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More on Ethics in Homeopathy Practice

Dear Readers,

Last month our focus was on the question of ethics. We asked you if there is a need for an internationally uniform code of conduct for the homeopaths. An overwhelming majority said ‘yes’. While majority of you did feel the need for uniformity in our code of ethical practices, there were some people who raised more serious issues, some of which I covered in my previous editorial, and relate to the differences in our society and culture. Some other issues revolve around the various points raised in Pitcairn’s article. Many users felt that not every modern approach can be put as non-ethical. Many people felt that works of people like Sankaran and Scholten are valid enough and can not be dismissed in totality. The comments that poured in have raised many questions some of which I am going to address in this editorial.

The first question is –

Q. What is the scope of a ‘code of ethics’? Does it need to deal with what is Hahnemannian and what is not?

A. I personally believe that any ‘code of ethics’, especially one that is addressing global uniformity, should provide a broad general guideline about the duties and functions of a homeopathic physician, information about legal responsibility, patient-physician relationship, general scope and limitations of homeopathic practice, issues like privacy, consent, examination, advertising, responsibility in case of notifiable diseases and other professional obligations.

A ‘Code of Conduct’ or a ‘Code of Ethical Practices’ should give a general guideline about such issues. It should tell what is the best thing to do or what is most acceptable thing to do but it should not go into the nitty-gritty of ‘who is right and who is wrong’.

What is ethical and what is not, is often governed by the laws in various countries. The issue of ‘what is right homeopathy and what is not’ is so controversial that a uniform guideline will never come up if it is included as a primary part of any code. But that does not mean that we should leave the area of ‘defining’ homeopathy untouched. Once a primary code of conduct is their, such issues can be dealt with as secondary annexure. And even in those annexure, the focus should not be in telling who is wrong and what is wrong, the focus should be on telling what is basic philosophy of homeopathy and what are the most acceptable practices and principles (like the law of similia) and what are the approaches that are more controversial, less accepted and less proven.

The second question is –

Q. Is everything that Hahnemann wrote unalterable and unchallengeable?

A. Most classical homeopaths would like to hear a loud ‘yes’ but I would like to say a cautious ‘No’. Most of what Hahnemann has written was way ahead of his times and it still continues to be. The principles of homeopathy and the guidelines of practice that were given by him have been tested by millions of people so far and I must say that they have stood the test of time so far. Still, our inability to explain the functional dynamics of homeopathy keeps it open to questions and into the realm of mystical sciences. The vital force, miasms, dynamization and remedy action are such areas that need to be better understood and evolved further. In the last 200 years our understanding of science as well as of biological systems has increased tremendously. The advancement in both physics and medicine have opened new gates of possibilities for homeopathy. If we remain closed to this development, we will never be able to tap into the possibility of making homeopathy acceptable as a true medical ‘science’. The only caution that we need to take is that any future development should not be at the cost of what is proven good by experience. The roots should not be forgotten.

In spite of our ability to ‘cure’, the cure rate of most homeopaths is not something to boast about. I believe that there is scope for improvement and growth until we are not able to cure almost all ‘curable’ cases.

The third question.

Q. How should we address the issues related to Sankaran, Scholten, Dowsing, Kinseology, Meditation and Dream provings etc?

A. There are four issues here –

1. Things that are not homeopathy – like dowsing and kineseology. These should be kept away from homeopathy. The ‘law of similia’ has to be the primary basis of anything that is called homeopathy.

2. Things that are aberrations of homeopathy – like meditation and dream provings. I would call them experiments that will never stand the test of time.

3. Things that need more work and can be called unproved at best but not unhomeopathic until proven contrary – like remedy classifications based on kingdoms and Scholten’s work, Vijayakar’s theory of acutes and theory of suppression etc. Every new development in homeopathy can be labelled as ‘unhahnemannian’ or ‘unhomeopathic’ simply because Hahnemann did not write about it in Organon or Chronic Diseases. Though with caution, we should be open to new suggestions.

4. People that are misunderstood – like Sankaran and Scholten. Although I do not stand by every word that these two renowned homeopaths have written but I do feel that there is lot of misunderstanding that people carry about them. While they might be blamed for using unproven and non-hahnemannian methods like unproven remedies, themes of families etc, what most people do not realize is that such conclusions are based on observing just a couple of cases in some seminars. These homeopaths use the classical homeopathic concepts and medicines for a large majority of their cases. They became experts at using the path that is well known and only then they dared to probe into the uncharted territory. And when they find something interesting in this journey, they present it to the world for further interrogation.

People see such novel cases in seminars and start following the line without much thought. The people who expose homeopathic community to their new experiences are not totally at fault. People come to seminars to know about new developments and challenging cases. If I arrange a seminar and show you ten cases of Aconite with cold due to exposure to dry-cold winds or 20 cases of alopecia areata cured with Phosphorus, will that hold much of your attention? Probably not! For most of us these are well known and commonly experienced situations. But if I tell you that look here is a case of OCD where the central theme was a ‘feeling of helplessness’ and which responded very well to a new remedy Bambusa-a because it covered this central theme, will it hold your attention. Most likely, yes!

So these people are not at fault when they share their new experiences with the homeopathic fraternity. The problem arises when young students and homeopaths start looking for central theme of Babmbusa while they still do not remember the keynotes of Phosphorus. Young homeopaths often do not realize that these senior homeopaths are well grounded in our basic philosophy, materia medica and repertory. And when they try to follow the path shown in such seminars, they often fail miserably and blame the people for telling about approaches that don’t work!

I will request all the students of homeopathy – first master the basics, learn what is well-known and well-proven, experience the wonderful cures that even the homeopathy of Hahnemann’s time can deliver – and only then move to newer authors, newer theories and lesser known approaches. At the same time I will also urge people like Sankaran and Scholten to always tell their audience that young homeopaths should first be well-grounded in the treasures that the master homeopaths of the past have left for us and only then they should start exploring what is new, unknown or unproven.

I hope in the coming few months, with the help of all you passionate people out there, we will be able to arrive at some global uniform code of ethics.

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Now coming back to the July issue. In May we had Mati Fuller in our Hot-seat where she discussed her use of numerology in finding the simillimum. Many people wrote back and asked us to share more about this approach. Therefore for this month we invited a numerologist Michael Brill along with our homeopath Mati Fuller, to share the details of their approach. Again, this is a very controversial approach from the classical point of view and I will reiterate what I have said above – first master the true and proven homeopathy before you explore anything new or unproven. David Little continues with his teachings of ‘Hahnemann’s Advanced Methods’ and shares his insights about the LM potencies. Edward shares with us another veterinary case and there is a special focus on a new remedy in this issue – Germanium metallicum. Read the remedy portrait and find two new cases. There is lot more. Read and enjoy!

Do send me your feedback about this issue at editor@hpathy.com. Your comments and suggestions about this journal and various articles published in each issue are very important to us. So don’t forget to write to us. We await your letters eagerly.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Manish Bhatia

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