Dear Friends, today we have with us in our Hot-Seat, one of the most versatile contemporary homeopaths – Alize Timmerman! Ms. Timmerman trained as a research biochemist and was involved in genetic research at the University of Amsterdam, Holland. Alize studied Naturopathy and received her degree from the school of Natural Healthcare in Amsterdam in 1980. She specialized in homeopathy and has studied with George Vithoulkas and Vasilis Ghegas. Alize has been in homeopathic practice since 1980 and began teaching in 1986. She established the Hahnemann Institute of the Netherlands in 1988. Since 1992 Alize has lectured and taught throughout Scandinavia, the European Union, North America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Israel. She works closely with other teachers, including Jeremy Sherr, Jan Scholten, Corrie Hiwat and Alfred Geukens.
EB: Alize, welcome to the Hpathy Hot-Seat! I was informed that you were a biochemist in one of your past lives! How did the transformation from being a biochemist and someone who was researching the genetics of Petunia (!) to someone soaked head-high in homeopathy occur?
AT: Although at the time this was not clear to me, I always wanted to work with the life-force. I also wanted to stimulate people, help them to become more dynamic, happy and healthy. This need was not satisfied in me being a researcher. When I realized that through being a homeopathic practitioner I could become part of a healing process, this greatly satisfied my own development.
Practicing homeopathy is like walking the path with the patient in a communal way. This brings joy in my life. Homeopathy is about finding the right tune. Resonating in this tune is making things happen and move.
How we do this and with what kind of tools we use, is also a very interesting part of homeopathy. The tool of the substances is an enormous source for healing and curing. Studying these tools using sources of different kinds is making me become a more fulfilled person and helping me moving forward.
Working together with these substances, I can achieve results on a very high level.
EB: Last month while I was interviewing Jan Scholten, I found out that he was told in his teens that he should become a biochemists. He did not become a biochemist, but his interest in biology and chemistry shows in his work. Then I found out that you were also a biochemist and a good friend of Jan too and that you often use his periodic table approach. Is it just a coincidence? How did you get to know Jan and what has been his influence on your work and development as a homeopath?
AT: While working in hospitals and doing research I ended up in the university. I was at that time also searching for the possibility to find a deeper fulfillment. I then discovered the School of Naturopathy in the Netherlands. There I studied all kinds of alternative therapies including homeopathy. Amongst these, acupuncture also greatly attracted my interest.
I then felt that I needed to study more outside the Netherlands to develop myself in homeopathy. When I went to Allonnissos, I met Jan where we studies together with George for several years. That was in 1984. I also met Ananda Zaren, Nanditah Shah, Rajan Sankaran, Roger Morisson, Bill Gray, Misha Norland and Jeremy Sherr in these classes. I remember Jan as always been interested in the Unknown! From the beginning he was attracted to the so called lesser known remedies, and wondered why we only use a certain group of substances. I felt there was no argument not to use lesser known remedies. Except that there is less clinical experiences with these substances.
Jan’s open-mindedness has stimulated my own thinking process, more so than his work on the Periodic Table. I learned to open myself to the healing forces which are all around us and realized the enormous possibilities we have using homeopathic remedies. Jan dared to go and explore that knowledge and opened a new field of possibilities.
EB: You yourself have been using many of the lesser known remedies and your work on the Lacs is well recognized. How did you become interested in studying the Lac group as a whole?
AT: It was 12 years ago after reading a book written by L. Kaplan ‘Oneness and Separateness’ that I realized how important the mother’s milk is to the making of one’s future. The book is about the development of children. It clearly explains how most serious diseases that affect the mind (psychoses etc) find their origin in what happens in the first three years of our lives. This has now been recognized by many psychiatrists to be a reality.
Mother’s milk is of course one of the main ‘events’ in a baby’s life and therefore remedies made of mother’s milk must have a very important role to play as a homeopathic remedy.
Mother’s milk is central in the antagonism ‘Am I a baby or shall I become an adult.’ All Lac remedies have this antagonism within. For instance Lac felinum carries the theme of ‘am I dependent or am I independent’. There is a battle within the child: do I depend on my mother or not?
We also decided to prove other remedies like Amniotic fluid because of their significance at the beginning of life. Our remedies are carriers of information. When a substance has a major importance in our lives, it must be of important use as a diluted/homeopathic preparation.
EB: Before we started this interview you briefly spoke about how your view on remedies has changed over the years. Can you explain?
AT: When I studied the Lac remedies I became aware that only at certain periods of history and in certain regions, did drinking of cow’s milk became important and mainstream. We are in the middle of such a period in the western world. There are cultural reasons why this happened. (combine sentences) Because of its important place in our society, cow’s milk has acquired an important significance in our society and therefore must become an important remedy. It was not an accident that Hahnemann made provings of Sulfur and psorinum. He proved these substances because they had an important value in his time.
Another remedy that became important at a certain time was Tuberculinum. There was a rise in tuberculosis cases when people started to travel more during romanticism. One can see how this links with the remedy picture of Tuberculinum. These are examples of how remedies become important as diluted medicines because of their place, role, significance or symbolism in our society or in the patient’s life.
On this background, I would like to say that I think that modern homeopathy is too concentrated on individual diseases. Many diseases our patients present to us are collective. Certain particular diseases that develop in people are the consequence of the culture they live in. If such typical diseases, related to the culture develop, the substances these diseases are related with become important and should be investigated for their value as diluted medicines. The time we live in, is the origin of many of the diseases we suffer. That is why some remedies, like the Lacs, have become so important because they contain the information to help patients overcome these collective diseases. The Lac’s also symbolize the loss of connection with the parents which will lead to problems.
