SOME ADVANCES OF HOMOEOPATHIC PRACTICE.
“The attainment of mastery in the practice of homoeopathy is the top of the profession, the quintessence of medical experience.” So wrote this strange, rare and peculiar editor (Selah!) once before. Now, after sixteen more giant trips around the solar cycle he would not only reaffirm that statement but throw a challenge as to unstrained quality of its truth.
But let us explain. By “homoeopathic practice” is to be understood for the purpose of this argument, practice with the homoeopathically prepared and selected single remedy sans manual or physical tactics, sans so-called physiological action of drugs, chemotherapy, biological trickery, sans palliation of any kind except by the homoeopathic method. This means being a homoeopath first and a physician in the common usage of the term afterward, the primary intent being to find that particular remedy which will cure or relieve the patient no matter what else may have to be done. It is the kind of practice the physician will come to do if he persists with this ideal over a period of time.
First of all, it is an exhilarating adventure, especially for the young man starting in practice or those who have escaped from the monitorial limbo of the old school. The young homoeopath will study not only the records of disordered human nature as reflected in our materia medica but he should also delve into homoeopathic history and the rich store of clinical experience and professional contingencies recorded in our amazing literature. There is nothing like it in all the chronicles of man, ancient or modern.
Exploration of the storied romance of our philosophy and the medical miracles performed is not only fascinating in itself but a great help toward becoming familiar with the means and the method in actual use. While treating his juvenile practice “expectantly,” as the allopathic worthies of the nineties used to say, that is, while waiting for practice to grow, this study lays a foundation for future triumphs with disease that are simply confounding in contrast to the blundering practices of empirical medicine. I was reminded of this in a vivid way recently when the thought was expressed by a newcomer to our philosophy. What a satisfaction to be building mastery out of the resources available through coincident limitations! Such reading or study actually pays off the mortgage on the young doctors future!.
One advantage in the first years of Hahnemannian practice is that it is the shortest route to a sustaining income, except, perhaps, being taken under the wing of some specialist or surgeon already in popular favor. One patient successfully treated is certain to bring others and there is no practice in which success is so quick and so obvious to all as the homoeopathic except, to be fair, manual adjustment for certain conditions adaptable to it. If certainly is the quickest way to gain an enduring and profitable reputation. Especially is this true with those chronic ailments which have been dragged through the sophistical expedients of the old school. The writer has sometimes boasted that he could go anywhere with homoeopathy and build a practice in a short time. The potential demand for our kind of work is enormous, practically without limit.
Homoeopathic practice brings economic competence. Even if the homoeopath has no other resources he should be building a reserve during the middle years. The income from a purely homoeopathic practice, excluding obstetrics, surgery, et cetera, should be comparable to that of other specialities. In fact, it should easily have averaged twenty-five or thirty per cent more than the average of specialities tabulated by “Medical Economics” for 1939 through 1943. But as figures may be misleading according to ability with a supposed difficult work, economic, personal requirements, et cetera, we will merely say that the Hahnemannian will have all the patient he wants to care for.
If not, then conditions outside of homoeopathy itself have prevented, and the writer has observed such detriments a plenty. The assertion of some that one cannot do well by homoeopathy alone is almost always a revelation of the reason why. I once heard a “homoeopath” say” “One cannot make a living on homoeopathy alone.” True, no doubt, so far as he was concerned. But right in the same town there was an old doctor living some miles out in the country who had an active practice limited to office and using the single remedy. Furthermore, homoeopathic collections should be ninety-eight ninety-nine per cent or better. There are good reasons for this.
The homoeopathic patient is almost always a grateful one or at least knows that his obligation is an honest one and that the service has entailed the minimum of accessory expenses. The larger office practice helps collections. Besides, the necessary expenses of a practice limited to homoeopathy is probably less than those of other specialties. But the practice of homoeopathy is no sinecure for the sleepy head. To make a competent living individually and independently against taxation robbery, government competition, legalized disadvantages, group pressure and the land monopoly price level requires energy, determination and a pioneering inspiration besides.
For after all, livelihood, unless fate has bestowed it in other ways, must be the ever-present concern of the physician. To integrate the necessity of economic security with homoeopathic art requires competence with its theory, skill in its application and an unwavering clinical integrity besides. But the process of attainment is accelerated by the never-failing enthusiasm attending the results obtained.
As practice matures the younger homoeopath will, if wise, retain more responsibility with critical conditions and emergencies. There is a homoeopathic need in all of these cases and for all but a very small number of them the correct remedy will suffice. This is not to deny a possible surgical line on trauma or on certain conditions of the acute abdomen, et cetera, nor does it mean to close ones eyes to any diagnostic possibilities. Per contra, it is opportunity to exercise the keenest sense possible in any predicament and to do accordingly. But in so doing most of these so-called surgical conditions melt away like a patch of snow in a warm spring day. Moreover, the nontraumatic patient cured of such conditions almost always has better health than before and the homoeopath will have gained a capacity for disentanglement never to be otherwise obtained.
As the slender practice of early years brings fitness for the more strenuous activities of later years, so the work of middle years lays a foundation for a different practice during the latter years. As time goes on a considerable number of patients will continue constitutional treatment year in and out. They may not understand the actual importance of this, realizing only that they “take the little tablets to keep well”. But the homoeopath knows that he is gradually eliminating the miasmatic elements from their natures, assisting evolutionary force so that middle life is passed safely and stability maintained pretty well to the end.
One advantage that accrues during the middle years is that one learns to systematize and do the work faster and easier. Also by this time much of it comes over the telephone and by mail and this work grows easier with advancing years. But the mail work is always rather tedious.
Another comfort during all the years is that the homoeopathist or homoeotherapeutist can retire at night without anxiety; even if he calls himself by the latter embodiment. He has prescribed a remedy for pneumonia or some severe acute condition and falls asleep with good grace knowing that his patient will show improvement in the morning.
Then poor old obstetrics neglected and shunned by the Hahnemannian ! “Obstetrics Made Easy” could be the slogan for the homoeopath who does that work. The correct remedy shortens labor in the aggregate by untold hours, does away almost entirely with anaesthetics and instruments and prevents all sorts of partum and post partum complication and annoyances. Most of that also could be done over the telephone if one could know how to select the cases! Perhaps radar may yet come to our aid in this little matter !.
The latter years of practice finds the old homoeopath doing no less work unless he wants to, but easier because acute conditions have been greatly reduced through constitutional treatment and because he has gained facility through experience. Competition with his fellow practitioners has lessened because most of the work is done in the office and a not inconsiderable part of it comes from one distant place or another where the news of curing one complaint or another has been carried. The late Boger used to sit in the office in his little town and receive calls and callers from north, south and west practically all day. He did not need to locate in a metropolis to achieve fame.
This very success, however, is one of the disadvantages of the latter practice. Some prescribers become so devoted to this work that leisure and its opportunities pass too easily into the unredeemable past. For the game or the play is ever presenting new forms, like the colored segments in the kaleidoscope, new problems for the mind and almost every case a more or less interesting experiment. There is nothing like it in the whole world. It is the top of the profession, the quintessence of medical experience.