Saturday, 16 January 2010
52 sows of pigs form a commercial farm who were in their last month of gestation and had never been vaccinated against E.coli were randomly assigned to either a placebo group or treatment group. This included 300 pigs.
Both groups would receive either the homeopathic remedy Coli 30k or placebo twice a week in their last four weeks pre-partum.
It was found that the treatment group had significantly less E.coli diarrhoea than the placebo group (P <0.0001). Furthermore in the homeopathic treatment group the diarrhoea was less severe, there was less transmission and duration appeared shorter.
Camerlink I, Ellinger L, Bakker EJ and Lantinga EA (2010) Homeopathy as replacement to antibiotics in the case of Escherichia Coli diarrhoea in neonatal pigs, Homeopathy, Vol.99 (57-62)
That's another nail in the "homeopathy is just placebo" coffin - That coffin is looking pretty nailed in to me!
Sunday, 10 January 2010
(Homeopathic Medicine Research Group. Report to the European Commission directorate XII: science, research and development. Vol. 1 (short version). Brussels: European Commission, 1996: 16-7)
Friday, 8 January 2010
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Tuesday, 29 December 2009
by Peter Morrell
Honorary Research Associate in the History of Medicine, Staffordshire University, UK
Homeopathy was introduced into the UK by Dr F H F Quin (1799-1878) in the 1830's. Born and schooled privately in London, Quin was of aristocratic birth, and is widely regarded as the love-child of Lady Elizabeth Cavendish (1758-1824), the Duchess of Devonshire and Sir Valentine Richard Quin, 1st Earl of Dunraven (1752-1824, visit theDunravenwebpage). Along with the
Dukes of Westminster and Marlborough, the Dukes of Devonshire were at that time among the top five richest families in Britain (see Cannadine).
After graduating MD in 1820 in Edinburgh (his thesis was about Arsenic poisoning), Dr Quin then became the Duchess's family physician and travelled with her entourage. He met Hahnemann, and travelled extensively in Europe, residing for a time both in Rome and Naples. He successfully used Camphor against Cholera in Moravia (Czechoslovakia) and cured himself of the condition on Hahnemann's advice (Bradford, Cook, Hobhouse, Haehl). During the
1830's and 40's he was often in Paris among the inner circle of Hahnemann's protégés. He was a lifelong asthmatic, which was eased by homeopathic treatment.
A fluent French-speaker and francophile, Quin was revered by the French as Hahnemann's greatest successor, and appointed on Hahnemann's death as the Honorary President of the Gallic Homeopathic Society (see Bonnard, p.32 and Blackie, p.29): a post he held until his death. Whenever he attended their meetings, Quin could occupy the special chair which had been originally created for Hahnemann, and which always remained empty in his absence (see
Haehl, Vol 1, 233, 429; Blackie pp.26-29).
He introduced homeopathy into the very highest levels of English society: to Dukes, Counts, Lords, minor Royals and Baronets [Leary, 1998, pp.252-3]. That was the world he was at ease with and in which he had moved since birth. As a young man he was a very popular socialite and wit on the fashionable London circuit, a great friend of Charles Dickens (1812-1870), William Thackeray (1811-1863) and the Royal portraitist, Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-1873), amongst many others, and no society party, or social gathering, it was said, was complete without him. By nature of a very pleasing disposition, he was a man of great personal charm (Leary, 1998, p.252). He was also latterly one of the regular dining partners of Edward, Prince of Wales (1841-1910), the future King Edward VII (Leary, 1998, p.252-3; see also Hobhouse, p.248;
Handley, p.99 and Quin's entry in the Dictionary of National Biography). As a measure of the respect and affection with which he regarded Dr Quin, the Prince sent four empty horse-drawn royal carriages to join the cortege at his funeral: probably the highest honour ever paid by a Royal to a commoner.
The modern British royal devotion to homeopathy also began through Dr Quin.Though Victoria never used it, but all later Royals have:
"Queen Mary and King George VI were firm followers of homeopathy, the King even calling one of his horses Hypericum which won the 1000 Guineas race [in 1946]." [Inglis, 1964, p.81-2]
'The practice Samuel and Melanie Hahnemann established in the heart of Paris soon became fashionable. The wealthy people of the city and, indeed, of Europe generally, were more than ready to try a new medicine...they were predominantly members of the French and British upper and professional classes: nobles, clergy, military officers, doctors...the British were among the earliest visitors: Lord Elgin...Lady Kinnaird represented Scottish aristocracy...Dr Quin...Baron Rothschild...Viscount Beugnot...countess Musard...Lord Capel...Lady Belfast and Lady Drummond, the Duchess of Melford...' [Handley, 1997, pp.20-22]
Sir John Weir, once the Queen's physician, was reputedly Physician Royal to six monarchs: Edward VII, George V (1865-1936), Edward VIII (1894-1972), George VI (1895-1952), Elizabeth II, King Gustav V of Sweden (1858-1950) and King Haakon VII of Norway (1872- 1957). The latter's wife, Princess Maud (1869-1938), was the youngest daughter of King Edward VII.
