Styles of Homeopathy Overview
Homeopaths use various systems to select the right remedy for a patient. The original prescribing methodology as developed by Samuel Hahnemann is termed Classical Homeopathy. Many other systems of homeopathy have since evolved and in reality every homeopath practices differently in their own eclectic way. Unfortunately, the existence of these different but related systems creates schisms within the field of homeopathy, and some derision exists as to what is and what is not defined as homeopathy. Homeopathy must be looked at as an evolving system; like any medicine, new methodologies are constantly being assessed. The following are brief descriptions of some well known methodologies that may be found.
‘Classical Homeopathy’ distinguishes itself in its central reliance on finding a single, ‘constitutional’ remedy that fits the entire gestalt of the case; the totality of the mental, emotional and physical symptoms. This remedy, when chosen correctly, stimulates the body’s innate ability to heal and rebalance itself in a deep and lasting way. This matching of a single remedy to the overall illness state of an individual is known as the ‘Law of Similars’. Like other methodologies, Classical Homeopathy utilizes highly diluted, potentized remedies.
A homeopath working with these guidelines, the prescription of a single, well-matched remedy given at high dilution, is practicing Classical Homeopathy. However, this still leaves a wide range in which homeopaths actually go about the business of taking a case, selecting a remedy, selecting a potency, dosing the remedy, and then following up the case. Thus there exist variants within the general framework of Classical Homeopathy, particularly in what information or symptoms from the patient are prioritized as the basis for the prescription. Most of these variations are not as different as their practitioners might argue. However, there are some which attempt to shortcut the important process of matching the holism of symptoms to remedy, and these, though they follow other rules of Classical Homeopathy, may result in significantly less accuracy.
One frequently derided example is a technique known as “keynote prescribing”, in which a remedy is prescribed on the basis of just one highly specific symptom such as burning pain in the left foot at 3 a.m. This method is inherently contrary to the central tenet in Classical Homeopathy of always considering the whole symptom picture, and never isolating individual symptoms.
As a method of prescribing, Classical Homeopathy can claim the most extensive clinical experience, with over 200 years under its belt.
Sankaran's Sensation Method
Rajan Sankaran is well known Indian homeopath who has greatly impacted homeopathy with his methods of case taking and development of innovative classification schemes for homeopathic remedies. Sankaran developed the ‘Sensation Method’ as a way to delve into a case and encourage patients to describe their deepest experiences. For ASD, I use this methodology to help parents to speak for their children as if they were the child. For example, if a small child has obvious pain, but is unable to describe it, I ask the parents to put themselves in their children’s shoes, and speak as if they are their child. The parent may say something like, “I’m scared, I have pain in the head, it feels like pressure, like its about to explode”. Or if a child has a common stim, I may ask a parent to replicate that stim and try to empathize with what the child is experiencing and why they are doing it. It is a simple but surprisingly useful technique that helps parents empathize with their children along with generating useful information for homeopathic prescriptions. Sankaran also created a methodology for more accurately finding constitutional remedies through a better understanding of the differences between different “families” of remedies, such as minerals versus plants versus animals. According to Sankaran, the different kingdoms or families in nature have overarching core sensations that help differentiate them.
Miasmatic prescribing according to Ian Watson is, “based on the assumption that there exists in virtually everyone an inherited or acquired energy blockage or disturbance producing a predisposition towards a particular and recognizable pattern of illness. Implicit in this method is the idea formulated by Hahnemann that it is impossible to fundamentally and permanently cure a chronic disease state unless treatment is directed towards the underlying miasm.” Miasms can be created by unresolved or suppressed disease pattern within a family line that gets passed down through generations. For example – a grandparent who suffered and died of Tuberculosis could pass onto their children the ‘Tubercular’ miasm. As a result, miasms are generally cleared through the use of nosodes, which are remedies prepared from disease material. The major traditional nosodes include Psorinum, Medhorrhinum, Carcinosin, Tuberculinum and Syphilinum. The concept of Miasms has been expanded to include the general coping mechanisms of an individual as well as remedies beyond just nosodes. Rajan Sankaran described an expanded view of miasms as a person’s survival mechanism that predominate during illness as well as other life stresses. Understanding which miasm a client fits, and looking at the associated remedies for that miasm, can be a useful analytical and prescriptive tool.
Scholten's Group Analysis
Jan Scholten is an insightful Dutch homeopath who has helped deepen our understanding of the minerals and elements through associating their homeopathic function with their position in the periodic table of elements. As described above, the core sensation of element remedies revolves around the idea of the formation or loss of structure or self identity. Using Scholten’s system, a homeopath attempts to understand where an individual’s sense of self identity and self confidence resides vis a vis the periodic table; where each element has a different relationship with being complete in itself or needing completion of its physical structure (analogically its self identity).
The periodic table is comprised of 18 columns known as ‘stages’ and 8 rows known as ‘series’. The increasing sequence of stages (columns) from left to right across the table corresponds to an analogous rise and fall of structure or sense of self identity. The sequence of series (rows) as you move from top to bottom corresponds to an increase in complexity and sophistication of the sense of self. The systems developed by Sankaran and Scholten have received some criticism as being outside the scope of classical homeopathy because they introduce new methods of finding remedies and case-taking. However, for my they have come to be indispensable tools for understanding and prescribing remedies for ASD children, many of whom have complex cases that benefit from new perspectives and often require rare or newly proven remedies.
