Dr. Ronald D. Whitmont is the current President of the American Institute of Homeopathy (AIH), which is the oldest national medical association in the United States. He is an MD trained in internal medicine and holistic medicine, who chooses to practice classical homeopathy. When the FDA recently disparaged homeopathy by claiming that a homeopathic teething remedy had harmed babies, Dr. Whitmont alone responded with a point by point analysis and rebuttal of their argument. Dr. Whitmont practices in New York City, and Rhinebeck, New York.
AS: When did you begin practicing homeopathy and what spurred your interest?
RW: I began practicing homeopathy in 1995 when I opened my first office in Amenia, New York. I had finished medical school in 1988, a transitional internship in 1989, a four year stint with the U.S. Navy in 1993, and my residency in Internal Medicine in 2005. I was fed up with conventional medicine and wanted to practice a form of medicine that wasn’t about suppressing symptoms and keeping people in a revolving door of illness. I felt that medicines were being prescribed to deal with side effects of other medicines and that people weren’t getting better, they were just being managed with more medicines, and this ultimately made them sicker.
My father was an M.D., an analytical psychologist and a homeopath. He introduced me to the field when I was young. It made sense to me, I saw its benefits first hand (on myself) and I was impressed that it actually took care of and helped resolve medical problems without creating new ones or causing side effects.
I was also impressed by the dynamic interaction between a medicine’s mental and physical effects, how both the body and the mind could be treated together, in fact had to be treated together. The system has so much integrity and the closer I looked at it the more sense it made. The more I looked at the world, the more I realized that not only did we have so many problems because of the form of medicine that we practiced, but that politics, foreign policy, social policy and our approach to the environment were all messed up because we were applying the same rotten allopathic approach to the world that we were using on our bodies.
The closer I looked at all these things, the more the homeopathic approach made sense in the world, not just in medicine. To me, this meant that there was some fundamental underlying truth that homeopathy embodied because its principles of action were so effective across the board, in the environment and in geopolitics. There is so much that is wrong with our world today which is a result of the allopathic approach, the idea that “more is better”, and that only physical or material reality is important. The world seems to have lost its moral and ethical compass, particularly in modern medicine. We are seeing a rise in conservative fundamentalism that is a reaction to failed medical strategies. Chronic diseases are epidemic, and are a direct result of modern medical interventions. The system has failed, and the forced attempt to restrict access to alternatives is a desperate attempt to distract us from seeing this.
AS: Yes, the West seems to be stuck in an unworkable paradigm. It must have been a relief to have such a marvelous alternative. Apparently there is now a concerted effort to suppress that alternative. The FDA recently tried to argue that a homeopathic teething remedy had harmed babies. You alone responded with a point by point analysis which debunked their argument.
We’ve seen similar attacks on homeopathy in Australia, Canada and the UK. Are we past the point where actual facts matter? How would you like the homeopathic community to respond now?
RW: I don’t think we are past the point where facts matter, because I think that they matter now more than ever before. It’s important to remember that the historical struggle between allopaths and homeopaths was never about the facts of practice, or efficacy for that matter; it was always about “turf”, and turf is all about money.
The struggle that we are still engaged in today, worldwide, is still about money. And it’s become more desperate as the stakes got higher. Modern medicine (allopathic medicine) is all about money. It’s all about profit. It is not a healing art anymore, but a medical trade. Wall Street drives medicine in the U.S., and I suspect that it has done so since 1910 when the Flexner report came out condemning homeopathic medical schools (which, up until that time, had credentials, standards and reputations superior to allopathic schools). The Flexner report was created by the Carnegie Foundation. Andrew Carnegie was a steel and railroad tycoon, in league with other magnates, who founded the organization with government support. One of the Carnegie Foundations first projects was to condemn homeopathic medical schools, which does not appear coincidental. The Flexner report was the beginning of the end of homeopathic medicine in the U.S. and it appears that a century later, since homeopathy refused to disappear, the FDA may now be trying to finish the job.
The current commissioner of the FDA is Scott Gottlieb, MD, who has been a partner in a large venture capital firm (New Enterprise Associates) for the past 11 years. This is a multibillion dollar organization that invests in some of the same companies that the FDA is responsible for regulating. Does this seem like a conflict of interest? Certainly in today’s government, this has become common.
Homeopathy is a threat to any system of healthcare that is profit based because it doesn’t rely on continually advancing technology, or multiple codependent industries that generate huge profits. One one hand, homeopathy is so simple and so non-technology based that it is inexpensive and easy to utilize. It cuts costs in the long run because it eliminates illnesses rather than making them chronic (which is essentially what allopathic medicine appears to do). Oddly, though, homeopathy is a much more complex (and more difficult specialty to practice) than conventional medicine. Conventional medicine essentially follows a series of simple algorithms (like cooking recipes from a cookbook) that any average physician can follow with their eyes closed. Homeopathy, to work well, relies on a painstaking individualization process that demands attention to the holistic totality of every medicine and every patient. