A great many things have been written on the subject of obstacles to recovery from the standpoint of the patient, the physician and the remedy. The subject has been treated in a general way, but I propose to list and discuss several factors, often overlooked, which contribute to failure in homoeopathic prescribing.
1. Mechanical. Most of us are familiar with the majority of mechanical factors which obstruct homoeopathic action: foreign bodies, pressure and obstructive symptoms due to neoplasms or inflammatory masses, uterine displacements, prolapses, hernia, cerumen in reflex coughs, etc. Yet how often do we forget the good and bad effects of posture. Since some ailments are cured by better posture alone, doesnt it behoove us to keep in mind its importance as an aid to cure? It is quite conceivable that persistent faulty postural habits may stand in the way of permanent and thorough cure.
Then too, havent all of you had the experience of giving a remedy carefully studied and selected, only to have mediocre or temporary results and yet have other remedies closely related fail entirely? This may quite possibly be due to some mechanical spinal abnormality (the osteopaths call it an osteopathic lesion.) Dr. Harry Weaver of Philadelphia told a story of a woman who had seen every doctor in her town for her headache and finally came to Philadelphia to consult him.
She had had a constant headache for over a year which not even morphine could allay. After testing her vision, which was normal, he examined her neck and found a cervical vertebra not “subluxated” but dislocated! Reduction afforded instant and permanent relief. Perhaps this is an extreme example, but surely this type of mechanical obstacle as too often over looked.
2. Dietary. We are all aware of dietary essentials in a general way. Most physicians believe that fresh fruits, fresh green vegetables, meat and other articles of diet in moderation are generally conductive to health. Yet many people today are “roughage hounds” either without their physicians knowledge or in defiance of his advice. I have seen repeatedly people who eat daily large amounts of bran, whole wheat in every form, potato skins apples skins, celery and any laxative food they can get.
I do not condemn any one of these things on their ingestion in moderation in normal individuals but almost invariably these roughage hounds are constipated and wonder why their sensible diet” doesnt move their bowels. One does not expect a constantly irritated sore to heal, yet how can you expect a homoeopathic remedy to cure a spastic constipation when the already spastic colon is repeatedly irritated further?
These patients usually have a long gastrointestinal tract and impaired assimilatory powers so that a very generous bland diet containing meat is indicated. At the start hot relaxing tap water enemas and agar- agar by mouth should also he given. Remedies which might be considered are Nux vomica, Sulphur, Psorinum and Carbo veg, though,of course, there are many others.
3. Environmental. How often do physicians ask their patients about the humidity of their homes in winter? Many homes are very dirt and as a consequence the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract are robbed of their protective moisture.
Recurrent winter colds, especially if more than one member of a family is affected, should suggest an injury as to the atmospheric condition. A humidity indicator in your own home may show some startling facts. Nowadays the humidity indicators are so simplified and inexpensive that it is money well spent to buy one. Often a pan of water on radiator or register will remedy the situation much better than Alumina for dry mucous surfaces.
Acne is a fairly common skin condition and quite a few cases are due to an indoor occupation and consequent lack of sunlight. Codliver oil has been known to benefit and cure many cases of acne. Before giving a deep acting remedy, make sure that the patients acne is not due to this lack.
4. Inimical habits. The first impulse of many homoeopathic prescribers is to turn to the repertory and materia medica, especially if there are interesting and valuable symptoms. Yet often the personal habits of the patient are forgotten. Many people get adequate exercise by walking to and from work, indoor and outdoor sports, etc., yet a surprising number of people, especially those at home all day, get little or no exercise at all. No one will doubt important of exercise when possible, yet its very obviousness often leads to its being forgotten.
Another personal habit which contributes to obstructing a complete cure is infrequent bathing. During the winter months a surprising number of people take only one or two baths a week. Their skin become sluggish, they complain of chills, cold feet, recurrent colds. A daily followed by a brisk rub will tone up the skin, aid in the general process of elimination, ameliorate minor skin affections and in general help the reaction to the indicated homoeopathic remedy.
One usually considers suppression as treating skin affections with ointments, cold bathing during the menses suppression of foot sweat with alum and antipathic medication in general, yet there is one form of suppression uncommon yet none the less effective and that is suppression of foot sweat by woolen stockings or rubber-soled shoes, constantly worn. Both of these things have been known to suppress foot sweat and obstruct a cure.
I mention, in passing, methods of eating and of relaxation. Bolting of food, feeling hurried, lack of time or inability to relax, if persisted in, constitute formidable obstacles to cure. Fifteen minutes rest in a horizontal position before as well as after meals will go far toward helping to cure chronic dyspepsia. Overwork, pressing duties, failure to relax and tension coupled with abuse of coffee, tea, tobacco and alcohol form a strong barrier to the cure of chronic disease. Unfortunately the Nux vomica type is all too prevalent.
5. Psychogenic. This is perhaps the most important and most prevalent of the factors contributing to failure in homoeopathic prescribing. True, homoeopathy is indeed miraculous in antidoting the effects of sudden emotion-grief, fear, rage, etc., but it is important to know if there are any continuing mental or emotional troubles which remain as a constant focus of irritation-nagging wife or mother-in-law, business anxieties, personality or moral conflicts, frustration, neuroses, etc. If psychotherapy alone, cures many cases, how much more important it is in conjunction with homoeopathic prescribing.
In conclusion let me say that I have not tried to state anything startling or different, but to review some of the less obvious obstacles to homoeopathic cures.