Paul K. Branch, M.D. - Holistic Medicine and Classical Homeopathy


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Archive for the ‘Homeopathy info’ Category


Filling the Void of Conventional Health Wisdom

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

In thinking through the dilemmas we face in staying slim and healthy, one overriding problem trumps them all:  the absence of traditional health wisdom in our country.  If we had traditional wisdom, would we believe that taking Lipitor was an answer to our heart ailment?  If we had traditional wisdom, would America be reaching for the can of SlimFast, believing it to be the solution to obesity?  Would we believe that getting our gallbladder removed was the answer to our late-night gallstone attack?  The list is long.

Of course, we did have threads of traditional wisdom at one time, but they have been eradicated by science.  Every week the latest medical journals eradicate everything that preceded them.  Very few Americans know, for example, that homeopathy was a dominant medicine in our country for much of the 19th century.  We are a nation without a medical history, and worse, without a traditional cultural wisdom on how to stay healthy.   Now we are paying the multi-billion dollar price tag for it.

Although there may be a place for continual scientific revolution in the realm of electronics, it is doubtful if we are so well served in the realm of our health.  The irony is that if our exorbitant health care spending were suddenly slashed to nothing, after recovering from the shock, we would quickly work our way to being a much healthier country.  We would find out that most of what we spent on pharmaceutical drugs, surgeries, and other technology, in the end was not only unnecessary, but counter-productive.

The ancient traditions of China and India went into great detail on how to stay healthy.  Not only health, but happiness was the direct result of following the wisdom laid down by the ancients.  In India, the ancient Vedic scriptures defined “right living,” teaching you exactly what to do to stay healthy.  In China arose the great Taoist tradition, which emphasized being in tune with natural forces.  Although there have been refinements to this wisdom, very little has changed, and even today people still use it to live long and avoid medications and doctors.

The idea of “balance” or “staying in tune with nature” is central to most ancient cultural wisdom.  Listen to the attitude expressed in this excerpt from The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, written in China 4600 years ago:

I have heard that in ancient times the people lived to be over a hundred years, and yet they remained active and did not become decrepit in their activities.  But nowadays people reach only half of that age and yet become decrepit and failing.  Is it because the world changes from generation to generation?  Or is it because humankind is becoming negligent (of the laws of nature)?

Every morning, I wake up, do my qigong (an ancient Chinese breathing exercise), marvel at it, and wonder, with what do we fill the void?  How do we develop an intrinsic knowledge in our country about how to stay in balance?  Although I love the ancient Vedic system in India, I do not think it will ever take root in the US.   Acupuncture I think will become more mainstream here, but probably never will be used by a majority of us.  Chinese herbalism and the Chinese tradition of energy work (qiqong), on the other hand, have much greater adaptability.

We need to do some work on translation, developing our own language of energy and healing.  Then we need to develop channels of passing on the wisdom we gain.  Schools should begin the day with fifteen minutes of health practices that tap into ancient wisdom.  We should teach our children a holistic approach to food and eating and how to keep our bodies in tune with seasons.  It’s not that difficult.  The first step is realizing that most of what we do is not working.  The second step is accepting that our absence of traditional health wisdom is the main reason why.

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Cellular Memory–and its Relationship to Classical Homeopathy

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

I heard a true story recently that brings insight into life and healing.  It is about an eight year-old girl who had a heart transplant.  The story is related by members of her transplant team.  Malcolm Robinson has written about it, Case 6 in his studies of cellular memory. 

The donor heart for her transplant had become available with the sudden death of a woman.  The transplant went well.  The only hitch in her treatment came a few months later.  The girl began having vivid nightmares.  In these terrible dreams she was being attacked and stabbed to death by a man.  The dream would repeat, revealing a new detail.  The panic, and the being stabbed remained the same. 

This waking up at night in abject fear was traumatic for the girl.  Moreover, it was unusual–the girl had never had nightmares like this before.  They were entirely new and out of context.

Members of her team, which included psychiatric care, puzzled over this, and finally, as the girl continued to have these disturbing nightmares, one of them delved deeper into the matter.   What turned up is both astonishing and, in the end, the most “logical” explanation. 

The woman to whom the heart originally belonged was the victim of an attack and had died suddenly:  she was stabbed to death.  The dreams of the girl who had received the transplanted heart exactly reflected her violent demise.  Based on the details of these dreams, the attacker was caught and tried.  In some way, the cells of this woman’s heart carried the memory of her traumatic, violent end, and this cellular memory was transplanted with the heart.  

Cellular memory is some form of energy–an energy powerful enough to stir up intense fear and nightmares.  This energy is not yet measurable by any machine yet invented by biomedical technology–and without this “proof” many scientists would deny its existence.  Nevertheless, almost all of us have experiences that are difficult to explain in any other way.

