It is delightful to wander through ones own country, but it is also beneficial to occasionally cross the border, and, ascending some far-seeing mountain summit, to look back upon the familiar picture, its hamlets, cities, rivers, lakes and hills. Thus today I would consider our scientific fatherland, homoeopathy, from the foreign viewpoint of the “Od” theory. Perchance we may behold vistas and see things hitherto invisible, and perfect our knowledge of Hahnemanns doctrine through that of Reichenbach to our own advancement and the healing of the sick.
Consideration of the relations of the Od theory to homoeopathy I have thus far found only in the had-book of Dr. A. von Gerhardt, where (pp.25-39 of the introduction) is an excellent exposition of the ergistic action of the homoeopathic dose from the Od standpoint. Elsewhere little mention of REichenbach is to be found among us, and yet I am convinced that no department of science has such close relationship with homoeopathy as the Od doctrine, and that homoeopathic physicians should be peculiarly interested in the recognition and propagation of this neglected discovery.
Reichenbach says in the preface to his work “The “present and future development of the laws of Od will work almost transmutation in many departments of medicine”.
Life processes hitherto unexplained here find solution, and many practical therapeutic measures appear in a new light. The action of our potencies can depend only upon what Reichenbach termed the “Od.” Let us see what the science of “Od” offers the homoeopath, and whether the results of this theory coincide with our views and experiences, recognizing our peculiar fitness to comprehend the value of Reichenbachs discovery.
The reason why the OD doctrine is comparatively unknown lies in the fact that no mankind in general, but only the so-called “sensitives,” may feel and see (?) the Od.
This differentiation of mankind into “sensitives” and “nonsensitives ” is of great practical import. “The physician who does not recognize the powerful influence of the Od upon sensitives will frequently play a sorry role at the bedside,” says Gerhardt in the previously mentioned introduction, whose perusal I would commend to those interested, before they begin the study of REichenbachs works. Sensitivity is an exaggerated sensitiveness to stimuli. The sensitive with his hyper (nervous) perception is open to impressions not apprehended by the non- sensitive.
It is known that many physicians are able to diagnose infections such as scarlatina, measles, etc., by olfaction. Sensitivity is hyperaesthesia. But this has two sides; the hypersensitive nerve responds to stimuli that do not affect the normal nerve; the sphere of stimuli (Reizchwells) is enlarged. Stimuli of lesser action are termed hypostimuli; of similar action, parastimuli; of greater action, hyperstimuli. Men, according to their state of health or disease, exhibit differences in their reaction to external stimuli. What is hypostimulus to one, becomes parastimulus to another, and hyperstimulus to a third individual of great sensitivity.
The other side is, that stimuli normally perceptible and common to the healthy, act upon the hyperaesthetic or “sensitive powerfully and abnormally, a fact meriting the utmost consideration in pathology. Reichenbach was the first to utilize the delicacy of human sensitivity in the investigation of natures mysteries, and his results demand an entirely new comprehension of pathology and therapy.
In the domain of homoeopathy there is an ancient feud between high and low potentists, and each party believes that truth will die with it. Both accomplish genuinely homoeopathic cures. Upon this apparent confusion the concept of sensitivity alone shed light. The sensitive, hyperaesthetic, erethistic patient of the mentality must be handled with high potencies; the torpid, non- sensitive, robust, hypoaesthetic the low. Low potencies prescribed for the sensitive will aggravate. Each primary agg. is a proof that the potency was too low. On the contrary, high potencies administered to the non-sensitive are null and avoid.
Hence, if we would know the suitable potency we must first prove the sensitivity of the patient. Patients come with the gross mixtures of the “regular” school. If we give to the sensitive patient only low potencies, he soon arrives at the conclusion that “homoeopathic medicine is of no avail. I feel only worse,” and determines thereafter to flee all drugging. Upon the sensitive all drugs have action, and hence must be chosen with great care, and not too frequently repeated. Upon the non- sensitive the low similimum alone will have effect.
The often ridiculed “Drug-olfaction” is naturally efficacious only with sensitives. How infinitely, incredibly acute this class, is every page of Reichenbachs work shows. Hence it is of practical value for us to diagnose “sensitivity,” and Reichenbach aids us here in his book, “The SEnsitive and and the Non- sensitive.” (Wer ist sensitive, wer nicht?) Do not consider that such diagnosis is difficult. Sensitives are not rare, and in this neurotic age are daily becoming commoner.
“No village is so small that sensitives are not found therein. There are several methods by which sensitivity may be determined. These methods may be exploited with all sorts of procedures and instruments, and thus a scientific (?) atmosphere may be developed, but this is not essential. An empty had, a posture, a sign may, like a chemical reagent, determine the question; even these are not necessary; a simple inquiry intercalated into an oral examination may suffice. Even the presence of the patient is not required-knowledge gained from friends, family, an old servant, concerning the habits of the patient is enough to establish the diagnosis”.
Symptomatology of Sensitivity.
The first question is” does the patient sleep quietly or restlessly? Is the sleep restless even when in health? Nonsensitives, when well, sleep quietly all night, while sensitives are restless and given to insomnia. The more restless the sleep, the greater the sensitivity. Sensitives love solitude, and avoid crowds (agoraphobia); avoid handshaking. He who delays in freeing the grasped hand is surely non-sensitive-the sensitive withdraws his own quickly. In winter they prefer the porcelain stove (common in Germany) to the iron; the odpositive metal is disagreeable, the odnegative stone is not.
Even the odpositive mercury of morrows is obnoxious to the sensitive. They cannot bear the fragrance of flowers in their room at night. Moonlight in the room hinders sleep, makes them gay and lively. They prefer a cool dislike warm baths. Of foods they avoid fats, sweets, spices, but are found of bitter, sharp ailments (mustard, radish), acidulous substances as fruits, and especially salads, as lettuce. They like rare meats, raw eggs, milk warm from the cow. Chlorotic sensitives have peculiar longings for raw, unprepared nutriment (vide the Naturheilmethode. Natures cure). Tobacco is obnoxious, also wine and tea.
They eat moderately, prefer light breakfasts. Reichenbach says, “The sensitives turn from our hyperdelicate modern civilization back towards the primeval state of man. And since they are thus guided by instinct alone, it is apparent that nature with its negative force is stronger in them than in other men. One might well learn of them in the study of diet; consideration of their inclinations is instructive in teaching a more normal way of living; of better maintenance of physical and physical health. Hence, the study of sensitives offers us concepts of primary importance”.
Mercurial, restless individuals who can never keep still are sensitive. Leather shoes and gloves hinder the Od currents and are unpleasant; constrictive clothing obnoxious. Perhaps the beneficial effect of air-baths is largely due to the fact that the equilibrium of the Od emanations is left undisturbed. Anaesthesias, numbness of the fingers, arms, feet, legs are not uncommon as correlatives of hyperaesthesia. The uniformity of plains, prairies is displeasing. An unconquerable desire for change of work is born in them, hence they are nor suited to quiet, steady labor; to resolute, productive exertion; to steadfastness amid lifes adversities. Neurasthenia. Of colors, yellow displeases, blue is pleasing. Sensitives suffer much from headache, migraine, gastrosis, cramps.
Sensitives recognize the presence of those in ill-health. Even when the abnormality is not is not externally cognizable. The sick are more Odpositive than the well. If we think of the “sick atmosphere” of the tuberculous, that is enlightening. There are, as is well known, individuals able to prophesy weather changes. The reason therefore lies in the Od disposition of air and earth- surface. Many animals have a remarkable perception of weather changes (tree-toad, spider). Before the storm there exists an odpositive charge, which, with rain, passes over into an odnegative. Many patients are conscious of this, and during nocturnal storms fall asleep only when the rain begins to fall.
The sensitive, because of the general anaesthesia of his nervous system, is easily frightened; the slamming of a door causes a visible start (k. carb.); for new acquaintances he soon conceives a well-defined like or dislike. Thus one finds the sensitivity of an individual mirrored in his temperament and humors. One can logically determine his sensitivity or non-sensitivity from his way of exhibiting himself and his feelings in the conduct of life.
Hyperaesthesia, liveliness, fineness of feeling mark the sensitive, as well as restlessness, desire for change of work (or play), sometimes capriciousness and a less well-balanced mental equipment. These are the diagnostic points of sensitivity, easily determined in the ordinary examination of the patient, and as everywhere numberless individuals are found in whom these characteristics are united or largely present, the value of such diagnosis in medical practice and homoeopathic treatment cannot be overestimated.
Dahlke says in his excellent “Discourses on Materia Medica” concerning Sulphur, “The potency was always a matter of dispute. That the 30th is the normal seems to me indubitable, but in many chronic torpid eruptions, the lowest potencies are often indispensable.” I would emphasize the word, torpid, and in general maintain: in all torpid, hypoaesthetic diseases of non- sensitive organs or organisms the low potencies must be used. Disease may make a single organ or the whole individual either hyper or hypoaesthetic; probably these are only stages of the same process.
According to the demeanor of the organ or the individual, the potency should be high or low; it is not determined by the nature of the drug nor by the name of the disease, but only by the sensitivity of the organ or the patient. All efforts to declare the 30th or lower potencies alone correct, are vain; one say that for these torpid patients low potencies (in common and frequent dosage) are necessary, while for the sensitives high potencies (infrequently give) are indicated. And exact homoeopathic anamnesis must not only include symptomatology, but also present the degree of sensitivity of the patient.
It is well-known that there are great differences in patients in the degree of sensitivity; from a torpid individual you may without narcosis excise the lip; the other, a sensitive, hysteric suffers cramps and faintness from a breath of air. The “regular” school has bothered itself little with these differences; with us there has certainly been more inquiry into the sensitivity of the diseased nervous system, but hits important law has not yet, to my knowledge, been fully and clearly established.
I believe that if homoeopathic physicians would study sensitivity more carefully for some years or decades, we should gradually gain more exact indications for the potency. How many cures must have escaped us because we did not strike the right potency! Cases are always appearing in our literature, in which it is demonstrated that permanent cures only resulted from the discovery of the suitable potency.
II. The Od.
The most important and useful characteristic of the sensitive is that he is able in a darkened room to perceive a hitherto unnoticed light, with which peculiar warm or cool sensations are connected. This light is found-.
1. On magnets.
2. On crystals.
3. On parts of the body.
4. On rubbed surfaces.
5. On wires exposed to sun or moonlight.
6. On charged metallic electrical conductors.
7. In chemical reactions.
8. On all material substances.
This emanation of light is the Od of Reichenbach. The word is derived from the Sanskrit, and signifies “something that blows or waves,” e.g., breath, vapor, flame.
Reichenbach had, up to 1856, investigated 197 sensitives, and at least 100 others without reducing his results to writing. The fundamental investigations of the Od have, therefore, been carried out in nearly 300 cases with inexhaustible patience and pertinacity. Control experiments were instituted by Professor of Physics von Baumgarten, in this manner: He placed unnoticed in the hands of a sensitive, instead of a magnet, a piece of common iron in magnet form which (the difference) was immediately perceived by the individual. Among his 197 sensitives were at least 100 scientifically trained men (physicians, students of natural science, chemists, mathematicians, philosophers).
Each fundamental experiment was repeated 10, 20, 100 times. The foresight, care, exactitude and circumspection accompanying these experiments permit of no contradiction. Reichenbach;s name, as discoverer of the paraffins, creosotes, etc., and in other matters of medical and technical import, already had weight in scientific circles when he began these difficult experiments. In 1845 he met at Carlsbad the celebrated chemist, Berzelius, the discoverer of selenium, thorium, silicium. As Berzelius was much interested in the Od, Reichenbach looked about for sensitives in Carlsbad, and through the kindness of the local physician, Hochberger, became acquainted with an excellent subject in the person of a Miss von Secendorf, of Sondershausen.
Among other experiments demonstrated by Reichenbach to his illustrious confrere was the following: Reichenbach had stuffed his pockets full of a number of chemical preparations, each carefully wrapped in paper, and without superscription. He spread them upon a table, and directed the sensitive to move the fingers of the right hand about among them without opening the packets. She soon remarked to the two observers that she was differently affected by the various packets; many were without effect, while others exerted peculiar attraction upon her hand.
Reichenbach desired her to separated accordingly the packets into two groups. This done, he took a group in each hand and placed them before Berzelius, one group non-attractive, the other attractive. Berzelius opened and found in the non-attractive group: Sulphur, SElenium, Graphites, Tell., Ox. ac. crystals, Tart ac., Sod. sulph., Cup. sulph., Rochelle salt, and Saltpetre.
In the attractive group: Plat., Nickel, Cu., Zn., Rhodium, Pb., Iridium, Stan., Morphine, Atropin, Caffeine.
Not a little amazed, the father of electro-chemical science beheld in the attractive group only electro-positive; in the non- attractive, electro-negative bodies. The pleased surprise of the great chemist was so much the livelier as in this phenomenon he saw a new and unexpected proof of the dual value of substances, and added guaranty for the correctness of his system, and that from a source hitherto unsuspected, the human nerve. What had cost infinite labor and acuity for a century to accomplish, was done by untutored, sensitive girl in ten minutes. “From that hour,” says Reichenbach, “Berzelius showed a lively interest in my experiments”.
This power, dynamic, by which substances react upon the human nerve and make their presence physically felt, is the Od.
If one further investigates this quality, it will be found that the attractive, positive bodies, feel warm to the left hand, cool to the right, and that reversely, the non-attractive negatives seem cool to the left, warm to the right hand.
The electro-chemical relations, which you will also find in Farrington, p. 386, in his discussion of mineral substances is also the Odic relation, electro-positive or odic-positive, as for example: Hydrogen, Kali, Natrum, Lith., Calc., Baryta, Zn., alumina, etc.; the electro-negative, as Ozone, Nit. ac., Sul ac., Sul., Iod., Brom., Chlor., Graph., Sil., Phos., are also Odnegative.
Compare also our lists of right and lefts side, R.R., and you will find that Ant., ARs., Carbo. F1. ac., Nit. ac., Sul. ac., Sul., Iod., Graph., Sel., purely Odnegative substances, affect the left side, while Odnegative substances, affect the left side, while Odpositive, Alumina, Atropin, Arg., Merc., Aur., Zn., Pb. (Ferr.), are right side, R.R.
The Odpositive R. R. affect, therefore, the Odnegative, right side, and the Odnegative the Odpositive, left side.
But yet more. Since the upper half of the body is Odnegative, we must conclude that Odpositive R.R. which affect the right side will also first and chiefly act upon the head. (Cf., Cuprum, Zinc, Arg>). The Odnegative R.R., first, Sul. then Selen., Brom., Iod., Phos., ARs., begin their work at the other, the Odpositive end of the body.
Farrington remarks: The electro-negative work upon the intestines in the A.M., on the chest in the P.M., i.e., from below upwards; the reverse is true of the electro-positive, which act upon the chest in the A.M., and intestinally later in the day.
One may thus say, according to the seat of the disease or the time of development of symptoms: This patient needs an Odpositive or Odnegative remedy.
I have already stated the right side and upper half of the body are Odnegative. I must add the back is also negative, while the left side, lower half, and anterior surface of the body are positive. Man is, therefore, polarized, in three (3) axes; above, right, behind, stand in opposition to below, left front. Homoeopaths have long known that it is not a matter of indifference if a neuralgia or pulmonic inflammation be right or left-sided. It is an old hygienic rule that the head should be kept cool, the feet warm. Why? To the Odnegative head cold is homogeneous; to the opposite Odpositive end, heat, even as heat is developed at the positive electric pole.
