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.