Classical homeopathy vs fringe methods of prescribing

By | October 1, 2015

Cure is a strict criterion; it does not leave much to negotiation -the person either does or does not regain (or acquire) greater health and greater freedom from limitations than he or she had previously. In the face of such an obstinate thing as a fact -the fact of cure or the fact of health continuing to deteriorate -there are only a few possible responses. One is to accept these facts, respect the criterion of cure and act accordingly. Another is to deceive oneself and/or others, while apparently still respecting cure as the only criterion (and sadly no category of practitioner is excluded from this vice). Another response, which is equivalent neither to the first nor to the second, is to move away from the guidelines of “classical homeopathy” and develop a different form under which to practice; this is an evasion of the difficult task which classical homeopathy sets us. Such developments, while they evade some aspect of the tenets of classical homeopathy, do not necessarily involve dropping the sole criterion of “cure” but unfortunately, what often happens in practice is that the criteria become more vague and are defined more by the ideology of whatever particular approach which is said to assure cure. This proliferation of “wouldbe homeopathies” can be both misleading for patients and an annoyance for those who had wished for a quiet life under the title “homeopath,” plain and simple. In response we adopt the title “classical homeopath” but then, when even that suffers a loss of meaning, we turn to “classical Hahnemannian homeopath” and so on. This is linguistic inflation -the loss of value that accompanies the proliferation of different currencies; (“would-be homeotherapies”) it is a sign of uncertainty in the speakers of the language. Lacking trust in, or understanding of, the gold standard (the criterion of cure) there is inflation and a debasing of the currency (homeopathy).

Currently we continue to see the proliferation of many practices which use dynamized substances, but which clearly do not meet the criteria of homeopathy as developed by Hahnemann. (These deviations are referred to as “fringe” by classicists.) Such fringe elements all claim that they “work,” but, as we know, steroids, antibiotics, and hysterectomies also “work,” but do they cure -or suppress? Likewise, there is a temptation for all classical homeopaths to feel that we, as individuals, work successfully in our practice simply because classical homeopathy works. This, while based upon a truth (classical homeopathy does work) is also, however, the beginning of not telling oneself the truth. The criterion of success cannot be the title or words by which any homeopath likes to be addressed; -the criterion can only be the principle of cure.

This habit (delusion) is rooted in us all and there is but one safe route around it -the criterion of cure. To enact the tenets of classical homepathy is to strive to give prescriptions which turn out, in the crucible of experience, to be homeopathic and to learn from ones experience to do so -including learning from ones failures to do so.

While trying to keep our own house in order, we “classical homeopaths” witness the proliferation of fringe “homeopathies” -among them, polypharmacy, isopathic prescribing, complex prescribing, alternate prescribing, organopathic prescribing, Bach flower prescribing, bowel nosode prescribing, specific prescribing, sequential prescribing, and electro-diagnostic prescribing -and we notice that what all these have in common is that they ignore the inductive method upon which homeopathy is based. From our point of view, this is a bad start.

Despite the great number of homeopaths in the US, Kent was dissatisfied with the quality of homeopathic practice. Most of these physicians utilized the homeopathic remedies in a mechanistic and reductionistic manner similar to the way in which orthodox physicians prescribed drugs. Frequently, these “homeopaths” violated many basic tenets of classical homeopathy by prescribing more than one remedy at a time, by recommending frequent repetition of doses, and by prescribing a remedy based upon a person’s disease rather than his or her individualized symptoms.

Into this situation, where we continue to witness the proliferation and marketing of various garbled versions of homeopathy, the contents of Hahnemann’s case notes from the end of his career have been disclosed to the public. Some seem to feel this information gives them license to argue that Hahnemann himself was violating the very tenets of classical homeopathy, thereby also giving them the right to practice as he did in his final days. In this vein, I hear a few practitioners and homeopathic educators calling classical homeopathy “dogmatic pragmatism.” To stand upon a firm and dynamic foundation and denounce the principles upon which it is built, is to exhibit a contradiction we could call, by analogy, anarchistic constitutionalism. To such people I would suggest this: It is from you that Hahnemann was hiding his final work! He was adamant about keeping his experiments in the laboratory, and out of the hands of practitioners who, having not yet learned the first lesson, could hardly be entrusted with the second. He foresaw that such people would mass-market such insights, teach them to the inexperienced and abuse their patients by blindly attempting to reproduce them. His late experiments were just that -experiments. They were not his conclusions, or else he certainly would have published them as such. So uncompromising was Hahnemann’s demand for privacy that he let no one see his experiments -not even von Boenninghausen, his best friend and closest colleague. And von B. was again turned down, post mortem Hahnemann, by Melanie Hahnemann, when he asked to see them. Such was the righteous strength of Hahnemann’s request (for about 150 years anyway) until the silence was broken by the deliverance of Hahnemann’s experiments to a homeopathic community that has indeed shown itself unable to respect them as such.

Courtesy: American Homeopath, 11-1995