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Pam Muller

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What patients should know - the inside story

Some recipients of homoeopathic treatment don’t want to know the details of the therapy. Their approach is, “Just fix me, I don’t need to know how.”

But there are many who would like to understand more about it. From the practitioners side it would help if the patient understood about the law of the direction of cure (or Hering’s law) because, especially in a chronic complaint, ongoing treatment can be tiresome in our prevailing culture of quick fix suppressive or palliative therapy.

When the patient understands that it is his or her life force which is being treated, enabling their own bodies to heal themselves, and that this happens according to a specific pattern, then they may be more co operative and forebearing with the ongoing curative process.

Now, for a quick detour into history: Dr Constantine Hering (1800-1888) was a contemporary of Dr Samuel Hahnemann. He was asked by his  newspaper editor to write an article exposing the 'fraud' Hahnemann. He readily set out to read everything that Dr Hahnemann had written and became convinced that the man was right. So he told his boss that he was going off to learn to become a homoeopath!

After years of practice and experience Dr. Hering noticed that the process of cure followed a particular line. Patients always improved from the centre to the periphery - from the centre of their beings, vis. their minds and emotions to the physiological. They felt “better in themselves” once life force had been stimulated to function better, even before the physical symptoms disappeared. The improvement in the health of their organs followed the same order of healing - from the most important vital organs to the less important, more peripheral organs (e.g. healing began in brain, heart, liver etc. first, then progressed to the muscles and skin). Symptoms disappeared from above to below e.g. a rash disappeared in a downwards direction from face to trunk, to limbs, to hands and feet. Moreover, the most recent symptoms to beset the patient disappeared first, only to be replaced in time by old (less severe) symptoms returning. This was more so if symptoms had been suppressed by local measures.

Dr Hahnemann, in his efforts to understand the origins of chronic illness in his patients, had discovered that in many cases the trouble began with the suppression of a skin problem. Dr Hering noticed that patients with breathing difficulties often had a previous skin complaint which had been suppressed by local measures, (creams, ointments etc). When the respiratory symptoms were treated by using remedies applied according to the law of similars (homoeopathically), some time after their cure, the old skin complaint returned. Now the skin complaint could be treated in accordance with the like treatment (homoeopthically).

No one likes to have unsightly skin problems. It is human nature to be embarrassed and shy of appearing with a rash, acne, and other eruptions. What is not commonly known is that surface eruptions are the result of inner disturbance of life energy, which may affect an eliminatory organ like the kidneys, or the liver may be functioning under par or the ovaries not functioning as they should. This is why it is good if the patient understands that it is not just a matter of making the acne go away by means of oral antibiotics or anti-bacterial skin creams and washes. Typically, once such treatment is stopped, the symptoms return, usually worse than before. Hormone treatment follows the same line. Once the pill is stopped, the acne returns. What homoeopathic treatment provides is a cure from the inside out and this takes longer to accomplish, especially when it has already been treated with antibiotics, creams or hormone therapy.

Removing symptoms by suppressive means is unwise and can even be dangerous. The inner disturbance originating from the person’s life force is not cured and still seeks an outlet. If the most peripheral area of symptom expression (the skin) is forbidden through continuous use of medicines which are not similar enough, then that safe outlet becomes obsolete and the life force/vital force/defense mechanism of the body must find a more internal area to express its disturbance.
“New” symptoms appear instead, but it is really the same old disturbance which has been muzzled, only now it happens elsewhere in the body and is more serious. Suppressive therapy can “drive” the disturbance ever inward until a vital organ is suffering or the condition becomes systemic.

Homoeopathic vets notice this in animals too. Don Hamilton in his excellent book, “Homoeopathic care for Cats and Dogs” has seen the suppressive effects from drugs as well as the weakening of animals' vital forces by annual vaccinations resulting in recurrent health problems.

Removing symptoms without eliminating the underlying ‘disease’, disordered or dis-eased state of being in the life force always worsens the state of health of the individual. The vitality weakens and the individual may become chronically ill. Because dogs and cats have a shorter life span, homoeopathic vets can see how the vitality of the population diminishes as the offspring inherit a tendency to chronic ill-health.

Mr. Hamilton says it is possible to reduce or even reverse this tendency in animals by stopping vaccinations, stopping the practice of drug therapy which is not based on the law of similars, and eating a proper diet. We may postulate that this is true of humans too.

There are several types of response to the disappearance of symptoms. Not all these resposes are curative. Mainstream medicine, while necessary in serious emergency situations, is for the most part suppressive or palliative. Yet it regards any 'improvement' as curative.

Homoeopathy understands that cure means something else. It is important that the patient has an improvement in their mental and emotional state as well as the physical symptoms. Their life energy must be felt and seen to strengthen and circulate with greater ease. How can one see this? Generally by their behaviour, their demenour, their sense of well being, the improvement of normal physiological functioning. The patient themselves will tell you they feel the difference.

When a curative reaction occurs, an old symptom(s) may return. This is good news. It means that the vital force has been enabled to return its focus onto a previous level which was less severe than the present symptoms. Usually the old symptoms are transient and disappear on their own as the healing continues. If the symptoms persist then another remedy is required. Not repeating the remedy too soon is important.

An improvement may be from a pathological level to a functional level, e.g. the ulceration may heal but the skin may still itch with no visible skin damage. The disease may even become more visible, especially after suppressive therapy has been used, e.g. the elimination of convulsions followed by middle ear infection. Rashes, discharges, fever and other symptoms may appear, which are appropriate resposes to disease (yet which may have been suppressed by analgesics, anti-pyretics - anti fever medicine, etc.)

Curative response may take days or weeks in a chronic illness and minutes or hours in an acute. Sometimes there may be an aggravation of existing symptoms, followed by a slow, steady improvement.

Another type of response is partial cure, which follows the overall general improvement of a cure. The general improvement holds fast (therefore has not deteriorated to a more serious level). Some symptoms remain (therefore have not been suppressed). A new remedy is now prescribed to complete the cure.

In chronic illness, when the symptoms are ameliorated by the medicine but the patient continues to deteriorate in constast to the apparent improvement, and the amelioration is short lived, then we call it palliation. When the medicine is stopped the symptoms return, usually worse than before, and often more frequent doses are required. The medicine may become ineffective and the condition worsens. New symptoms appear (so called “side-effects” of the medication). Eventually the symptoms may be suppressed onto a deeper more serious level. Palliation in acute (self limiting) illness may not affect the vital force deeply enough to interfere with its return to health.

If palliation is continued for a long time it becomes suppression. Suppression has a serious impact on the vital force. The symptom(s) may disappear completely. We know this is not curative by the fact that the patient is worse mentally or emotionally. This is hugely important. It has been noticed that after suppression, general mood and behaviour can change, e.g. the child becomes morose/grumpy or the teenager becomes melancholy/depressed. Holistically, the person is in worse shape. After a time a new set of physical symptoms may occur. These are always more serious than the original set, i.e. symptoms are now not peripheral but are more internal. Suppression occurs most often from allopathic therapy or surgery (removal of pathology without removing the disease in the vital force first). Less often suppression can occur from dynamic remedies which are not similar enough being repeated in high potencies too zealously.
Pam Muller Dip.Hom.Med. Reg IHM
Classical Homoeopath