Cold feet cause various disturbances of health; through coldness of the skin the Odpositive emanations are hindered. Disease, therefore, is disturbance of odic equilibrium. Man changes as he progresses from health to disease, from an Odnegative to an Odpositive condition. Foot-sweat is of great practical value, and it sudden suppression has often the most serious consequences. This is easily understood if one consider that a normal function to the Odpositive and relieves abnormal Odpositive stasis in the body. Ulcers of the legs also act as vents for disease of the abdominal organs, as may be often observed, and for the same reason I have been in the habit, since acquainted with these odic relations, of questioning all chronic patients concerning the sudorific activity of their feet, and I have often gotten hereby excellent indications for the R.
Especially, according to my observations, are relapsing bronchial catarrhs and obstinate dysmenorrhoeas thus explained and cured. Here also belong scrofulous nasal affections, which are very frequently accompanied by foot-sweat, and which, by proper care and the corresponding R., Rhus., Sil., Lact. ac., Calc. c., Baryta, Kali c., Sul., etc., are surely improved. But because Sil. 30th has made a brilliant cure, it may not do so next time. One must prove the sensitivity, and then choose the potency.
Pettenkofer makes the following calculation. If a soaked woollen stocking weigh 45 gm., the water contained in it requires as much heat as would raise a half pound of water from zero to boiling point. If from the body so much heat is daily drawn, it should not surprise us if such patients are already cold. The purely local consideration and therapy of internal and skin diseases is wrong. We should rather always and everywhere try to find a relation. This the Od theory teaches as well as homoeopathy.
The disposition to habitual sweating depends chiefly upon an over-aqueous blood, the hydrogenoid constitution (Nat. mur., Calc. carb.). The organism seeks in every way to rid itself of the superfluous water. REichenbach speaks concerning this in his principal work, “The Sensitive, and His Relation to the Od,” Vol. I, Sec. 879, as follows: “Man changes as he goes from health to disease, from an Odnegative to an Odpositive condition; the Odpositive must increase at the expense of the Odnegative; the hydrogen elements gain preponderance over the oxygen. In walking, climbing, etc., respiration is fuller, deeper, the blood gets much more O, and the body undergoes a richer oxidation. now O is that negative chief constituent of the body which renders it everywhere Odnegative; it is the secretion and excretion of Odpositive H which it assists and effects”.
This is not only theory, but has been practically verified.
I am treating now an elderly woman who for years, partly from comfort, partly from cardiac degeneration and a consequent dyspnoea, has not left her room. This spring, after a bronchial catarrh, she developed oedema of the lower limbs and nightly asthmatic attacks. After Kali c., Puls., Dig., Stroph., Crat., and Cact., had failed to relieve, I gave her 5 gm. of Mercks 30 per cent. hydrogen superoxide, the best ozone preparation that we have at present, in 250 cc. of water. She improved at once, the dyspnoea becoming much better. The nurse called my attention to the polyuria. In short, the septuagenarian was again saved.
Grauvogl has emphasized the value of ozone water in carbonitrogenous constitutions. It helps especially when potentized R.R. fail. The air-hunger is best satisfied by an ozone preparation.
Hydro-superoxide is not toxic in 2 per cent. solution, but because of its biting taste may not be taken readily. It should be applicable in many diseases, dysentery, typhoid, diphtheria, diabetes, chlorosis, pertussis. Also externally in surgery, gynaecology, ophthalmology, otology, dermatology it seems indicated. I have hitherto used hitherto used it in diphtheria with considerable benefit, in pertussis with marked success. In diphtheria the foul odor speedily disappears, but the cure progresses slowly, but in all cases of pertussis an immediate diminution of the attacks occurred (instead of ten paroxysms during the night, only two), an improvement noted under no other remedy.