Homoeopathy is being attacked by the British media. These attacks draw support from irresponsible and unjustified claims by certain teachers of homoeopathy. Such claims include the use of ‘dream’ and ‘imaginative’ methods for provings. For prescribing some such teachers attempt to replace the laborious process of matching symptom picture and remedy with spurious theories based on ‘signatures’, sensations and other methods. Other irresponsible claims have also been made. These “new ideas” risk destroying the principles, theory, and practice of homoeopathy.
At the time homoeopathy is going through the worst attack ever from the British press, we need to ask ourselves: are these attacks really justified? The attacks may be serving opportunism, vested interests or even the hatred of those opposed to homoeopathy. They may be ill-intentioned and even malign, however, if we are honest, we must accept that they draw some of their arguments and ammunition from the ranks of homoeopathy because of irresponsibility on our part. I refer to outrageous statements made by some homoeopaths and “modern teachers” and their “new ideas” which are destroying the principles, theory, and practice of real Hahnemannian homoeopathy.
Methodology of provings
The credibility of the provings (homoeopathic pathogenetic trials) of homoeopathic remedies, the cornerstone of homoeopathy, is today being demolished by “new ideas” concerning the ways provings could be conducted. Certain teachers claim that there is no need for the remedies to be “proved” on humans, but instead, the symptoms can simply be imagined, for instance: ‘It is on the mind level that group analysis can offer the greatest benefits. Once the central themes of the component elements are known it will be possible to deduce the theme of the combination remedy’[ 1 ] and ‘The method of group analysis makes it possible to think about homoeopathy on a new level, an abstract, or even metaphysical, level. This enables us more or less to predict the picture of a totally unknown remedy.’[ 2 ]
One can easily foresee where such absurd “new ideas” will lead: hundreds of “imaginative” homoeopaths will “imagine” hundreds of different “provings” for the same remedy! There is nothing wrong in the efforts of some to attract attention through the invention of new remedies. It is however not fair, for the sake of those who rely on provings, that such authors ignore the rules according to which a correct proving is conducted, in accordance with the Principles and Practice applied by Hahnemann.
The methods that many experimenters have followed in order to “provide” provings for new remedies prove that they did not follow the directions of Hahnemann ‘…a new and revolutionary method of provings, that involved making an entire group of persons take a dose of the remedy, a few days before or even during a seminar, and then discussing the effects of the dose during the seminar… They were usually very productive in terms of symptomatology, especially in the emotional sphere in the dreams, which gave an idea of the inner processes of the substance… I was impressed by the effect that the dose had on the collective group consciousness, and how, when taken collectively, the effect of the dose seemed to multiply and become much more prominent than when given on an individual basis.’[ 3 ] ‘…Proving can be conducted with a study group or at a seminar by having each student take a single dose a few days before or during the class, then comparing experiences. These provings often concentrate on dreams and mental symptoms in an endeavour to uncover the deeper meaning of the remedy. This method has been practised extensively by Jürgen Becker in Germany and adopted by other contemporary teachers. The idea is to discover the main unconscious theme of the remedy during the seminar proving. This is further enhanced by discussing the experience with the group to air and formulate the central ideas. The advantage of this method is that it may be a short cut to an inner essence of the remedy.’[ 4 ] ‘At the School of Homeopathy, where we meet once a month, we have achieved results in group provings since 1991 using a variety of stimuli: by using material substance; by holding it; by looking at it; and by meditating upon it. We have achieved results with potencies from 30C to 200C. We have invoked group provings by one member holding the concept/image of a thing in their mind (the sender) while the group has sat in a period of silence and self-observation (the receivers)… It is common to experience amongst provers that certain individuals (who later reveal cardinal symptoms because of their affinity to the substance under test) develop symptoms which subsequently are confirmed as belonging to the proving before anyone else had ‘taken’ the substance.’[ 5 ] ‘For me the meditation proving is often the most convenient and helpful. It gives results fast and with little effort. The disadvantages are that the picture will not be complete and can be incorrect in parts. But that can also be the case with other provings. In my experience, meditation provings often are quite reliable and give the essence of the remedy, more so than dream provings.’[ 6 ]
The enthusiasm to “bring out” symptoms has led to claims that even one dose of a high potency can produce hundreds of symptoms in a small group of people. ‘The proving of Coca-Cola was conducted during my San Francisco seminar on May 1994. The participants of the seminar were given one dose of the drug in the 30C potency. They were instructed to note their symptoms over the next 2 days, whether they took the dose or not.’ [ 7 ] ‘Out of 305 mental symptoms in hydrogen, 61 were produced by the 6th potency (2 provers), 17 by the 9th potency (1 prover), 27 by the 12th potency (3 provers), 3 by the 15th potency (2 provers), 140 by the 30th potency (3 provers) and 56 by the 200th potency (4 provers).’ [ 8 ] “The remedy is made up into a 30C potency… All provers start at approximately the same time and day by taking one dose.” [ 9 ]
Most of these “experimenters” probably had not read and appreciated that Hahnemann used only material doses in the provings on which his Materia Medica Pura is based. Paragraph 32 of the Organon[ 10 ] states that all “substances can produce symptoms as long as they are taken in large enough quantities.” In the sixth and final edition of the Organon paragraph 130, he states that only those sensitive to a substance can have symptoms from a high potency and this only if they take the remedy every day for several days.[ 11 ] In order to establish symptoms are reliable and are due to the remedy the experiment has to be repeated several times. In daily practice, we often prescribe the wrong remedy yet “proving” symptoms are seldom seen. This fact alone shows the scarcity of such “sensitive persons” that could prove remedies in high potency.
Some have even claimed that there is no need for a real remedy. You can write the name of the remedy and the potency in a piece of paper, put a glass of water over it and the potentised remedy is prepared! ‘I had been having my patients write the remedy and potency on a piece of paper for years and it works like a charm… Because we are working with energy and spirit, our INTENT of what we set out to do is critical to it behaving as we expect it to behave, i.e., if you write Lachesis 30C on the paper and the person with the hot flashes stops having them, then the homoeopath must be focused and concentrated in her/his gathering of this energy.’[ 12 ]
Or that you do not even need to give the remedy, you just have to think about it and the patient is cured! ‘I was taught intent was everything. And, of course, we see a patient in the midst of our case taking suddenly begin to get better once we think of the remedy for them…at least I do.’[ 12 ] With such statements how is it possible to defend against the idea that homoeopathy is nothing but “placebo” effect?
Selecting the remedy
The second important issue raised by this storm of “modernisation” is a distortion of the essential methodology through which the remedy is chosen. Some “modern teachers” claim to have found ways to cut short the laborious work required to find the remedy that matches with the symptoms of the patient. They suggest, for instance: finding the delusions of each person and prescribe accordingly. ‘I also realized the importance of the section on delusions, because a delusion is a false perception of reality, and disease to is a false perception of the present. The whole mental state of a person is an expression of this false perception (delusion).’ ‘Cure is the restoration of health. It is achieved when a man becomes aware of his false perception of reality. This is made possible by exposing him to his delusion. This is the basis of the Law of similars on which Homoeopathy is founded.’[ 13 ] In other words, they guide the naive and credulous student to locate a delusion in each patient!
Others suggest prescribing only according to mental symptoms ‘To repeat, let me point out that we prescribe on the symptoms of the mind (leaving aside all the other symptoms relating to the popularly known physical level of the body) and in turn get a stimulus in the automatic system, which is responsible for keeping the system of Assimilation and Elimination efficient.’[ 14 ] Even though many patients suffer only physical symptoms and don’t necessarily have psychological symptoms, let alone delusions.
Within this wave of spurious theory and oversimplification, others suggest grouping patients according to some “common” characteristics, ignoring the principle of uniqueness of each organism.[ 15 ] They teach, for example, that the student should explore whether if the patient has similarities with an animal, or plant, or mineral, and accordingly look into the corresponding group of remedies to find the similimum.[ 16 ] This is essentially the old idea of “signatures” abandoned as useless hundreds of years ago, now presented as an enlightened modern solution for easily finding the indicated remedy. In reality, what is suggested is the abandonment of the process of finding the correct remedy through repertorisation and searching the materia medica.