Cellular memory has a close relationship to classical homeopathy.  The preparation of a homeopathic remedy involves extensive dilution and shaking of each dilution, leaving no trace of the original substance.  There is only the “memory” left in the triple distilled alcohol of the original substance.  This leads me to believe that homeopathy works on a similar energetic plane as cellular memory.  In the same way as the cellular memory from a transplanted organ can disturb a woman’s dreams, a small, infinitesimal dose of substance in a homeopathic remedy can energetically match and shift an ill patient to health.  

Classical homeopathy likely affords the deepest  energetic therapy we have. It is able to reach places and heal problems where everything else has failed.

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The Return of Old Symptoms: A Case of Ulcerative Colitis

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

I recently treated a man with ulcerative colitis, a case that illustrates some important concepts of healing.

Ulcerative colitis and its twin sister disease, Crohn’s, cause the lining of the colon to become inflamed and bleed. My patient described his symptoms like this:

My guts go into powerful spasms. After you have to go to the bathroom five or six times, it feels like you’ve exhausted a lot of your energy. It sort of tears the guts out of you. It takes me out of commission. Even for a short period of time, the spasms make it difficult to participate in things I have to do during the day.

In the world of conventional medicine, doctors treat these powerful symptoms with equally powerful suppressive medications, either steroids or strong anti-inflammatory medications injected into the bowel. But these do not resolve the underlying energy driving the disease. As I have mentioned before, this underlying energy is directly in line with the emotional energy of the person’s body-mind.

This man told me he was extremely sensitive to his environment.

Everyone said I had high standards for myself when I was younger, probably impossible standards. I would lose my temper because I wouldn’t be able to do what I thought I could. I still feel like I lash out at people for no reason.

Then he gave an important clue to the underlying energy of his body-mind disease:

I just feel like I’ve got a lot of pressure in my body somewhere that I don’t know about; and for some reason it will blow off, and I’ll say something inappropriate. Something will snap.

Of course, the same thing happened at the level of his colon. It’s as if the pressure would keep building up and building up inside him and then finally explode in bloody diarrhea.

It is interesting to follow what happened when I gave him a deep-acting remedy prepared from the element Antimony.  He healed both at the emotional and physical level. The first and key sign was when his ulcerative colitis disappeared.

I’m not having problems anymore with my bowels.

And as this happened, old symptoms that he hadn’t had for years came back. The first was a rash on his foot.

It was almost like an eczema outbreak. I first got that right around the time I started having the ulcerative colitis, or even just before that. All of a sudden I had this eczema over the arch on my foot. They were teeny little blisters and they were itchy. I had them occasionally on my hands.  They would just come up for a week or two, be itchy, kind of break open and then heal over and be gone.

Now, years later, the rash made its reappearance and then disappeared again, this time likely for good.

It didn’t stop there.  

A few weeks later, I had the leg cramps. I had those when I was a kid, probably six to eight years old. The memory still sticks in my mind. They felt the same.

The leg cramps lasted a few nights and then also disappeared.

For me, there are few things better than the patient saying, “Oh, I’m much better, but this symptom I haven’t had in years came back.” When a symptom resolves in the context of old symptoms returning, it generally means your prescription was a dart thrown into the bull’s eye. The return of old symptoms is deeply healing.

That might not makes sense until you consider the disease from an energetic perspective. Symptoms are the body’s attempt at energetic balance. Shift the energy of the system back towards health, and it will re-wind right back along the energetic path it took as it slid into disease.

Here’s what this patient told me after the remedy:

One of my biggest goals in life has been to not get riled about things; when complications and challenges come up, to not get bent out of shape. I have been able to do that recently. I feel like there is a calmness that’s been building up a little bit in my spirit. I have been able to get back in contact with friends I lost touch with.

You cannot heal the bowel without healing the emotions that go with it.  It is one thing to compensate for disturbing symptoms with harsh medications, and it is quite another to give a homeopathic remedy that mirrors the disease and shifts the entire system.

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The Unhealing Wound: The Patient’s Story

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

In my last post, I briefly described a case of homeopathic Agathis australis (the New Zealand kauri tree). I gave the doctor’s side of the case. Today I am posting the patient’s side. As promised, she sent me her detailed account of what happened after she took the remedy. You may want to review my last post, The Unhealing Wound, before continuing.

For people unfamiliar with classical homeopathy, I should mention that intense reactions occur to a correct remedy less than 5% of the time. I do not often see it. Nevertheless, this is such a case. Realize that taking a homeopathic remedy does not produce anything that is not already there. If the body (and mind) has held on to a lot of toxicity, a good remedy helps in expelling it. Realize also, in relation to this case, that classical homeopathy is the best way to cure someone of herpes outbreak. This patient is very unlikely to see an outbreak of it again. Her outbreak, in some mysterious way, needed to occur for her to heal.

