An Insight Into Different Methods Of Homeopathic Practice

An Insight Into Different Methods Of Homeopathic Practice

1800s  was  the  most  turbulent  decade  in  the  18th  century,  when  Homeopathy  was  gaining momentum and getting its due value in the world, as a medical science. The story of homeopathy began  in  the  year  1796  when  Hahnemann  noticed  that  having  Cinchona  bark  in  considerable quantities produced malaria like symptoms in his body and cured the same too!! This and such other experiments by Hahnemann gave birth to the principle of ‘Similia Similibus Curentur’… ‘Let likes be cured  by  likes’,  practicing  which,  Hahnemann  cured  hundreds  of  people  world  over.  Popularity brought  with  it,  several  additions,  deletions  and  modifications  to  what  is  called  ‘Classical’  or “Hahnemannian Homoeopathy’ and the world of Homeopathy witnessed the mushrooming of many different  schools,  philosophies,  principles  and  theories,  each  with  their  own  advantages  and deficiencies.

The present day world of alternative medicine encompasses all the different schools of thought and approaches to the practice of homeopathy, which vary not only in their basic laws and principles, but also  with  respect  to  the  choice  of  medicine,  selection  of  potency  as  well  as  administration  and repetition of the medicine prescribed. However, no one  approach can be  tagged as complete  and perfect. Physicians of the homeopathic school have always been and are still the legislators of their actions and thoughts. There has been no established rule in homeopathy as to how should one go about, while treating a case.   Books usually refer to Hahnemannian method of practice as the most reliable,  most  authoritative  and  a  perfect  method  of  practicing  homeopathy.  But  going  by  what Hahnemann  wrote  in  the  ‘Organon  of  Medicine’,  “The  highest  ideal  of  cure  is  rapid,  gentle  and permanent restoration of the health, or removal and annihilation of the disease in its whole extent, in the shortest, most harmless way, and easily comprehensible principles. And that “the physician’s only aim is to restore the sick to health to cure”.

■    The ‘Classical Homeopathy’

Abiding strictly by the ‘classical’ method, as given by Hahnemann, three cardinal principles are to be followed in every case. These are:-

●    Law of ‘similars’- Prescribe one medicine at a time which is most similar to the picture of the disease  of  the  patient.  This  medicine  is  the  ‘similimum’.  Since  there  can  be  only  one medicine  which  most  suits  the  case,  Hahnemann  said  there  can  be  no  substitute  of  this remedy.

●    Law  of  ‘minimum’-  The  quantity  of  medicine  which  would  produce  the  least  possible excitation of the vital force, yet bring about cure in the most gentle and harmless way.

●    Law  of  ‘simplex’  –Hahnemann  emphasised  on  prescribing  a  single  and  simple  medicinal substance at a time in a particular case for a mixture of two or more medicines would form a new medicine with new properties of its own.

Most of the homeopathic medicines are prescribed according to the method laid by Dr. Hahnemann. Mental generals and physical generals are given importance besides the particular complaints of the patient and a portrait derived at. This is matched with the medicine and the ‘similimum’ prescribed

on the basis of the ‘totality of symptoms’. The method of case taking remains the same in all cases irrespective of their duration and nature.

Besides   detailed   case   taking   and   prescribing   on   ‘totality   of   symptoms’,   red-line   or   keynote prescribing is a common practice, especially  in acute cases or those  requiring immediate effective treatment. Here, only the most marked and peculiar symptoms are pondered upon, and the most suitable remedy prescribed!

■    The ‘Pluralist’ Homeopathy

The  ‘Pluralist’  or  ‘Poly  pharmacy’  approach  came  into  being  soon  after  emergence  of  keynote method of prescribing. Here, more than one medicine was prescribed simultaneously, in alternation or  concurrently  (keeping  their  relationship  with  each  other  in  mind!).  The  method  claims  to  treat several complaints of the patient at the same time, relieving him of his sufferings quickly. Though the  approach  does  not  rely  upon  the  basic  principles  of  homeopathy,  physicians  practicing  this method  claim  that  there  are  cases where  dual  remedy  method  should  be  considered  as  perfectly homeopathic.   For   example,   very   rapid   acute   diseases   like   Cholera   where   most   appropriate medicines  like  Cuprum  and  Veratrum  given  in  alteration,  undeniably  bring  about  the  most  rapid cures.

■    The ‘Complex’ Homeopathy

‘Complex Prescribing’ is another method prevalent in many parts of the world where homeopathy is practiced. It involves prescribing mixtures of different medicines in different potencies, in one vial so that they give a combined effect on particular diseases. The classical practitioners do argue that no proving has been conducted on mixtures, so they cannot be prescribed in the name of homeopathy. Yet there are several such products available and being prescribed by the followers of this school of thought.  The  efficiency  of  these  mixtures  cannot  be  commented  upon  as  there  have  been  mixed results.

■    The ‘Biochemics’

Dr  Wilhelm  Heinrich  Schussler,  a  German  homeopathic  physician  from  Oldenburg,  introduced  the Homeopathic world to an entirely new theory, stating that body was composed of many different mineral  salts  and  an  imbalance  in  the  concentrations  of  any  of  them  resulted  in  deficiencies  and these then hampered the healthy functioning of the body. This concept led him to develop the idea of Biochemic tissue salts. He prepared 12 single biochemic medicines along with about 18 different combinations by trituration of the tissue salt with lactose and potentising them upto 6X potency and dispensed  them  as  soft  tablets.  Soon  they  became  a  part  of  the  then  prevalent  conventional homeopathic  practice  and  are  no  doubt  still  a  much  sought  after  method  in  the  homeopathic community,  to  furnish  deficiencies  in  the  body.  Currently,  biochemic  tissue  salts  are  available  in potencies other than 6X, the most common being 3X and 12X. The twelve tissue salts are – Calcarea fluorica (calcium fluoride), Calcarea phosphorica (calcium phosphate),  Calcarea sulphurica (calcium sulphate),  Ferrum phosphoricum (iron phosphate), Kalium muriaticum (potassium chloride), Kalium phosphoricum (potassium phosphate),     Kalium     sulfuricum (potassium sulphate),     Natrum muriaticum (sodium        chloride), Natrum phosphorica (sodium phosphate),        Natrum sulphuricum (sodium chloride), Silicea.

■    The ‘Flower Remedy Therapy’

In 1934, an eminent immunologist Dr. Edward Bach established a healing centre in Mount Vernon, Oxfordshire,  UK.  Here  he  maintained  a  small  botanical  garden,  where  he  grew  wild  specimens  of several plants that he used for preparing his remedies. Though the medicines were prepared from the  flowering  parts  of  the  plants  according  to  the  method  of  preparation  laid  by  Hahnemann  i.e. trituration and succussion, the aim was never to substitute the potentised medicines proper but just to  use  them  in  conjunction  with  the  true  homeopathic  medicines.  The  practice  came  somewhere between  homeopathy  and  herbalism.  Flower  remedy  therapy  was  used  to  treat  mental  and emotional disturbances such as hysteria, depression, anxiety etc. The philosophy did not gain much popularity back then, but several homeopathic physicians have now accepted it and are practicing this  method  by  prescribing  flower  remedies  along  with  the  homeopathic  medicines  for  various psychosomatic  ailments.  Presently,  we  have  a  total  of  38  flower  remedies,  classified  into  the following six groups:-

●    Fear – Red chestnut, Mimulus, Aspen, Cherry plum, Rock rose

●    Indecisiveness  about  his/her  situations  –  Gentian,  Hornbeam,  Wild  oat,  Gorse,  Cerato, Scleranthus

●    Indifference  to  his/her  circumstances  –  Clematis,  Honeysuckle,  Mustard,  Olive,  Chestnut, White Chestnut, Water Violet, Heather, wild Rose, Impatiens

●    Oversensitivity to external influences – Argimony, Walnut, Holly, Centaury

●    Caring excessively for others – Beech, Vine, Rock water, Vervain, Chicory

●    Depression – Crab apple, Pine, Sweet chestnut, Elm, Star of Bethlehem, Willow, Larch, Oak

Dosage  and repetition varies according to the  case. Transient  psychological disturbances call for a single dose of the appropriate medicine while long standing and persistent ailments need frequent repetition. Many aroma-therapists also use the ‘flower remedy therapy’ to address complaints like insomnia  and  stress.  An  article  in  one  of  the  reputed  journals  uncovered  Jasmine  polyanthum, lavender and gardenia as the best remedies for cases of insomnia.

■    The ‘Predictive Homeopathy’

A  relatively  new  approach  came  into  existence  in  1995-96.  This  came  to  be  known  as  predictive homeopathy.  It  was  started  by  Dr.  Prafull  Vijaykar  in  Mumbai.  Dr  Vijaykar’s  philosophy  is  based somewhat upon Dr. Constantine Herring’s law of Cure, which states that  “All cure starts from within out, from the head down and in reverse order as the symptoms have appeared or been suppressed”. The practitioners of this school of philosophy claim it to be no different from what Hahnemann and other eminent homeopaths of his time practiced. They believe that when one physician is treating a large volume of patients at the same time, it is absolutely natural for him to become biased and a bit mechanical in his dealings with the patients. Thus, in the process of case taking, he tends to neglect the  past  illnesses  of  the  patient.  Dr.  Vijaykar  realised  that  every  new  illness  was  related  to  the previous illness of the patient. If this new illness appeared to be less dangerous than the previous one, it was a positive sign indicating recovery. But if the new illness was more dangerous than the previous one, it meant that the patient’s diseases were merely being suppressed. According to this

school of thought, the Law of Cure given by Dr. Herring was nothing but an attempt to explain the direction of Cure, a direction that would help physicians in assessing the prognosis of the patient.

■    The ‘Sensation’ Homeopathy

Another ‘modern’ method of homeopathic practice is called the ‘Sensation Method’. This approach addresses every complaint of the patient by a single question – How does the patient experience his/ her complaint? The aim is to find out which complaint of the patient is troubling him the most as this determines the weakest point of his vital force, and expresses itself in various spheres of his life. This way  the  remedy  that  has  affinity  for  the  affected  spheres  can  be  selected.  Followers  of  this philosophy claim-“Since homeopathy treats the person and not the disease, the most troublesome complaint  of  the  patient  would  lead  to  the  body/mind  connection.  When  the  patient  is  asked  to describe his/her experience of the complaint and explore his own feelings regarding the evolution of the pathology, a path is created, tracking which, the physician reaches the bottom of the complaint, and  this  is  the  point  where  the  patient’s  mind,  body  and  spirit  meet.”  This  way  the  physician explores  the  patient’s  underlying  state,  beyond  his  conscious  level  and  matches  it  with  the  most suitable remedy. It is believed that this approach of homeopathic practice encourages the patient to express the medicine that he needs the most, himself and that the physician has only to assist the patient  in  doing  so,  and  cure  will  ‘naturally’  ensue,  hence  following  the  famous  quote  –  “Viz Medicatrix Naturae”.

In the last 200 years, homeopathy has witnessed the emergence of a range of different approaches (many that could not be elaborated here!), all with a single aim of seeking cure in the best possible manner…..  And  today  we  stand  here,  gazing  intently  at  the  horizon  of  the  wide  spectrum  of practices in the homeopathic world.

About Author:

Dr. Rashi Prakash, SME, The Homeopathic Academy, BJain Publications

About the author

Dr Rashi Prakash

Dr. Rashi Prakash, SME- Homeopathy at BJain Group of Companies is an experienced professional with BHMS (DU), PGDS & MBA(HA) degrees in her accord. She is associated with reputed multispecialty hospitals and NGOs. Presented with the Shaurya Puraskar for academic excellence, she is an avid writer with multiple publications in reputed journals and an influential orator who has given several talks and podcasts.