I Can Resist Anything But Temptation

“I can resist anything but temptation”

-Oscar Wilde

 

There is an important function to pleasure which should periodically override any strict adherence to a nutritional regimen or program. Certain forms of rigid “perfection” are some of the most harmful things we can do to our health. However, the fact is that most people don’t actually feel pleasure from their “guilty pleasures,” but more guilt and conflict than anything else. The attempt to change one’s lifestyle or diet is often begun by steeling the will power to stop eating everything that is liked, and instead to force oneself to eat everything that is supposedly “good” for us. This sets up a very difficult dynamic, with the total breakdown only being a matter of time.

Given a more moderate relationship to lifestyle modification, a much more healthy and pleasurable relationship to food can be established, without living in such an extreme tug-of-war with oneself. In fact, it usually doesn’t take very long for a patient to actually begin to feel a genuine pleasure for the foods in their regimen, and even a loss of interest in what was previously considered a “can’t live without it” food.

When there is a craving in this context, it can actually provide very valuable clues about one or more underlying health issues in the patient. The first and most obvious level to potentially interpret a craving is in terms of nutritional deficiencies. If we are lacking a certain vitamin or mineral in our diet, it will show up in the form of cravings sooner than later. Addressing such a deficiency can quickly restore the system to balance.

The next obvious layer to look at in terms of cravings relates to the dominant glandular type of the patient. Our dominant gland is naturally our strongest, yet is also the first one we tend to weaken from overuse. It’s kind of like being right- or left-handed, and potentially taking on too much of a burden on our strong side. When this dominant gland starts to become weakened, it cries out with characteristic cravings, which are usually well known by the patient in terms of their typical comfort foods. Working with appropriate gland-strengthening foods and strategies, including homeopathic gland balancing remedies, the root of such cravings can be overcome relatively easily.

Another interesting layer of meaning to examine in some cases of cravings is in their underlying emotional meaning. The study of the homeopathic materia medica reveals many characteristic food cravings, and the homeopathic remedy which contains them. Natrum Muriaticum, for example, which is one of the most primary remedies uses for sadness and grief, has a very characteristic craving for salty food. As someone is working through various emotional layers of their time line, it is not at all uncommon for them to take a detour through a few bags of chips when the next layer for them to work on relates to a grief event. In this case, it is this homeopathic remedy that they need, and not necessarily any special glandular support.

As I said at the beginning, there is definitely a healthy function for pleasure, however, many instances of cravings don’t actually lead to a true pleasure, but to reveal a deeper need that the patient has which is not being met.

What are your most typical food cravings, and what do you think they mean?

Delivering the Remedy by Stealth

Another interesting aspect of delivering the remedy comes in a variety of cases where the remedy needs to be hidden from the knowledge of the patient. Almost all of the time, of course, I am working directly with the patient who is volunteering for treatment with full consent, which is optimal for several reasons, including having the full participation and will power engagement of the patient. The taking of a medicine is, after all, representing only one of three different jurisdictions in Heilkunst, and they all work together synergistically. There are, however special circumstances which call for deceptive administration of the remedy. As Ally likes to remind me, if I unethically sneak a remedy into someone, I’ll come back next life as their dog.

The first category of this is for the overly knowledgeable patient, such as another Heilkunst practitioner. Their knowledge of the remedies, or more to the point, their over-thinking about the remedy they’re taking does no service to the goals of their treatment, so I’ll sometimes give them an unlabelled remedy in order to allow them to actually experience the full process of taking it without any interference from their overzealous intellect.

Another blatantly obvious example is when I give a homeopathic remedy to a pet. They obviously can’t read the label, and even if they could, their skill in interpreting Latin is usually deficient. Different pets have different degrees of pickiness, and sometimes a dry remedy needs to be hidden in an extra-special treat, so that they don’t reject it.