Hahnemann’s opinion about these ideas was very clear: ‘…I shall spare the ordinary medical school the humiliation of reminding it of the folly of those ancient physicians who, determining the medicinal powers of crude drugs from their signature.’[ 17 ] The failure of this method is one of the main reasons why Hahnemann sought a more logical way of curing people and why he developed homoeopathy.
Subsequently another point of view has manifested: that each patient corresponds to one and only homeopathic remedy, the “core” remedy which has to be found, else the patient would not be cured, ignoring the fact that in deep miasmatic diseases, as are the most of cases today, a series of homeopathic remedies prescribed in sequence, at long intervals, are necessary in order to accomplish a cure. ‘It is my experience that if you find the remedy that is really at the deepest level, they will do very well on it for many years. Usually, at the end of that time they are so healthy they don’t need any other remedy. Otherwise, you will just get a partial effect, but you have not really got it. As Hahnemann said, you are zigzagging towards a cure and I can’t do that very often, it makes me dizzy!… If you go the depth of the person, you see the main switch, which in one flick makes all the individual bulbs light up.’[ 18 ] ‘When we prescribe the remedy to a patient on the basis of the Primary Psoric Hypothesis, with the precise Themes and Guiding Motives, we must expect that cure will manifest as a quantum leap.’[ 19 ]
Sensations and delusions
Another recent idea that I am afraid will prolong the confusion of students is that of the projection by the practitioner of a supposedly underlying “context” of the “sensations” of the patient, to something beyond their meaning and reality. ‘Another key component of this system has to do with becoming attuned to the patient’s sensations. There is a certain energy in precise sensation(s) having to do with both the chief complaint and the general state of the patient, which has enormous significance. Dr Sankaran has termed these as the vital sensations. Vital sensations are not merely physical symptoms or emotions, but rather the common sensations that connect the mind and the body. Indeed the vital level is deeper than the mind or the body; it is at the centre point of the diseased state. These are non-human specific phenomena i.e. not exclusive to the domain of only human beings and thus take us directly to the source of the remedy itself.’[ 20 ]
Projecting the “sensations” of the patient is a slippery path for a homoeopath to take because these “projections” are not recorded in the materia medica, and every practitioner will be tempted to find another underlying “context” in the feelings of the patient. The fact is that we have to match the patient’s symptoms to the remedy proving symptoms and for such a work we have both tools and rules.
The rest is mere conjecture that allows the ridiculing of homoeopathy as has appeared recently in the British press. These extreme ideas create confusion in the minds of uninformed students and at the same time gave ammunition to the foes of homoeopathy.
Other still more dangerous “new ideas” have also surfaced; for instance, the homoeopathic version of vaccination. This originated from a misunderstanding of the idea of Hahnemann that Belladonna, for instance, could act therapeutically during an epidemic of scarlet fever, not as a preventive but because it was the “genius” of that epidemic and acted curatively at the beginning of the infection. This observation was taken to mean that we can give someone a remedy today and it will protect him/her from a prospective epidemic which might break out a year or two later.[ 21 ]
Other ideas followed that only fanatics of a religious sect could adopt: like “homoeopathy can cure everything even all forms of cancer or AIDS” [ 22 ] or even worse “potentise musical tunes, [ 23 ] or the light of Venus or the moon [ 24 ] and give it as a remedy!” Then some homoeopaths, misled by such ideas, claim to have found a cure for AIDS-like a musical tune played by a CD ‘Healing Downloads are a form of holistic self-healing based upon resonance for a wide range of illnesses and diseases. They are based on a breakthrough that came about while applying a neglected part of homoeopathy to the treatment of AIDS and Malaria in Africa. We discovered a new way of healing based on time-tested homoeopathic principles and practices but with a new form of delivery.’[ 25 ] And they call such nonsense classical homoeopathy!