Detoxifying reactions exist, and this is such a case. This patient’s reaction to the remedy was dramatic in a holistic way; that is, both the mind and the body reacted vigorously. In spite of its difficult content, I am happy to post what she has to say, because it shows first, just how complex healing can be when it is deep, and second, how profound classical homeopathy is when the healer hits the mark. The point is that the emotions life brings to us can be terribly complex, and healing may take us straight into them. Those who are interested in an unvarnished look at the complexities involved are in for a treat. I thank her for her candor. Her story follows:


The night I took the Kauri remedy was like any other night. Nothing stood out of the ordinary. In fact, I dreamed nothing and, upon waking, I still felt the same. Perhaps this day I woke up feeling more tired than usual. What I did know was that it was still very wintery cold outside and I was slightly depressed.

Another day passed and I still felt bad. I found myself wading around in a thick soup of emotions surrounding an incident with a minister who I had seen for spiritual counseling. It was nearing the one-year anniversary of when I filed paperwork that would start another difficult ethics investigation into his sexual misconduct. During the investigation, this man had promised the Ethics Committee that he would set up a meeting so that he could apologize to me face-to-face. Said meeting never happened. This man and his ethics violation robbed me of four years of my life and vitality. I was angry that I never got an apology.

The third day greeted me with an overall sense of fatigue and lethargy and a menstrual period that arrived a week and a half early. I dragged myself out of bed (like I usually did on cold dark mornings) and managed to get myself to work on time. Mid-morning, I felt as though I suddenly hit a brick wall. My joints ached and every bone in my body hurt. Then the chills emerged. The rigors I experienced nearly shook me off my chair. These symptoms manifested so quickly that I at first thought it was a nasty case of influenza. To be safe, I phoned Dr. Branch to let him know what was happening.

The drive home was long and painful as the intensity of my physical symptoms brought me to tears. I felt as though my joints were filled with searing hot liquid and that they would explode if I exerted myself too much. Strangely, I also felt as though all my bones where completely separate from my joints and that everything was stacked on top of itself with only my skin holding everything intact. Once home, I piled blankets on top of my bed and crawled inside and shivered myself to sleep. By evening, my fever burned brightly and continued for three days. I slept a lot and ate little.

During this time, my body started expelling all kinds of toxins. I was constantly changing my bedclothes as “night sweats” soaked the sheets. No longer able to smoke cigarettes because I was so ill, I was coughing up mucus continuously. And then I was coughing so hard that I discovered what “stress incontinence” was all about. My urine smelled like horse urine and stung like acid every part of my skin that it touched. My throbbing lymph nodes were nearly the size of large marbles. I had never been this sick in my life but I also knew that toxins and built-up stress chemicals were exiting my body. I began to marvel at my body’s healing ability until I got out a mirror and discovered what the stinging urine was really trying to tell me. I was horrified and repulsed by what I saw.

Herpes.

Intuitively, I knew what it was even though I had never before seen it on my body or anyone else’s. I didn’t even know where it came from. I had been in a monogamous relationship for the past two years and both my partner and I thought we were clean. In disbelief, I sat down and cried—my head started to spin from all of the emotions I was feeling. After confirming with a Nurse Practitioner that it really was Herpes, I called Dr. Branch to fill him in on this latest development. In his usual inquisitive fashion, he asked what I was feeling.

One word came out of my mouth: “SHAME.”

“…Now everyone will know what I’ve been doing. I am dirty and tainted. No one will love me ever again.”

After hanging up, I started to cry again and once these tears started, they flowed for three days. I never felt more alone and abandoned in my life. I felt such overwhelming emotional and spiritual pain as though I was facing complete annihilation. Shame poured out with my tears and continued to flow out of every pore in my body. Then the grief came.

At first it was a trickle. Then it became a torrent. Waves of grief poured from the depths of my soul. With my body being so weakened from four days of fever, I could not maintain old defense systems that previously kept these emotions at bay. I cried so freely and easily that for the first time in my life, big wails and sobs came deep from within and shook my entire body. Tears tasted old and mucus ran thick like molasses.

Memories of past sexual abuse floated to the surface. I sat and witnessed myself as a little girl losing my sexual innocence in a swimming pool to a cousin. I mourned lost innocence. I saw myself again being drugged and date raped and sat with myself in compassion despite my poor choices. I sat there witnessing the many sexual transgressions and victimizations that peppered my life and felt myself filling up with love and compassion. I sat there holding myself in the light as I watched how time and time again I put my health and safety in the arms of another man—how I would blindly trust him with my life—how I gave away my power in exchange for what I thought was love. And at the same time, I took a good look at myself and how I used sex and my seductive power to manipulate and meet my needs. I saw victim and victimizer all at once.

The more I watched these scenes float by, the more compassion I felt for myself. By the time that I had no tears left to cry, my heart felt like it expanded three feet outside my chest. It hurt to have a heart this big and to love so much. I felt so exposed and vulnerable. Simultaneously, I felt tender and sweet. Illuminated in pure white innocence, my past ended and my future began. I reclaimed my virginity.