The fact that this aristocratic patronage of homeopathy in the UK extended well into the 1940's, and beyond, can be easily demonstrated. In the Homeopathic Medical Directories there are lists of patrons of the dispensaries and hospitals. They read like an extract from Burke’s or Debrett’s. Some examples include: The Dukes of Beaufort, Dukes of Cambridge, Marquesses of Anglesey, Earl of Essex, Lord Gray of Gray, Viscount Malden, Earl of Donoughmore, Lord Ernle, Earl of Kintore, Earl of Kinnaird, Duchess
of Hamilton and Brandon, Earl of Wemyss & March, the Lords Paget, Dukes of Sutherland, Earls of Dudley, Lord Leconfield, Earl of Wilton, Earl of Albermarle, Viscount Sydney, Lady Radstock, Duchess of Teck, Duke of Northumberland, Earl of Scarborough, Earl of Dysart, Marchioness of Exeter, Countess Waldegrave, Countess of Crawford & Balcarres, Lord Headley, Earl of Plymouth, Lord Calthorpe, Earls of Shrewsbury, Lord Horder, Lord Gainford, Lord Moynihan, Lord Ernle, Lord Ampthill, Lord Home, Viscount Elibank and the Earls of Lichfield. And to this list we can also add numerous knights, barons, Army officers and clerics.
[this data extracted from the Homeopathic Medical Directories 1867, 1874, 1895, 1909, 1931; see also Morrell, 1998 thesis; see also Nicholls, 1988 and 1998 op cit; see also LHH, Sixty Five Years Work: A History of the London Homeopathic Hospital, London, 1915; for Earls of Shrewsbury see also Hobhouse, op cit, 247; re Lord Donoughmore, see his Obituary, Health Through Homeopathy, BHA, 7:11, Nov 1948, 250; also his Obituary, Daily Telegraph, London, 19 Oct 1948; re Lords Ernle, Gainford and Ampthill, and Viscount Elibank, see Heal Thyself 1935; re Lord Home see Heal Thyself 1931-2; re Pagets see Heal Thyself 1938; re Lord Horder Heal Thyself 1937; re Duchess of Hamilton and Brandon see Heal Thyself 1932, 1933 and 1938.]
Royal patronage of homeopathy also continues. The Queen Mother continues her work as Patron of the BHA [see BHA, Birthday Greetings to our Patron, HRH Queen Mother, Homeopathy 40:4, July 1990, 97, and BHA, The Physicians Royal, Homeopathy 40:4, July 1990, 98], while the homeopathic pharmacy Ainsworth’s in New Cavendish Street, London, holds all three Royal warrants as ‘Chemists Royal' -- ie. for Prince Charles, the Queen Mother and the Queen.
Quin concentrated exclusively on introducing homeopathy amongst medically qualified doctors and their predominantly upper-class clientele (Inglis, p.85). This level of high society support for homeopathy, generated by Quin's efforts, worked enormously to its advantage, smoothed its passage and greatly assisted its easy acceptance into the British medical marketplace. The fact that many of the German relatives of the British Royal family were also devoted patrons of homeopathy, including Queen Adelaide (1792-1849), wife of King William IV (1765-1837), also assisted its rapid social acceptance in Britain (Morrell, 1995; Leary, p.252-3). Rich patrons of homeopathy (eg. the first Marquess of Anglesey, Sir Henry William Paget (1768-1854), companion at Waterloo of the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852)) not only formed its client-base, but also funded and numerically dominated the committees which ran the many homeopathic hospitals and dispensaries of the last century. Leading figures of this period include Drs William Bayes (c1820-c1890), Robert Dudgeon (1820-1904) and Richard Hughes (1836-1902) (Morrell, 1995).
[Source: Homeopathic Medical Directories: 1867, 1874, 1895, 1909, 1932]
Quin established the British Homeopathic Society (BHS) in 1843, a London hospital in 1850 and the British Journal of Homeopathy (BJH) in 1844. The BHS became the Faculty of Homeopathy in 1944, while the BJH became the BHJ in 1911. The Faculty is the training and controlling body of medical homeopathy in the UK and also trains many homeopaths from abroad, especially many from India. Through his many influential contacts in the world of politics (eg. Lord Ebury, 1801-93), Quin was able to obtain an amendment to the 1858 Medical Act, withholding a recommendation about the type of medicine approved in Britain (Leary, 1998, p.253; Nicholls, pp.144-5; Inglis, p.80). As a result of this skilful manouevre, homeopathy was indirectly tolerated without challenge and thus never censured by Parliament as an unacceptable or deviant mode of medical practice.