Similarly, the treatment of many autistic kids runs into the issue of rejection of anything new, especially with an unknown taste or texture. Different methods of disguising the remedy, and adding it to an already known and familiar food is often needed here. Likewise, the same goes for many kids, in general, who can be similarly picky. Kids in general, by the way, don’t generally choose and consent to their own treatment, as it is more a function of the judgment and decision of the parent(s).

There have been cases, on that note, where one parent brings the kids in for treatment, without any knowledge whatsoever by the other parent. This may often be for reasons of a difficult shared custody situation, where the other parent goes out of their way to make everything as difficult as possible, so in the best interests of the child, I’ll tend to agree with the parent who brought the child, and provide service in the higher interest of the child’s welfare. There is a special note of caution here, that where there is either an obvious or suspected situation of abuse of the child, it may not be a viable idea to provide treatment which will increase their self-confidence and voice, if they’re likely to be literally or figuratively beaten back down into submission as a result.

The final, and most rare situation where I’d consent to a deceptive delivery of a remedy, is through someone who is seeking treatment for their spouse for any number of reasons, when they are either not willing, or able to come for treatment for themselves. Normally, the first line of approaching this is to have the spouse in question be convinced to come in for treatment by their own volition, but in some special circumstances, if it can be shown to be otherwise ethical, I’ll help out with the situation. Whether for a spouse who is literally in a coma, or figuratively so in terms of being highly unconscious about their life, I can’t help but consider it a part of the treatment of the spouse who is before me, who is profoundly affected by the energy of the deadbeat spouse in the equation. Again, any situation of this sort is handled extremely cautiously and conscientiously.

Dose, Potency, and Methods of Delivery

Once a homeopathic remedy has been selected as the match for my patient’s disease, based on the law of similars (the jurisdiction of medicine), the equally challenging question remains of how to prescribe the remedy, in terms of its dose, potency, and form of delivery.

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dose and potency

Roughly speaking, the idea of similars also applies to the dose and potency, as it does to the selection of the remedy itself. A more acute (ie intense in this moment) disease should usually be treated with a higher potency, in order to match the intensity (fight fire with fire). Likewise, a long-term, slowly progressing chronic illness can be started with a lower potency, which is slowly increased over time as the roots of the disease are gradually chipped away at. Along these lines, the form of the remedy needs to be the best match for its purpose. When I’m treating a specific traumatic time line event from the patient’s past, I’ll typically provide the remedy in a series of ascending potencies in a dry form (either a lactose powder, or rice paper base). This more condensed version of the remedy energy better matches the more contracted form of energy that this old event has taken up inside the patient’s energy. Likewise, a wet remedy (ie dropper bottle) is more suitable for a much more pervasive or entrenched disease process, which needs to be treated “drop by drop” over an extended period of time. These basic principles are true, but there are a number of other factors and disease dimensions which will call for specific modifications. One of the constant concerns of patients is around anticipating healing reactions, as well as effectively dealing with them when they arise. In the case of long-term, deeper diseases, the intensity of the healing reaction unleashed by the typical 3-dose dry remedy, can often be deftly brought under control with a dose of the same remedy in the LM potency scale. The usual 3-powder doses I give are remedies from the C scale, with ‘C’ being the Roman numeral for 100, and these remedies all prepared from the base 1 in 100 dilution ratio. There is much more density and ‘punch’ to this series, and is appropriate to destroy the outer container or structure of the disease. The LM scale (Roman numeral for 50,000), is a very different energy scale and is very good at absorbing all of the debris and shrapnel that was let loose from the C scale. The other general area of concern that comes up (but fortunately not so frequently) is of patients with extreme sensitivity to the remedies. They can barely take one single drop, or even one whiff, without their whole system being thrown into complete chaos. This is a conundrum, because it is the disease which is creating such sensitivity, yet which is also preventing the disease from being touched by the remedy. There are a number of ways of creating a reduced dose for this patient, so that they can go at a pace that they can handle. One way is to dilute 1 drop of the remedy into a glass of water, and then one drop of this mixture into a second glass, and so on up to perhaps 6 or 10 levels of dilution, until the point is reached where the patient can handle a dose. Eventually, the underlying disease is reduced to the point where they can start to take the remedy with one of the typical dosing methods, after they’ve gradually worked their way back to the original glass of water, and then straight into the dropper bottle itself for their dose. As important as selecting the correct remedy is, it can be especially interesting to properly adjust the dose, potency, and energy delivery of the remedy, once I enter into the unique terrain of the patient. Fortunately, most fall within the average zone of the bell curve, and can handle the typical protocols, but I always have to be ready to find a custom solution for a patient that doesn’t fit the mould.

