Historically, the field of homeopathy has been rife with internal divisions based on philosophical differences that date back to the time it was first disseminated in the medical community of early nineteenth century Europe. While these differences have lead to a plethora of various school of thought and practice, there is one major fault line that divides homeopathic practice and practitioners into two major camps. On the one side is what is generally know as “classical” or “constitutional” homeopathy; on the other is virtually everyone else. What makes a practitioner a classical or constitutional homeopath is the belief that each individual is best served by the administration of a single homeopathic remedy that is carefully chosen to match the nature of that person. To reiterate this with other words, a remedy is selected that “resonates with” the characteristic “vital energy” of that person.
Although there may be a variety of techniques employed by the homeopath to ascertain which particular remedy should be chosen for a particular person (and there are enormous divisions and controversies within the world of classical homeopathy about the acceptability of various techniques), this camp adheres to the following beliefs: (1) the most profound curative changes occur in an individual when that one carefully selected remedy stimulates the vital force of the entire organism, (2) a careful assessment of the signs and symptoms that the individual displays at any given time will lead to the selection of the most appropriate remedy at that time.
The “everyone else” on the other side of the divide is an eclectic group of schools and practitioners unified by the belief that a single remedy chosen according to the constitutional method does not necessarily bring a curative response in many situations for one or more of any number of reasons. These non-classical prescribers tend for the most part to be oriented toward understanding the individual’s illness less in terms of a characteristic vital energy and more in terms of pathology and toxic influences.
Non-classical prescribers tend to use a larger number of homeopathic remedies — either prescribing them in combinations of 2 or more remedies at the same time or in quick succession. The remedies they use also tend to be of a lower strength. That is, these are remedies which are less diluted, or less “energetic”, and therefore closer in nature to cruder substances such as herbal or mineral preparations.
The belief of the classical homeopath is that the carefully selected remedy closely fitted to an individual - chosen with the care a master tailor gives to fitting a suit or dress to a customer - energizes that individual’s vital force to overcome any illness. The correct remedy stimulates the vital force to engage in a curative process that may occur with dramatic speed or with excruciating slowness, depending on the nature of the illness. But the focus is on the individual - his/her nature and his/her symptoms.
The belief of the non-classical is that while the model to which the classical homeopath adheres can give excellent results in certain cases, there are many instances - especially in cases of severe pathology - where even the carefully selected remedy cannot overcome the burden of toxins and destructive organic tissue changes to act curatively. The attitude most commonly expressed is that the classical system was devised two centuries ago when individuals were not subjected to the same noxious influences that cause the chronic degenerative illnesses afflicting us today. Thus, what worked then - the simple, single remedy - does not work any longer and must be replaced by more aggressive, more complex forms of treatment aimed at detoxifying the system and preventing or reversing organic degeneration.
I have found that temperamentally, the practitioners of these two schools tend to be rather different. The classical homeopath is more of a philosopher, more of a psychologist who enjoys the lengthy intimate contact with the patient and revels in the process of discovering how the physical, mental, spiritual and energetic nature of this individual comes together as a coherent living organism. They view the non-classical prescriber as a “nonbeliever”, as someone who neither adheres to nor believes in the fundamental Hahnemannian tenets of homeopathy.
The non-classical prescriber, on the other hand, is more of a clinician in a conventional sense. There is a greater affinity for diagnostic equipment and efficient speedy protocols. The quest is not to understand the individual as much as to discover what it is that encumbers him/her. Classical prescribing is viewed as an outmoded, arcane and plodding process which no longer addresses the needs of contemporary society.
Oddly enough, I find myself recognizing and adhering to both of these schools. It perhaps sounds contradictory and, depending on one’s point of view, sacrilegious, but there is validity to both points of view. Temperamentally, I am a classical homeopath, and remain an ardent student and practitioner of it. There is an elegance and profundity to classical homeopathy unparalleled in the healing arts and I have repeatedly witnessed wondrous cures bordering on the magical of all sorts by the correct prescription of a single remedy.
Yet, I cannot deny that there are drawbacks to the system. The choice of the correct remedy is not easy, the healing process can be slow, and severe pathologies often appear to be resistant to this approach.
Thus, the non-classical approach, while less elegant and less intimate, has an appeal because it attempts to reveal and address underlying toxic burdens ranging from pesticides to parasites, from vaccinations to viruses, that afflict the organism and lie at the root of chronic degenerative disease. The classical homeopath asserts that the proper single remedy can invigorate the vital force to overcome such burdens - and I have indeed seen situations where this indeed was the case. On the other hand, there are many cases in which this has not been the case.
In an attempt to find a balance between both approaches, I have incorporated electro-dermal screening (otherwise known as “Electro-Acupuncture according to Voll” or EAV) as an adjunctive diagnostic procedure to the constitutional homeopathic assessment. This technology, which was the subject of previous columns, gives insight into the toxicological burden of the patient in cases where I suspect that the curative process is being impeded by such influences.
In the previous column, I delineated two schools of homeopathic practice: the classical, constitutional approach and the clinical, toxicological or pathological one. I find myself in the rather unique position of recognizing and adhering to both of these schools. Although temperamentally, I am a classical homeopath, enthralled by its elegance and profundity, a witness to many wonderful curative effects from the correct prescription of a single remedy, I cannot ignore the appeal of the non-classical approach, while though less elegant and less intimate, reveals and addresses underlying toxic burdens that lie at the root of so much chronic disease.
In an attempt to find a balance between both approaches, I have incorporated Electro-Dermal Screening (EDS, otherwise known as “Electro-Acupuncture according to Voll” or EAV) as an adjunctive diagnostic procedure to the constitutional homeopathic assessment. This technology, the subject of previous columns, gives insight into the toxicological status of the patient in cases where I suspect that the curative process is being impeded by these factors.
My belief in the necessity of addressing the pernicious influences on the health status of an individual was reinforced by a recent report published by the Environmental Working Group. The EWG is a Washington, D.C. based nonprofit environmental research organization which focuses on investigating and publicizing information related to pollution of air, water and food.
Using computer analyzes of databases from state and federal government agencies along with other sources, EWG researchers attempt to bring to light the information and “newsworthy stories that are buried within the mountains of data.”
One well-known study with which the EWG collaborated was conducted at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. In it, the blood and urine of nine volunteers, superficially healthy persons who neither worked with chemicals nor lived near industrial facilities, was analyzed by researchers at two major laboratories. The findings showed that as a group there were a total of 167 industrial compounds, pollutants, and other chemicals. Each individual averaged of 91 chemicals.
Of the 167 chemicals found, 76 cause cancer in humans or animals, 94 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 79 cause birth defects or abnormal development. Of course, the effects of exposure to these chemicals in combination has never been studied.
The EWG refers to the exposure to such toxic influences as an individuals “body burden”. In their literature, it is characterized as “the result of lifelong exposures to industrial chemicals used in consumer products and remain as contaminants in air, water, food, and soil...from household products like detergent, insulation, fabric treatments, cosmetics, paints, upholstery, computers and TVs, ... (which) accumulate in fat, blood and organs, or are passed through the body in breast milk, urine, feces, sweat, semen, hair and nails.”
The sheer numbers are staggering: 75,000 chemicals are licensed for commercial use in this country with some 2,000 chemicals being synthesized each year. 5,000 chemical ingredients are found in cosmetics; 3,200 chemicals are added to food; 1,010 chemicals are used in 11,700 consumer products; 500 chemicals are used as active ingredients in pesticides; 6.5 trillion pounds of 9,000 different chemicals manufactured by U.S. industries; 7.1 billion pounds of 650 industrial chemicals released into our air and water by 2000 major U.S. industries. (These figures were culled from Environmental Protection Agency data by the EWG).
What is more, the body burden as measured by the amount of these various chemicals in an individual is really only part of the picture. Not taken into account with this research are many toxic influences not as easily quantifiable. This category includes various biological pathogens such as bacteria, molds & fungi, parasites, and viruses as well as vaccination residues. Electromagnetic influences from exposure to power lines, computers, TVs, cell phones, etc. are also difficult to measure.
If it is virtually impossible to “live clean” in the modern world, then how can any individual address the health concerns related to the body burden without veering off toward the extremes of either total paranoia or total disregard? An appropriate attitude of vigilance might include some of the following habits: Eating clean - eat as organic as possible and become aware of the fact that different vegetables and fruits are subject to varying amounts of pesticides;
Living clean - reduce chemical exposure by using fewer or organic household cleaners, detergents, insecticides, etc.
Looking & smelling clean - be wary of the toxic chemicals in most cosmetics, perfumes, deodorants and especially nail polish. Either avoid these or find nontoxic brands.
Communicating clean - use radiation screens for computers, and be prudent about the proximity to TV screens, use of cell phones and other electronic devices. Think twice before moving to or working near power lines or cell phone towers. Be aware that there are various devices available which employ diverse technologies claiming to neutralize or eliminate the harmful radiation from most of the above listed technologies.
Doctoring clean - be aware that many allopathic drugs and vaccinations leave behind chemical or energetic residues which cause or contribute to many health conditions.
Staying clean - true prophylactic healthcare means not only being aware of the above issues, but also diagnostic procedures such as EDS as well as the use of anti-oxidants and other forms of supplementation to help the body rid itself of unwanted pathogenic toxins.