'Dr Quin was able to obtain an amendment to the Medical Registration Bill; a clause was added enabling the Privy Council to withdraw the right to award degrees from any university that tried to impose the type of medicine practised by its graduates.' [Inglis, p.80]
The rather draconian 1858 Act established for the first time the professional status and legal regulation of formally qualified medical practitioners, as distinct from quacks, and still regulates the practice of medicine in the UK today. Very much a product of the times, the law was specifically designed to outlaw quackery, which was rife at that time, by establishing a Register of approved practitioners. Initially these guidelines were interpreted very strictly, confining those on the Register only to holders of UK medical degrees, licences and diplomas. The reasons at the time were clear enough:
'...a need to restrict entry to what was seen as an overcrowded profession.... medical practitioners were concerned both to control the number of qualified practitioners entering the profession and to reduce the competition from practitioners who were not qualified.' [Waddington, 1984, p.139]
'...of the 10,220 practitioners listed in Churchill's Medical Directory of 1856, 1524 possessed only the diploma of the Royal College of Surgeons, and 879 possessed only the licentiateship of the Society of Apothecaries.' [Holloway, 1964, p312]
'In 1851 there were an estimated 6000 unlicensed medical practi- tioners operating in the UK but only 5000 regular doctors, apothecaries & surgeons', [Griggs, 1981, p.224].
Even the holders of Continental medical degrees and diplomas (graduates of the esteemed medical schools of Vienna, Berlin, Heidelberg, Paris, Montpellier, Padua and Brussells, and clearly some of the finest European doctors), were excluded from the Medical Register, for fear of encouraging deviant forms of medical practice in Britain, ie. quackery. Probably a good example of 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater'. In more recent times these rules were relaxed, even allowing American medical graduates the right to practice, whose degrees had previously been scorned as worthless pieces of paper. All foreign graduates must still apply directly to the General Medical Council to be granted permission to practise medicine in Britain.
There were attempts by some more politically radical homeopaths in the 1840's (distantly inspired by the French Revolution), comprising some medically qualified and some laypersons, who formed a breakaway but shortlived English Homeopathic Association, to popularise homeopathy amongst the lower classes in Britain, but in the nineteenth centurythese efforts were eclipsed by its continued dominance by the medically qualified and their wealthy clientele (Nicholls, 1988). Many of these radical and plebeian homeopaths were also linked to political radicalism (distantly inspired by the French Revolution) and religious non-conformity, as well as a host of other medical sects, such as Phrenology, Spiritualism, Mesmerism, Hydrotherapy, Galvanic medicine and Medical Botany (Barrow; Morrell, 1998). There was a remarkable medical eclecticism at that time. Many homeopaths also employed other techniques like hydrotherapy or Galvanic medicine. A good example is Dr James Gully (1808-83), a big friend of Charles Darwin (1809-82), who set up a highly successful hydropathic institution in Malvern (Desmond & Moore, p.364 and p.392).
"Darwin...was not alone in extending the ethical net from oppressed men to the forlorn brutes. The Quaker doctor John Epps - London phrenologist, homeopathist, and disestablishment campaigner - had 'come to consider all creatures as being equally important in the scale of creation as myself; to regard the poor Indian slave as my brother.' (Epps, Diary, p.61)...'the whole creation travaileth and groaneth'. This was Epps's reading of St Paul. He was adamant that 'animals enjoy mind - and with it personality, desires and pain' (Epps, Elements, p.118)." [Desmond & Moore, Darwin, 1991, p.238]
Quin distanced himself entirely from the radical homeopaths and the other medical sectarians in general, regarding them all as thoroughly disreputable amateurs bordering on quackery, though he would never use that term himself (Nicholls, pp.110-14). Leading radicals included Drs John Epps (1805-69), Samuel Partridge (c1810-80), Spencer T Hall (1812-85), J J Garth Wilkinson (1812-99) and Paul Francois Curie (1799-1853).
Dr Epps 'was of short stature and sturdy frame, and had a beaming, self-confident expression. He was regarded by many of the working-classes as a prophet in medicine...he impressed many people with...his great earnestness...and his evident desire to benefit his fellow creatures. He had a great command of words, a fine sonorous voice, and an animated manner. His philanthropic efforts and personal acts of kindness were numberless.' [DNB, p.800]
He was also 'an ardent champion of liberal causes at home and of oppressed nationalities abroad.' [Wheeler, BHJ 1912, p.525]. Which I suppose is a very polite way of saying he was also well-connected with many other rebels of the day. These include Guiseppe Garibaldi (1807-82), the Italian patriot; Lajos Kossuth(1802-94), the Hungarian revolutionary who stayed in London for a time in the 1850's where he 'was received with respect and sympathy' [Chambers Dictionary of Biography, 1996, p.839]; and Guiseppe Mazzini (1805-72), another important Italian patriot who 'found refuge in London in 1837' [ibid, p995].
