Dr. Bhatia – Dear Friends, today we have with us in our Hot-Seat, Dr. Isaac Golden, one of Australia’s most well-known homeopaths.
Welcome Isaac! The first thing that I would like to know more about, is your intriguing journey from being someone doing financial accounting to being a homeopath. I have seen conventional doctors, nurses, parents of sick children and alternative medicine practitioners taking up homeopathy, but this is the first time when I have found an accountant transformed into a homeopath! Tell us, how did it happen?
Dr. Isaac – I guess, despite accountancy and economics, my main interest in life since the late 60’s has been in esoteric wisdom from all sources. I believed then, as now, that all great spiritual teachers must have drawn wisdom from the one Source, so I have always been interested in trying to find the common ground in the great teachings.
I was also interested in sensible diet, and gentle supplements such as vitamins and herbs, so in the early 80’s decided to change my career path, and studied general naturopathic topics. A friend suggested I look into homeopathy (which I had never heard of), so I sent away to do a course (I was living in a fairly remote area of northern NSW at the time, so my first of three Diplomas was a correspondence course). When I received the papers, and saw Hahnemann’s image on the front, I thought – “this looks familiar”. When I then purchased and read the Organon I was hooked. It was just totally compatible with my esoteric journey, and I knew this was going to become my profession.
Dr. Bhatia – When you started practicing homeopathy in 1984, what was the early experience like?
Dr. Isaac – Totally different to now. In Australia in the 1980’s, very few people younger than 60 had ever heard of homeopathy. Some of the older patients knew because homeopathy had been generally used in Australia up to the very early 1900’s. It then was virtually eliminated from Australia by the Medical boards and the drug companies, as in many other countries.
So most patients came because I was a naturopath, and they then found out about homeopathy
These days, people see me because I am a homeopath, and the awareness in Australia is slowly returning. The Australian Homeopathic Association, Australia’s largest professional association, is doing good work to promote the profile of homeopathy here.
Dr. Bhatia – It has been 22 years since you started practicing. What significant changes have you perceived in homeopathy during this period? Also, what has been the change in the status of homeopathy in Australia in general?
Dr. Isaac – As mentioned above, there is much more recognition now. Our medicines are recognized by the Government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration, a major step forward. Of course, we are still not part of the Government funded medical system.
When I began teaching in the late 80’s, the average age of most classes was in the mid 40’s. Most were mature-age people from every possible background, so being an economist was not so unusual. We had engineers, tradesmen, businessmen and women, mums whose children had grown up, as well as nurses and a few GP’s.
Now, the average age of students is in the 20’s. Many students begin straight from school, or shortly thereafter. This has been a major change in this country. It is wonderful to see so many young people studying homeopathy, however it provides an interesting dilemma. I believe that homeopathy requires a certain level of maturity and life experience to become both a good student and an excellent practitioner. Some of the younger students just don’t have that, and therefore struggle. It provides a challenge for teachers.
Most of my time is now spent teaching through my own distance education college – the Australasian College of Hahnemannian Homeopathy – which I founded in 1990, and now is Government accredited. I also lecture at another College in Melbourne at times. So providing guidance to younger students is a constant demand.
Dr. Bhatia –You know that our current issue is focused on research in homeopathy. You have done a lot of research work related to the use of homeopathic remedies in prevention of acute and chronic diseases. Homeoprophylaxis is a much discussed but little researched area. What made you work on it?
Dr. Isaac – Before I knew what homeopathy was, I used to have my own children vaccinated. Then one was vaccine damaged after having progressively worse reactions to the standard 2, 4 and 6 month vaccines (which were given late). The doctors told me that it definitely didn’t have anything to do with the vaccines, but after the third round, and the worst reaction, I knew that I was not being told the truth.
I then began collecting information about vaccination. The material by the late Professor Robert Mendelsohn was about all that was available here at the time. They still are great references. So I decided to stop vaccinating my children.
Then, when I started studying homeopathy, and read that Hahnemann had used Belladonna to prevent Scarlet Fever (the first use of homeoprophylaxis), I knew I had to take this further. I collected the very few readily available references on this (mainly Hahnemann, Boenninghausen, and Sankaran’s little summary of homeoprophylaxis use). I designed a 5 year program that I and other parents could use instead of the orthodox vaccination schedules.
