hahnemann recognised this and therefore potentised medicine through dilution and shaking medicines thoroughly, (called succussion). Up to the production of a 12C potency there is still some material basis. Above this potency there is probably no material basis to the medicine. We are now in the field of immaterial or spirit, or for the materialist the world of non-existence.

How can we measure if there is nothing or something there?

Experience alone can show and Hahnemann recognised that only pure experience and accurate observation would reveal whether there was something in the so-called ‘nothing’ of the potentised medicine.

What should the accurate observation be based upon? Most certainly not on single symptoms, but surely on the totality of symptoms. This totality represents the person’s suffering and therefore the potentised medicine given. What should we observe? – A whole cascade of changes, which are all inter-related, though when observed materially, may not appear to be related.

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Which Homeopathy?

Diana Owen

I am sometimes asked what is different about “your type of homeopathy?” Or someone will say that he or she has been to a homeopath and was given a remedy to take every day or given many bottles of various pills. There are many different ways in which “homeopathy” is practised, some of which bear no resemblance to the homeopathy I know. However generally speaking some homeopaths will give one remedy and wait, others will give a remedy in repeated doses and some even give two or three remedies at a time.

I would like to talk about my reasons for giving one remedy at a time in a single dose and observing the reaction before prescribing again. It all comes down to two basic principles of homeopathy:

1. The concept of the Vital Force
2. The necessity of testing of medicines

To understand why only one remedy at a time is given it is necessary to explain how a substance becomes a homeopathic remedy and how its healing properties are revealed. Each substance in the homeopathic pharmacopoeia has been tested to reveal its healing potential. This testing method is called a proving. A group of healthy people are given a single substance in a controlled dose and are asked to note down everything they experience over a set period of time; how they feel emotionally, mentally and physically, any accidents or shocks received during this time and any other phenomena. These responses are gathered together and collated to form a “symptom picture” which shows how this substance uniquely affects human beings.

This proved substance can now be added to the homeopathic materia medica and used homeopathically to treat an individual expressing a similar symptom picture according to the “law of similars”. The law of similars similia similibus curentur is the cornerstone of homeopathy and states that a substance that can produce a range of symptoms in a healthy person can cure a similar set of symptoms in a sick person.

Only one substance is proved at a time and therefore there is no information relating to how two or more substances given together alter the health of a human being. Thus it follows, for me, that only one closely similar remedy, whose effects are known (the simillimum) can be given at one time

2. The reason for giving one dose of the remedy and observing the reaction comes from the concept of the Vital Force. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy says that health is a dynamic state of continuous adaptability and harmonious function with unrestricted operation. In other words to remain healthy we need to adapt to changes and react to challenges without too much disturbance and restriction in our lives. He maintains that we are helped in this task by an instinctive life preserving energy which he terms the Vital Force. When we are thrown off balance it is the Vital Force, which produces symptoms (in an attempt to minimise damage), and when we take a remedy it is this force which responds and sets the healing process in motion.

From the moment of taking the remedy your vital force is very busy, usually there will be an initial increase in symptoms (an aggravation) then a gradual improvement with a few ups and downs, old symptoms may return and then disappear as part of the healing process. It is a very active and dynamic time and a critical one for observation. The response of the Vital Force may last for hours, days, weeks, months or in some cases years. If another remedy is given before the reaction is complete the healing process may be disrupted and the action of the remedy unclear. (Maybe it could be likened to eating a meal when you are still half full from a previous meal and your food is not fully digested, your system will be confused and could end up over stimulated)

It is the vital force which responds when we take a remedy and guides the healing process, so in my view it must be carefully monitored and allowed to complete its action before giving another remedy.

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What is a Symptom?

Suzan Dean

Homeopathy treats both the material and the immaterial aspects of health, so when a person describes their sufferings to the homeopath they not only need to tell of their physical problems but also their mental and emotional difficulties and tendencies. It is relatively easy to describe physical problems. After all, this is what is expected in the doctor’s surgery. It may be harder though to talk about what thoughts we have or to describe our feelings towards other people.
Every part of our lives may indicate symptoms, not just headaches, constipation, asthma, or a twisted ankle, but also a new job, an accident, a burglary, a puncture in the car or a leaking roof. We cannot detach ourselves from anything that happens around us. These life circumstances and occurrences are relevant to the homeopath in developing an image of the sickness, especially in regard to the patient’s reaction to them.