EB: You made a distinction between society and a patient’s own life. How significant is this?
AT: The study of our society allows us to find substances that play and important role or are omnipresent. This usually indicates they contain important information, which suggests we should prove them to turn them into usable homeopathic remedies. Recently we have therefore made provings of petroleum and diesel. On the patient’s level, I notice more and more that the substance the patient needs to take in its diluted form is often present in one way or another in the patient’s life.
An example: I noticed that patients who did very well on Causticum usually had more than average contact with lead (for instance work in radiology where lead is omnipresent as protector against radiation). If you check at lead poisoning, Causticum has a 3rd degree in our repertories. It is as if the patient already has a resonance with the substance he/she needs to take as a remedy and is drawn to this substance in some way. Sometimes the patient already uses the substance, in other cases the patient may ‘abuse’ the substance. With good case taking, often the substance appears during the consultation. The patient usually has knowledge of the substance he needs in his subconscious and it is important that the situation is created where the nature of this substance can appear to us.
EB: Would you, in an ‘active’ through questioning, try to increase the chances for the substance to appear during the consultation?
AT: It is important that the patient leads the consultation. It is the patient who ‘knows’ what he needs. Anything can lead to the remedy. We have to create the environment in which the patient leads us to what we should know. Over the last years it has become apparent to me that remedies possess the higher intelligence/experience of our old within them. The substances we use to make homeopathic remedies usually have been around longer that humanity and therefore have more ‘experience’ of our world. Anything around us can become a remedy, whether a salt, metal, animal, colour, music, etc. Everything around us possesses some experience of our world. The substances cannot tell us the information they contain but through their administration this information becomes available to the patient. Through the patients, the consciousness of the remedies becomes apparent.
I can therefore agree with conventional medicine that healing through homeopathy is equal to a placebo effect. I would rather use the concept of NOCEBO-effect which we can find in the African tradition. It is the patient who cures himself with the help of the information contained in the remedy. With the remedy we address the healing capacity of the patient. This polemic over the nocebo effect is a non issue. The main divergence between conventional medicine and homeopathy is the view on what constitutes a cure. To illustrate how important it is that the patient guides the consultation I would like to tell the following anecdote.
A French patient came to our clinic and one of my collaborators spent an hour long consultation with the patient. He complained of joint aches, the joints felt constricted; which were better from movement and warmth. At the end of the consultation my collaborator prescribed Rhus tox. There were further indications that had appeared during the consultation that indicated Rhus tox. When I saw the patient again, some time later, he said that, back home, he visited a French homeopath who prescribed him the same remedy, Rhus tox, after a 5′ consultation based on the main complaint and obvious modalities. The patient told me he had found much more relief from this prescription.
Because of the patient’s impatient character (=Rhus tox), the hour long consultation was contrary to what he was looking for. The French homeopath had acted more in line with his totality, and as a result a much better response to the same remedy. The long consultation was not in tune with the patient. This shows the importance of adapting the consultation to the patient. In various ways we have to ‘ask’ the patient what he/she wants. From the small totality (a single symptom) we have to evolve to the grand totality of the patient through the consultation. An extreme illustration of this is the painter who painstakingly paints a view of Amsterdam with many figures, canals, boats, bicycles and houses. By looking at the painting we can recognize the various images that remind us of Amsterdam and therefore recognize the painting to be an image of Amsterdam. The very clever modern artist will put a few stripes on a blank canvas, sufficient for some people to recognize the picture of Amsterdam: “such a small amount of information, but very much to the point.”
EB: In that respect, would you advise any particular way to study the materia medica?
AT: There are many ways to learn the materia medica. Reading books is what most of us do. I have recently, more often put the books to the side, because by using our intelligence too much we sometimes loose contact with ‘nature’ i.e. the world around us. We have to allow ourselves to find wisdom in nature. This requires a large degree of openness to nature. Too much use of our intellect has the possibility of creating illness. If we only rely on our intellect we use a one-sided approach to things. An observation needs to highlight multiple aspects to be complete. What has been observed tells everything about the observer. We must therefore observe using the widest possible totality of ourselves. We need to use the left and right part of our brains, together with our heart, sensibility and insight to obtain such a totality of observation.
EB: Alize you have a seminar on CD on dying patients.
If the dying patient is in the hospital, under the influence of drugs, doctors, etc., does it even make sense to try to give remedies, can you even get a picture?
AT: Yes we can. Even when the patient is taking many medicines, they will still show their essence. It is very important to assist in this process, because during the dying period we finish our path with the body and therefore need to be ‘ourselves’ as much as is possible. (combine sentences) During the process the body is ‘rejected’ and this is a very painful process. With homeopathy this process can be made much less painful. It is then possible to create a ‘healthy’ situation with the environment and the family to allow a quality farewell to take place. There is healing of the patient and their environment.
EB: We are of course very interested in hearing your views on potencies after Jan told us in his interview last month that potency is of a lesser importance than the selection of the right remedy.
AT: I did write an article on the C4 potencies a while ago and since then many have attached great importance to my observations and thoughts on this subject. My work on the C4 potencies does not have major implications but is part of my ongoing research into homeopathy in general. I would like to go into the subject of potencies in a broader way. Before the interview you told me of your idea of dedicating one or more issues of the Ezine to the subject of potencies. I would very much like to participate in the realization of these issues so we can approach the subject of potencies in a broader way.
EB: Alize, thank you for your thoughts and time. You have been kind enough to give this brief interview at a very short notice. I hope we will be able to present your thoughts and work in much more detail in another issue of Homeopathy for Everyone.