Armoring of the Thoracic Segment

This blog is part of a series; its original title was Heilkunst Basics : University, 3rd Year (Armoring of the Thoracic Segment)

The thoracic (or chest) segment is a big crossroads in our system, where many of the processes of our upper self meet and mingle with those of our nether self. In Anthroposophical terms, this is the home of our rhythmic system, which is the mediator between our nerve-sense and metabolic-limb systems. If you think of the top listed causes of death, you’ll see that both the heart and lungs seem to take the brunt of life’s stressors, and can be the first to go.

When looking at the thoracic segment from a more strictly orgonomic perspective, it is important to note up front that one of the primary mechanisms in armoring is what Reich called the “chronic inspiratory attitude”. The chest, and more specifically, the lungs are the seat of this defunct breathing pattern which many people don’t even notice that they fall into continually.

Some other physical indicators of an armored chest segment can include a posture of hunching over, as if in protection of the vulnerable heart and emotions. Conversely, there can be the opposite form of defense, which is a compensated posture showing over-confidence. More severe breathing difficulties, such as asthma-like conditions are also included here. The patient, themselves, may report a feeling or sensation of heaviness in their heart, or it may be observed by their general attitude in life. Any suppressed sobbing is stored in this segment. (Whereas suppressed tears are more related to the ocular segment, for example, and the root of sinus headaches).

The thoracic cavity is also directly connected with the arms, and with all of the emotional actions they take, such as reaching out (as in the feeling of ‘longing’), or the opposite gesture of punching in anger.

The modalities of treatment will vary with the needs in the moment of the patient, and may include : punching a pillow or punching bag; reaching out towards an imagined object or person of desire; breathing exercises, working towards a full and deep respiration; the homeopathic remedy aurum to release the feeling of heaviness in the heart; pressing on the patient’s chest to help them fully exhale while breathing.

Homeopathic Mercury

This blog is part of a series; its original title was Homeopathic Mercury [Heilkunst Basics : University, 2nd Year (Mercurius)]

There are a number of therapeutic approaches in Heilkunst designed to address the problem of the false ego. Today’s exploration will be of the use of the homeopathic remedy mercurius in this capacity.

Mercury is one of the most toxic substances known on the planet, and it is quite alarming to consider the implications for many people who have had it drilled into their oral cavity as part of their dental amalgams (fillings). It is the byproduct of many industrial processes, and is a common toxin found at measurable levels in our air, water, and food supply. It is a component of many common commercial products, including adhesives, antiseptics, batteries, commercial cereals, cosmetics, fabric softeners, paper products, and seafoods (especially tuna and swordfish), just to name a few.

Its toxic effects centre primarily in the brain and the nervous system, and produce many disease conditions related to the mental and emotional levels. Given our current discussion on the false ego, it makes sense that mercurius would be a remedy quite helpful in treatment, as the primary locus of the ontic organization is in the nervous system, and likewise, the false ego’s activity works at this same level. Mercury appears on the sixth row of the periodic table, which contains all the homeopathic remedies primarily concerned with the issue of autonomy.

Remember that the law of similars will generally work on the basis of such a match between a given disease process, and a toxin or poison which produces a similar effect. The negative influence which mercury has on the nervous system, including symptoms of twitches, or other more significant impairments to our basic co-ordination are also related to the fundamental negative blockage which the false ego creates in our system.

The mythological god, Mercury, ruled over commerce as well as thieves, which is a fascinating connection to think of in terms of our mediation on the function of the false ego, and how it works through the world on manipulative terms. Making “a deal with the devil” is something which the false ego, and not the true self, will engage in.

Mercurius is characteristically very elusive, and difficult to connect with in terms of a natural social relationship. At the extreme end of this would be the total withdrawal, and non-communication status of an autistic individual, who has often been very much affected by some form of mercury exposure.

In general, mercurius is a remedy used for a broad variety of issues related to the identity (as in true versus false), particularly where it is either weak or confused. There is a great deal of changeability or instability in this disease state, as would make sense in terms of the false ego which is always adapting opportunistically to its surrounding environment, rather than being guided more surely by an inner principle of self.

Emotionally, mercurius is highly sensitive, and will perceive slights or criticisms which may not exist in an objective sense. For this reason, amongst others, it is very difficult to form a true relationship with someone in a mercurius state, or at least one which goes past the outer surface.

Homeopathic Constitutional Types : Arsenicum

The remedy Arsenicum is made from arsenic, which is a metal on the periodic table, and has long been used as a poison. As a poison, it affects the nervous system, and has characteristic burning pains, particularly throughout the digestive tract. Profuseness of sweat, of vomiting, and of diarrhea are common results of being poisoned by it. There is an extreme thirst, which is best relieved by small sips of cold water. During this physiological process of processing the poison, there is an intense feeling of fear which is felt.