This image of the individual’s sickness is vital in finding the most similar remedy and it is one of the things that differentiate homeopathy from other treatments. The chemist sells the same painkillers for any headache. For a homeopath, however, this symptom on its own is of no value until it is made individual. No one person’s headache is like another’s. We need to know where exactly it hurts, what the pain is like, when does it occur, how often, what makes it feel better or worse. All these details are essential in individualizing a case. It may also be useful to relate what was happening or what you were feeling when the headache began. There are over 250 remedies that could be used to treat a headache, but only one remedy is indicated for the very specific symptom: ‘pain in the forehead when leaning forward, while sewing’. This then is a very particular symptom

The same individualizing is necessary when examining emotional and intellectual symptoms. Many people complain of feeling anxious or irritable or stressed. This on its own does not furnish the homeopath with enough information. When do you get anxious? What makes you anxious? Are you better if you go to bed or do you prefer to go out for a walk? Are you better with people around you? Is it worse in the morning or at night? Does it make you feel sick? Each person has his or her own story to tell and this is what the homeopath needs to hear.

But what are symptoms for? Clearly, from what we have seen so far, symptoms are essential to direct the homeopath to find the curative remedy. When there are no clear symptoms, it is impossible to develop an image of the sickness and it is therefore impossible to prescribe. But apart from this, symptoms have a vital function of protection. The Vital Force, unaided cannot always overcome imbalances and dysfunctions in the system. It can, however, produce symptoms that protect the person from further or greater damage.

When a part of the body is injured or infected, inflammation occurs: redness, swelling, heat and pain. This localized defence mechanism is the body’s natural reaction to the injury and indicates that it is dealing with the damage or infection. The production of pus is a sign that the system is working effectively. But the symptoms of inflammation also alert the person to the problem and ensure that they are careful to avoid further damage until healing is completed. Removal of these symptoms only delays or prevents the process. It is interesting to note that early on in conventional medical training the students are told about the benefits of the natural immune response and yet later on are taught how to suppress this same response.

Inflammation and pain of an arthritic knee protect the joint and force the sufferer to take care. Anti-inflammatory drugs remove this protection without curing the problem. A person hurts their back and decides that, instead of resting, as the pain dictates, they take some painkillers and get it fixed by an osteopath, so that they can carry on with their life as before. They put themselves in a potentially more dangerous situation. Perhaps they injure their back again, but even more seriously; perhaps they get the sack at work, or have an accident which would have been avoided had they stayed at home. The process is not always obvious, but the idea remains.

It can be difficult to accept that the purpose of symptoms, whatever they are, is to protect us from greater evil. For this reason it can be dangerous to eliminate them without addressing the root cause. We have to accept that we cannot always understand the connections nor find the answers to everything, but if we think about our symptoms and concentrate on what we can understand, by putting our energies into the right direction, and continuing our treatment, more answers are sure to come.

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The Action of a Homeopathic Remedy

Karen Gorman

When a homeopathic remedy is taken, the first action that occurs is called "primary action". This action is caused from the introduction of a remedy which can produce similar suffering to that which the patient already has, as proved in tests on healthy people. This is one of the fundamental principles of homeopathic treatment i.e. like cures like. When the patient takes the remedy which best matches his symptom picture, the vital force, appears to admit the remedy in a passive way. It appears to be passive because when a human being receives any new stimulus, the vital force needs time to study what it is, in order to know how to react to it. This is what is occurring in the primary action.

If the remedy is similar to the person's disease, his vital force will recognise it and will know how to deal with it because it is already familiar with these symptoms. It almost welcomes it, as we welcome our friends and family. The vital force feels that a stronger "dose" of the familiar disease has been added to it. This is why people experience aggravation i.e. a worsening of their symptoms. Aggravation during the primary action is a good sign to the homeopath. He knows that the remedy is correct and that it has been prescribed according to the Law of Similars.

The vital force works to protect us as best it can. But when we are sick, the vital force can only raise itself to keep us in balance but by itself it cannot quite overcome the disease. If it could, we would never get sick in the first place. When a remedy is prescribed and the vital force has studied the new challenge posed by the remedy, it then reacts to it. This is known as secondary reaction. The added challenge of the remedy makes it think, as it were, that the person has been infected with more disease, which stimulates the person's vital energy to rise to overcome this. The matching remedy, however, is a stronger artificial disease, not the real disease that the person is suffering from and it only has a short life. So when the power of the remedy disappears, it leaves the patient with a raised vitality and consequently the ability to overcome the original disease and hence cure takes place.

Paradoxically, the patient may initially experience his symptoms becoming somewhat stronger in the phase of the primary action but this is necessary so that the vital force feels it is challenged, which makes it rise to the occasion. The secondary reaction is the vital force overcoming the power of the remedy and in so doing, curing the original disease. All primary and secondary actions are opposite to one another and all medicines will excite these within the person. The primary effect of drinking a cup of coffee is to stimulate and make us feel more awake both mentally and physically, but during the secondary reaction people become more tired than they were originally and so we usually have another cup. This is an example of primary and secondary action, when a stronger, dissimilar, non-curative drug is given. If a person's similar remedy were Coffea (made from the coffee bean) and he were given the potency, the primary action would make him feel even less awake (aggravation), but in the secondary reaction (curative action) he would feel more awake and alert long term. The crude drug acts on the material level, so the internal deficiency is not fulfilled at this level. In order to cure, the medicine needs to be potentised so that a higher level of information can be obtained. Crude drugs act opposite to the potency. So with the use of the potency we see aggravation first but it is only short term. The curative action has a long term beneficial effect for the whole of the person.

