New England School of Homeopathy


The New England Journal of Homeopathy
Winter 1997, Vol. 6 No.1

Hello Dolly!

I am a homeopath, but also a mother, wife, woman living in these times. Where does the homeopathy fit in ? Well, I see patients part-time, I publish/edit this journal, I teach from time to time , I help run a school which teaches other people how to practice homeopathy. But most of all, having studied and practiced homeopathy over the last 15 years, homeopathy is the lens through which I see much of the world. Many of the news stories which have passed before my eyes I see through the lens of homeopathy-don’t you? When I read the article entitled,An alternative strategy for studying adverse events in medical care, in Lancet (Vol 349 Feb 1, 1997 pgs 309-313) about how 17.7% of hospital patients had some adverse event occur, my eyes nearly fell out of my head. I knew about ioatrogenic disease. I knew about nosocomial infections. But this was extreme. The finding of the study, which followed 1047 consecutive patients admitted to three units of a large urban teaching hospital, found that there were more adverse events the longer the patients were in the hospital and for those in an Intensive Care Unit. The likelihood of experiencing a problem increased about 6% each day of hospitalization. The mistakes cited in this research were of many varieties. There were mistakes caused by problems in communication, those due to administrative shortcomings (not enough nurses on duty, etc.) and there were simply mistakes of judgment. Is it any wonder that we have patients who are afraid of being admitted to a hospital? How many of the surgeries could have been avoided with the use of the properly prescribed remedies? How many hospitalizations could be sidestepped with preventive constitutional care? How many complications were due to side effects of a medication or due to a drug/drug interaction? There are many instances where hospitals are essential and I am glad there are good ones around. That modern medicine and medical technology can now create and save many lives is indisputable. But there are many shortcomings. It is good that studies are being done where an understanding of the reasons for and extent of adverse effects will be uncovered-as this is the first step to preventing them. We also need to work on the creation of homeopathic hospitals and on getting more physicians who work in hospitals using homeopathy effectively. I also lent my homeopathic vision to the story on mammograms- whether or not they are appropriate for women in their 40’s who do not have a family history of breast cancer. The debate, hotly argued from both sides is: are mammograms effective for women in this age range due to the rather dense breasts tissue which makes it difficult to see cancers. Can’t mammograms miss cancers and give women a false sense of security? Also in question, is the cost effectiveness of testing so many women, in the larger scheme of medical cost containment. It is ironic that the medical world can so easily embrace a certain technology and then some time later, teeter on not knowing if it’s a good tool for certain age groups, change the recommendation, then ultimately leave the decision up to the patient and her physician. As a homeopath and a 37 year old daughter of a woman who died of breast cancer, this story was doubly interesting to me. While early detection or what can be termed secondary prevention is important and can be life saving, it is our responsibility to advise patients with regard to primary prevention of things like breast cancer, through specific dietary and lifestyle changes. (See Beyond the Remedy ) Homeopathy can help change a genetic predisposition, but we also need to help patients-or refer them to someone who can- address the lifestyle choices which can be of equal importance. And the last story in the news which caught my eyes was, of course, the story of Dolly, the now famous cloned sheep from Ireland. What is that all about? What will this mean? It has wonderful implications for doing research with genetically identical specimens. The ethical issues surrounding the idea of cloning people are endless. What of the soul? What of the individual vital force? These things are not clonable-whew!! Many of us have treated identical twins who are genetically the same and yet individual weaknesses, strengths and preferences very early show up on every level and are further manifest based on differing environments and temporal events beyond control. As a species we have learned how to mechanically move genetic material around-yet we still cat feed everyone, house everyone or educate all of our children. We have a long way to go. ************************ As to this issue of the Journal, I trust you will gain some insight into the remedy Conium maculatum. Write to us about your experiences, thoughts, questions, reactions. Thank you to all our writers whose articles on materia medica and cases you will be reading. Remember that by their taaking the time to share their thoughts , experiences and insights, we all benefit. Don’t be shy, write an article and help push homeopathy forward. Thanks in particular to Maria Perillo ND, for her Beyond the Remedy article on Fibrocystic Breast Disease. Please feel free to copy and share that with your patients. Thank you to Paul Mittman ND for his wonderful review of The Organon. Paul has been my co-editor of this journal for the last two years and has been involved with this project from nearly its inception. His insights, thoughts, writing, and eye to detail have helped it evolve into the Journal that it is. And lastly, a big thank you to Laura Rae Mittman ND who has been the managing editor of this Journal for the last two years. They and their family are relocating to Arizona where Paul will be the chair of the Homeopathy Department of the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. We wish them the best of everything and know Paul will continue to submit articles to these pages as well as to other homeopathic periodicals. Thank you Paul and Laura Rae!! Paul Herscu ND will be joining me again as co-editor and we have a treat planned for a combined Spring and Summer edition. In deference to ‘Dolly,’ the Journal will be publishing a book on the relationship between parents and children and how that impacts the homeopathic treatment of both. What effect does the parents’ history have on the child to be, what about experiences during pregnancy? What effect does the mother’s pregnancy have on the child? What effect does the baby have on the mother while it is in utero? How does labor effect the mother and child? How does the parents’ relationship effect the child? How do parenting skills and choices impact the child and their remedy type? After Paul’s books, The Homeopathic Treatment of Children and Stramonium, we have had many requests for such a volume. We will be publishing that issue in book form, as it will be something we believe you will want to refer back to over the years. In closing, a few words about the fragility of life. I recently had a friend who was hit by a car while he was riding his bike. He spent a few weeks in the hospital in a coma and then a few weeks in a vegetative state. Paul and I prescribed a number of remedies which helped (Arnica, Nux vomica, Helleborus…) During that month, the time we spent in the hospital, taking his case, bringing food to the family, doing massage, talking and praying was an incredible experience. Seeing family and loved ones trying to will this man back to life; seeing his body lying there, looking somewhat normal except for an atypical facial expression- you could imagine that at any moment he would sit up and ask , ‘Hey, what are you all doing staring at me?’ and ‘where’s dinner?’ I observed how he was continually reduced to the sum of his parts. Each body area had its specialist, from the trauma specialist to the neurologist, from the rehab physical therapist to the orthopedic surgeon. Each brilliant in their own right, applying their hard earned knowledge with expertise, even compassion. Yet, one night after a surgery on a mangled leg, this vital and strong willed man passed away in his sleep. The degree of trauma, the extent of the internal injuries and perhaps the anesthesia for the surgery on his leg proved to much to bear. In his death, we all felt the mix of relief that he would no longer have to suffer and the deep grief over losing him. So we use homeopathy even in these difficult times- giving a remedy for the whole person, how they are, even someone in an incommunicado, coma state. Small symptoms still exist-clear things to prescribe upon. And we use homeopathy to offer what we can to the family in shock and grief. The longer we all practice the more we will see of all of life’s events: struggle and peace, pathology and healing, life and death. I hope that we each are using our homeopathy to the fullest extent, helping heal the sick, connecting with our patients and offering understanding and compassion in these sometimes difficult times. In homeopathy, Amy Rothenberg ND, DHANP

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