Once I was able to process these intense emotions, I realized how much my toxic shame colored my relationship with the world and myself. I had always felt that there was something inherently wrong with me—that if people knew who I really was, that they would not love me. I was so dirty and tainted that no one could love me anyway. After all, I was an illegitimate child born in shame to a 14-year old mother and given up for adoption. I had experienced sex at a very young age and even then, I inherently knew it was wrong. I remember as a child wanting to become a nun in the Catholic faith that I was raised in—but I sincerely believed that God would not want me because I was sexually impure and, therefore, unworthy. As an adult, I still felt this way. This barrier of shame and unworthiness kept me from loving myself and from truly connecting with others in a positive healthy way. Robbed of my joy, I would attract relationships and life situations based on this woundedness.

I struggled to disown my shame. In doing so, I became even more disconnected from my Self. I felt as though my personality were fractured. As strange as this sounds, I was well aware that different aspects of my Self had never really gotten acquainted with one another. This lack of integration diminished my power while keeping me in a perpetual victim state and more prone to codependency.

Now that I no longer carry this burden of Shame, I cannot believe how my life has shifted. In the week that my body was going through the healing crisis, I lost 10 pounds. (I feel that much of this was actually emotional and spiritual baggage.) Additional weight started to melt off my body because I no longer feel the need to “fill” my bottomless stomach and maintain physical boundaries with a thick layer of body fat. I’ve quit smoking and drinking caffeine as I have no desire to create ill health. I am eating to nourish my body instead of stuffing it with food. For the first time in my life, I feel happy, healthy, and WHOLE!

Interestingly, a wart fell off my left hand a week after the healing crisis ended. And those little ulcers in my nose disappeared.

As for the Herpes, well, the sores healed within three days after they first presented themselves and I have not had another outbreak since. I feel as though I have a platoon of little armed foot soldiers guarding the entrance to my sacred cave. Their presence is assisting in helping me maintain healthy sexual boundaries. I ended the sexual part of my relationship with my partner of two years (who, by the way, tested negative for Herpes) and am going to remain celibate for a while—until I find the man who wants to father my future children and grow old with me. If anything, disclosing that I have Herpes will separate the men from the boys. I am not bitter about this because I feel as though I am blessed and deeply healed. Anyhow, this virus is not who I am. Herpes showed me what I desperately needed to see in myself. I have a feeling that it will go dormant and I will never have to deal with it again. If the Herpes does resurface, it is obviously going to tell me something important.

My experience with the Kauri remedy has been absolutely amazing. I continue to interact with my world in a much more positive and healthy way. I notice little things—like looking in the mirror and seeing a fully-grown woman. To the average person this may not seem important, but I had literally felt like a child much of the time. I have become more grown-up but I have also become younger at heart (people have also told me that I look younger!). I am less rigid and more flexible with my world and myself. I am more capable of forgiveness. My dreams are more vivid and powerful. I am more able to remain true to myself and stay on my life’s path. And I never thought I could honestly say this, but I feel beautiful…and I even love myself!

Unexpected circumstances and disappointments may still catch me off guard, but I bounce back and regain my centeredness much more quickly. Recently, I found myself reacting to a situation where I felt betrayed by a spiritual teacher I had studied with for two years. The feelings and emotions were so intense that I found myself back in my old depressive pattern of negative rumination and irrational thinking. At one point, fear gripped me when I thought I might get stuck feeling that way. Those little nose sores even returned. I called Dr. Branch to let him know I relapsed and he instructed me to repeat a dose. Within two days, I was laughing at myself and pondering, “What in the world got me so upset?” I was able to ground myself so that I could see the truth in the situation and realize that it had nothing to do with me. How powerful and liberating that was!

I am still baffled at how quickly things shift for me every time I take one 30C dose of Kauri. I have been through years of therapy and I am certain that many more years of therapy would still have not gotten me to the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual place where I am today. When I first met Dr. Branch, I knew that Homeopathy stimulated the body’s natural healing response—but I did not fully understand that an immune response could actually heal a wound (shame) caused by abandonment and betrayal. I am so grateful that Dr. Branch found my matching remedy before I developed any physical manifestation of disease. Now that I know what it actually feels like to be happy, whole, and healthy, I can only imagine what diseases I would have suffered had I continued to trudge through years of dark and putrid toxic shame.

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The Case of the Unhealing Wound

Monday, May 21st, 2007

I have one case particularly useful in educating people on classical homeopathy, and specifically, what I mean by “4th level” prescribing. I have included a diagram of the levels below to help bring understanding. There is an added opportunity, because the patient in this case is writing about her experience and will make an appearance on this blog. My explanation, the diagram, and the patient’s input taken together should provide a deeper look.

She presented with depression, low self-confidence, inability to concentrate, and complained of being “whacked” emotionally, by which she meant being “super-emotional” and “frequently on the verge of tears.” Easily “knocked off her base,” she found it increasingly easier to stay alone, mainly because of her tendency to change herself to fit her idea of what other people wanted of her. Even though she had plenty of friends, she felt alone anyway. She described her aloneness as “the empty set…emptiness.” She also told me

I have gone thru periods where you eat because you feel better, where you just keep eating until you can’t eat anymore…knowing you have something you need to fill.