Joseph Reves tell us in his explanation to Samuel Hahnemann’s Organon that "The overcoming of suffering and the restoration of health is only possible by "the homeopathic employment of medicines according to similarity of symptoms". It is true that the Homeopathic way of cure primarily brings suffering, and that this suffering indicates the beginning of the correction of the internal aberration of the health. Application of the practical healing art, according to the Homeopathic doctrine, brings about a short first aggravation, which is followed by a prolonged amelioration, until the desired cure is accomplished. It is easier for a human being to choose allopathy: it brings him immediate pleasure, while the prolonged aggravation which follows is always forgotten; this is the way of ignorance. The other way, which involves a short period of suffering followed by permanent cure, is for the thinking mortal who has long-sighted wisdom."

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What is the Homeopathic Aggravation?

Lesley Isaacson

I have often heard people say about homeopathy “Oh, that’s where you get worse before you get better”. After taking a homeopathic remedy, the patient may contact their practitioner to report that some of their symptoms are worse and may be surprised when the homeopath says “good, that is a positive sign”. He or she may appear callous and indifferent to the person’s suffering and will, after careful questioning, attempt to explain this aggravation as a positive step towards cure. What is going on here? Why this apparent increase in some symptoms and what does it tell us about the curative process?

The selection of the simillimum or similar remedy is based on the Law of Similars which states that a medicine which can produce symptoms in a healthy individual will cure a similar set of symptoms in a sick individual. As we know from earlier articles in the Homeopathic Outlook, symptoms are produced by the Vital Force or life energy in an attempt to maintain the best level of health possible in the circumstances.

We need to remember that the similarity of the remedy depends not only on its ability to produce symptoms in healthy people but also in the level of potency that the practitioner selects. So we can say that the simillimum represents the symptom picture of the patient but in an amplified form. It is against this amplified similarity that the Vital Force is encouraged to react and increase its efforts in overcoming the weaker expression. In a sense, the remedy holds up to the Vital Force a mirror image of the state it is already in, but in a form that is stronger. It is therefore true to say that the simillimum needs to be both similar and stronger for it to have a curative effect.

It seems illogical that in order to move towards a more curative state, there needs to be an aggravation first but many homeopathic authors are quite clear that “the aggravation [is] a sign that the curative process starts to take place”. J. Reves 24 Chapters in Homeopathy Homeopress Ltd. He goes on to say that without it, there is no cure. George Vithoulkas in The Science of Homeopathy says, “In order, therefore, to produce a truly curative response, it is not only expected but desirable that an aggravation of symptoms be produced after administration of the correct remedy”. Dr. S. Hahnemann describes the aggravation, which he likens to a medicinal disease, as a “very good prognostic”. Organon of Medicine, Homeopress Ltd. paragraph 158.

The value of the homeopathic aggravation in assessing the curative process underlines the importance of careful note taking and reporting after a remedy has been taken. The homeopath is always looking out for any signs of an aggravation, however slight, as this is the first signpost of the remedy’s action. What may seem trivial and incidental to the patient could be the very clue that the homeopath seeks.

The aggravation presents a challenge to the practitioner as well as to the patient, in terms of mitigating its severity. J.T. Kent in Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy speaks from years of experience when he says “sometimes the physician will be driven to his wit’s end in dealing with these reactions”. The homeopath will have taken into consideration the possibility of an aggravation when selecting the similar remedy, in terms of the potency and the time when the remedy should be taken. For example, if a child has repeated nightmares, it would be advisable for the remedy to be taken during the daytime and not at night, when the child is already suffering. Likewise, if the patient presents with menstrual problems, the best time to take the remedy would be once that time of the month is over. The homeopath “hopes for” an aggravation but wants to do everything possible to lessen its intensity.

Over and above the aggravation as a slight intensification of the presenting symptoms following the administration of a curative remedy, there is another meaning to the term. Stuart Close in The Genius of Homeopathy” describes it thus: “…those conditions in which, under the action of a deeply acting homeopathic medicine, latent disease becomes active and expresses itself in the return of the old symptoms or the appearance of new symptoms. In such cases, it represents the reaction of the organism to the stimulus of a well selected medicine and is generally curative in its nature [my italics]”. From the patient’s point of view, what is experienced is the worsening of some symptoms but it is up to the practitioner to evaluate, after careful questioning, the nature of the symptoms that have worsened. Of course, there are any number of possibilities as to what gets worse, for how long, when, etc but further discussion of the details of this is beyond the scope of this article. What we can be certain of is that the aggravation represents, in the main, a positive step on the road to cure.

