Those new to homeopathy may not realize that it encompasses many different schools of thought. When I started I certainly thought that homeopathy was a clearly designed practice with every practitioner analyzing cases the same way. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Everyone looks at cases slightly differently, depending on which teachers they learned from, which old “masters” (Hering, Lippe, Hahnemann, Boenninghausen, Kent, etc) they admire most and how they interpret those old writings. A new way of analyzing cases has come to light recently, the Polarity Analysis method. It’s a fascinating way to look at cases, and offers a lot of exciting implications for the future.
Below is the abstract to an article Heiner Frei wrote on the subject:
Simillimum Journal 2014 Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder and Polarity Analysis: Features, Cases, Results. Heiner Frei
"The treatment of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD) is one of the rather difficult fields in homeopathy. Since the Swiss ADHD/ADD doubleblind study proved significant effects using highly diluted homeopathic remedies on impulsivity, attention deficit, and hyperactivity/passivity, the demand for homeopathy has strongly increased. This paper shows how the method of remedy selection can be refined and improved by polarity analysis (PA). PA is a further development of Boenninghausen's concept of “contraindications,” which allows a more precise match between patient symptoms and the characteristics of a homeopathic remedy. It leads in turn to better treatment outcomes. Furthermore, the use of “perception symptoms” in making a first homeopathic differential diagnosis also brought about an increase in the precision of remedy selection. Due to their inclusion, other symptoms that had been identified as unreliable could be avoided. Yet caution is advisable with some “perception symptoms,” a list of which is published in this article. In a last step, confirmatory symptoms enable us to choose the best fitting remedy among those with a high polarity difference. The procedure is demonstrated with two case histories. Finally, this paper presents the results that can consistently be attained with polarity analysis when treating ADHD/ADD patients. In order to replicate them, it is important not to mix polarity analysis with other homeopathic methods."
I’ve written before about homeopathy research. I recently found on the HRI website a new overview of research on homeopathy – specifically the RCTs on homeopathy. RCTs are often regarded as the gold standard in research because they are one of the best ways to isolate treatments and minimize bias. HRI shows that there is lots of research on homeopathy, and that the evidence shows a similar amount of positive outcomes that conventional medicine does. Interesting considering the difference in funding given for homeopathic vs conventional research and the quantity of studies on the respective disciplines.
A group of videos featuring the Snooks were introduced by the 4Homeopathy group in 2014. I love these videos because they are so straightforward and yet gives an accurate account of what homeopathy is and how it differs from conventional western medicine and Naturopathy. There are three videos total. The other two are: What to Expect When you See a Homeopath and Why Try Homeopathy.
.For more information, take a look at the British Homeopathic Association's website.
January seems to be Arnica month! I uncovered some studies on Arnica montana's role on wound healing. in vitro studies allow us to learn about some possible mechanisms of action for our remedies.
1. "Arnica montana Stimulates Extracellular Matrix Gene Expression in a Macrophage Cell Line Differentiated to Wound-Healing Phenotype" In Public Library of Science, 2016.
2.. "Arnica montana effects on gene expression in a human macrophage cell line. Evaluation by quantitative Real-Time PCR". In Homeopathy Journal, 2016. "This exploratory study provides new insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms of action of A. montana as a promoter of healing, since some of the genes it modifies are key regulators of tissue remodeling, inflammation and chemotaxis."
3. "Arnica montana experimental studies: confounders and biases?" Journal of Integrative Medicine 2018. Response to criticisms of in vitro studies.
4. "Homeopathic potencies of Arnica montana L. change gene expression in a Tamm-Horsfall protein-1 cell line in vitro model: the role of ethanol as a possible confounder and statistical bias. [J Integr Med. 2017]
Our friend Arnica Montana is making another appearance. There is no other remedy that is quite as useful after surgery as Arnica. From plastic surgery, grafts, organ removals, almost any kind of procedure that has created a wound will benefit from Arnica. Please note however, that you should only take Arnica after a procedure, not before, and of course, always check with your doctor!
Arnica is very versatile because of its key symptom: feeling as if beaten. That is why it is good for the symptoms of muscle soreness (which often feels like you have been beaten), and bruises (which often occur after you have had some kind of physical trauma, like being beaten).
Arnica is unique in how well it has been studied, especially in the plastic surgery area! Here are a few studies on its effectiveness:
Chaiet & Marcus Ann Plast Surg. 2016. Arnica reduces the size and intensity of bruises after rhinoplasty (i.e. nose-jobs). If you are statistics geek, P=0.097 on day 7 for the size, and P=0.074 on day 9/10 for the intensity.
Sorrentino et al. J Intercult Ethnopharmacol. 2017 Jan 3;6(1):1-8. doi: 10.5455/jice.20161229055245: In women receiving a mastecomy, Arnica reduced blood loss, helped maintain weight post-surgically and reduced drainage. P=0.11, 0.03, 0.0223 respectively.
Lee, Yoon & Hwang. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2017 Jul;274(7):2685-2694. doi: 10.1007/s00405-017-4535-6.: Meta Analysis of studies "where the outcomes of interest were edema, ecchymosis, and satisfaction rate of patients on postoperative days". "Edema and ecchymosis during the first 7 days postoperatively were statistically decreased in the arnicaadministration groups versus the control group".
Arnica Montana is probably the first remedy anyone interested in homeopathy should know about. Arnica is useful for the symptoms of bruising and other blunt force traumas, muscle soreness after working out, and shock after any kind of accident (car accident, bike accident, etc). It's one of the few homeopathic remedies that have become "mainstream"; arnica gel is now commonly used by olymplic athletes.
Arnica will often be beneficial if the person has some of the following symptoms:
-Aching pains, as if beaten.
-Pains worse from any motion
-Any symptom worse from becoming cold
-Nosebleeds and pain as if the nose were crushed.
-Hot face and cold body
(All information summarized from Boenninghausen's Characteristics)
So if you have been hitting the gym harder than normal, try taking some Arnica and see if it helps.
Many of us find therapies that work for us and stick to them. Some people respond well to nutrition, to pharmaceutical medications, to supplements, or to homeopathy.
When we find something that works for us, extrapolating is easy; we believe friends, family, patients will be cured by the same treatment. However, "a medicine's power lies in its ability to alter the human condition" (aphorism 19). Therefore anything that alters the human condition can be considered a medicine. A supplement, a new diet, a new lifestyle all can alter our condition and therefore can be considered medicine. Since almost anything could thereby be considered a medicine, patients can then ask "is this medicine right for me".
Disease is removed by medicines acting on our whole person and removing all of our symptoms. We are all individuals and will need different forms of healing. I encourage you to experiment and find the one that works best for you, whether or not it's conventional medicine or alternative medicine.