A look at this season’s chronic miasm : Sycosis (Medorrhinum)

I periodically touch down into the materia medica of the chronic miasms (inherited disease tendencies), and today is the perfect time to have a look at the Sycotic miasm, which is best known through the remedy Medorrhinum. The 8 universal chronic miasms map out over the 4 seasons of the year, 1 pair per season. The Spring Equinox marks the time of year when the daylight will start to overtake the night, and the many implications for new life and rebirth abound through nature.

This time of incredible manic expansion of life is the natural home for this miasm. Medorrhinum is full of extremes in all forms of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. Here in Saint John, we are already seeing the seasonal extremes of this time of year — last week we enjoyed a couple of sunny 27°C days, while a grey, wet, cold weekend has led to a waking temperature this morning of minus 17°C with the windchill! This miasm is a strong root behind medical conditions such as bi-polar disorder, allergic asthma, and 3D skin conditions, such as warts or skin tags. It is also a very strong factor behind family histories which contain any forms of heart disease.

The general theme running through all the symptoms of this miasm is of an expansion caught by a restriction, which either causes pain, swelling, or inflammation, and a tendency towards exploding outward. In terms of the mental-emotional state and behaviour of this miasm, there are many extremes. Extremes of behaviour and mood punctuate a characteristically brilliant but unpredictable personality, as is often portrayed in the lives of certain creative artists. Aggression and even cruelty are not foreign to this state.

As an artistic impression, you could say that Medorrhinum is represented by the city of Las Vegas — the hometown of “sex, drugs, and rock ’n roll” — where every impulse and wish can be granted, no matter how perverse. It’s interesting that the expression “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” actually represents the emotional aspect of this state of mind. The case study I wrote about last month is an illustration of this state of mind of a guilty feeling which was hidden away inside a little girl.

A drive towards having extremely exciting experiences is characteristic of this miasm. Whether pressing down on the accelerator further than usual on a sunny day with the volume on the radio turned up, engaging in “extreme” and dangerous sports, or pursuing forbidden or perverse sexual experiences, you will recognize this same underlying theme. There is a degree of ‘armoring’ within the medorrhinum state which is attempting to break through at the hand of these types of extremes.

As with all of the chronic miasms, once you understand its most essential characteristics, it becomes relatively easy to identify it as the root of so many varied physical and mental-emotional symptoms. As part of an effective system of medicine, understanding the roots is so much more important than trimming the leaves or branches.

A Heilkunst case study with the Bach Flower Remedies

I had a patient who had gone through an incredibly powerful and difficult time when she went through the third round of chronic miasms. As she put it, she felt “….devastated — like London after WWII.” She needed a break from this deeper form of curing, and a modality which would help her rebuild and heal from the inside out. She was looking for something more nurturing and feminine, as opposed to the destructive masculine energy of this high potency homeopathics. [Note : the action of the homeopathic remedy is gentle, but in the case of treating a very deep or old disease, the healing power of the body will be triggered to undergo a complete ground-up renovation to remove this disease, and this is the source of the tumult.]

This was a point in my Heilkunst practice when I hadn’t been focussing much on the Bach Flower Remedies, but in this case, in this moment, they came flooding back to me as the right modality for this patient. I started to talk to her about the emotions that she had at this point, to identify which Flower Remedies would be most useful to her.