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Acute Illness - a Few Pointers

Chris Jacob

Acute illness comes in all shapes and sizes: colds, ‘flu, chicken-pox, fevers, gastric upsets, diarrhea to name a few. Acute illness appears to be feared and misunderstood by many patients. This article is an attempt to explain a few of the ideas around acute illness.

The difference between acute disease and chronic illness is that acute illness has a beginning, a middle and an end and is short in duration. Chronic illness has a beginning and a middle but it doesn’t end until life ends. Acute illness always develops on top of an underlying chronic problem. It arrives to clear out the system and to slow down the chronic. The symptoms of the chronic are usually quiet and slow, often imperceptible, whilst acute illness is more dramatic; it happens more quickly and can be more violent and debilitating.

Acute illness has several stages.

First stage - (Prodrome)

The first stage of acute is the build up to more severe symptoms. This is called the prodrome. It can be for different lengths of time. For instance the prodrome or incubation period for chicken pox is 14-21 days. For measles it is 10 -15 days. Other acutes appear more quickly or slowly.

In the prodrome the patient moves out of an underlying chronic state into the acute. As this occurs behaviour may change and become opposite to the usual. The person may have aversion to their usual food or want something unusual. They may want heat when usually they would want cold or vice versa. Just before they become ill they may feel very well. Another sign of an acute is a reduction in appetite. Small symptoms like a runny nose, change in behaviour or sleep pattern are all possibly indicative. At this point it is not clear and we usually need to wait and observe until the second stage occurs.

Second stage of - (Healing crisis)

The second stage of acute is called the healing crisis. This is the more dramatic time of fever, sickness, and sometimes pain. A healthy person will go through these symptoms quite quickly with quick recovery, sometimes within 24 hours, with little or no loss of strength. However, if symptoms continue and resolution is slow the healing crisis can be drawn out and not conclusive. At this point the body sacrifices more and more tissues in order to recover. A lengthy healing crisis can cause severe debility. It is often at this point that it may be necessary for homeopathic intervention. The Homeopath’s role is then to prevent continued pain, loss of tissues and strength and promote a quick recovery. We are lucky we have so many wonderful quick acting medicines for just this occurrence. At times it may be important to consult your homeopath and see if it is necessary to treat this acute.

Traumatic acute problems such as injuries and burns are altogether another area. Where there are broken bones or open wounds or foreign objects to be removed it is very clear that these need to be set, sewn or removed. However, once the life threatening situation has been dealt with it is important to look at the reasons such accidents occurred and find a medicine, if necessary, to aid recovery and prevent recurrence.

3rd stage - (Recovery)

The third stage of the acute is the recovery phase. Signs of improvement in an acute are the breaking out of a sweat, the return of appetite and the person becoming more "himself". A rash or skin eruption coming out usually means the patient is improving, especially if it moves down the body. If the first two stages have been of long duration or particularly severe then recovery may take a long time. Homeopathy can prevent the unnecessary loss of strength and vitality in stage 1 and 2. If the patient does not have the vitality to recover quickly homeopathy can be used to return the patient to health. It is always necessary to re-consult your homeopath after an acute in order to treat the chronic disease at the root of all acute illness. Otherwise further acutes will occur in time (and may well be more severe).

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Levels of Treatment

Karen Gorman

The homeopath recognises that there are three types of diseases and therefore three levels of treatment. We can suffer from acute, chronic or miasmatic diseases. What is the difference between these and how do they relate to our treatment?

Acute diseases are the most external layer and are the easiest for the homeopath to treat as the picture of disease is on the external and is clear. They are the diseases that develop rapidly. They are an expression or a vent of the person's chronic state. Very often an acute disease will be accompanied with a skin eruption or a fever, but not always, or a discharge of some sort, which will alleviate the chronic underlying state of the patient. Very often the symptoms suffered during the acute stages of disease are opposite to those we normally experience i.e. in our chronic state. For example, if you are usually a "warm" person in your chronic state, when you suffer from an acute, you will very often become a "cold" person. It is a more intense situation than the chronic disease. The time and pace of the acute is dependent on the person's vitality. After the decline of the acute the chronic symptoms will manifest again.

With chronic diseases the progress is gradual and may take a few years to develop. As they develop over the years and the danger to life increases, the vital force will produce an acute disease, which will act as a vent and ease the pressure of the build up of the chronic disease. Without treatment chronic diseases develop as we grow older. The difference between the acute and chronic diseases is that the acute has a beginning, middle and end but the chronic disease has a beginning and a middle but only ends with the death of the individual.

Miasmatic diseases are those diseases that have been able to develop in mankind as degradation has taken place through the generations and are therefore an expression of the deepest sickness of Man. Diseases have gone through many transformations as medicines have "successfully" suppressed diseases over the years rather than curing them. Miasmas are the inherited tendencies that affect us all, those emotional, occupational, intellectual parts of us that are passed on to us from previous generations. Chronic diseases damage the individual throughout his lifetime but miasmatic diseases have an effect over generations i.e. hundreds of years.

