Organon & Philosophy

The Theory of Miasms – Personality Types

This article is a psychological perspective of Hahnemann’s miasamtic theory of the four well known miasms – Psora, Sycosis, Tubercular and Syphilis, based on various well known perspectives from modern psychology like Freud, Pavlov, etc.

After the discovery and application of homeopathy for 30 years (1790-1820), Hahnemann realized that although he had very good results with intense diseases, he did not have drastic results with the treatment of chronic diseases. He noticed that those diseases, after their removal with the use of homeopathic medicines, they always relapsed in a variable form and with new symptoms or reappeared on a yearly basis with an increase of the ailments.

After careful observation and study, Hahnemann reached the conclusion that there is an obstacle in the organism that cannot be fought with medicines or the healthiest diet or disappear by itself. He named this obstacle a “miasm”. The word miasm means infection, stain, dirtiness, and blotch. Hahnemann thought that the life power is infected by certain factors and that this infection creates the disease. He observed three miasms, the psoric, the sycotic and the syphilitic.

According to Hahnemann, those three miasms are the base of every disease. Any disease whatever its external symptoms are, can be “found” in a miasm or in a combination of the above miasms. Although the above miasms are the basis for any disease producing process, the combination of psora and syphilis has been described as the tubercular miasm. Therefore in the homeopathic bibliography there is differentiation. Other authors prefer only the description of the three main miasms and others prefer to describe the tubercular miasm as one of the main miasms.

I was taught the theory of miasms from Aristarchos Tsamaslides. Aristarchos had a very good knowledge of the theory of miasms and he used to apply it systematically in the practice of homeopathy. He used to tell us, in the lessons that he gave us, that if we could not understand it, we would limit our ability to the treatment of chronic diseases. Watching the examination of patients in his office, I had realized this myself many times in practice.

On the other hand it is difficult to talk about this theory in our days. Others look at you in a weird way. I remember that when I mentioned it to certain colleagues, most of them treated me as a “colorful” character. A few were benevolent and wanted to understand it. In order for this theory to be understandable it had to be enriched with modern knowledge. But such a correlation was very difficult for us at the time. Therefore the only thing we could do was to learn the theory of miasms as a method of grouping diseases, which we, homeopathy doctors, could use only among us, avoiding reffering to it in our discussions with other doctors.

At this point I must mention an author who helped a lot in the understanding of the theory of miasms. It is P.S. Ortega who in his book “Notes about miasms” provided a very nice description of the basic psycho synthesis of the three miasms.

Fruedian Perspective:

However, the desire to find more information on the theory of miasms through modern scientific opinions was strong. I did not know how to do this. One day I was in the doctors’ office of the neurological clinic of the military hospital. A patient’s escort came in to ask for something. The way he asked for it was very characteristic. This man was very demanding, looked to be very angry and his speech had a strong tone of aggressiveness. I thought that this man was syphilitic. As soon as we helped him one of the psychiatrists present asked us: “colleagues, what do you notice about this man’s behavior? He is angry. He bites. He is orally fixed according to Freud’s theory”. This observation was very useful to me. I made the first correlation that could help in the deeper understanding of the theory of miasms. The syphilitic miasm was related with the oral fixation of the Freud’s theory.

According to the Freudian thinking, three stages play an important role in the development of a person’s personality.

The first stage is the oral which starts from the moment of birth until the age of one and a half years. The main subject of this stage is lactation and the progressive vacillation of the person from a situation of dependence from the breast to a situation of independence.

The second stage is the anal. It succeeds the oral until the age of two and a half to three. The main subject of this stage is the control of the sphincters.

The third stage is the oedipal. It succeeds the anal and starts from the age of two and a half until the end of the fifth year. Main subject of this stage is the unfulfilled love of the child to the parent of the opposite sex.

A Miasmatic Corelation with Freudian Stages:

The person that did not normally go through one of those stages has a fixation to that stage. Therefore, depending on the type of fixation, three types are observed: the oral, the anal and the oedipal.

The oral type is characterized by demanding behavior, nagging, greed, rush, insulting behavior, tendency to dependence, strong tendency to aggressiveness and disaster. These elements fit the syphilitic type of the homeopathy thinking.

The anal type is characterized by neatness, tendency to niceness, perfectionism, and exactitude. He has a tendency to miserliness, is stubborn and dogmatic. He controls all his feelings. These elements fit the sycotic type of the homeopathy thinking.

The oedipal type is characterized by the continuous search of an ideal and unfulfilled target and during the effort to find it there are many obstacles. The story of the little boy where his father is an obstacle to his erotic desire for his mother is repeated. The oedipal type corresponds to the tubercular type of homeopathy.

The psoric type of homeopathy does not have a corresponding type in the Freudian theory. This can be explained by the fact that Freud worked with patient who had a strong psychopathology. The psoric type has the minimum psychopathology. Therefore there was no apparent reason for a psoric to follow psychoanalysis.