I kept studying our literature, and found that whilst there were a lot of clinical reports of the effectiveness of HP, there was very little formal research into safety and effectiveness. So I began collecting data from parents using my program, with a determination to eventually provide formal statistical evidence supporting HP as an option to vaccination. That was in 1985/6 – it has been a long journey until now!
Dr. Bhatia – Please share with us the most significant findings of your research?
Dr. Isaac – There is so much that could be said, but I would say that the three most significant findings are:
(1) The consistency of measures of the effectiveness of HP over 200 years, both for long-term and short-term protection – at around 90%. This is a very strong figure, and very consistent with vaccine efficacy. My own data was collected from 1986 to 2004, and vetted by a Professor of Medicine and a medical epidemiologist during my Swinburne research. So it means we can offer people a safe alternative with a demonstrated effectiveness.
(2) Evaluation of the overall safety of long-term HP was an important new aspect of my Doctoral research at Swinburne University from 2000 to 2004, and the results were excellent. Some of my colleagues had quite reasonably questioned whether the use of my long-term program could cause any weakening of the Vital Force over time, and the data unambiguously said “no” to that question. It further showed that my long-term HP program was associated with an improvement in general well being– a result that pleased, but also surprised me to some extent.
(3) How damaging vaccination is over the long-term. Once again, the results are unambiguous, and are fully consistent with the very few long-term studies of the impact of vaccination on overall wellness. The fact that the orthodox community has done so little genuine research into long-term safety of vaccination is to their eternal discredit.
Dr. Bhatia – I have been going through your research work and one thing that I noticed was the use of Nosodes. For all the conditions, except Polio, you have used a nosode for homeoprophylaxis. Hahnemann used Belladonna as preventive for Scarlet fever because of the symptom similarity. Are all these potentized nosodes able to produce symptoms of the disease that they are being used for?
Dr. Isaac – A couple of points here; firstly, Hahnemann didn’t have Nosodes at that time, so his use of Belladonna doesn’t mean Nosodes are not appropriate. It all comes down to the Law of Similars. Either (1) we use a remedy capable of removing symptoms similar to that of the disease to be prevented (e.g. Belladonna and Scarlet Fever, Lathyrus and Polio), or (2) we use a remedy capable of producing symptoms similar to the symptoms of the disease to be prevented (the Nosode – obviously the measles virus is capable of producing symptoms similar to the symptoms of the disease measles). The Nosode is an easy and obvious choice. I use Lathyrus for Polio because the different strains of the disease are covered by the one remedy. However every Nosode is capable of being substituted with a number of similar, non-nosode remedies.
Dr. Bhatia – Another question that comes to my mind is regarding the choice of the potency. The protocol used by you begins with a dose of 200C potency, and then the medicine is repeated in a 200C triple dose, and then in 10M triple doses. What is the reason for selecting this range of potencies? What is the difference if we start with say 6C or 30C or if move up to CM potencies? Have you experimented with different potency protocols before settling for the one you use?
Dr. Isaac – Since 2004, I have used (for long term prevention) a single dose of 200 to filter out those few children who are very sensitive to the remedy. Then a month later a triple dose of 200 (unless they reacted to the single dose), and then a year later a triple dose of 10M. My experience since 1985 suggests that the 200 is appropriate to give protection for 12 months, and the 10M appropriate for maybe a 5-10 year protection. A second triple dose of 10M another year later should give a 10+ year level of protection.
I believe that 30c is suitable for very short term protection – a few weeks or a month. I wouldn’t consider 6 at all.
I have changed the basic program three times since 1985. Going from (1) single doses of M to (2) the 200 filter, then triple doses of 200, M, 10M, to (3) the 200 filter, then a triple dose of 200, then triple doses of 10M. The purpose of each change was to both increase the level of protection, and reduce the likelihood of a reaction to the dose. I have published the comparative figures in Homeoprophylaxis– A Fifteen Year Clinical Study show that this was achieved.
Dr. Bhatia – Another related question is about the repetition. How do you decide when the prophylactic remedy should be repeated and how many times and at what intervals it should be repeated?
Dr. Isaac – My long-term program is of course not the only one that could be used. The first program in 1985 was an “educated guess” based on reading the literature. The following changes have been based on my own experience, and research. The aim has been to give enough doses of an individual remedy to produce effective long-term protection against the targeted disease, without giving more than what the body really needs. This is similar to the aim in Homeopathic treatment – give as much as is needed, but as little as possible.
