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Homeopathy 4 Health

The alternative medical modality of holistic, natural,

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Hermes once separated two serpents entwined in mortal combat to bring about peace. These serpents were later included in the medical Caduceus as a sign of wellbeing.


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You are viewing: History & Basis - Holism - Level 2
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We Really Do Mean The Whole Person
Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients ,  Dec, 2005  
by Robert Ullman & Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman 


There are many treatment approaches that claim to treat "the whole person," but what they mean may be quite diverse. Some practitioners of complementary medicine may be referring to the use of specific nutritional formulations to address different organ systems of the body. An herbalist could be talking about using several herbal combinations, each containing a number of individual herbs, to treat the whole body. A body-mind practitioner may speak of treating the whole person by using herbs or supplements to affect neurotransmitters of the brain, which, they believe, will produce shifts mentally and emotionally.

Homeopaths, when discussing whole person treatment, refer to what is called the "totality of symptoms." In the treatment of a patient with chronic illness, this means, literally, that everything about that person is relevant and important. Perhaps other forms of healing are also interested in what influences a particular person, but it takes a rare approach to medicine that can actually take all of this information and integrate it in a way that can result in a unified kind of treatment.

Take a patient with arthritis, for example. A classical homeopath is vitally interested in everything the patient has to say about the arthritis, probably in more depth than any other type practitioner. But this is only the beginning of what a homeopath needs to select one specific medicine out of more than 2,000 possibilities. Although it may be the arthritic complaint that brought the patient to the office, that person resembles a hologram--a multifaceted organism that is much more than a musculoskeletal system out of balance. This is why you won't find a homeopath referring to a person as a case of arthritis or asthma, in the way patients are sometimes described in hospitals or other conventional medical settings.

How that patient relates to other human beings, work, home; how he expresses his creativity; how he eats, sleeps, thinks, feels; daydreams, and talks; what he has felt throughout his life and continues to feel; and how he experienced the birth process and evolved through childhood into adulthood. Everything about the person that informs and influences his health and his life. All of that is what interests a classical homeopath.

What Exactly is Individualisation of Treatment?

Again, there are many modalities that promise individualization of treatment, but this is highly relative. A practitioner may choose one of five sleep formulas for a patient suffering from insomnia and call that individualization of treatment. A body worker may focus on a particular area of muscles or joints given the client's symptoms. A psychiatrist might choose one out of ten possible antidepressants, depending on the patient's symptoms, history, and past reactivity to certain drugs.

Can you even imagine these practitioners having a potential pharmacy of over a thousand medicines for any particular problem? The sheer numbers boggle the mind. Yet this is precisely the case for a classical homeopath. Not only are there over 2,000 remedies or medicines available, but new ones are being proved each year. In fact, ongoing study is needed to be aware even of the names of the continually expanding materia medica, much less the specific indications.

What a homeopath means by individualization of treatment is that, given 100 patients with arthritis, they could potentially need 100 different medicines. In practice, one could imagine this group needing maybe 30 different medicines, perhaps more. There are certainly not as many different homeopathic medicines as there are people, so there will be some overlap. At least up until now. Potentially there would be far more different medicines than there are people since every substance on the planet can be tested and prepared homeopathically. And there are far more insects, plants, and microorganisms than there could ever be human beings. Many of our readers are no doubt familiar with Arnica montana (Leopard's Bane), a member of the Compositae family. Those of you familiar with Arnica may have a personal experience of how much it helped you with an injury or trauma, And many homeopaths use it almost routinely for sprains, strains, and most injuries. What if we were to tell you (and we are), that there are over 20,000 different Compositaes, each of potential benefit to different patients with different constellations of symptoms? Of these, fewer than a dozen are commonly prescribed homeopathically. But we are learning more and more, the fine distinctions of when to prescribe which one.

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