Joseph Reves, in his book 24 Chapters in Homeopathy, clearly describes the effect these different diseases have on us and our surroundings, he says that "In the miasma the manifestations are deep, but cause man suffering that he is not conscious of. That which suffers is his surroundings, his family and the whole world. In chronic disease the people around the sick man suffer from him; from his own miasmatic manifestations and in an acute disease only the man suffers, the surroundings have a "rest" from his behaviour".

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A Clean Bill of Health

Chris Jacob

Every so often there is a headline or news article about someone who was given a "clean bill of health" and then suddenly died or were taken ill. Yet nobody seems to query how it is that a person can be declared well and then turn out not to be. At other times patients are given only a short time to live and yet manage to continue for many years despite the initial poor prognosis. It appears there is a difficulty in accurately assessing a patient’s real state of health. Why was the assessment wrong?

Samuel Hahnemann, in his book the “Organon of Medicine”, instructed homeopaths to investigate the constitution, character, occupation, living habits, relations, age, sexual function etc. when making a complete assessment of the health of the patient. In addition, the family history, the history of previous treatments and all the symptoms and illnesses that have made this person what they are today are needed. Furthermore our physical, mental and emotional states vary according to the time of the day, the season and our stage of life. A more detailed reading needs to be taken over time and in different locations, seasons etc to see the variation in health.

From this we see that taking a few physical readings at any one moment in time is a limited way of assessing health since it ignores so many other factors that need to be included. Symptoms and patterns of health often build up over years. A homeopath called James Tyler Kent wrote in his Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy: “…take the nervous child. It has wild dreams, twitching, restless sleep, nervous excitement, hysterical manifestations, but if we examine all the organs of the body we will find nothing the matter with them. This sickness, however, which is present, if allowed to go on uncured, will in twenty or thirty years result in tissue change; the organs will become affected and then it will be said the body is diseased; but the individual has been sick from the beginning.”

It is then possible to understand how illnesses do not happen randomly but have an order. We are able to see a build-up of disease over time, progressing through different symptoms up to the point at which we see the patient today. Some patients may have an increasing tendency to accidents and traumas, each one being slightly stronger than the previous one as their disease progresses. In others we can track the progress of symptoms over years moving from a more external organ deeper and deeper into the constitution of the patient.

A clean bill of health infers that we really know the true complete state and prognosis for the patient. No one can ever know the entirety of another’s health and condition. Even with such a detailed assessment as we have described, we can never cover everything. But we do have a better understanding of the general health state of the patient.

Hahnemann explained that the most frequent aggravation of health came from grief and emotional upset. How we feel has a potent and powerful effect on our health. In order to know our patient we need to know how they feel and are responding emotionally to their life. Shock and upset can leave long term effects on us all. Worry and anxiety can turn our digestion, circulation and coping abilities into turmoil. A strong willed person will continue to survive where others falter or fail.

A homeopathic approach is to assess the whole story over time, to take what is called the “totality of symptoms”. The totality means the emotional, intellectual and physical person as a whole. Total good health and therefore ‘a clean bill of health’ are reflected as a patient with no symptoms in any area. It is a rare event to find that a patient is symptom-free. This may mean that in homeopathy there is no such thing as a clean bill of health, but rather that there is always room for further improvement and hope for a better future.

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What is ‘Holistic’ Treatment?

Suzan Dean

In our world of instant mass communication and mindless sound bites, we have developed a series of ‘shorthand’ words. By this I mean words which have a huge loading of meaning, like for example natural, organic, and now holistic. These words are used indiscriminately with a “good” flag, and as a result their true meaning can become diluted.

Holism is a relatively new word. It can also be spelt ‘wholism’ which gives an even clearer clue to its meaning. Originally it was used to denote a philosophical theory that certain wholes are to be regarded as greater than the sum of their parts. Medically speaking, it means treating the whole person, including mental and social factors, rather than just the specific symptoms of a disease.
It has now become so widespread that it is often no more than a catch phrase. A police officer talking on the radio about the problem of knife crime insisted that a holistic approach had to be taken, and then referred to schools, communities and social conditions.

Its opposite is the extreme specialism of modern medicine, where a physician is a specialist in the lungs but not the heart, or a surgeon may operate only on hands. Patients frequently end up suffering needlessly when different specialists prescribe drugs for different conditions without ever looking at the potentially harmful cocktail that may result. This must surely come from the often unchallenged notion that a medicine can be directed to affect just one isolated part of the body, as if when it is taken it has an address label attached “for the right inner ear” or “for the left knee”. This is clearly impossible.

Between these extremes are many varying shades of meaning, like grey between black and white. Osteopaths use the word to indicate that they are looking at the whole spine and its effects on the whole body, not just at the particular disc that is causing the trouble. Most practitioners use it to mean treating both the physical and the mental/emotional aspects of a person. One healer claimed to treat holistically by looking at the current situation, past challenges and aspirations for future, thus introducing an element of time as well.

