MEDICINE IN THE TWO ELIZABETHAN ERAS:
THE ROLE OF HOMOEOPATHY IN THE SECOND
Such a system of medicine must recognize that it is as much an art as a science, and that healing is a relationship between two living personalities. It must recognize too, that the sick individual has to take an active part in his treatment and not be merely the passive recipient of this or that treatment. For just as it is rightly said that man does not live by alone, so should it be emphasized that man cannot be cured by medicine alone. He must see to it himself that he lives as far as possible a physically and psychically healthy life. Indeed, each individual has a power within himself to help in his own cure.
Do the official schools of medicine teach such an art today? I am afraid not: they are so intent on seeking the specific treatment for this or that named disease or the antibiotic that will most effectively put out of action the organism regarded as the cause of the disease, that they are losing sight of the individual himself.
But Homoeopathy in its persistent search for the reactions of the individual to his environment in the broadest sense, no matter of what the patient is complaining surely fulfills these requirements, especially when it is recognized that the homoeopathic potencies do not anything to the patient as do the drugs of the dominant school, but rather stimulate the patients own recuperative powers to overcome the infection or re – establish the normal metabolism which has become deranged by the illness.
When you consider how the homoeopathic physician diagnoses the individuality of his patient over and above the name of the disease from which he is suffering, and uses for the purpose of his prescription rather than the name of the disease this personal diagnosis of the patients mental and emotional reactions, his responses to changes in weather conditions, the alternations in his environment which influence his symptoms, etc., one realize how very individualistic is the Homoeopathic prescription fitted to that particular patient.
The homoeopathic physician does not seek for a remedy specific to any named disease and which he can thus apply almost automatically once he has made his organic diagnosis, which in quite an appreciable number of instances may ultimately be found to be wrong and so the treatment based upon it must therefore have been wrong. He does not, as is so often done, merely suppress the most outstanding symptom by an appropriate drug; for example giving an anodyne to mask the pain or removing the skin eruption by some strong local application, in other words putting the dust under the mat and pretending the room is clean.
Strangely enough the homoeopathic physician is often accused by his allopathic critic in his ignorance of Homoeopathy, of merely treating symptoms, whereas it is the critic himself who practices this superficial medicine. The homoeopathic physician, on the other hand, treats his patient as a whole through his symptoms and their modifications through changes in the environment, which is quite a different matter.
Homoeopathic therapy, unlike methods of treatment, is based on a natural law “Similia Similibus Curentur” “Likes may be cured by likes” which has been proved time and time again by experiment and which anyone with the will to do may prove for himself. It is not subject to constant change brought about by this or that latest discovery, and which itself will soon have to give way to the still later idea.
Having now introduced to you our actor, what of the scene in which he is to play his role?
This is the nineteen hundred and fifty – fourth year of the Christian era and the second year of the reign of our much loved and admired young Queen Elizabeth II, who will remember while in south Africa on her twenty – first birthday, before she had any idea that she would so soon be called to such an exalted position as she holds today, broadcast to the commonwealth and Empire her resolve to dedicate her life to the service of this grand community which dedication she recently repeated at her Coronation.
Here in Great Britain we have a more or less complete welfare state, with which idea some of us may very strongly disagree, whilst others believe such a development is the result of a natural very desirable social evolution.
As one necessary ingredient of this welfare state came, in 1948, the initiation of the National Health Service, through which the great majority of the population receives its medical attention, although it is rightly available to all.
When we come to consider the role that homoeo – therapeutics should play in this scheme, I would suggest that we should regard the problem from the purely medical aspect, forgetting any political party allegiances or sympathies we may have; or if we cannot forget them we should remember that the organization of the National Insurance Scheme of which the National Health Service is but a part, was first blue printed by the well – known Liberal supporter, Lord Beveridge, and the Health Service plans developed by the Coalition Government of all three major political parties.
We are living at present in an age which may very justifiably be regarded as a violent age in which have been developed so many appalling instruments of destruction, the use of some of which we are quite complacently accepting and from the use of others we are refraining, not because we consider them immoral, but simply through the fear of the wholesale destruction which would be caused by their use.
We are seeing X-rays used in very high voltages in the treatment of cancer, we are being constantly remained of the use of dangerous drugs in medicine, without justification, in my opinion, bearing in mind the doubtful and evanescent ameliorations they produce and the violent surgical treatment of mental patients.
One further violence we should not forget is the way some of our foods are devitalized by the extraction of this or that portion of the natural product for purposes quite foreign to the well – being of the people who are to feed on them; or they are contaminated by the addition of this or that dangerous chemical, either during the growing of the plant, in the form of sprays, or as so called improvers in, for instance, the manufacture of white bread.
It is very significant in this regard that quite a lot of attention is paid to the protection of the man who sprays the crops, but the right of the consumer to have uncontaminated food is slurred over by the unjustifiable statement that the amount of these chemicals so consumed is so small that it cannot have any bad effect on the consumer. We who practice Homoeopathy know how unwarranted is such a statement.
Can we homoeopathic physicians and patient hope to be able to do anything to make the still small voice of Homoeopathy heard in all this tumult, so that we may return to a saner and more healthful way of life and help our young Queen in her lifes work for the communitys sake?
Can we expect any help from the leaders of the medical profession? I am afraid not, because although I believe it accurate to state that there is a very slowly growing interest in, and tolerance of our work by individual doctors, the medical authorities are still, in their prejudice, strongly opposed to us. The London University still refuses to recognize our Hospital as a post – graduate teaching Hospital: the British Medical Association prohibits the formation of a homoeopathic section of its organization, and the Royal College of Physicians still refuses its membership to any one known as a homoeopathic physician.
Yet in spite of this unfavourable environment, I firmly believe that there is a future for our method of therapeutics: but it will have to be pursued with courage, determination, foresight and energy. Surely if we believe as I do, that we are the guardians of a system of treatment destined to make our people healthier and therefore more efficient and happier, we would be failing in our duty to our country if we did not take every means in our power to acquaint the community at large with the advantages of this system and the dangers of ignoring it. This is a duty, not only of the profession, but also of the laity interested in Homoeopathy and who have experienced its benefits.
Every physician has two professional obligation to the community, that of preserving its health and that of endeavouring to restore it to being when it has fallen by the way.
The homoeopathic physician, thorough his knowledge acquired through the provings of drugs, even in infinitesimal doses, has, I believe, a very special responsibility as regards the prophylaxis of disease. It seems to me that a great deal of chronic ill health may quite conceivably be due to the manipulations of our foods and to the artificial manuring of the ground in which many of them are grown.
Experiments have been carried our proving that plants grown in soil enriched by natural manuring, are much less prone to diseases than those grown with the help of artificial chemical manures. It seems a fairly justified conclusion that vegetables grown under these artificial conditions may quite well be deficient in something necessary for our perfect health. It is therefore incumbent upon the physician to advocate whenever possible the ingestion of healthily grown foods in the widest sense of that term.
The same duty applies when we consider the great amount of drugging in which the community at large indulges by its excessive smoking, particularly when aggravated by the practice of inhaling, and by the continued and prolonged use of drugs for this or that symptom, too often, unfortunately, though not always, on the prescription of their medical advisors.
There is a great lack throughout the community of any real enthusiasm for perfect health: we are only too prone to be content to follow like sheep, the unintelligent and harmful practices of the majority of our fellows.
Similarly in the curative realm, we homoeopathic physicians have special obligations.
When considering our position vis-a-vis the rest of the profession, we must never lose sight of the fact that our approach to the sick individual is a much broader and more comprehensive one than that of the dominant school. This latter prides itself on its scientific approach to its problems. One must, however, always be on ones guard against being hypnotized by that word scientific.
The scientific aspect of any phenomenon or problem dealing with humanity is only one limited aspect of that problem. To get a complete picture one must consider other aspect, such as the aesthetic, emotional, maybe religious, and above all, perhaps one might say embracing all, the philosophical approach. This complex approach to his patients problem is the one that the homoeopathic physician always strives to adopt, and so never loses sight of the ego of the patient, while at the same time not forgetting his physical make – up.
Because this approach of ours to our patients is a much broader and more comprehensive one than the much vaunted scientific aspect, which the dominant school has come to regard as the Ultima Thule of medicine, I deplore the oft – repeated request of some of my colleagues that we should forsake our philosophy and make our work as scientific as theirs. I do not mean to imply by this that we should neglect the scientific angle of our patients illness but we should always remember that is only one facet of our problem.
That is why we take such pains to diagnose our patients personality with his reaction to his environment in addition to the physical diagnosis of the case in order to arrive at our prescription for his malady. In other words, we should endeavour to lead our dominant school colleagues to our way of thinking, rather than that we should adopt theirs.
At the same time must always remember that if our philosophy should seem at any time to contradict so – called scientific laws, we must re – examine our philosophy, and if necessary modify it, while at the same time remembering that many times in the past what have been regarded as laws have ultimately been proved not to be so. Thus it is evident that we must never relax our self – examination.
What shall be the role of the homoeopathic laity?
The first thing for them to remember is that we are living in a democratic country whose government is dependent on the goodwill of the governed, and that, if a sufficient number of voters desire a certain line of action, that line will be adopted by the government.
The second thought is that there are not nearly sufficient doctors practising Homoeopathy in Great Britain to satisfy the present demand, let alone any further increased demand in the future, for this line of treatment.
Does not this seem strange, having regard to the great advantage to humanity that Homoeopathy provides? Not if one looks below the surface and so finds the reason for this shortage.
Surely the most potent reason is that Homoeopathy is not taught in the official Medical Schools, either as a pre – or post – graduate study. The London University when asked to recognize the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital as a post – graduate Medical School, refused on the plea that as Homoeopathy was not taught in the undergraduate Medical Schools, it could not find a place for it in its post – graduate curriculum.
It is, of course, nonsense to suggest that a graduate should pursue his studies only in those subject of which he had already obtained some knowledge in his undergraduate days and should not wish to obtain information on any new or extra subject.
The University Medical Shools are enabled to a great extent through Government grants. We must therefore find some way of influencing whatever Government be in power to bring pressure to bear upon the London University to remove this obstacle to the better health of the community at large. I am quite satisfied that once this academic recognition is obtained we shave many more post – graduate students of Homoeopathy.
I believe than in a democratic community, having a universal State Medical Service, it is the bounden duty of the Government to remove all obstacles to the peoples obtaining that form of medical treatment in which they have confidence. So long as Homoeopathy is denied its legitimate status, so long must be Government be deemed to b failing in its duty to the country.
If, however, we are to achieve this desirable object of full recognition, we must all, professional and laity, be fired with enthusiasm, not only for the abstract cause of Homoeopathy, but for being partners with our young Queen in delicating our lives to the community.
When we do this we shall help to make this second Elizabethan era one to be remembered throughout the ages to come as surpassing the first Elizabethan era in that it gained not so much the economic and political leadership of the world – though that is not to be despised – but showed the way to the most healthful and spiritual way of life that all the world look notice and followed suit.
To sum up, the Role of Homoeopathy, as I see it, is to humanize the practice of medicine. By that I mean it must bring the practice of medicine into line with a reasoned philosophy of life, restore to it its artistry and rid it of all unnecessary hazards. It is to do this, not from any abstract academic sense of superiority, but in order the years to come are not those of merely another reign, but to ensure a veritable Renaissance, starting with the second Elizabethan era in which Great Britain will take its rightful place in the comity of nations as the pathfinder to a way of life for which posterity will be able to say “Thank God for Queen Elizabeth the Second and her peoples.