My only concern, which has been raised by other homeopaths as well, was whether the total number of doses of the different remedies combined, put too much energetic stress on the system, and weakened the Vital Force in some way. My 2nd research program at Swinburne was targeted directly at this question, and the results clearly showed that my long-term program was not associated with any weakening of general health, and in fact appeared to produce an overall improvement in well being. The results were published in Homeopathic Links in Winter, 2004.
Dr. Bhatia – What about the booster doses? Are the booster doses given arbitrarily or has there been any study regarding the period for which the effect of the initial doses of homeopathic prophylactic remedies lasts?
Dr. Isaac – As with vaccines, no one knows for sure how long HP protection lasts. There was a trial with Diphtherinum in the 1930’s which is mentioned later, suggesting that protection of at least 10 years is possible using higher potencies. But I suspect that it is totally an individual matter, and depends upon the state of health at time of taking the remedies, which is why they should not be taken during an acute illness, or during significant stresses and traumas that may occur over a person’s life. I had to make a decision regarding what boosters were appropriate. It is quite possible that fewer booster doses over the 5 years of the program would still provide effective long-term protection. But my basic program has been used and tested now for 20 years, and the balance appears to work – i.e. providing a high level of long-term protection without excessive reactions, and with no reduction in long-term health of recipients.
I am aware that some critics will say I don’t have sufficient data to make those claims. Each person who studies my data will have to make up their own mind regarding that. I see my work as supporting 200 years of practical experience, and I believe it does what I claim. I am still waiting for a critic (allopathic or Homeopathic) to provide data which shows that appropriate HP is unsafe, or ineffective. So far, no one has been able to do that.
Dr. Bhatia – How does the data about efficacy and adverse reactions to homeoprophylaxis compare with the data about conventional vaccinations?
Dr. Isaac – in brief, the data is unambiguous. HP offers a comparable level of protection against targeted infectious diseases to vaccines, without any accompanying risk of toxic damage. The safety is dramatically different. The single most striking finding from the Swinburne study was that vaccinated children have a 15 times greater chance of becoming asthmatic than children using HP. This finding had a Chi Squared figure of less than 0.01, i.e. a greater than 99% probability of not being chance – a striking result.
The data is all published in my Doctoral thesis, and summarized in Homeoprophylaxis– A Fifteen Year Clinical Study. The data shows that HP is a genuine option to vaccination. In my opinion, of course, it is the preferred option. But parents have a choice, and this is what is important. To help parents make an informed decision about vaccination, I have written another book Vaccination & Homeoprophylaxis? A Review of Risks and Alternatives. It is meant not only for the homeopaths but for everyone who wants to have an infromed opinion about vaccination and homeoprophylaxis.
Dr. Bhatia – In many parts of the world vaccination is considered essential – both medically and legally. What hurdles have you faced from the conventional medical community and laws in researching and implementing homeoprophylaxis?
Dr. Isaac – I can only talk about the Australian experience, where vaccination is not compulsory, but is heavily promoted by the Government health system. I have been investigated four times by State Health departments, based on complaints from doctors. Each time it was found that I was practicing appropriately. I am also under the threat of a $27,000 fine from our Therapeutic Goods Association to prevent me posting HP programs interstate or overseas. So the pharmaceutical-backed forces have tried to stop me researching, publishing information, and using HP. It has been an interesting journey at times!!
Dr. Bhatia – What has been the general reaction from the homeopathic community? How much acceptance is there for your work within the homeopathic circles?
Dr. Isaac – In some ways, the opposition to my work from some very well known homeopaths is the greatest concern to me personally. I have heard comments such as “classical homeopaths don’t prevent disease, but only treat what appears”; “the Law of Similars doesn’t apply to prevention”; “long-term HP will damage the vital force”; “Hahnemann never used HP”; “the constitutional remedy is the best preventative against infectious diseases”; and so on. The great concern to me is that some of these people are well known teachers, so generations of students are taught only part of what homeopathy can legitimately offer.