Fear is actually one of the keynotes to the use of Arsenicum as a remedy for this phenotypical state. It is a fear which compensates through all manner of control mechanisms – they are the ultimate “control freaks”, who fear losing control as much as they fear death itself. On that note, it can be a very useful remedy to use in palliative care, where a patient is having difficulty “letting go” and accepting that they are approaching the end of life. In everyday life, they have an aversion to being alone, and are driven to always have company in one form or another, as part of how they try to dispel their anxiety.

This is the ultimate fear, but Arsenicum possesses many types of fear, large and small, and for every fear exists a corresponding control behaviour to try to compensate. They are extremely germ-o-phobic, for example, and will constantly be washing their hands, and spraying every common surface in their house with germicidal sprays.

The theme of physical security in the world is an offshoot of this primary level of fear. They can be obsessed with orderliness in addition to cleanliness, and are always compulsively “doing” something and can never sit still and truly relax. The intense neurotic energy they are driven by goes back to their primary fear of death. They are extremely miserly, and compulsively save items “just in case” they’ll come in handy, to buttress their security in the world. This form of hoarding is based on fear for survival and has a different motivation from Natrum Muriaticum, who hoards for reasons of sentimentality.

They are extremely fastidious, and exacting of their environment, and everyone in it, making sure that every detail is planned and accounted for, never leaving anything to whim or chance. On the positive side, they may often be the person who takes control of a situation or project, and makes sure that all hands are working towards the common goal. On the more negative side, they can irritate everyone through their micro-managing tactics, and drown the whole project in a sea of details, losing sight of the bigger picture.

Their fear extends into the realm of health, and they can be quite hypochondriac. As Heilkunst patients, they are frequently phoning or emailing their practitioner between regular visits providing “updates” about every detail, and seeking reassurance that every turn of event doesn’t signal a worsening of their condition. Always being in (the illusion) of control, and being unable to ever “let go” can be rooted in a potty training which was too early, and created a neurotic need to “hold on” for life.

The physical symptoms of Arsenicum affect the gastro-intestinal tract, the mucous membranes, as well as the lungs, which may be prone to asthma attacks. Panic attacks are not foreign to this state. They may suffer from various forms of physical tension and being “wound tight”.

Homeopathic Constitutional Types : Natrum Muriaticum

The first phenotype I would like to introduce to you is Natrum Muriaticum. This remedy is made from the chemical compound sodium chloride, which is common table salt. The two separate elements (sodium and chloride) are poisons, but become inert together in this compound. Sodium chloride, and all other forms of salt are examples of crystalization. This forms a first image for its use as a homeopathic remedy, in terms of all biological or psychological processes which condense items (such as cell structures or emotional memories) to be more easily retained, or “held on to”. Lot’s wife, in the Bible, illustrates this to us with an artistic image of being turned into a pillar of salt when looking back and trying to live in the past.
Natrum Muriaticum is extremely retentive, and the key theme of the remedy revolves around a loss of trust. Nat-m holds on to the past, and has a very hard time of letting go of anything, whether past emotions of hurt, or objects infused with the feeling of sentimentality. This is the foundational disease state of mind for anyone who falls into the category of hoarders. Even the physiology of the cancer cell illustrates this, as the normal healthy balance of potassium being predominant inside the cell, and sodium surrounding the outside of the cell is reversed, taking the function back to a much older state of evolution related to creatures of the sea. Such a cell retains an excessive, unhealthy amount of fluid, illustrating this deeper theme of failure to let go.
Nat-m is characteristically over-sensitive, and is very easily offended or hurt, although they will generally hold it in. They can be extremely reserved, never allowing anyone to see their inner emotional world or true feelings in life. All of this is a function of a tremendous wall or emotional defence designed to protect them from repeating the hurts of the past. It is the feeling of avoiding getting into any relationship, other than one where they feel absolutely certain that they will be “safe” and protected, which is usually in a form of co-dependency in the Nat-m state. William W. Purkey was probably speaking to someone in a Nat-m state when he famously advised:

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
Nat-m is overly serious, and tends to support one or another cause of social justice, which is really a projection of their own attempt to defend themselves from ever being hurt again by another. Grand political initiatives such as Socialism illustrate this principle extended out on a larger scale. They tend to suffer their grief in silence, not able to let go in front of anyone, with the exception of a single romantic partner or close friend who has been brought inside their inner “safe” zone. Even then, it is usually not even their true core self that is fully opened up, but still an outer layer of their persona.