Another important part of her case was a strong need for connection. She had been adopted and felt that she had “never bonded with her mother.” She romanticized about finding a soulmate and being “at one with the universe.” Describing herself as “mystic”, she had an intense searching in a spiritual direction, for union with God. On the other hand, she had reached a point where she felt “cut off” from other people and God. This experience of being cut off she also described as “disconnected” and “fractured”:

Just the fluidity of who I am is not there… all separate pieces but nothing really melds together.

On the basis of these feelings I gave her a homeopathic remedy from the conifer (pine tree) family of remedies. It didn’t work. It took me a while to figure out that I gave the wrong tree in this family.

Over the time I treated her an important part of her story was a romantic relationship that had developed with a minister she had originally sought out for spiritual counseling. She came out from this relationship feeling “betrayed” and “wounded.” Every time she came back there was no change in this. Early in each follow-up she returned to this same story and the wound it had opened in her.

I became more determined to hunt down the specific conifer she needed. In reviewing everything in detail, I found it notable that a main remedy for “longing for a soulmate” was the huge tree Sequoia. I considered giving her this remedy, but parts did not fit. I went over her physical symptoms again, looking for clues that would mark a confluence point. I then looked closely at these words of hers:

I have always had these little ulcers in my nose, worse in winter, but they never heal, little ulcers, like little cuts, and they hurt. They sting. They are painful
It’s just like a wound. Open and raw skin, when the air is dry, my nose bleeds. It always reminds me that they are…
Open wounds, every time you blow your nose you are reminded of them, all I have to do is move my mouth, and they are torn open again. A week by the sea completely healed them

This idea of a bleeding, ulcerating wound that never healed began to suggest a 4th level confluence point between her physical symptoms in her nose and the emotional wound she had from betrayal.

Searching in the family of conifers, I found the following excerpt written about a tree in New Zealand, the kauri tree, latin name Agathis australis.

The resinous gum…oozes (in the case of old wounds, for hundreds, even thousands of years) from damaged branches forming stalactites aloft and corresponding stalagmites upon the tree’s mighty roots and the forest floor below. Indeed this gum, which in the Victorian era had commercial value as a furniture polish, was ‘bled’ from the trees in the manner of maple syrup, while solidified deposits were dug up from logged forest sites. Lumps of aged resin used to be a common find, washed up on Northland beaches.

The kauri tree has an unhealing wound. I gave her this remedy, and the result was dramatic. I will leave it to her to give the details of her response and post them as soon as available. The chart below outlines how I thought about this case:

target="_blank"> src="http://www.homeopathicdoc.com/images/diagram_kauri_225x138.gif"
width="225" height="138" border="0">
click for
larger diagram

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Adolescent Depression

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

I enjoy treating adolescents, because to give them a deep-acting homeopathic remedy changes the rest of their life. They often come into my office dressed angrily, ill at ease in their own bodies and in the world. One of my more interesting cases recently came dressed entirely in black, with an occasional skull and cross bones. He stared at me sullenly, wondering why he was here. His mother, of course, dragged him in to see me. He had been suicidal.

I asked him what bothered him. He told me:

Memories that are plaguing me.
People know things about me that I don’t really want them to.
Things that I don’t really want to talk about.

Then he went immediately to his dreams:

My dreams, in most of them I die. I am hacked into little tiny pieces by pirates. I’m somewhere and being shot. Various ways of dying. Maybe falling off of a really tall building.

I asked him what happened in these dreams where he died.

I go through all the pain that would come with the dying. It goes black and I go into a different dream.

I asked him about the dream of the pirates.

I was in a pirate’s ship. They found out that I was there and hung me up in the ropes on the deck. Cut me open. It happened a bunch of times. I bleed and fall down, go back to things as usual. Another time, they put me up and sliced open my throat. I was only hanging by a vertebra. The ‘me’ that was up in the ropes fell down and died. Then I was another person. I didn’t feel much. I didn’t really feel them slicing me open. After I fell down they hacked me into tiny pieces.

Is it surprising he is depressed? No. Most important, look at the form his depression is taking. Every depression is something exactly specific to itself.

Later in the case, I asked him directly about his nature. He told me,

I have a tendency to forget things that matter, like schoolwork.
Things that have been traumatizing in one shape or form

Notice this word traumatizing. It is the key to the entire case. I asked him to tell me more about trauma.

I guess it’s something that happens in a way that you can’t forget. To me it was just traumatizing the way it happened and why.

This brings us back to his chief complaint, about the memories that plagued him. These memories he directly related to trauma. It was a strange, illogical jump. How would we know this without sitting in front of him and seeking to understand his experience, carefully asking him what he felt? It was important to find out specifically what trauma meant to him. He said

The medical aspect of it is a big head injury. Emotional trauma, something that has happened in such away that it hurts.