I regard such statements as possibly well meaning, but based on ignorance of basic Homeopathic principles. The Law of Similars is a natural Law, and therefore has universal application; it is not the tool solely of classical homeopaths The Law of Similars applies equally to prevention as it does to treatment, something which Hahnemann clearly understood when he routinely used Belladonna to prevent Scarlet Fever (not the constitutional remedy). To me, until a homeopath has read Hahnemann’s essay The Cure and Prevention of Scarlet Fever (in Lesser Writings), they really have very little to contribute to the debate. Hahnemann wrote eloquently and passionately about how prevention was superior to treatment.
This is no doubt why Boenninghausen, Kent, and most of the Masters used HP.
Now, it is true that most of the uses were in short-term, epidemic situations, and I accept as a very legitimate concern the question regarding the safety of a long-term HP program. As I said earlier, this is what the second part of my Swinburne research was principally aimed at. The research confirmed what I anecdotally had experienced, i.e. that an appropriate long-term HP program is very safe.
In Australia, we have had a vigorous and informed debate about HP for over 15 years. When I see some comments, especially from some American and UK homeopaths, I find issues that we went through here a decade ago. And that is fine, except when people who clearly have had little practical experience with HP make “pronouncements” based only on theoretical speculation.
In this country, research shows that a majority of homeopaths use HP. I certainly do have a number of colleagues with whom I agree to disagree, but we do so after reasoned debate, and that is how it should be.
Dr. Bhatia – I understand! But still I would like to ask you some philosophical questions related to homeoprophylaxis –
- Giving a homeopathic medicine to healthy human beings is like conducting a drug proving. In your experience, how often do the medicines given for homeoprophylaxis bring out proving symptoms?
- If the majority of the children are not susceptible enough to bring out proving symptoms, how does the medicine provide a protective action?
Dr. Isaac – I agree that long-term HP is like a proving, in that remedies are given to people who do not need the remedy for treatment. However the purpose of HP is NOT to produce symptoms, as with a proving, but to provide protection against a possible antigenic challenge. But the analogy with a well conducted proving may explain why the research data shows that people using appropriate long-term HP are very healthy. Hahnemann said that participating in well run provings will improve health. We now see that using an appropriate long-term HP program has similar positive long-term health effects.
Regarding reactions to the HP; my data shows reactions to less than 2% of doses. Whether they are proving symptoms, or a healing response, is questionable. My belief is that there would be both types of reactions. When one looks at the reported reactions which I have published, we find that quite a few are to diseases which either a parent or grand-parent had. It is quite possible that an energetic imbalance was passed down which the HP remedy has addressed, thus assisting the Vital Force to eliminate the weakness (Hering’s Law). This would also support the findings of improved health using appropriate long-term HP.
Regarding the mechanism of action – this is a significant question on its own. I am currently doing a lot of work on developing an energetic model of homeopathy, including homeoprophylaxis I have an article coming out in Homeopathic Links in 2007 related to this work, and my main goal for 2007 is to complete a book on the subject. I published a small work, Homeopathic Treatment of the Energy Bodies in 2002. It has sold out now, but rather than reprint I want to substantially expand it. This model will give more guidance as to length of protection, as well as how protection occurs. It is an exciting project for me.
Dr. Bhatia – Another related question is whether such application of homeopathic medicines is Isopathic or Homeopathic. What are your views on this issue?
Dr. Isaac – It depends on how Isopathic is defined. I personally regard an Isopathic remedy as one made from a patient’s own material. This definition means HP is not Isopathic. However I realize that others define Isopathy differently. Whatever definition is used, I regard HP as Homeopathic– the HP remedies are selected using the Law of Similars, and prescribed in sufficient doses to produce a therapeutic response. I strongly believe that HP is part of mainstream homeopathy, and always has been, from Hahnemann to today.
Dr. Bhatia – One of the points often raised against conventional vaccination is the lack of individualization. By following a standard protocol for homeoprophylaxis, are we not following the same steps?
Dr. Isaac – Kent made it very clear in Lesser Writings that he believed that the level of similarity for prevention is much less than for treatment. And I totally agree, for one very simple reason. In prevention, our aim is to prevent the development of the characteristic symptoms of a targeted disease. We know what these symptoms are in advance – they are thoroughly described in orthodox medical journals. So the idiosyncratic symptoms sought for in deciding remedies for treatment are not needed for prevention. After all, if the characteristic symptoms of the disease are prevented, we can say that the patient is effectively immune to the disease. The question of whether this is achieved by suppressing the immune system, as with vaccination, is answered by the huge difference in long-term general well being of people using HP and vaccination. Vaccination is clearly suppressive, HP is not. The data is conclusive on this point.