A characteristic bad dream for Nat-m is of their house being robbed, as this represents an unwelcome outsider breaking in, and gaining access to their most valued, private, inner world. Even in waking life, you’ll find that they may be overly cautious about their house security system, as well as all kinds of efforts taken to ensure their annonymity and privacy in every aspect of their life. The privacy craze in terms of internet policies is fascinating to view from the point of view of the energy of this remedy state.
The physical symptoms of Nat-m include headaches (lots of congestion of the energy of uncried tears), as well as sinus infections originating at the site of the tear ducts. They are very sensitive to noise. Salt is a very strong craving in this state. The skin may be prone to dryness, and even significant cracks. They suffer from constipation, which is a combination of the dryness of this remedy, and the difficulty in letting go. They can often suffer insomnia, which is yet another form of having difficulty “letting go” of their daytime consciousness, into the uncontrolled world of sleep and dreams. Conversely, they may need to sleep excessively, as a mechanism for avoiding the intimacy and demand for emotional involvement of waking life. They may be very retentive of water, in parallel with holding onto all of their emotional hurts.
In treatment, it may be very difficult for the practitioner to get to really know the inner content of the patient, and can take quite a while for a relationship of trust to be formed. The idea of treatment itself, particularly on the emotional axis, will be perceived as a threat, and these patients will often be the ones who only bring a physical symptom in for treatment, but solidly block any attempt to explore the emotional realm. Thankfully, the remedy works to soften these patients up, who eventually start to open up, and allow their emotions as well as their treatment to flow.

After taking Nat-m, do you need some help in letting go, and letting the tears flow? Try:

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.

Is That a Cold, or a Healing Reaction?

Another one of those “If I had a nickel…..” occurrences with patients:


Runny nose

When patients return for their follow up visit every 28 days, especially in the earlier phases of their treatment while they are still getting used to the new way of thinking about health that they learn with Heilkunst, we evaluate how they have responded to their remedies during the previous four weeks, and in which direction they seem to be moving. The newer the patient is to the process, the less they tend to understand the concept of “healing reaction“, and the more likely they are to miss them when they happen.

A typical conversation at this stage will start with the patient reporting that “nothing happened” after they took their remedies. I review with them my notes from the previous session, and ask them how they are doing relative to each of the points I recorded the previous month. More often than not, they’ll slip into the conversation at one point

“…but I did catch this head cold that is going around the office, and was sneezing with a runny nose for 4 days”.

When I inquire further, this will most often turn out to be a healing reaction.

How can I tell? A healing reaction, although it includes any variety of discharge symptoms, whether physical or emotional, will have the peculiar characteristic of the patient feeling rather well at their core despite the apparant head cold they have. It’s kind of like the idea of “the eye of the storm”, where all kinds of content can be swirling around the patient, yet they feel surprisingly well despite all of that. Also, we come to understand what the typical rhythm that each patient has with the remedies, and the time frame that their healing reaction tends to occur within.  On average, most patient’s have their healing reactions within 5 – 12 days after taking their remedy, but there are occurrences at the near and far end of this bell curve.

It usually takes a few repetitions of this pattern with a new patient before they start to understand the difference between a healing reaction, and, say, a “head cold” which they assume is what they have at that time. I especially need to re-train the patients who tend to rush out every time to get a suppressive medication (and therefore necessitate the repetition of their remedy), instead of calling me for a remedy to support them through the healing reaction, instead of suppressing it. I keep my fingers and toes crossed until that moment arrives when the patient starts to get it, and allows themself to go through the process without interrupting every step forward of progress with an equal step back with anti-symptom prescription drugs.

Flu, Colds, Ears, Nose, Throat, Fever … Oh My!



“Day 59, Project 365 – 12.18.09” by William Brawley

Well, it is that time of year again.  We are getting calls on our Clinic line for help with the flu, colds, ear infections, sinus infections, sore throats and fevers.  So let’s say you give us a call, worried about your aching bones, wondering whether you have a simple 24 hr. bug or something more serious.  What should you do?  Well, the answer to that question is different for everyone, but I’ll tell you what I do for myself and for my patients.

The first thing I do is relax, and take a quick scan of myself and my regimen, which incidentally, is the first jurisdiction of Heilkunst Medicine.  Do I need more fluids, what has my nutrition been like lately, did I get caught in a cold wind or draught?  This line of questioning may lead me to drink more pure water, do a mini-cleanse for a day on lemon juice, cayenne and maple syrup to purge the nastiness from my system, or give myself Aconitum for getting caught out in that wind or rain.

