There are lots of books that explain homeopathy in relatively simple terms. And there are
many manuals designed for the homeopathic professional. But there are very few
books that provide a sophisticated overview of homeopathy that is both
challenging and yet suitable for all readers. Written from the perspective of an experienced homeopathic physician, Dynamic
Medicine is an insider's guide that
encourages the reader to think deeply about the nature of illness, the hazards
of conventional medicine, and successful strategies for genuine healing.
The following excerpt is from Dr. Larry Malerba's new book, Dynamic Medicine: The World According to Homeopathy, which offers an insightful examination of this unusual healing art and science...
Conventional medicine acknowledges the power of the mind to create illness but then invariably resorts to material interventions for all health problems whether of mind or body. Medicine provides pills for every type of sneeze, sniffle, ache, and pain. And there are lots more pills for depression, anxiety, overactive minds, and just about any other kind of mental and emotional problem that one can imagine. Material doses of crude and oftentimes dangerous drugs have become the standard short-term answer to all our worldly woes.
There is a pervasive stigma regarding mental and emotional health issues. Few hesitate to tell friends of their visits to the doctor, while many hide the truth about their having seen a therapist or psychiatrist. We fail to take the psyche seriously, deluding ourselves into believing that it is possible to get to the root of things through biochemical means. We have been led to believe that scientific investigation of the physical brain can somehow unlock the secrets of the mind. Our materialist bias and fear of looking too closely at our inner selves guarantee that the trend will continue. As a consequence, mental illness and human suffering continue to increase in spite of the best efforts of our state-of-the-art medical system.
Now let's compare this to the homeopathic perspective. To a homeopath, feelings of self-loathing, jealousy, or lack of confidence are no different than symptoms like heartburn, joint aches, or diarrhea. They all represent signs of a disordered vital force. They are clues that point to a potential solution. During an interview, I often swing back and forth, asking questions first about a person's asthma, then about his sleep patterns, his food cravings, his anger issues, his fears, and then back again to physical concerns like his stiff back and itchy eyes. This is perhaps the thing I love most about homeopathy. I must simultaneously think like a general practitioner and a psychiatrist. As far as the homeopath is concerned, there is no division between mind and body.
To me, it's all one. It's all the same. There is no judgment. I talk about the color of the mucus a person blows from her nose with the same tone and demeanor that I discuss the social inadequacy that she experiences while attending business conventions. The patient comes away from the homeopathic interview with the impression that all information, whether of a physical or emotional nature, is potentially valuable to the prescriber, and that he or she will not be judged when revealing that information. The ultimate goal is to find medicines that match the overall symptom patterns of patients, not to pigeonhole them with psychiatric labels that make them feel bad about themselves. The net effect is to diminish the stigma that people with psychological difficulties can be made to feel.
Homeopaths know that mental/emotional symptoms are on a par with physical symptoms. They simply represent clues to the sleuthing homeopath who is searching for a remedy that will match the symptom profile of the suffering individual. Most telling of all is the fact that I have seen cases of physical pathology solved by virtue of psychological clues, and I have chosen correct remedies for emotional problems based on physical clues.
Let's use the example of a man seeking help for chronic hives. Careful questioning reveals that the hives began shortly after the death of a parent, and that he has a tendency to internalize his grief. He acknowledges being unable to cry. Most homeopaths would concur that this is a pretty straightforward case and would also agree on the choice of remedy for this man's hives. (Natrum muriaticum) Most would also expect that even though the patient sought help for hives, the remedy should also act to unblock his grief. Since they are not separate concerns, both the hives and grief should resolve if the correct homeopathic medicine is given.
Another patient presents with a chief complaint of depression ever since adolescence. Questioning reveals that she has had two miscarriages, she feels best when she exercises, feels tired from 3 to 5pm, has a strong desire for chocolate, and can get headaches that center above her left eye. Any good homeopathic practitioner immediately knows the indicated remedy in such a case (Sepia officinalis). It is reasonable to expect that the correct remedy will not only eliminate the depression; it will also resolve the headaches, diminish the chocolate craving, give her more energy in the afternoons, and reduce the likelihood of another miscarriage.
Just to be clear, it is also possible that the solution to a physical health problem can be found by virtue of additional physical clues. A case of abdominal cramps may be quickly resolved when it is revealed that the pain is temporarily relieved by firm pressure, warm applications, and bringing the knees up to the abdomen. (The most likely remedy in such a case is Colocynthis)
Likewise, it is possible to solve emotional problems through the use of emotional clues. The remedy choice for a man with anger problems becomes apparent when he acknowledges that he has a strong streak of jealousy that causes him to imagine that his wife's innocent conversations with other men are a threat to his marriage. The observant homeopath notes that this man is quite talkative. He also admits to having a fear of snakes. (The remedy choice here is Lachesis mutus)
There is no greater testament to the absolute unity of mind and body than the clinical results produced by homeopathic treatment. Mind and body are not just intimately connected; they are one and the same. Homeopaths understand this and use that knowledge to achieve powerful results. No other healing modality is capable of producing such results with the same degree of consistency.
In this sense, homeopathy defies the conventional medical paradigm, which, at best, sees mind and body as separate entities and, at worst, ignores the psyche while focusing solely on the physical body in search of material solutions. One can only conclude that homeopathic healing is a very unusual phenomenon, one that transcends the boundaries of materialist medical science.
Mind and body are one and must be treated as one. When they are treated separately, as is the case with conventional medicine, the results are often superficial, short-lived, and fraught with unforeseen difficulties. When a patient says, "I know that my stomach pains are caused by my anxiety about the health of my child," the homeopath trusts this to be a potentially valuable piece of information. Homeopathy passes no judgment, excludes no information, and takes patient's reports of their own experiences at face value. The success of homeopathy rests on this critical understanding of mind and body as two inseparable aspects of the same whole.
Larry Malerba, DO, DHt is a classical homeopath, osteopathic physician, and educator whose mission is to build bridges between holistic healing, conventional medicine, and spirituality. He is also the author of Green Medicine and Metaphysics & Medicine. Dr. Malerba is board certified in Homeotherapeutics and past president of the Homeopathic Medical Society of the State of New York.