This opens up the consideration of Series of Degrees,, which is to become one of the most important subjects in the treatment of chronic diseases. It will lead to the development of a distinct class of prescribers in our school, if it has not already done so. Its recognition is a distinctive feature in the practice of my pupils, many of whom have expressed their wonder that this doctrine of Hahnemann is so meagerly understood and so rarely used in the treatment of chronic diseases.
It has often been forced upon my attention, when observing the work of even careful prescribers, that they stop after making a most careful selection, and fail to do more than to start the cure in the right direction. The patient improves so long as the one potency will act curatively, and then the cure stops; yet the same remedy is indicated, known from the fact that the symptoms have returned and are the same as when the remedy was first given. I have noticed many times, in patients coming to me from physicians who always give a low potency, that some curative action was observed, and then the remedy was changed, and again other changes were made. When the correct remedy was given again, in a higher potency, the cure began again. It is the same when the physician has given a high potency, and it has done all it can do, and will no longer act; another remedy has been selected which failed because it was not indicated. The one that was indicated has failed only because it has done all it can do in that one potency. The physician must learn that he cannot practice Homoeopathy on one potency of each drug.
Many men always give a low potency; others always use the 30th, others the 200th; others always use some one of the very high potencies. It is to show a better way that this paper has been prepared.
Whatever potency a physician uses, that one potency is not sufficient for chronic diseases. It will generally do for acute sickness. Many chronic sicknesses are cured by keeping the patient under the influence of the one indicated remedy for two or more years. But this cannot be done, with continuous curative action, unless the doctrine of series in degrees is fully understood and used.
As there are “octaves” of musical tones, so there are octaves in the simple substance, through which, severally, it is possible to correspond with the various planes of the interior organism of the animal cells. If I take Nat-c. in crude form until I am sick, and have all or many of the symptoms that belong to it and are found in its pathogenesis, I there rest. Now, if Mr. Jones comes to me with symptoms precisely resembling those in the pathogenesis of Nat-c., and I give him Nat-c. in the same crude form that made me sick, it will make him worse. It will not cure him quickly and gently, but will aggravate his disorder and suffering. However, if I have learned that all drugs have precisely an opposite action when much diluted from that they have when used in crude form, I will give him Nat-c. in a diluted form to secure the very opposite of curative action, against the toxic action of the crude drug. This is but the crudest illustration of the changes denoting the first, the lowest or outermost, degrees.
Now I affirm that there are more striking effects of degrees as we go higher in the scale of potencies. I have observed many thousand times that all potencies act when the remedy is indicated;
that any potency will act two or more doses at long intervals;
that then a change must be made; and
my experience has led me to go upward in the scale, instead of downward.
Many times my patients have been able to specify the powder that had their medicine in it.
After a given potency has acted curatively the usual time, and then no longer helps, and the symptoms return calling for the same remedy, I go higher; then my patient tells me that that was the “same” remedy I had given in the first place. What better test can we have that a remedy is acting? I always know my remedy is curing when my patient returns and tells me she is feeling so much better, herself.
I have often had physicians tell me that it was due to suggestion that my medicines acted so well; but my answer to this is, that I suggest just as strongly with the wrong remedy as with the right one, and my patients improve only when they have received the similar or correct remedy.
After thirty years of active practice as a homoeopath, I find that I require all deep-acting remedies in the 30th, 200th, 1000th, 10m, 50m and 100m, and often need the dm and mm. I am able to discover a vast difference in the action of these various potencies.
I once used potencies that ranged nearer to each other, but repeatedly found that the degrees must be far enough apart to represent an octave, or failure followed. I observed that after the good action of a 200th, after waiting until it was no longer active, although I gave the 300, 500 and 800, the 1m acted much more strongly; and the 300 or 500 generally failed. After much experience I settled upon the degrees that I have mentioned. About twenty years ago I found myself in possession of nearly a full set of Fincke potencies, including the 45m and cm, many between these numbers. Frequently I gave the 45m with excellent results; but after it had done all it would, I would give an 80m, or a 73m, or a 60m, with failure-but nearly always the cm would work as the 45m had done, and my patients often said that the cm worked as did the 45m, of course not knowing the remedy nor the potency. The remark expressed the patient’s measure of the action.
Many times I used to give first a cm, but found that when then going lower the action was seldom so strong as when climbing upward. Again, I often observed sharp aggravation when beginning the cm, but seldom observed aggravation when beginning low in relation to the sensitiveness of my patient’s nature. Of late years, I always begin lower and gradually go higher, and thereby avoid shocking even the very sensitive women and children. An extremely sensitive woman will receive in the beginning, for a chronic condition, the 30th or 200th, then followed by higher potencies, while those not so sensitive receive the 10m to begin, and then the higher, as the case progresses toward recovery.
After long observation in the range of potencies, going up and going down, I have settled upon the octaves in the series of degrees as-30th, 200th, 1m, 10m, 50m, cm, Dm, and mm. Many of my patients’ records indicate that the patient has steadily improved after each potency, to the highest, with symptoms becoming fainter, and he himself growing stronger, mentally and physically.
It is not an uncommon recital in the record that the patient continues to improve on each potency for three or four months. Any physician who learns the use of these degrees in chronic diseases possesses untold advantages over the physician with his one potency.