So great was their influence and popularity throughout the 1850's that the medical radicals all seemed set to lay siege to orthodoxy (Barrow). Such great dreams were gently laid to rest by the 1858 Medical Act.
As a result of its continued domination by the medically qualified and by upper-class patronage (Nicholls, pp.114-16 & p.135), British homeopathy could never really shake off its aristocratic gloss, and thus it never established itself at a popular level amongst the lower classes, which was in marked contrast to the other sects, all of which enjoyed a good deal of mass, working-class support. Homeopathy was always regarded, therefore, as the 'rich man's therapy', and the exclusive preserve of the wealthy, privileged and titled. While this allegiance with the upper classes had undoubtedly
worked to the benefit of UK homeopathy in its early days, later on it became a great burden, especially when it sank into decline after the 1880's. The aristocratic link meant that British homeopathy tended to be very largely confined to fashionable spa towns (eg. Buxton, Leamington, Harrogate, Bath), to wealthy coastal resorts (eg. Eastbourne, Brighton, Bognor Regis) and to London and southern England in general, unlike Botanic medicine, which was popular in northern, industrial cities. It thus never established itself at working-class level. And thus it had no popular support to fall back on as the aristocrats went into decline after 1890 (see Cannnadine).
'...Quin's social connections, useful though they were in introducing homoeopathy into Britain, gave it an aristocratic aura which it could not shed....it never really put down any roots among the workers, or the lower middle classes, except in a few scattered practices...they resisted overtures from...the unqualified lay homoeopaths... which... encouraged the development of an internal orthodoxy...which gave it, to outsiders, an appearance of rigidity...their original progressive ideas had crystallised into a narrow creed.' (Inglis, 1964, p.85)
Three exceptions to this geographical pattern, and which are hard to explain, are Glasgow, Bristol and Liverpool, all of which had large, thriving homeopathic hospitals. Liverpool and Bristol were major ports linked to the USA, where homeopathy thrived. They were also places where rich families were patrons of homeopathy: Wills the Tobacco firm in Bristol and the Tate sugar family in Liverpool. Glasgow might be explained as centre of great homeopathic activity, due to its subdominance to Edinburgh as an internationally renowned medical teaching centre and thus perhaps more tolerant of 'medical deviance' than its more conformist rival.
The continued decline of homeopathy caused some homeopathic doctors to despair for its future in Britain. As a result of these fears, a small minority of homeopathic doctors (eg. Dr J H Clarke, 1853-1931) broke away from the BHS (Clarke in 1908), began to teach some laypersons the rudiments of homeopathy and to publish books (eg. Clarke's 'The Prescriber') directly aimed at the self-taught lay practitioner and home-prescriber.
[see Dr J H Clarke's Obituary, British Homeopathic Journal 10, 1, 1932; Dr Clarke - Appreciation & Biographical Sketch, British Homeopathic Journal 79, 1990, 52; see also An Appreciation of Dr Clarke, by Dr Edgar Whittaker, The Homeopathic World, Jan 1932;see Dr J H Clarke's Obituary, British Homeopathic Journal 10, 1, 1932, in which Sir John Weir, the King's physician, admits being instrumental, during the 1920's, in trying to woo Dr Clarke 'back into the BHS fold', but without success; Dr Clarke - Appreciation & Biographical Sketch, British Homeopathic Journal 79, 1990, 52; see also An Appreciation of Dr Clarke, by Dr Edgar Whittaker, The Homeopathic World, Jan 1932]
Dr Clarke certainly taught three laypersons: Canon Roland Upcher (1849-1929), a Church of England prelate, J Ellis Barker (1869-1948), a German immigrant and political writer, and Noel Puddephatt (1899-c1971), who had all been his former patients (Morrell, 1995). All three became practitioners to some extent, the two latter also becoming influential teachers of homeopathy in their own right (Morrell, 1995). It is notable that the tolerant, laissez-faire legal system of the UK (law of precedent) still allowed anyone to practise medicine, unlike most countries with written constitutions and rule by law of statute.
As a result of these developments, a new tradition of lay homeopathy was established in Britain. While the number of homeopathic doctors went first into decline and then into stagnation, the lay movement of the 1920's and 30's, by contrast, enjoyed great popularity, extending well into the 40's and 50's. There were approaching 300 homeopathic doctors at its peak in the 1870's, but only 170 or so between 1900 and 1970 (Nicholls, pp.134-5; pp.215-6; Blackie, p.34; Inglis, p.81).