How does it hurt?

Kind of that burning pain. It’s almost like I want to take a spoon and gouge out that part of my brain that makes me remember.

Not surprising that at the physical level he had a tendency to hurt himself. He would reach a point where the pain would be so much he would hit his head against the wall or even cut himself. When he felt hurt by other people, he wanted to punch them. This is simply the outer reflection of the inner sense of being injured.

His entire case was about injury and trying to manage the pain of a wound. It made no difference whether he was talking about emotional or physical. To him, trauma at the emotional level or physical level were essentially the same. Thus, the physical plane punching or bruising intersected his deep consciousness in the idea of “injury” or “trauma.”

Many people are familiar with the remedy Arnica, from the daisy family, which is used to treat bruises. Arnica is a remedy for trauma. If you fall and hit your knee on a rock, causing a big bruise, taking a dose of Arnica will likely cause the bruise to disappear quickly. Other remedies in the daisy family treat injury and trauma as well. The remedy I gave this young man was a plant from the daisy family, Echinacea prepared homeopathically in the 200th dilution. This is the purple coneflower. Echinaceae has been a hot topic around treatment and prevention of the common cold. The herbal use of Echinacea has never impressed me. However for a case like this one, in homeopathic form, it is a different story.

This patient came back a month later and his entire energy had changed. He was one of those cases that you could tell from the moment he entered the office that something deep had shifted. He had a new lightness and reported to me that he had been happy since taking the remedy. His speech and dreams notably contained much less much less violence. This is the wonder of homeopathy.

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On Animal-Human Relationships

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

Recently a California-base homeopath who treats animals, Beth Murray, wrote to me regarding what she has observed in her practice regarding the relationship between humans and animals. Her thoughts, which I think are important, I paste in below:

As a homeopath who sees animals at Creature Comfort Holistic Veterinary Center and at the Oakland Zoo, and treats people at Back to Life Wellness Center in Alameda, California, I often think about how remedy states, which are often described as being shared with or inherited from family members, are also shared by animals and their people. If we accept that a remedy state is a condition of the vital force that affects a person’s spiritual, emotional and physical self, it’s not a big step to imagine animals and their people sharing these states. We’ve all seen the old couple we “look” like each other, and we’ve also seen the dog and person who “look” like each other. In some cases this may be because a person consciously or subconsciously chooses a companion animal to echo her own appearance, in other cases, this resemblance comes after years of sharing the same space – the two begin to move like each other, cock their heads like each other, etc. So I do not find it strange that often pets and their people share the same illnesses.

For example, I have a weak bladder, and have to frequently use the bathroom. I think it is no coincidence that my both my cat and dog “leak” while sleeping and lying down. Quite frequently I discover that the animals I am seeing at the veterinary clinic share a weakness in a certain area of their body with their owners. I also find that the remedy that heals the pet is often the remedy that the owner needs, and vise versa. For example, I suggested the remedy Naja, made from the cobra snake, for a ten-year old cat with a heart murmur and early hyperthyroid. The cat continues to do well on the remedy. The owner went to see my favorite homeopath, who had no idea what I had given the cat, and this homeopath also prescribed Naja for this woman.

Unfortunately, I see the same phenomena in cases of cancer and other serious illness. The most common pattern I see is that an owner will bring in a terribly sick animal. The owner will be completely loving and terribly concerned about the animal – but I will have a sense that this animal has “absorbed” the illness from his person. In no way do I feel that this is the person’s fault. This is the nature of companionship, we share energy, and sometimes, illness.

In his book, The New Work of Dogs, Jon Katz discusses how the “work” of urban and suburban dogs is emotional rather than physical. He discusses how the “job” of being a companion and soothing their human’s anxieties, may be taking a toll on dogs. Having a clear-cut job such as keeping a herd intact or bringing back a duck without tooth marks is a satisfying experience for a dog; the job is doable, and ends in the satisfaction of accomplishment. These jobs also involves a dog’s best skills – her sense of smell and physical prowess, and while using these skills, the dog is simultaneously “discharging” stress through physical activity. Emotional work is not so clean cut. In a sense, “the job is never done,” and discharge of stress is often not built into the job. I would expand Katz’s discussion of work, to include other companion animals such as cats and rabbits. I do not see this phenomenon in herd and farm animals, who are more affected by and spend more time with each other than any human.

Recently Dr. Branch wrote ,“ “That which we cannot hold in our consciousness we express through the body.” I believe this, and would extend his statement further to say, “Sometimes, that which we cannot express, our animals and family members express for us.”

He wrote something which luckily, is also true: “We are here on this earth to become conscious and to heal.” Despite the fact that animals do not use words or have intellects quite like ours, I do believe they have energetic and spirit paths, just as we do. And that each animal and person somehow “choose” each other in order to work on her own spirit’s challenges. Even if that means that the relationship is radically changed as an animal or person faces his own death, there is always healing in that process, and we share this healing as we accompany our animals through life, and stand at the doorway as they pass through death. Just as we share illness with our animals, finding the spirit-healing inherent in this process is a task we can also share with them.