The above correlation widened my knowledge for miasms. According to this new thinking certain basic concepts were clarified. In order to define miasms, Hahnemann used certain nosological entities, which may have been well-timed in his time but did not last through the years. Even the term miasm proved unsuccessful. The use of nosological entities for the naming of miasms caused confusion. Therefore certain authors got into discovering new miasms according to various serious diseases.

According to the new evidence, a new general typology started to appear. Each type has its own characteristics and its own tendencies for a disease. It is not restricted to one disease but may produce a group of diseases. But their understanding needed to be widened through other theoretical systems.

Pavlov’s Perspective:

In one of my trips to India, I met the homeopathy doctor Jawahar Shah who had started a similar study as I but from a different angle, Pavlov’s psychology. Shah was working with a team of psychiatrists and had introduced elements from the Russian Pavlov’s theory to the theory of miasms. Pavlov had developed a typology of his own thus: the active balanced, the weak balanced, the powerful stimulating and the weak repressed. He had also correlated those types to the Hippocrates typology which included four types: the bloody, the phlegmatic, the choleric and the melancholic.

As I continued the study I could make more correlations relating to the typology of the four types. In the total study for diathesis I presented a common model, including elements from different theoretical systems.

The table below provides a scheme of correlations of the various theoretical systems.

CONDITION ACONDITION BCONDITION CCONDITION D
HOMEOPATHY
PSORIC MIASMSYCOTIC MIASMSYPHILITIC MIASMTUDERCULAR MIASM
FREUD
There is mo direct correlation. The concepts of psychological conflict and repression are classified here.ANAL FIXATIONORAL FIXATIONOEDIPAL FIXATION
PARACELSUS
SULFUR DISEASESSALT DISEASESMERCURY DISEASES
PAVLOV
ACTIVE BALANCEDQUIET BALANCEDWEAK REPRESSEDPOWERFUL STIMULATING
HIPPOCRATES
BLOOD PHLEGMBLACK BILEYELLOW BILE
EMPEDOCLES
FIREWATEREARTHAIR
PLATO
FIREWATEREARTHAIR
ST. GREGORY OF NYSSA
HEAVENWATEREARTHAIR

After the presentation of the unifying theory of the diathesis the field of the theory of miasms started to be clarified. It was clear that the concept of miasms existed prior to Hahnemann but with different terminology and by different authors. After certain clinical observations Hahnemann used his own terms and he presented it as his own theory. For someone that knows homeopathy it is obvious that Hahnemann was influenced by the theories of Paracelsus because for Hahnemann, Sulfur is the main anti-psoric medicine and Mercury is the main anti-syphilitic.

The unifying theory of diathesis is not a static theoretical model. Its teaching in the University of People’s Friendship in Moscow has helped in its amplification. Certain doctors that were taught this theory are already working towards this direction. As it is obvious, such a subject can not be elaborated on in the framework of this book. Anybody who wants to read more on the subject should refer to my book “Roots, principles for a unification of the human sciences”.

About the author

George Loukas

George Loukas PAPAFLESSA 14 15235, ATHENS, GREECE www.interlogos.gr/gloukas

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8 Comments

  • Hello George,

    I now live in Knoxville, TN, USA and previously lived in Athens for 12 years (before that Canada. I studied homeopathy for one year with Stouraitis. And here in Knoxville Heilkunst is the only homeopathy available.

    Can you recommend a good homeopath (maybe even yourself) that i can consult with via phone and email?

    I also have a 16 month old boy that i would like to consult for.

    Your article on miasms was great. thank you

    Ruth

  • Hai George,
    Well, Your article about Miasms are well and good.particularly readers should emphasized bold letters.One who want to understand the homeopathy this is enough sir.I appreciate this work,World will appreciate your work.
    Thanks.

  • Dear George,
    thank you for your nice article which I enjoyed reading very much. It gives an excellent overview about the basic traits of each miasms and how to recognize them !
    Best regards,
    Katja

  • Homeopathy is still evolving and progressive. We still have no univerally accepted concepts on miasms, potency, dose, repetition without which we can’t withstand to the onslaught of allopathy. Different people give unempirical interpretation starting from original sin ( conjecture), physical constitutions, body language, facial reading, palmistry, horoscope, pathology, physiology, genes, sensitivity, reactivity, susceptibility and different infectous agents. They correlate to unscietific concepts of midieval and acient writers. These articles add further confusion to already confuesed homeopahts with concepts generated from ortega, Vithoulkas, sankaran etc. Without univeral acceptance, their treatment is practiced as per the individual inderstanding of each doctor. All this make every homeopath feel as a master of miasm and well as idiot of it from the perspective of other’s concept on miasms. When will homeopathy get an univerally accepted international organisation to eliminate this vagueness.