The Faculty of Homeopathy
year total females percentage
1939 219 28 12.8%
1969 125 41 32.8%
1972 244 43 17.6%
1974 259 37 14.7%
1985 487 106 21.8%
1988 586 154 26.3%
1998 1600 576 36%
[Source: Faculty Lists 1939-98]
Through stark recognition of the grim facts of decline (Nicholls, 1998), several notable attempts were made to resuscitate British homeopathy, as its fortunes began to collapse after 1890 (see Nicholls, p.215 & pp.218-19). For example, the re-establishment of the British Homeopathic Association (BHA) in 1902, to obtain more funds to train doctors; the setting up of the Missionary School of Medicine in 1903, to train Christian missionaries in the elements of homeopathy,tropical medicine and surgery (see Petursdottir); also the sending of young UK homeopathic doctors to Chicago to train with Dr Kent in 1908-13, under the Sir Henry Tyler Scholarship. Yet all these efforts failed to revive interest in the therapy amongst UK clinicians, or to elevate the numbers of homeopathic doctors, which continued to fall, andhomeopathy thus remained a stagnant backwater for most if this century, until the late 1970's (Nicholls, pp.215-16 & pp.134-5).
In the 1930's a diverse range of assorted lay therapists (mostly homeopaths, herbalists, vegetarians, antivivisectionists, bonesetters, diet therapists, hydrotherapists) became active, including probably 500+ lay homeopaths (see Morrell, 1995). Most towns at that time had a herbalist and a homeopath. Leading figures of the 30's, 40's and 50's include Noel Puddephatt, J Ellis Barker, Rev Harold Tyrwhitt (c1890-c1960), Leslie J Speight (1901-94), Edward Cotter (c1890-c1970), Arthur Jenner (born c1916), Frank Parker Wood (c1890-1965), Eric F W Powell (c1895-1991), George Pettitt (c1890-c1965), Harry Benjamin (c1890-c1950), Darnall Cooper (c1890-c1960) and Edwin D W Tomkins (1916-92).
'Dear Mr Barker...I intimated some years ago to the BHA that a vigorous campaign was needed to 'create a demand' for homeopathy, but I was taken to task because such a procedure would 'offend against professional etiquette'. I said then, and believe more strongly than ever, that publicity is needed...'.[Letter, Edward Barnett, Essex, The Homeopathic World, June 1932, 223]
'Dear Sir, I am delighted with your vigorous criticism of those doctors who have mismanaged homeopathy for so many years...'[Letter in The Homeopathic World, June 1932, 224]
'..we shall never be able to get a sufficiency of homeopathic doctors
unless homeopathy is made popular by suitable propaganda... '[Letter, The HomeopathicWorld, June 1932, 224]
'...organised homeopathy followed a policy of secretiveness, that no list of homeopathic doctors was obtainable, that homeopaths did not indicate their speciality on their brass plates and on their stationery...the leaders of the homeopathic organisations must be crazy, cowardly or utterly stupid.'[ibid, 225]
'..a distinguished homeopath...said to me: The British Homeopathic
Association is useless, absolutely useless, worse than useless. Unfortunately, this is only too true....'founded in 1902 for the extension and development of homeopathy in Great Britain'. Since that time the number of homeopathic doctors, chemists and of homeopathic hospitals, dispensaries and other institutions has steadily shrunk in the most lamentable manner.'[JEB in The Homeopathic World, June 1932, 226]
'...it is declining and decaying in this country owing to the disastrous policy which incompetent leaders have followed for decades...during the last sixty or seventy years the number of medical men and chemist's shops has approximately trebled, the number of practising homeopathic physicians has shrunk by about one half and the number of homeopathic chemist's shops to about one fifth of the former figure...this is a disgraceful state of affairs...and the leaders who have caused this debacle ought to retire and to hide their heads if they possess any sense of responsibility and of shame.'[ibid, The Homeopathic World, June 1932, 231-2]
These letters clearly demonstrate a deep rift between the plebeian homeopaths of the thirties and their medically qualified brethren. Ellis Barker castigated both the BHS and the British Homoeopathic Association (BHA) for blocking any further expansion or popularisation of homeopathy at grassroots level. Editorial after editorial of his lambasted them mercilessly just as Drs Clarke and Burnett had done as Editors in the 1880's and 1890's [see The Homeopathic World, July 1932 267-8, 279, 290; September 1932 367, 371-2, 394-8; June 223 & 221-234]. Barker also incited the lay practitioners to 'take homeopathy to the masses'. He was thus the inspiration for the first, brief though glorious, mass movement of alternative medicine in Britain.[see Morrell, 1995, Stuttgart Paper, op cit and Brief History, op cit; and J Ellis Barker, Why This Ridiculous Secrecy?, The Homeopathic World, May 1932: 177-82; Barker, J Ellis, My Testament Of Healing, John Murray, London, 1939, 73; see also Who's Who, 1948, 144; see Barker's Obituary, Heal Thyself, sept 1948, 235-8]
Leaders in the sixties and seventies include Phyllis Speight (born c1920), John Da Monte (1916-75) and Thomas Maughan (1901-76) (see Morrell, 1995, 1996). Suddenly, in 1978, and after two decades of inactivity, a group of lay practitioners established their own Society of Homeopaths, a Register, College (The London College of Homeopathy), Journal (The Homeopath) and Code of Ethics, inadvertently imitating the medical professionalisation process of the 1850's. These had all been London students of Thomas Maughan and John Da Monte, and included Elizabeth Danciger, Misha Norland, Peter Chappell, Robert Davidson, Martin Miles and Sarah Richardson (see Morrell, 1995). Growth of the Register of the Society can be easily demonstrated:
Year RSHoms RSHoms
1988 82 40 (48.8%)
1989 132 81 (61.4%)
1990 165 99 (60%)
1991 180 112 (62.2%)
1992 210 137 (65.2%)
1993 260 182 (70%)
1994 360 264 (73.3%)
1995 427 310 (72.6%)
1996 465 357 (76.8%)
1997 493 381 (77.3%)
1998 542 418 (77.1%)
1999 595 459 estimate
[Source: Soc Hom Registers 1979-98]
This sudden burst of renewed activity led to a very rapid expansion of homeopathy in the UK, and more Colleges became quickly established during the 1980's and 1990's, such that there are now more than 20, including 1 in Wales, 2 in Scotland and a dozen in London and the south of England. The lay movement is now a semi-legitimised profession with its own mode of registration, unified teaching syllabuses, training procedures and self-regulation. It sits on the brink of full legal recognition. There are approximately 1000 registered homeopaths working in the UK at present with probably the same number of licensed and unregistered homeopaths, and around 1000 medical doctors who practise some form of homeopathy. Many of these practitioners only practise on a part-time basis, and thus these numbers are slightly misleading. The movement is expanding at roughly 8-9% per year. There are thus two strands of the current movement -- the medically qualified, and the lay practitioners. The latter dislike the pejorative title 'lay homeopath', preferring to be referred to as 'professional homeopaths'.
By way of summary, we can make an interesting point about British homeopathy today as compared with its condition in the 1840's. How sharply the two now differ! Then, homeopathy was entirely dominated by a medically-qualified elite with a wealthy clientele of artistocrats and only a microscopic lay movement. Today the opposite holds true: it is numerically dominated by professional homeopaths, who have, singlehandedly, brought about its resuscitation from a 'near-death experience' in the mid-seventies. And their client-base is almost entirely composed of middle and lower-class patients. The medically qualified today are in a minority and seem always to be responding to new ideas and techniques originating in the lay movement, rather than being the leaders they once were.
Homeopathy in Wales, Scotland and Eire
Homeopathy in the British Islea has not been entirely confined to England. There has been almost no homeopathy at all in Wales and no-one seems to know precisely why. There was a homeopath in Dolwyddelan in mid-Wales in the 1860's and also one in Llandudno in north Wales, but no others that I know of. It seems strange because British homeopathy tended to become associated with religious non-conformism and that should have suited the Welsh.
There has also been very little in Ireland, where it was confined to certain towns like Dublin, Cork and Limerick, as well as some in the Belfast area in the north. Apart from that almost none. The single most active Irish homeopath was probably Dr W H Roberts, who ran the Dublin Homeopathic Dispensary for many years until its demise in the early 1950's (Heal Thyself 1932-55). In more recent years there has come into being the Irish Society of Homeopaths, based in Galway.
Homeopathy in Scotland has a long and very distinguished record. It has been practised there from the very origins of the therapy in the UK and has also enjoyed repeated flowerings, quite independent of the tradition in England. It has tended to be centred mainly in Glasgow. Many of the greatest homeopaths in Britain have come from Scotland, born and educated there, even though they may have 'made their mark' south of the border. Examples include Dudgeon, Weir, Drysdale, Henderson, Skinner, George MacLeod, John Paterson, Ephraim Connor, Gibson Miller and William Boyd, and more recently David Taylor Reilly, and all of whom probably rank as great homeopaths in world terms. Dr Robert Gibson Miller was enormously influential and trained with Kent in St Louis in the 1880's. There have been many important and influential Scottish homeopathic doctors since, based mainly at the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital. That requires a separate history of its own.
Sunday, 27 December 2009
Thursday, 24 December 2009
Healing with Homeopathy
by Misha Norland
In this section, we provide an introduction to homeopathy and how we view it as a healing skill – what it is, its history, its principles and how you learn to practice it. Each of our regional study program sections then provides information on the specific aims and objectives that we have for the teaching of that program, how we implement those through the training that we offer, and details of some of our key faculty involved. The focus throughout is on training that is practical and effective supported by caring practitioners and administrators.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy means healing diseases by the application of the law of similars, i.e. ‘like cures like’. This means that the ‘symptom picture’ - a recognisable and characteristic set of symptoms - of the healing agent (the medicine) has to match the disease ‘symptom picture’ of the patient.
