Vera Resnick-Weisz, DHom Med (Lic), IHM. Classical Homoeopathy. Local and online homoeopathic treatment available
Many years ago, when I was a student, I took a cousin to a homoeopath. He just didn’t seem to be improving, so I asked my teacher about the case. She looked at me wearily and said:
“He’s going to a homoeopath right?”
“If he doesn’t trust the homoeopath to do her job properly, he shouldn’t carry on going to her.”
But something didn’t seem right. Over the next two months, my cousin’s situation deteriorated. So I got my brand new books out (we’re talking pre-Google here) and researched the remedy. It didn’t look good, and my cousin ditched the remedy together with the homoeopath. Later on, he did actually improve with homoeopathy but that’s another article.
So the moral of the story is that everyone should research remedies – right?
Let’s say you have been prescribed a remedy named Pulsatilla. Usually people research remedies on the internet. Here are some examples of what you would find if you google Pulsatilla, one of the most powerful remedies in the homeopath’s arsenal:
“It is pre-eminently a female remedy, especially for mild, gentle, yielding disposition.”
“It has been found that the homeopathic medicine pulsatilla works best for people who have a sweet and gentle nature and are accommodating…”
“The type of person that benefits the most from using the homeopathic remedy of pulsatilla tends to be very compliant, calm, and good natured…”
So if you do some research about the remedy you’ve been given, and that remedy is Pulsatilla, some serious mental squirming results. Especially if you’re a man. Especially when you get to the bits I haven’t quoted here, about the suitability of Pulsatilla for patients who are blonde and have blue eyes. Yes, really.
One patient suffering from an upper respiratory problem knew something about remedies and was clearly shaken when I told him I would probably prescribe Pulsatilla. He was subsequently pleasantly surprised when it worked so well. Another man who can only be described as macho was more than happy to ditch the antibiotics when Pulsatilla kicked in and cured.
I have prescribed Pulsatilla frequently for all manner of men (and women) – and it is an amazing remedy. Cures with this remedy have been documented for over two hundred years, even to the extent of bringing patients back from the brink of death. In the early days of homoeopathy during the first half of the 19th century, one such notable patient was the Baron von Boenninghausen. On his recovery he went on to study homoeopathy with the founder, Samuel Hahnemann, and eventually became one of homoeopathy’s leading practitioners and analysts. I use his methods in my work.
Here’s another example – Sepia, a remedy made from Sepia ink.
Trawling through the internet for information on the remedy Sepia, women with gynecological problems dominate the web, so to speak. Also brunettes. Some note women who have “bitchy” tendencies, others note women worse for doing the laundry, and on it goes.
Here again, I have frequently prescribed Sepia which has produced positive change and cure in men and women – where it is indicated.
Why the discrepancy? Why indeed…
Homoeopathy is first and foremost based on experiment, to discover the symptoms each substance can cause in the healthy and thus, which symptom pictures they might cure in the sick. Remedies are given in tiny attenuated doses to healthy volunteers, who frequently don’t know what they are taking, and they note down all their symptoms, whether physical, mental or emotional. In homoeospeak this is called a “proving”. A “Provings Master” collates all the material together. Information is also gathered from poisonings experienced from that substance. For instance, a primary source for information about Sepia in the early days of homoeopathy came from painters who used Sepia ink and constantly licked their fingers, suffering side effects as a result.
But where do the psychological profiles come from? And what is their value – apart from making much more interesting reading than results of experiments offering details of all the body’s waste products in technicolor detail?
Many books were written and published where material from one book was simply copied into another, and another… In homoeopathy this is very evident since the language used in the plethora of older books is identical from one to the other. On the internet people are more wary of plagiarism, but the same thing goes on.
Some psychological changes were observed in the original experiments. This is something we’re very familiar with today. Coffee, alcohol, and many other substances can cause apparent, usually short term, psychological change. This information is invaluable.
But no experiment will turn a patient into a blonde, no matter how frequently he or she takes the remedy. No experiment will show results that the subject’s eyes turned blue. These descriptions happen when a practitioner observes that Pulsatilla seems to be helping a lot of blonde patients – and wham! Pulsatilla is now for blondes only! I’m not sure how they make use of this crucial information in India, where homoeopathy is part of official government-approved medicine and very widely used. Perhaps bottles of hair-dye are involved. But I digress.
Here we get to the not so nice bit. What is more likely to sell books – lists of symptoms from the gross (use your imagination) to the sublime resulting from controlled experiment with homoeopathic remedies? Or pseudo-psychological rhapsodies on different personality types which – and this is the important bit – are not grounded in the experimentation results which form the backbone of this therapy? Which is more likely to grab the attention of the public – whether patients or homoeopaths and students? The color of the (if you’ll excuse me) poop, or the wilting yielding nature of a so-called Pulsatilla profile? The delightfully interesting suppressed hysterics of Ignatia who cries bitterly in her room? The sensuous brooding Sepia who wants to be alone? C’mon – there’s no competition here.
There is another element here which should be taken into account when researching remedies, which is just as problematic – auto-suggestion. I think many if not most of us are familiar with that sinking feeling, as we hear about some exotic disease and become convinced that we’ve got all the symptoms. I remember learning about tapeworms when I was 8 or 9… the nightmares were not pleasant. Medical students are hit particularly hard by this syndrome, and homoeopathy students can be very strongly affected by it.
One student studied a particular remedy known for nasty forms of dysentery – and spent the next 24 hours strongly attached, let’s say, to the smallest room in the house. Another described how while in a class discussing a remedy which can make a person very quarrelsome, the class dynamic descended into loud argument and the teaching couldn’t continue.
There is one last point I’d like to make here (although those who know and love me and don’t invite me for dinner anymore know I can go on, and on…). For the most part, homoeopaths have invested many years of study in order to understand how to prescribe effectively, which means knowing how to assess the picture of the patient’s illness, how to find the remedy that best fits that picture of illness, and the best form of dosing for the condition. We are trained to interpret, to translate from patient to remedy and back again. Most people researching remedies have not had that training, and can easily drown in the mass of confusing symptoms. I am more than happy to teach anyone who’d like to learn, but it takes full understanding of how to work with the method and full understanding of the nature of the symptoms presented in order to draw clear conclusions from the material found.
So in summary if you research remedies, you can find yourself reading about a remedy and being certain it’s “just not you”. Or you can look up a remedy and begin to feel you’re afflicted with a wealth of symptoms you didn’t have in the first place. Or you can find yourself drowning in grocery lists of symptoms and resorting to alcoholic beverages…
None of this is good for treatment. The nature of homoeopathy is that it partners with the system (and the patient), it does not force reaction through chemical coercion. Confusion caused by auto-suggestion can muddy the case. In the same way, resistance or even resentment resulting from misguided googling can confuse the information the patient gives the homeopath about the disease state, and without accurate information from our patients we cannot do our job.
Which brings me back to the first situation I presented. How much do you trust your homoeopath? In acute situations, as with emergency conventional medicine, trust is less of an issue. You can see pretty quickly if something is working or not. But in anything chronic? The process is bound to be slower. If you haven’t looked up your remedy at the outset, at what point do you start investigating? And does that in itself express distrust in your homeopath?
So this is how I see it:
1. Don’t research your remedies at the outset. If you went for treatment, you must have some modicum of trust in your practitioner. By starting out with research, you are undermining your treatment from the get-go.
2. If you really want to read more about the remedy you’re taking, ask your practitioner for source material.
3. If you feel your remedy is not helping – ask your homoeopath about it. Remember, if you have had a condition for many years, it usually will not go overnight. See my article “It’s a process”…