There were a few that we identified and used over the next while, but the one that was the most memorable was Sweet Chestnut. The state of Sweet Chestnut is one of utter emotional desolation and inner chaos. It comes at the point when all endurance has been worn down, and it seems as if there’s nothing left. A state that demands nothing but complete surrender, as their seems to be no other way out.

 

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This remedy helped her very profoundly as she started to take it. She reported that “…it feels like I’m being held in the arms of a loving mother, being suckled gently back to health.” This phase of using the Bach Remedies not only helped her out of the dark space that she had come to, but also helped her to completely integrate the healing lessons that she had learned during this recent round of chronic miasms in her treatment, and she then felt ready to go ahead with the next steps in her homeopathic treatment.

[Note : in the years since this incident, the science of Heilkunst has developed to the point of being able to better manage the healing reactions from the deep treatment of the chronic miasms, through augmenting with gentler homeopathic potencies, such as in the LM scale. Between the LM homeopathics, flower essences, and other regimenal support, intense healing reactions are kept to much more of a minimum.]

How is Rescue Remedy used within Heilkunst?

I described yesterday the basic concepts underlying Dr. Bach’s system of Flower Essences, and in particular how they fit within Heilkunst treatment. He set out that the 38 individual remedies within his system were a finite, closed system, covering the full range of negative emotions and attitudes which humanity is subject to. Each patient of Dr. Bach received a unique combination of essences as required by their presenting state of mind.

 

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Dr. Bach did promote one standardized formula, which he called Rescue Remedy, for use during acute states of anxiety or panic. The five remedies in the Rescue Remedy formula are:

  • Clematis – For that distant, dreamy feeling that one may go into during a state of shock. This helps the recipient to be present here and now with all their attention, as is necessary in any accident or first aid situation.
  • Rock Rose – A deep terror, either from something just experienced, or anticipated. Frozen in fear; sheer panic. This helps bring a calm, courageous feeling to a
  • Star of Bethlehem – For the effects of shock. To keep us from cutting ourselves off from reality, when our sharp attention would be most beneficial.
  • Impatiens – Feeling agitated or impatient. Rushing without paying sufficient attention to what is demanded in a trying situation. Intolerant of others, especially in their perceived slowness
  • Cherry Plum – Feelings of being on the verge of losing control of thoughts, feelings, or actions. Afraid of what one is potentially about to do.

Bach also developed an externally applied version of Rescue Remedy, for use in external first aid situations, such as bruises or scrapes. In this, he added a sixth ingredient : Crab Apple – This has cleansing properties to help disinfect the wound.

When my patients are looking to stock up for their own home first aid kit, this is one of the key remedies that we recommend is always kept at hand. I prescribe Rescue Remedy frequently for patients during the course of their treatment, particularly in assistance to strong healing reactions, where much hidden content inside the patient is rising quickly to the surface, and they are having trouble integrating the healing due to feeling overwhelmed.

In conjunction with specific homeopathic remedies for anxiety, I am able to provide the patient with an awesome formula for dealing with anxiety or panic situations from 2 sides : Rescue Remedy applied on the law of opposites (to help bring the patient back into a state of balance), and the specific homeopathics based on the law of similars, to help remove any of the anxiety which has started to more deeply embed itself into the generative power, and begin to cause an actual disease disturbance.

Rescue Remedy is safe to use and even self-prescribe without any side effects. For more deep or chronic patterns of anxiety or panic, your Heilkunst treatment will work systematically to remove the root causes permanently.

How are the Bach Flower Remedies used within Heilkunst?

Before I studied and practiced Heilkunst, I had spent a lot of time exploring the Bach Flower Remedies for my own personal healing, and my original health consulting practice was as a flower essence practitioner. I had always been drawn to any sort of systematic explanation of human behaviour and emotion, and the Bach remedies really lit up something inside of me as far as coming to understand a dimension of our inner world. Unlike many personality typing systems, these remedies not only categorized personality traits and emotional characteristics, but provided a real method for affecting them in a positive way. Dr. Edward Bach developed his system of the Flower Essences in the 1930s, arising out of his highly intuitive connection to nature, and to flowers in particular. He had previously trained as a homeopath, and developed the Bowel Nosodes, which are still a part of the practice of Heilkunst today. To develop the flower remedies, he mapped out specific states of emotional imbalance, and then used his intuition to go out into nature and find a flower which contained the specific positive quality to counter-balance it. He primarily used a sun potentizing method for extracting the essence of each flower, which involved laying the fresh petals in a bowl of spring water which was set out in the sun for a number of hours. For some plants, he used an alternative boiling method to release its essence.