It is rarely disputed that there is a manifest connection between the physical and the mental/emotional states of a person. ‘Mind over matter’ is a widely accepted concept. We talk about being ‘sick with worry ’, ‘blind with anger" or having ‘butterflies in the stomach’. When someone is anxious they may have diarrhoea or sweating palms.

A person is more than just their physical manifestation. It can happen that someone with a terminal illness is told they have only days to live yet will in fact go on to live for weeks and even months. What is happening here? The doctors may talk of a ‘strong will’. On the other hand, a person can turn their face to the wall and die, when physically there is no indication that they should do so. It is this inner part of the person that governs their mind and body and must consequently be at the heart of a holistic approach.

A truly holistic picture of a person must include every aspect of their life. It is necessary to obtain information on:

- the physical body, not just what symptoms look like and what they feel like, but also when and how often they occur, what makes them better/worse;
- intellectual function;
- relations with family, friends, at work, and how the person relates to the world in general;
- what they like and what they dislike, not only in food but in all aspects of life;
- their own life story and their family history;
- their hopes and aspirations for the future.

A consultation of this kind is thorough and may take some considerable time.

Some practitioners use a questionnaire to elicit information. This is not satisfactory as the response can never be as individual. The homeopath needs to know the relative importance of what the person is feeling, what connections are made from one piece of information to another, what they talk about first, etc. This can only be achieved by allowing the patient to talk freely about their suffering.

This freedom of expression helps to build up a very individual and particular picture of the person. If we demand that they talk about their digestion when it is really their joints that are bothering them most, or if we persist in questioning them about their work colleagues when they want to rant about their neighbours, we are skewing the picture. A truly holistic image must reflect this individuality.

It is one thing to examine all the different aspects of the person, but what really matters is what is done with this information. The different parts of the human organism can be seen like an orchestra of brilliant musicians, which produces wonderful music when all parts are in balance. The key to this perfect result is the conductor; he controls the whole orchestra and makes sure they play properly together. When the music is horrible, out of time, out of tune, or the trumpets are drowning out the violins, it is clear that the conductor is not doing his job properly, something is wrong with him. So the best way to improve the situation would be to sort out the conductor. There is no point just sacking the trumpet player.

Within the human there is also a conductor, the very inner part of the person, which we call the Vital Force. We cannot see it but can only know about it from the external manifestations – all these physical, mental and emotional expressions. In the same way, we can only know how good the conductor of the orchestra is by listening to the music.

By examining all the information we can build up a picture that represents this inner conductor. And it is this that needs treating. When this inner conductor is treated, the external picture will change. The different players will keep in time, the violins will no longer be drowned out, and the whole orchestra will play in tune.

When someone says to me: can you treat my eczema/migraine/panic attacks/stomach ulcer etc., my reply has to be: No, but I can treat you. These different conditions or symptoms are expressions of the internal distortion of the person and are only a part of the whole picture that represents this inner distortion. The inner distortion that produces the stomach ulcer must also produce symptoms in all areas of the person’s life. Removing these expressions in isolation puts the person in a worse situation.

A stomach ulcer can’t exist separately from the person. It is part of the person. If you remove the ulcer or mask the pain from the ulcer, the internal distortion is not touched, but remains in the person and will sooner or later be expressed again, either as a return of the ulcer or perhaps as some other more dangerous symptom.

We can only know the nature of this inner core (and from this the most suitable medicine for cure) by examining all aspects of the person, not just his presenting condition, and from this creating a totality, a complete picture of that person. By addressing this total picture, a change can take place in the very internal of the person, and there will no longer be the need to produce the symptom or condition. This is a true holistic approach to health.

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The Homeopathic Remedies

Janice McGrady

Remedies used in homeopathy come mainly from the three natural kingdoms: mineral, plant and animal. Most are from the mineral and plant kingdoms; a few come from animals and very few from the human being. Human life is closely linked with the “inanimate” mineral kingdom and the living plant and animal kingdoms; we are all part of a single creation and are all subject to universal laws. The elements, minerals and metals broadly included in “the mineral kingdom” are basic building blocks of life, each with its own individual properties. Plants absorb nutrients from the mineral kingdom, such as potassium and iron. In their turn, they become food for animals and humans. We humans eat plants and animals but usually do not eat minerals directly. Whenever any living creature dies, the physical body decays and becomes nutrition for the next level.

The three kingdoms are closely interconnected with each other and with man. Dr.J.T.Kent (1884-1916) wrote: “It is not generally known that the three kingdoms exist, as to their interior, in the image of man.” He urged us to behold the interior of nature with “the interior eye,” as man’s diseases have their likenesses in the substances that make up the natural kingdoms. What we need to heal us when we are sick is available right here in the three kingdoms. But first the healing substances need to be unlocked, so to speak. That is where Dr. Samuel Hahnemann comes in.

