Read before I.H.A., Bureau of Homoeopathic Philosophy, June 17, 1942.
From the beginning of time man sought in various ways for relief from his ills, pain and discomfort; from his fears and the results of those fears. He sought such relief as was to be had according to the established customs and accepted methods of his time, environment and the reputation of the healer or practitioner of the healing art. While much of the treatment of the sick was more painful, more cruel and devastating than the disease, most of those who claimed to heal really had little more understanding of the causes of such departure from health than their patients.
The history of medicine is the history of civilization; there were periods of darkness and then periods when the knowledge of the past was utilized by men of thought and daring who experimented independently and tirelessly because of their love of truth and a desire to find a better way to treat suffering humanity.
Such a man was Samuel Hahnemann, born into a good family of moderate means but artistic tastes. Studious by nature and of an observing mind, he had opportunities to learn the things that were to fit him for the practice of medicine of those days. He was a thorough student of chemistry and physics; his knowledge of not only Latin and Greek but modern languages enabled him to read medical works in their original language.
He graduated in medicine in Erlangen in 1779, and practiced according to the orthodox methods of his day. Having been much benefited by the personal application of care in diet, fresh air and systematic exercise as adjuncts to medical care, he advocated such practices to increase the benefits to be gained from the indicated remedy.
Such was the background of the discoverer of a system of medicine known as homoeopathy, a rational means of treating the patient and founded on the principle that Like cures like, or the Law of Similars. In the Organon of Medicine, we learn in clear and comprehensive terms what the duties of a homoeopathic physician are and how to practice homoeopathy.
The right and only mission is to restore the sick to health, to cure, as it is termed. But in order to do this homoeopathically, the physician must clearly perceive what is curable in the patient.
Hahnemanns classification of disease must be understood, for the remedy cannot be applied until we know what it is that is sick. Homoeopathic therapy deals with the treatment of the patient; the vital force that activates the body harmoniously when in a state of health. Any departure from health is expressed in symptoms which give a picture of the internal disorder.
A record of the totality of symptoms must be secured, since the whole patient is to be treated. After the patient has told her story the powers of observation of the prescriber are tested as well as his knowledge of the remedy that will be best suited to restore her safely and surely to a state of health. Many remedies contain the general picture of the disease, but the remedy that has in the strongest degree the rare, strange and peculiar symptoms as well as the general symptoms will cure. Then, too, the plane of the remedy should be on the plane of the patient.
While the proving of the remedies of the homoeopathic materia medica by Hahnemann, members of his family and many students and physicians, gave birth to our materia medica, the power of the remedy was increased by Hahnemanns mode of preparation, the potentization of drugs. And another requirement in the cure of the patient by gentle means is met by the giving of the smallest dose that will cure. The patient with the removal of all symptoms of the disease complex is not to suffer from the large doses of the drug in the blood.
Nor from a mixture of remedies, as but a single remedy is to be given at a time. And this is not to be repeated as long as there is improvement of the patient. It is only upon return of old symptoms that the dose is repeated. And the same remedy given if the symptoms calling for it are the same. The same potency may be given at least twice and then a dose of the next highest potency is given. As long as there is no change of symptoms calling for a different remedy, no change is made, until the highest potencies have been given. Then, if the remedy is still indicated, the lower potency may be given and run up as before.
If in the beginning following a remedy there is no improvement, the remedy given did not cover all symptoms, and may have brought out other symptoms that will indicate another remedy. Or there may be something in the habits of the patient, the diet, the occupation, that cuts short the action of the well chosen high potency.
So that to gets the best results in the use of the high potencies in the treatment of disease, the cooperation of the patient must be enlisted. And this means to educate her in the homoeopathic philosophy or Laws of Cure.
Since the action of the highly potentized remedy is so powerful, we must know from the condition of the patient whether it is safe to give the exact similia. It is not safe to do so where a vital organ is seriously affected and the power of reaction is very low. Begin with a low potency or a remedy with related symptoms but not the exact similia; we can palliate when we cannot cure because of the incurability of the patient.
Improvement of the patient under homoeopathic treatment follows a natural method of healing in the following order: From within out; from above down; and in the reverse order of the appearance of symptoms.
In summarizing homoeopathic therapy:.
It is based on the principle that Like cures like.