Isopathy & Tautopathy
Isopathic (Iso, meaning ‘same’) homeopathy refers to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases with a homeopathic preparation of the matching disease; also known as a nosode. A nosode can be made of any pathogen – a virus, bacteria, fungus, or parasite, etc. Isopathic prescribing is different than classical homeopathy in that you are not matching the symptoms of the disease to the proven symptoms of the remedy, rather you are simply using a homeopathic preparation of a disease organism to treat that same disease organism. It is somewhat, though not totally, analogous to a vaccine, in which a small amount of the offending organism helps create an effective immune response to that disease if contracted. Here, it’s more like a vaccination after the fact.
In treating ASD, PANS, and other chronic diseases, I use a lot of nosode prescriptions to address specific bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections of the body. You could call these prescriptions isopathic. However, as I have learned more about the nosodes I’ve come to better understand the symptoms that are associated with them, and consequently have begun to realize that many ‘isopathic’ prescriptions may actually be classical homeopathic prescriptions. These nosode remedies have proven to possess many of the behavioral symptoms seen in autism, such as OCD and stimming behaviors.
Tautopathy is a form of isopathy used for treating lasting side effects, or damage incurred, from the use of conventional drugs or toxins with a homeopathic preparation of that same drug. Tautopathic remedies can be made from pharmaceutical drugs, chemical poisons, radiation, or vaccines. In this era of poly-pharmacy and overuse of pharmaceutical drugs, many patients may exhibit symptoms due to their multiple medications, and this technique can be useful in those cases.
While finding a constitutional remedy to treat the deeper mental/emotional patterns of a child is of primary importance, treating ASD using an isopathic approach through the use of nosodes and tautopathic remedies has also proven crucial. While on a constitutional remedy, the healing path can be accelerated by the additional use of intercurrent isopathic and tautopathic remedies that address damage and symptoms stemming from specific drugs, toxins, and disease entities.
CEASE stands for “Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression” and was developed by Dutch homeopath Tinus Smits. It is essentially a step by step isopathic/tautopathic approach for treating ASD utilizing homeopathic preparations of vaccines, medications, and other toxic substances linked to autism. CEASE also uses specific homeopathic remedies such as Cuprum and Sacharum officinale for assisting the healing of specific behaviors of children such as ridigity and lack of affection, as well as specific nutritional supplements to aid in the recovery process. The CEASE approach is well elucidated in Tinus Smits’ book, Autism; Beyond Despair.
Sequential therapy was developed by Dr. J.F. Elmiger MD of Switzerland, and was brought to North America and the homeopathic community and developed further in the early 1990’s. The term ‘sequential’ refers to the treatment of specific shocks and traumas (mainly drugs, vaccines, surgeries, but also emotional traumas) in a person’s life using homeopathic remedies. The traumas are identified by creating a “timeline” of the person/child’s life and then are treated in the reverse order.
Drainage is a system of medicine developed by French physician and homeopath, Dr Antoine Nebel. Drainage utilizes combination homeopathic remedies called UNDA numbers to detoxify (drain) the body by opening the channels of elimination and promoting the discharge of toxic accumulations from specific organs and body systems. Drainage remedies are not meant to replace constitutional prescriptions, but rather to assist the healing process by promoting healthy detoxification of cells and organ systems.
Flower essences were developed by Edward Bach, who made 38 specific essences as well as the ever-popular ‘Rescue Remedy’ for anxiety and stress. There are now hundreds of additional flower essences beyond the initial 38.
While flower essences are dilute botanicals, they are not prepared with the serial dilutions and succussions of a homeopathic remedies. Most flower essences are made by simply letting a botanical sit in spring water in the sun, and then preserved with brandy. Flower essences are dosed frequently, and are given for specific mental/emotional imbalances. They are easily self-prescribed.
Cell Salts were developed by Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Schuessler, who created 27 individual cell salts. Twelve of these are combined in the popular supplement ‘Bioplasma’. Cell salts are low potency homeopathic preparations, usually in the 6X range. They are made from the same basic minerals that the human body utilizes on a cellular level. Dr Shuessler determined that many conditions are the result of imbalances in minerals, and if these minerals are taken in homeopathic dilutions (rather than the large doses found in vitamin supplements) it helps to ‘unlock’ cells so that they can incorporate the right balance of minerals from the diet more easily.
Indications for cell salts are generally center on strengthening or improving specific functions of the body, such as giving Calc Flour to assist in cavities and rebuilding teeth enamel, or Kali Phos for an exhausted nervous system. They are easily self-prescribed with a simple reference book.
Combination Remedies are combinations of low potency homeopathic remedies formulated for specific complaints. Popular homeopathy companies like Boiron and Hylands make many such formulations, for general complaints like gas and bloating, sinusitis, teething in children, or insomnia. These combination remedies are now carried by your average pharmacy; testament to their growing popularity. While they are now replacement for the more accurate prescribing of a homeopath, they are certainly a worthwhile option to harsh over the counter pharmaceuticals for common conditions.