Although this principle has been known and applied spasmodically for many centuries, it was Samuel Hahnemann, born in Germany about two hundred and fifty years ago, who clearly established homeopathy as a recognised form of medical practice. At that time the old world-view was being revolutionised by the new wave of what is now call the ‘age of enlightenment’. Community and traditional beliefs, many flimsily based upon superstition, were being increasingly subjected to empirical inquiry, and it was experimentation and theory based upon results that Hahnemann brought to the old notion of "let likes be cured by likes".
This is of particular relevance nowadays when new healing forms are being sought because we are questioning the results of medical procedures with their interventional approaches of cutting, burning, drugging and inoculating. These methods are seen to be failing to bring about long-term improvements in health in chronic disease, although they are of undoubted service in the short term. Increasing numbers of inquiring individuals on the healer’s path are seeking to find ways in which a humane system of medicine can be integrated with the clearly beneficial attributes of a science rooted in empirical methodology—experimentation, observation, theory and review.
How does healing happen?
Healing happens quite naturally, because life has the impulse to maintain its integrity, to self heal and regenerate. Any adverse influence upon life will be met with a response designed to counteract that influence, to maintain equilibrium and restore health—to turn hell into heaven. These counteractions to adverse influences are expressed as symptoms. These are our best defences, our best efforts. We are wise to go with them rather than look for interventions. An intervention is any action that prevents the symptoms being expressed, but does not deal with the causes. An analogy for this could be a situation in which a warning light in a car indicating a sudden increase in engine temperature was responded to by the driver smashing that indicator!
Homeopathy is a holistic method of cure that takes into account not just the physical, but also the mental and emotional symptoms. Homeopaths seek to understand diseases ‘holistically’. If we lose our ability to rebalance and stay healthy, then our whole being responds by evolving symptoms. When the ‘symptom picture’ of the healing agent matches our diseased ‘symptom picture’, it enormously stimulates our capacity for re-balancing, helping us to do the work of ‘venting’ the symptoms and returning to health. This is the true life-preserving function of symptoms, that when unhindered are the means whereby disease is eliminated. This principle is understood in the field of everyday psychology. We know that grief (inner disturbance) is eased by tears (outward expression—symptoms), that sadness when vented does not play out as chronic brooding over the past or develop into say, anorexia, insidious weakness or MS; that anger when it is expressed does not fester and turn to hatred or develop into, say heart disease or cancer.
Acute diseases are most readily treated by homeopathic means because the initial intensification of symptoms, due to our dynamic response to the similar healing agent, is rapidly followed by the total elimination of the disease. For instance, recent grief with chest oppression, spasmodic sighing, hiccupping and acute stomach pain is cured after potentised Ignatia is given because the symptom pictures match. Then, after a brief intensification of presenting symptoms, flowing tears and sobbing ensue, giving way to returning calm and acceptance.
Chronic diseases are also amenable to homeopathic cures, indeed most of our cases are of this kind, but they take longer to resolve. The principle of cure in chronic illness is the same, i.e. we self-heal. It is only when this inclination for self-healing becomes perverted that we get stranded in a diseased state. This usually happens because of inherited disease predisposition’s, past traumas, past and present toxic overload or psychological and environmental stress, poor nutrition due to non-organic farming relying upon the use of agricultural chemicals and pesticides.
The disease, also being a manifestation of life, albeit a distorted one, behaves as if it were a separate entity that also wishes to express itself. It does so by the development of chronic symptoms. These symptoms are a compound of the disease and our unique individuality—they are the outward expression of our internal state. Just as in the case of the treatment of acute disease, they indicate what needs to be cured. We can read this information as we may read a book. In order to bring about a resolution of chronic disease, we require a return to natural living and eating as well as the thrust that the ‘intelligence’ of the healing agent confers. Then, as in the acute situation described above, the disease is eliminated from the inside towards the outside via established venting routes. It does this in a reverse time frame (last symptoms to appear are first to disappear, first symptoms to appear are last to disappear) and from the most important organs for survival to the least important. This means that as health is re-established, deep distress is supplanted by temporary superficial disturbances. To put this another way, we would expect to see transient acute manifestations in place of chronic degeneration. For instance, these disturbances could range from tears to temper tantrums, from skin eruptions to diarrhoea.
How do we recognise healing agents?
Substances are selected from either past experience of a medicine's healing powers or intuition as to their potential healing properties. The details are then worked out experimentally. Homeopaths call this proving. This is how it works. A group of stable volunteers comprising of both sexes are given a potentised dose of the substance under enquiry. They usually do not know what that substance is. Over a period of time (usually about two months) and while under supervision, they keep a detailed daily log of their altered state. They examine not only new and/or changed physical symptoms but also scrutinize their mental and psychological state. This information is gathered from all the volunteers and collated. During this process it is established which symptoms are most frequently experienced, which moderately and which least. This organisation of symptoms constitutes the ‘picture’ of the healing agent. It is verified and enlarged upon, given its therapeutic range, by clinical trial. As we have written, in homeopathy the remedy and the disease are similar. The remedy assists what the disease symptoms were unsuccessfully trying to do.