 

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Before my studies in Heilkunst, I had no clue about the role of Bach’s remedies in an overall context of healthcare, but simply used them at face value. Without understanding the greater context of Heilkunst, I didn’t understand why the flower essences clearly worked when they did, yet had no effect other times. It is perfectly clear to me now that they work on the law of opposites, in terms of correcting an imbalance, yet have no power to affect a disease, which needs to be addressed by the law of similars. In terms of my own personal healing, this was an example of using a technique or modality to great initial effect, but which sooner or later hit an invisible limit when the need for another jurisdiction was called for, but of which I was ignorant. This is so often the story of many of my patients, who seek out treatment with me after hitting a similar limit in their own health, when their regimenal practices peter out in face of the underlying diseases, which cannot be reversed through the law of opposites alone. Today I am using the BFR with my patients within the context of their Heilkunst treatment, as a means to support and re-balance their emotions as they go through the deeper transformations of their underlying disease matrix being annihilated. Overall, this is a much better use of the BFR, where they can shine with their true capacity, and not made to try to address something they are not able to. The difference between disease and imbalance is extremely important to understand within a complete system of healthcare.

Heilkunst at the Movies : Timer, and The Adjustment Bureau

We watched a movie yesterday evening called Timer, which shared a common theme with another movie that we saw a while back called The Adjustment Bureau. Art, and film in particular, are great vehicles for illustrating various principles of Heilkunst though living, breathing, moving pictures.

The story depicted in the movie Timer is a world in a cultural transition to the adoption of a new technology, called “the Timer”, which could predict 100% accurately when someone was fated to meet “their one” – the love of their life. Through the primary characters in this movie, various complications were depicted, such as what the implications were of relationships which were not obvious matches according to their timers. Other themes include spontaneity, living in the here and now, and finding resonance from within.

In The Adjustment Bureau, the main character accidentally sees a world behind the curtain, which he is not supposed to, where the “angels of fate” are doctoring a scene in the world to conform to their map. After a chance encounter with a woman, he falls in love, and tries to find her again. Reconnecting with her, as it turns out, was not supposed to happen according to their fate, so these “angels of fate” work to interfere with their communing any way they can. This movie very strongly portrays the struggle of the free will of the individual against the forces of fate, as well as the triumph of true love and destiny.

The deeper theme underlying both of these movies relates to what we call the generative power in Heilkunst, which in these movies was represented through stories of romantic love. In each movie, there is some external force which attempted to regulate or control the activity of love, in the name of the world running as it is supposed to. The capacity for free choice, and playing an active co-creative role in shaping our own destiny always comes in contrast to the forces of fate, and is the core human struggle.

In various ways, I see this struggle in my patients as they come more and more into their true self, and are exploring how to express that in their life, in contrast to a history where it was suppressed. Our own life stories can be long and messy, and it is nice to get a bite-sized picture of these processes in a movie, to encapsulate these concepts in a more easily assimilable fashion.

The Heilkunst map for patients of ALL modalities

I’ve recently mapped out some of the basic outlines to the whole Heilkunst approach to treatment in my series on the three jurisdictions, in order to give patients a clearer understanding of their own treatment. Not only does this map apply for each individual patient who is coming to see me for treatment, but in its broadest form, it is the map for ALL modalities of treatment, including all natural approaches, as well as conventional medicine.