A remedy should be given that covers the totality of symptoms.
A single remedy in the smallest dose that will cure should be given.
Such a remedy should be potentized to bring out the power of the drug, and to cause the vital spirit or dynamis of the patient to react, since it is the patient that is to be treated and not the disease.
DR. COFFIN: That last expression, “It is always the patient to be treated and not the disease,” brings to mind a bit of information that come to me recently, which was so startling and unusual that I thought I would share it with you. I wondered how many had come across a similar condition. It is called reversion or an acknowledging of the fact that the brain has two sides, and sometimes we are actively right-handed, sometimes actively left- handed and sometimes mixed in our reactions.
This child, who was the source of the information, was from a home where the mentality was high. The little fellow did very well in his first grade. Then in his second grade he seemed somehow to miss the whole matter. He was not succeeding. He was puzzled himself because he was normally quick. No one seemed to understand just what was wrong with the child. They found out that it was a visual reversal–I guess that is the word.
I really dont know enough about it to tell you intelligently, but to me it was so important a thing that I felt it would stand looking into. The child, instead of seeing “b” definitely with the curve on the one side was just as liable to get the curve on the other side. He was always mixing up words, “big” and “gib” or “saw” and “was” and “left” and “felt.”.
He would be just as liable to take the hand and go from right to left as from left to right. The matter was so confusing that the child was really becoming mentally disturbed about it, even though he was but a little fellow.
The method of helping the child was to become acquainted with the fact that was back of it. Tests showed whether he was putting the left foot for ward or the right, whether, when he looked through a hole in the wall, he put one eve or the other against it, seeing whether he was balanced in that, as distinctively right or left-handed.
It was found that families had tendencies in that way. I never thought, in taking a history, of finding out whether anybody in the family was left-handed or not, but it does seem to have materially influenced some of these matters. So it was a problem which had to be faced by the combined efforts of the physician and the teachers.
The teachers had to realize that a prescription from the doctor of correction of the vision would only give the eyes a fair beginning. Then you had to start from that to raise up the ability to recognize.
When a combination of the visual effort and sound effort were used together, they called it auditory kinesthetics, so that the muscular exercise and the sound were balanced together. They learned while they were making a letter, and they would spend one day on a letter. They would say “ch” and they would make the “j” and be sure the “j” had the curve on the right side, combining the visual and the auditory and muscular exercise.
Sometimes the report was of 100 per cent vision in the child, where they were having great difficulty in this line, and there was a lack of understanding among the physicians or a lack of method to secure the information that was needed in order to begin this training.
Having children particularly bright, handicapped by something nobody seemed to understand was, to me, an appalling thing that we needed to look into. I was glad for this contact and opportunity to be told that there was such a thing as seeing backwards and not being able to differentiate.
It was really a new vista to me. I thought, when we are studying the patient as a whole, maybe that was a clue to some of the troubles we had not realized.
DR. BOGER-SHATTUCK: This mirror-writing is what Dr. Coffin has reference to. These children see as in a mirror. There is so much of that at the present time that a Rahway, New Jersey, they have opened a school for just such children in the vicinity of Trenton or New York. It was called to my attention by a patient I see in the summertime. There are only two children I have seen, who attend this school, who have a long history of fathers and grandfathers being mental giants and leaders in industry today in America.
It apparently has something to do with the point between genius and psychoneuroses, because these children are both very, very nervous. By teaching these children to live and trying to inculcate in them a greater faith in God, and trying to teach them a form of psychology which will cast out fear, we have done a great deal with these children. But they do have to be taught from scratch, because they do see backwards.
Dartmouth College, in their optical department, I believe, is doing a lot now in studying this type of work.
DR. COFFIN: Penn State is examining freshmen in college along that line. They find so much difficulty.
DR. SCHWARTZ: All that I want to say in regard to these cases and in regard to the paper is the fact that I think in the second paragraph of the Organon,Hahnemann said, “In order to cure, we must know what is curable.” In other words, we must familiarize ourselves with just such abnormalities as these. Left-handed children go to school and are forced to write with the right hand, and we find many symptoms. It is said that King George was left-handed and was forced to learn to write with the right hand, and his stammering resulted from that. So in our healing we need to have a philosophy and to realize what is curable and what is not. We should not think we have failed in our remedies if we do not get results in every case.