If my cold-like symptoms starts with a series of sneezes, I’ll generally start by taking 3-4 doses of vitamin C.  If my throat is sore a dose of zinc (I love the chewables) can work almost miraculously.  I also love peppermint or Eucalyptus Essential Oil on the bottom of my feet (the latter not recommended for babies) and I’ll heat the kettle, grate some fresh ginger, squeeze a lemon and add about a teaspoon of raw unpasteurized honey to my small 3 cup teapot.

If I pay close attention to my body’s signals, I can generally nip it in the bud with basic regimen to augment my already strengthened immune system. Here are some great ideas for immediate aid and also some preventative measures to institute to build a healthy immune function here.   I have saved myself from engendering a more complicated cold or flu with a simple hot bath with epsom salts and an early night on many occasions.  However, if these sustentive measures don’t resolve symptoms, and a fever or vomiting sets in, it may be time to look into medicine.

This is the second jurisdiction of Heilkunst medicine and it is when I hit the books.  We wrote a more comprehensive guide for our patients based on some of the suggestions above called The Natural Home Pharmacy and one very comprehensive piece for children called The Natural Home Pharmacy For Children.  These resources can be very helpful whether you’re trying to find one quick fix for your suffering or you’re wanting to study this art and science of homeopathic or Heilkunst (whole art of healing and curing) Medicine.

Using resources such as these, I will begin to narrow down the symptoms.  If it is a fever with intense heat, of the head and face, but the body is cold then I know that the homeopathic remedy is Arnica.  If the heat is intense, and the face and ear are bright red and the fever came on quickly around midnight, the remedy is Belladonna.  If the liver is enlarged with intermittent fever, then it needs Nitric Acid.  Generally, we’ll use a 200CH or a 1M.

Often we can discern the medicine that is right for us by piecing together, phenomenologically, what has been going on in our lives.  Anthroposophic and Orgonomic therapies are the third jurisdiction.  That big word starting with “A” in the last sentence literally means “the study of man”.  At Arcanum Wholistic Clinic we pride ourselves in being Sherlock Holmes and Watsons when it comes to identifying the cause of symptoms as expressions of a deeper disease process.  It is our ultimate responsibility to source out the aetiology or cause for the flu, cold, ear infection, sinus infection, sore throat and even fever.  Sometimes these issues are easily explained given the seasonal predisposition to the genetic miasm afoot.  As an example, Malaria lurks at the beginning of November throwing up symptoms that look very much like the flu accompanied by fever, aches, and delirium are all part of its tale of woe.

On occasion, the cold can be indicative of unexpressed grief, a sinus infection, too, can be telling of unexpressed need for additional support, and a sore throat can be just a front for something needing to be expressed, like a secret or some kind of resentment.  Sometimes even just voicing it to yourself can be enough to tip the scale of consciousness in your favour.  The reason we want to source out the cause is to lower the incidence of re-infection and to allow for the remedies to wholly complete their resolution for cure on your behalf.  Sometimes my stuck little state of mind will block the full resolution of the disease.

For example, a child with a Pulsatilla-like cold will have thick yellow mucus, be whiny and clingy and suffering some dizziness.  We can provide the correct remedy, a cool room (a patient in a Pulsatilla state will prefer cooler open air) for example, but if that child’s basic needs for affection are not being met on a daily basis, then the chances they will re-infect with the same symptoms or worse, start to develop others.  Also, if the patient has a sore throat, but has not been able to express that she desperately needs to tell her husband that she is no longer happy in the marriage, chances are the symptoms won’t be wholly eradicated until the environment is addressed and more conducive to her health and well-being.

The problem with symptoms is that you can run, but you can’t hide – and for the ultimate success of curative remediation, we need to be accurately hooked into to all three jurisdictions of Heilkunst medicine, as outlined above.  If we try to nail it just with medicine alone, it is a bit like a tricycle trying to operate effectively with only one wheel.  The back end will leave significant tracks in the dust and it will be tough to make it to your destination.  Believe me, I know.  I’ve tried it!

If you are looking for preventative treatment for any of these ills, this is the area we speicialize in – give us a call.  We have every medicine to prevent any flu either created in the past, present or future.  With bioenergetics, there are no limits to what we can effectively treat on the basis of law, like cures like.  Also, let us know if you would like us to come out to your home and teach a class on basic Homeopathic prescribing.  We can also do a tele-class via teleconferencing.  Jeff or I will gladly come out if you can gather 7 – 10 people together for a couple of hours and we’ll happily teach a course specifically on seasonal afflictions such as colds and flus in-person or remotely.