Samuel Hahnemann (1755- 1843) acquired a broad background in the mineral kingdom from studying chemistry and metallurgy. Learning the healing properties of many minerals, plants and animals was part of his medical degree. He translated books on chemistry and medical treatises on how different natural substances could be used to treat the sick. What sparked his discovery of the Law of Similars in the 1790s was reading William Cullen’s work on Materia Medica. Cullen described the symptoms he experienced when he took doses of bark from the plant China officinalis, the source of quinine, long prescribed for malarial fevers. Dr. Hahnemann could not wait to test this plant on himself and, when he did, he experienced many symptoms of intermittent fever (malaria- type symptoms). This is how he discovered that the same substance that could cause certain symptoms in a healthy person could cure a sick person suffering similar symptoms. This is The Law of Similars. He had started with a well-known healing plant.

He proceeded to carry out “provings” of other plants, minerals and their salts and a few animal substances like oyster shells and animal charcoal. He rigorously tested both established substances and others whose full potential to cure those sick in mind and body was only now revealed through his efforts. He established protocols for grinding or triturating, diluting, and succussing or vibrating each substance as appropriate in a process peculiar to the preparation of homeopathic medicines. This is how he “potentized” each substance to unlock its inherent powers to affect mind and body. Internal qualities were revealed by proving among others, potentized Sulphur and Aurum (gold) and from the plant kingdom Thuja occidentalis (the tree of life or arbor vitae.) Alcohol was used to prevent plants from spoiling and lactose (milk sugar) was used to make dry tablets. Prescribing a single proved and potentized remedy in a single dose according to the Law of Similars continues to distinguish the homeopathic prescription of a mineral or plant or other remedy from nutritional supplements or herbal medicines.

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What can homeopathy treat?

Paul Hudson

This is one of the most frequent questions that a homeopath has to answer, and some reply with a list of diagnosed conditions.

But diagnosed conditions are of little help in way we work. After all what does a named diagnosis relate to? It simply shows that the person has a group of symptoms that are similar to every one else with same diagnosis. As homeopaths, the diagnosis has no relevance to the treatment we prescribe. We are looking for what is individual to the person not common to the “named disease”.

Our understanding is that most conventional diagnoses are based upon the secondary symptoms, the end products of disease.

“It becomes necessary, therefore in homeopathic prescribing to carefully separate the primary, functional symptoms, from the secondary symptoms which represent the pathological end products of the disease. The gross tangible lesions and products in which the disease ultimates are not the primary object of the homeopathic prescription.”

Dr Stuart Close

The genuine homeopathic prescription is based on the “primary, functional” symptoms which precede the organic or structural changes. It is the function which creates the organ and it is then the function which reveals the condition of the organ.

The definition of function is action, activity, performance and adaptation. It is an expression of motion and change or something that is dynamic.

In order to establish whether a patient can be treated the homeopath has to assess the action that is taking place in their life and their ability to withstand change. Where things are dynamic and showing change and reaction there will generally be clear symptoms. In our society symptoms are generally seen negatively as something we have to remove. For a homeopath symptoms display the dynamic of the person’s life, the relationship and reaction to the world around them. It is these symptoms which then display the individual nature of the person’s disease and guide the homeopath to the correct remedy.

Homeopathy can treat so long as there are clear dynamic symptoms. This doesn’t mean that we cannot treat when there are organic or structural changes; if the functional disorder is corrected then where the changes are reversible the structure can revert to its original state. In some cases where the structural changes are not reversible then the overall health of the person may improve increasing their ability to adapt and interact. In some instances the structural changes may have progressed to the point where the person may no longer be able to withstand the change that can come with treatment or there may no longer be clear symptoms to prescribe on.

So homeopathy can treat where there are clear individualising symptoms which display the dynamic of the person’s life.

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Comparing Natural Immunity with Vaccination by Trevor Gunn: A Review

Liz Anderson

There are lots of books about vaccination on the market, many of which are worth reading if you are interested and have time to investigate the subject fully. However for most people their interest in the subject comes with the recent or imminent birth of a baby, when time and brain space are at a premium.

What I love about Trevor Gunn’s book is that it is clear, concise and easy to follow, and packs an awful lot into a short volume. Despite a simplicity of style, the content really is thought-provoking and challenges many beliefs we may not have thought to question before.

I particularly liked his exploration of Louis Pasteur’s germ theory, which is the foundation block of modern medicine, and upon which the idea of vaccination is based. Gunn compares Pasteur’s theory to that of Antoine Bechamp, his contemporary, and from this comparison we are led to consider whether Pasteur’s theory really does make sense.

Gunn brings fantastic clarity to the working of the immune system. He also discusses epidemiology and how statistics have been manipulated to support vaccination schedules. He shows that diseases that are vaccinated against were on the wane long before vaccine programmes were introduced, and suggests that other factors were more likely responsible for their demise.