The meaning of Heilkunst, when looked at from this broader level, gives us a true method for evolving our healthcare system to be truly integrated. Currently, the conventional system gives most of its referrals internally, to other specialties of conventional medicine, and occasionally out to a natural practitioner in limited circumstances, perhaps a Naturopath, or an acupuncturist. Likewise, practitioners of natural modalities tend to refer amongst each other, and occasionally to a conventional doctor for a specific purpose, such as a need for drugs or surgery.

There’s lots of implicit value in such informal liasons and professional relationships between practitioners, but there is an even better form this could take, if the broader implications of the Heilkunst map would start to be integrated through all modalities. Rather than referring out when the practitioner gets “stuck” in a case, an understanding of the Heilkunst map could allow all practitioners to refer their patients to a sequence of practitioners on the basis of where the patient is in their treatment, and the logical course of treatment they need to move from point A to point B to point C in their health.

This may or may not sound like much of a difference to you, but the key point here is that a comprehensive map allows for the most efficient form of patient-centred medicine, rather than a practitioner- or modality-centric healthcare. As I’ve also written before, the higher goals of health go beyond the simplistic definition of removing a symptom (which just about any modality can do). This shifts the reference point instead to the overall state of health of the patient, and how to continually increase that, while the removal of symptoms is a welcome byproduct of this larger goal. A focus on the smaller goal of symptom removal reinforces a mindset of battle between the modalities, for which one will have the privilege of treating the symptoms, and in which the patient is not best served.

What is the purpose of health?

All this talk about health, yet how often do we stop and articulate what it is, exactly? When this concept remains unexamined, we usually default to a negative definition, namely, that we define health in terms of what we don’t have : symptoms. Yet there is something profoundly unsatisfying with this definition. Likewise, such an unconscious and negative definition of health is part of what props up such a poor system of healthcare, which defines success as the removal of a symptom, regardless of how it is done, and whether the patient’s overall health increased or decreased in the process.

Many who do take care of their own health engage in many positive nutritional or lifestyle choices, yet beyond some sense of having more “energy”, their definition of health usually doesn’t seem to go beyond the activity itself. The worst side of this is when you come to realize all of the deep fear that may be driving much of these behaviours, as a way to postpone illness or death, but not so much to engage more deeply in living.

So if we’re looking for a definition of health which isn’t negative (an absence of symptoms), and isn’t defined by an activity, such as a chosen diet or lifestyle, then how are we to define health more constructively? Studying the genial writing of Dr. Hahnemann usually offer rewards which match the effort put in. Let’s have a look at some of what Dr. Hahnemann said about health in his primary text, The Organon:

Aphorism 9: In the healthy human state, the spirit-like Living Power (Autocracy) enlivening the material body (organism) as Dynamis holds sway unrestrictedly and keeps all of its parts in admirable, harmonious, vital operation in both feelings and functions, so that our indwelling rational spirit can freely avail itself of this living healthy instrument for the higher purposes of our existence.

That sentence is some mouthful! Dr. Hahnemann was obviously of a pre-Twitter generation. Let’s have a look at some of the concepts it contains. Overall, there seems to be a concept of a balanced, harmonious functioning as part of health. That sounds close to how most of us would talk about health now.

But what about the latter part of this sentence? It is saying that in health, “…our indwelling rational spirit can freely avail itself of this living healthy instrument for the higher purposes of our existence.” How often have you heard anyone define our health in terms of using it to achieve our higher purpose in life? How many doctors are diagnosing their patients’ level of health on the basis of whether they are achieving their life purpose, or not?

Occasionally I’ll use a similar tactic when interviewing a patient, to gain some clarity about the nature of their illness, and how it is interfering with their life.  I’ll ask them to imagine and describe to me what their life would like be without their illness. All kinds of emotional revelations are expressed at this point. Instead of seeing their illness as a set of physical symptoms, suddenly they are invited to see how their illness is keeping them from activating their full potential. They may realize in this moment how emotions such as fear may be subconsciously keeping them ill, if their dreams and desires seem too big to tackle.

To what degree is your health hindering or supporting you in achieving “the higher purposes of [y]our existence”?