Beth Murray, CCH, RSHom (NA)
www.wholehomeopathy.com
www.myanimalhomeopath.com
510.522.2469

Healing for all living beings

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The Mirror of Experience II

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

A few days ago, a friend and I were talking about someone we knew. This woman had the misfortune of repeatedly having men stalk her. My friend knew more than me, and mentioned that this had happened to her more than just once or twice. I responded by repeating an old military adage that came to mind. I had encountered it once before, in a transcript of a seminar by psychotherapist/astrologer Liz Greene:

One time is chance.
Two times is coincidence.
And three times is enemy action.

Only in this case, as Liz Greene put it, the “enemy action” was one’s own unconscious. In other words, this obsessive quality that this woman repeatedly encountered in men in some way was a disowned part of herself. The psychotherapist Carl Jung put it in his own way: That which we deny in ourselves, we encounter through other people.

This idea reaches way back. The Vedic tradition from ancient India has a profound form of it. I paraphrase from the Sanskrit:

If you see evil, then remove it from your heart.
If you see good, imitate it.

What this tells us is that we can only see ourselves. That which we cannot recognize in ourselves, we certainly cannot recognize in others. Generally we first recognize things that are difficult for us in other people. From there we can move to recognize and accept it in ourselves.

This also has to do with disease, in particular cancer, but it has to do with all forms of disease. Cancer, after all, is seen as unwanted “invader.” Those who have cancer, at least initially, see it as a sort of unwelcome, out-of-control guest, who comes through our front door, sets up his quarters in a spare bedroom, and precedes to tear up the home on a daily basis. Try as one may, getting rid of this unwelcome stranger is a difficult task. This unwanted stranger could turn out to be violent, ending one’s life.

Yet, in the mirror of experience, the cancer is us, and this has to be one of the most profound psychological struggles of any lifetime. Because to own a cancer as one’s self is not unlike loving a deformed, ugly, adopted child. There may be a tendency to react and reject it, wondering where did it come from, and why should such a thing exist at all? From the point of view of the consciousness we live every moment, what could we have possibly have done to deserve such a fate?

When cancer occurs, buried material erupts into our consciousness in a highly unpleasant way. My sense from taking cases of people with cancer is that it often springs from one’s ancestral past. I seem to remember the medical intuitive Carolyn Myss mentioning this as well. That is, it is tied up with unhealed stuff that we inherit through our parents. What is unhealed stuff? If your father is a tyrant, and you unconsciously find yourself “becoming your father” and acting like a tyrant, this is unhealed family stuff.

I have written the rule in past blogs:

That which we cannot hold in our consciousness we express through the body.

In other words, physical disease is not unlike the obsessive, stalking characters that invaded our friend’s life.

This is a rule that can make my life as a homeopath an adventure. Deep physical disease is often challenging in homeopathy, because deep physical disease expresses a lost part of ourselves. You almost have to find a way to talk to the physical disease. All you have is the English language, but this physical illness here doesn’t speak English. What is it saying?! What language does it speak? The patient may not be so good at putting it into words, in which case you will have problems finding the remedy that will mirror it (remember, Like cures like. See past entries on homeopathy.) and heal it.

Everything I have seen in my life and in my clinic makes me believe that we are here on this earth to become conscious and heal. We are spiritual beings. Nevertheless, all of our experience, every emotion and every thought we have, has to be processed through the physical body. The ancient art of physiognomy, which reads character traits from the physical shape of our faces and bodies, e.g. a sharp chin represents a certain character trait, in my mind is a real discipline. Our body expresses exactly who we are because our body is nothing but the reflection of who we are, i.e our essence, our spirit. Thus, if we have strong emotions, our body has no choice but shift along with those strong emotions. Our body and deeper layers of our spirit are different qualities of energy, but there is a seamless interface between them.

This entry expresses why homeopathy is the one of the most, and probably the most, profound healing disciplines we have. Like must cure like because, from the point of viw of our own consciousness, the mirror of experience is all we have.

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Great Day, Boring Dreams

Monday, April 9th, 2007

I had a great day in the office the other day. It was a day of follow-up appointments, and it was a day filled with patients who told me they were having nothing but hum-drum, boring dreams, mostly about the previous day’s events.

This sort of—yawn—day may not make for great blog entries, but it was a great day for the homeopath. This is a sign of doing good work in homeopathy. Do I need to also mention that these patients had no complaints, either at the physical or mental level? It is not a 100% correlation that boring, hum-drum dreams coincide with health, but in the context of homeopathic treatment, it is fairly high. In all these patients, having boring dreams represented a dramatic shift from their anxious dreams of the past. The shift in the dreams in turn pointed to a shift in the underlying 4th level state (see my Levels of Healings on the right).