Because homeopathy is now more than two hundred years old, we work with many medicines that are well tested in clinical settings. Thus their healing characteristics and depth of action are well established.
What does potentised mean?
Let us first examine how healing proceeds. Healing agents work by harnessing the life preserving power within us. This power is invisible, indeed it is immaterial. We know of its existence by the result of its actions. We certainly know when it is absent, for then death ensues. Without its influence only the material constituents of the body remain, unanimated and lifeless. In order that healing should commence a subtle, immaterial, life-empowering force needs to be applied and recognised by the life preserving power within us. Healing agents are said to be potentised when they have been prepared in a particular manner so as to increase their healing properties.
What are homeopathic healing agents and how are they prepared?
Healing agents, or remedies as they are called, are derived from the natural world. Most typically they are of mineral, plant, animal or human origin. Examples of these are: salt (sodium chloride), club moss (Lycopodium clavatum), venom of surukuku snake (Lachesis muta), cancerous tissue (Carcinosin). They can also be derived from energy sources, for instance electro-magnetic sources, such as x-rays. When soluble these substances are dissolved in water and alcohol, while if they are insoluble, they are ground in a mortar and pestle. If electro-magnetic, then the rays are concentrated and permitted to pass through water where their influence is ‘recorded’ by the water. A process of serial (successive) dilution and agitation is then applied. By these means the material is reduced, within the bulk of the dilutant, while at the same time, the medicinal potency is increased. This achieves maximum effect for minimum stimulus. This process is also called dynamisation. This refers to the dynamic (as opposed to static) nature of the potentised (now potent) dose. It is the subtle, dynamised state of remedies that have resonance to the dynamic life-preserving function of the living organism. In other words, homeopathic practice rests upon the similarity of the remedy to disease and resonance of the remedy potency with an organism’s life-preserving force.
Let us take a look at two co-existent methodologies and worldviews which prevail in the work. If we apply the senses and ‘logic’ to the enquiry, the world may be understood as a collection of objects. Each object may be assessed, weighed and measured. In this manner the symptoms of diseases and the healing properties of their corresponding remedies are categorised and catalogued. The world may also be encountered as a communion of subjects. These subjects are interrelated and informed of each other's existence and of their participation in the whole by allowing feeling and intuition to enter into the experience. This gives birth to an appreciation of the world as sacred and is best expressed by art—it is sung into being, danced, sculpted and painted. The impulse to practice the art of healing also ensues from this perception of the world. It is to the first world view that reductionism owes allegiance and by the second that imagination is inspired.
As healers teaching at the School of Homeopathy, we integrate both views as we celebrate spirit, body and soul. The sacred view maintains that we regard all expressions of creation as intrinsically equal in value, whether mineral, viral, bacterial, fungal, plant, animal, human, and no matter what race or creed. We are all connected as well as dependent upon each other. No one is better or worse than another one. No creature or plant or stone or water or air or fire is higher or lower than its counterpart. No things can be owned or possessed (except in the most temporary manner), nor can humans lay claim upon them, for they belong only to themselves and are related to others only through love—a love which is given unconditionally, just as parent to child, mineral to plant, plant to animal, prey to predator. Our DNA has been passed over eons, evolving through successive life forms. We are the sum of all that has been and is now and is yet to be for the seeds of the future are in the present. This is a description of a living experience of the natural world of which we are participant and caretaker as well as exploiter and destroyer. This description is given here because as homeopathic practitioners, we are devotees of nature, for it is the natural world which provides for our sustenance and our healing. Nor is reductionism an outmoded concept for us because we view, not the world, but its attributes in this manner: we name the parts, catalogue the symptoms and we use computers to help us in our analysis.
As homeopaths and teachers, we learn to listen non-judgmentally. (Although our analysis of what we learn involves careful judgement and feedback.) Through reflecting upon ourselves (looking into the mirror of our motivations and our actions) we appraise ourselves, finding a path between our own opinions of right and wrong, good and bad, finding a way which is non-aggressive, which is informed by respect for ourselves, and others and the world in which we live. This is the pledge which we make as we work upon our own nature through the study and practice of homeopathy. Homeopathic healing results through re-establishing the relationship between our inner selves and outer nature through the application of remedies (medicines) which are derived from the natural world.
Before you begin, you have to be inspired.
Inspiration is informed by philosophy, understanding and knowledge.
Philosophy and understanding are applied. You underpin your knowledge through the critical appraisal of practice.
You do it—you roll up your sleeves and get on with it.
You check out the teachings against your practice, retaining what is of value for you, throwing out what does not work.
You extend your developing individual creativity into the task. You add your own skills and understanding to that which you have already learnt. In doing this you continue to develop your skill of healing the sick and inspiring others through your example.
Continuing professional development
Through self-reflection, experimentation and research you continue to mature, both personally and professionally.
You now have become a valued and contributing member of the healing profession.