Dr. Bhatia – What is the difference between the short-term and long-term homeoprophylaxis? Are there any systematic studies or statistical data regarding the efficacy of homeoprophylaxis in epidemic conditions?
Dr. Isaac – As I said above, most of the references to HP in our literature relate to short-term epidemic use. There are many hundreds of such references from 1801 to the present day. I focused my efforts on the use and study of long-term HP, in order to offer parents an option to vaccination programs. I also did not have the energy or resources to study both over such a long period of time.
There have been some very large trials of short-term HP, the most significant being that by Mroninski et al in Homeopathic Links, Winter 2001. Nearly 66,000 children were given Meningococcinum, and followed for 12 months. The efficacy of the HP remedy was 95% over 6 months, and 91% over 12 months. The Doctors who conducted the study did a great job of developing a rigorous study.
This is also a good example of preventing an infectious disease which is potentially very serious. Whilst I personally have no problem not using HP to prevent measles, mumps, and similar diseases, which are mild in healthy children, there are some infectious diseases I would much rather prevent than have to treat. To me, the bottom line anyway is that it is the parent’s right to choose what they do for their own child, as they have to live with the consequences, not us.
Finally, when I provide HP for overseas travel, which is usually for a short period of 2-4 weeks, I generally use a 200C every two weeks, taking two doses before the trip, and whilst away. If there was a definite outbreak of a disease that required prevention, I would use a 30C or a 200C weekly for a couple of weeks. If there was the possibility of definite exposure to a highly aggressive disease, I might give 2-3 doses quickly, say every 3 days, then go to fortnightly doses. There is great flexibility within the Law of Similars. Many students are taught that it is a rigid Law, I disagree.
Dr. Bhatia – While going through one of your books, I came across a very interesting reference –
“Dr Paul Chauvanon, Paris, 1932, mentions in his book La DIp therle the immunization of 45 children with Diphtherotoxinum 4M and 8M, one dose by mouth, some needing a second dose of 411. Chauvanon demonstrated that as regards Schick’s reaction, the Nosode negatives it or makes it inactive during a first period, as well as immunizing without the presence of antitoxins or antibodies. After a short time, one to two months, antitoxins which can be measured in the blood appear and a real vaccination exists …the respective immunization lasts just the same as the one provoked by the antitoxin in substance, without any of its disadvantages. Dr H. Roux repeated these same experiences in 1946 and he obtained like results.”
Can you explain such results – the appearance of antibodies without any antigen! Do you think there will be a measurable difference in the level of antibodies after following your homeoprophylaxis plan?
Dr. Isaac – Very interesting, and unexpected. I have also heard occasional anecdotal reports of antibodies being stimulated (Baptisia producing Typhoid antibodies is one), but I have not seen actual data. However the HP challenge is a real one, even though it is energetic. Conceptually I believe anything is possible. But the bottom line is; HP does not rely on an antigen-antibody response.
Dr. Bhatia – If you are asked to do the complete research project again today, is there something that you would like to do differently?
Dr. Isaac – I doubt if I would take it on to be honest, knowing the length of the journey and the difficulties. I would be nearly 80 by the time it finished, and so now I would more likely try to convince a younger person to take it up.
But if I did start now, and with the knowledge I have accrued, then I would certainly do some of the actual data collection and record keeping better, but the basic things would be similar. The big difference would be to try to ensure that the research had less impact on my family life – my children have paid a big price in seeing much less of their dad when they were growing up than they should have.
A 20 year effort can be very selfish when it demands much focus and willpower to keep going, and I could have done that part much better than I did.
Dr. Bhatia – Very true! It is not easy to do research – be it clinical or physical. And the kind of perseverance you have shown in dealing with such an important and controversial topic is rare. At the same time you have maintained very high standards for your work. We have been fortunate to have you with us today in our Hot-Seat. Your books and this discussion has been a learning experience for me. I would like to thank you personally and on behalf of the whole Hpathy community for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us. Thank you!
Dr. Isaac – And thank you Manish for your courtesy and interest.