With all these irrational and arbitrary “new ideas” the “modern teachers” are defaming homoeopathy and demolishing the cornerstones that constitute its scientific edifice. So it is not without reason that scientists reacted badly, that the media launched a war against homoeopathy and the opponents of homoeopathy are at this moment celebrating.
The attacks of the British media have influenced the perception of the whole homoeopathy all over the world. I foresee that this will continue and irrespective of the obvious vested interests they serve. But the sad reality is that they are not without justification. The great edifice of scientific credence in homoeopathy that was built with so much labour in so many years by so many committed people is now crumbling as we, the homoeopathic community, are providing the arguments that homoeopathy is not a science. Real knowledge is interspersed with confusion and misinformation, hard work is replaced by projection, and self-interest is presented as altruistic teaching.
However this is life: where there is light, there are also shadows. There are today enough sane homoeopaths who can turn the craziness, disorder and confusion into order and sanity, but they must speak out. This journal should be part of such a proactive movement defending the essence and substance of the theories and principles bequeathed to us by Samuel Hahnemann.
1 Scholten J. Homoeopathy and minerals. Utrecht: Stichting Alonissos; 1993. p 23.
2 Scholten J. Homoeopathy and minerals. Utrecht: Stichting Alonissos; 1993. p 289.
3 Sankaran R. Provings: similia similibus curentur. Bombay: Homeopathic Medical Publishers; 1998. [Introduction].
4 Sherr J. The dynamics and methodology of homoeopathic provings, Types of provings. West Malvern; 1994, pp 16–17.
5 Norland M. Homoeopath Links 2000; 13: 138-142.
6 Scholten J. Interhomeopathy, Theory of provings, October 2007.
7 Sankaran R. Provings: similia similibus curentur. Bombay: Homeopathic Medical Publishers; 1998. [Coca cola].
8 Sherr J. Proving of hydrogen. West Malvern: 1992.
9 Herrick N. Animal mind, human voices: provings of eight new animal remedies. Hahnemann Clinic Publishing; 1998.
10 Hahnemann S. Organon of medicine. 6th edn B. Jain Publishers; 1982. p 114.
11 Hahnemann S. Organon of medicine. 6th edn New Delhi: B. Jain Publishers; 1982. pp 198–203.
12 Nauman E. Homoeopath Links 2000; 13: 193-194.
13 Sankaran R. The spirit of homoeopathy. Bombay: R. Sankaran; 1991. p 6.
14 Sehgal M.L. Rediscovery of homoeopathy. Delhi: Sehgal Brothers; 1992. p 33.
15 Scholten J. Homoeopathy and the elements. Introduction – the group analysis method Utrecht: Stichting Alonissos; 1996.
16 Sankaran R. The substance of homoeopathy. The natural classification of drugs Bombay: Homoeopathic Medical Publishers; 1994. p 101.
17 Dudgeon R.E. The lesser writings of Hahnemann. Essay on a new principle for ascertaining the curative powers of drugs, with a few glances at those hitherto employed New Delhi: B. Jain Publishers; 1987. p 255.
18 Sankaran R. There is no two, an interview by Tessler N. Similimum the Journal of the Homoeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians winter 2003
19 Neesgaard P. Hypothesis collection – primary psora and miasmatic dynamic, Encyclopedia homoeopathic, v. 2.2.2., 2007.
20 Sankaran R. The sensation in homoeopathy. Bombay: Homeopathic Medical Publishers; 2004.
21 Golden I. An energetic model of homoeopathy. Homoeopath Links Summer 2007; 20: 86.
22 Chappell P. The second similimum. Haren: Homeolinks Publishers; 2005.
23 Sankaran R. The substance of homoeopathy. Imponderabilia – a proving of music Bombay: Homeopathic Medical Publishers; 1994. p 238.
24 Clarke John H. New Delhi: B. Jain Publishers; Practical materia medica. vol. 2. 1986. p 320.
25 Chappell P, van der Zee H, Hiwat C. <www.healingdownloads.com>.