Patients have often called me the “dream doctor.” Not all homeopaths are “dream doctors.” but if they want to fulfill the holistic potential of homeopathy, they should be. Most of us feel the mind-body split that conventional medicine thrusts on us. The conventional doc chooses not to see the connection between the anxious, pressured dreams at night and the high blood pressure he measures during the day. The psychiatrist writing a Ritalin prescription looks past the connection between the child’s daytime hyperactivity and nighttime dreams of being pursued by monsters.

The homeopath makes a conscious choice to find the connection between the dreams and the sensations of the body. Years ago now, I spoke with Dr. Divya Chhabra about a case I was having trouble solving. I summarized the case to her. As we were discussing it, a dream this patient had came to mind. It bothered me, because in the context of the case, the dream made no sense. Mid-way through the discussion, I told Dr. Chhabra the dream. It became clear that I had dealt with this troublesome dream by throwing it out, stamping it in my mind as “confusing anomaly.” Observing this, her comment was, “Well, you can’t ignore it.”

Indeed, you can’t. There’s always that tension in homeopathic casetaking. You are three hours into the case and a small voice whispers I have no idea what this patient is telling me or what remedy he needs. Feeling uncomfortable in this uncertainty, there is the strong urge to grab for solid ground. Thinking you’ve got it, you breathe an inner sigh of relief. Ah, there it is you think, another case solved. Yet, it turns out be the wishful thinking of an unsettled mind. To find that solid ground, you screened out some critical information that didn’t quite fit your amazing solution.

It’s that piece of information in the case that does not fit that is often the doorway into deeper levels and the correct prescription. In my experience, to choose to ignore the “confusing anomaly” brings the patient back no better and still dreaming anxiously. Training myself to not screen them from view has been a major part of my development. This requires a bit of humility.

Learning to sit, comfortable in the uncertainty, is the spiritual core of the homeopath’s discipline. The case often does not come clear through hard-headed analysis. Rather you may have to hold a space for it to enter, like a guest who arrives late and mistakenly knocks at the back door. You want to give a remedy and bring inner peace to the patient in front of you. Yet to do that is to learn to be that inner peace yourself, being as if an eye of a hurricane. Practicing homeopathy is inseparable from spiritual development.

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Eating Disorders and Classical Homeopathy

Friday, March 16th, 2007

Eating disorders present medical doctors and therapists with some of their most difficult challenges. My understanding of the limited effectiveness of traditional medical and psychiatric approaches will not surprise people who follow my blog: eating disorders spring directly from “4th Level” conflicts in the middle and deep layers of consciousness. This level is beyond the direct reach of psychotropic medications and even deep psychotherapy.

For those new to my blog, I have divided medical and alternative therapies into levels or depths of healing–a necessary move towards understanding what is going on in healing today. Check out the category “Levels of Healing” to the right for more information.

For the past couple years I have often thought about partnering with a woman psychotherapist or MD and devoting maybe 40% of my time to treating eating disorders. One reason is that I have had a lot of success in treating them. It can be a long and arduous, but often it is not. I often see a dramatic shift right after a good remedy. The cases I have had of anorexia or bulimia by and large are much better or entirely cured. Classical homeopathy is uniquely suited to “going deep” and shifting the core issue out of which the eating disorder originates.

The word “control” almost invariably gets bound up with the 4th level state in cases of eating disorders. One of my first big successes with anorexia/bulimia was a woman in her 20s to whom I gave the remedy Mantis religiosa (the praying mantis). The issue of control in this remedy is huge. This young woman came to me, deeply angry and depressed, failing in school. A month into her treatment out came her ultra-controlled secret regarding her anorexia. Once I gave Mantis, the case shifted profoundly.

I have had certain cases of overeating that have responded to remedies from the big conifers (pine trees). Because only the outer part of the bark is alive and the inner trunk of the tree is dead, people who need conifer remedies can feel “dead” or “empty” inside and eat like crazy to try to fill the emptiness. This is not to say that everyone who feels this way needs a remedy from conifer source. People who need these remedies are not all that common, but they are out there.

Another remedy that I have recently found to be associated with overeating is the Stingray. The words I have heard in relation to this remedy is that food is “like a magnet.” They feel “controlled” by food. Stingray is a fascinating remedy. Similar to the shark and other sea animals, there is a lot of issues around sexuality, and food is often tied in with this.

So, it’s possible I may spend more time with eating disorders. I just met another psychotherapist today in New York. In general I have been on the look-out for psychotherapists to partner with; certain cases are so complex that I need their help. In addition, Dr LuWanda Katzman-Staenberg’s thoughts on this (see my blog Homeopathy, Psychotherapy, and Beverly Hills) have also influenced me.

If you know of people suffering eating disorders, do not rule homeopathy out. It takes expertise to heal the deep issues of eating disorders with homeopathy, but in my experience it can bring results like no other therapy.

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