I’ve written about the general concept of disease within Heilkunst, which is a specific morbific entity which has penetrated into our healthy generative power, akin to a form of pregnancy. Within that definition, Dr. Hahnemann delineated many different dimensions and categories of disease, which need to be diagnosed each in their own way. In broader terms, he distinguished between diseases which were constant (ie, always appearing the same way) and those which were variable (unique one-time manifestations, dependent on the individual expression of the patient). We’ve termed these, respectively, ‘tonic’ and ‘pathic’ diseases. The pathic diseases are usually what drive patients to initially seek treatment (“I’ve got to do something about this pain in my lower back”), but the complete cure will most usually depend on also addressing the hidden tonic dimension.
I say hidden for good reason, as it not only is very difficult for the patient to see them in themselves, but it can be equally difficult for the practitioner to diagnose them if they are not properly trained and attuned to being able to see at that level at all. The obvious pathic dimension, with all the overt aches, pains, and dysfunctions, tends to steal the show, if the practitioner doesn’t have their eye on the ball of tonic disease.
Some doorways into the tonic dimension include:
- “The Physician’s Reaction” : This is a concept originally introduced by a homeopath named Dr. Rajan Sankaran. He described this process as a way of determining what the unique, objective feeling is of the patient’s disease state. The physician must learn to separate within themself their own subjective feelings about the patient (plural, variable), from THE objective feeling (singular, constant) behind all of the patient’s words and actions. A patient, for example, may be describing all of the details of their day-to-day life, when a closely observing physician may suddenly point out “It feels like there’s a profound sadness about your life”, even though there was nothing the patient overtly said or did to indicate this. This is one of those types of cognitive capacities which may take a while to develop, but when it’s “on”, it is as clear as day, and one wonders how one didn’t “see” this dimension earlier.
- Contradictions in the Character : The character, being the sum total of conflicts and blocked natural impulses, can be observed in terms of its overall form, as another objective doorway into diagnosis of the tonic realm of disease. An overt incongruence between a patient’s words and their tone of voice is a big clue to such a conflicted character structure. A patient who claims that everything is going well in their life, yet who sits in an obviously tense posture, is displaying such a character contradiction. Over time, the progressive dissolution of these character conflicts are part of the measure of the patient’s improvement in health, and forward direction attained from the remedies.
- NBWS : This is a very direct and obvious doorway into the tonic realm – as soon as a patient says the words “I’ve never been well since…”, or “My health problems began after that car accident”, I know exactly which remedy or remedies will be required to remove that particular disease root from them, and to directly remove the cause of the symptoms in question.