He discusses the notion of susceptibility, and how good health, and therefore a diminished susceptibility to disease, or a system better able to “learn” from disease, is the best way to avoid the possible dangerous consequences of these diseases.

This book is a great introduction to the subject of vaccination and is comprehensive enough in its scope to stimulate thought and assist in the process of making decisions on this highly-charged health issue.

Published by:
The Informed Parent Publications, PO Box 4481, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 2WH
Tel: 01903 212969

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Letter from Hahnemann

Here is a letter written by Samuel Hahnemann in 1800 giving suggestions for a healthy life-style. It is addressed to a patient, an educated tailor, who, in spite of being delicate, reached the age of ninety two years.

Man (the delicate human machine) is not constituted for overwork. If he does so from ambition, love of gain, or other praiseworthy or blameworthy motive, he sets himself in opposition to the order of nature, and his body suffers injury or destruction. The more so if his body is already in a weakened condition; then what you cannot accomplish in a week you can do in two weeks. Your customers may not be willing to wait, but they cannot reasonably expect that you will make yourself ill and work to the grave for their sake, leaving your wife a widow and your children orphans. It is not only the greater bodily exertion that injures you, but even more the attendant strain on the mind; the overwrought mind in turn affects the body injuriously. If you do not assume an attitude of calm indifference, adopting the principle of living first for yourself and only secondly for others, then there is small chance of your recovery. When you are in your grave, men will still be clothed, perhaps not so tastefully, but still tolerably well.

If you are a philosopher you may become healthy, you may even attain to old age.

If anything annoys you, ignore it, if anything is too much for you, have nothing to do with it; if others seek to drive you, go slowly and laugh at the fools who wish to worry you. What you can do comfortably, that do; what you cannot accomplish, do not bother yourself about, for our temporal circumstances are not improved by over-pressure of work. You only spend proportionally more on your domestic affairs, and so nothing is gained. Economy, limitation of superfluities (of which the hard worker has often very few) place us in a position to live with greater comfort - that is to say, more rationally, more intelligently, more in accordance, more wisely and more prudently than by working in a breathless hurry, with our nerves constantly overstrung, to the destruction of the most precious treasures of life, a peaceful life and good health. Be more prudent, consider yourself first, let everything else be only of secondary importance to you; and should they venture to assert that you are in honour bound to do more that is good for your mental and physical powers, even then do not, for God's sake, allow yourself to be driven to do what is contrary to your own welfare. Remain deaf to the bribery of praise, remain cold and pursue your own course slowly and quietly like a wise and sensible man. To enjoy with tranquil mind and body that is what man is in the world for, and to do only as much work as will procure him the means of enjoyment - certainly not to let himself be harassed and worn out with work.

The everlasting pushing and striving of short-sighted mortals in order to gain so and so much, to secure some honour or other, to do a service to this or that great personage - this is generally fatal to our welfare, this is a common cause of young people ageing and dying before their time.

The calm cool-headed man, who lets things glide softly, attains the same object, lives more tranquilly and healthily, and reaches a good old age; and this leisurely man sometimes lights upon a lucky idea, the fruit of serious original thought, that will give much more profitable impetus to his temporal affairs than can ever be gained by the overwrought man who can never find time to collect his thoughts.

In order to win the race, speed alone will not suffice. Strive to remain a little indifferent, to be cool and calm, then you will be what I wish you to be. You will see marvellous things; you will see how healthy you will become by following my advice. Then shall your blood course through your veins calmly and sedately, without effort and without heat. No horrible dreams disturb the sleep of him who lies down to rest with calm nerves, and the man who is free from care wakes in the morning without anxiety about the multifarious occupation of the day. What does he care? The happiness of life concerns him more than anything else. With fresh vigour he sets about his moderate work, and at his meals nothing, no ebullitions of blood, no cares, no solitude of mind hinders him from relishing what the beneficent Preserver of Life sets before him; and so one day follows another in quiet succession, until finally advanced age brings him to the termination of a well-spent life, and he rests serenely in another world, as he has calmly lived in this one.

Is not that more rational, more sensible? Let restless self-destroying men act as irrationally, as injuriously towards themselves as they please; let them be fools, but do you be wiser. Do not let me preach this wisdom of life in vain. I mean well by you.

Farewell, follow my advice, and when all goes well with you, remember
Dr. S. Hahnemann.

P.S. Even should you be reduced to your last sixpence, remain cheerful and happy. Providence watches over us, and lucky chance puts things right again. How much do we need in order to live, to restore our powers by food and drink, to shield ourselves from cold and heat? Little more than courage; when we possess that, we can find the minor essentials without much trouble. The wise man needs but little. Conserved strength does not need to be renewed by medicine.

Extract from Samuel Hahnemann His Life and Work: Richard Haehl: B. Jain. Vol 2: p51.

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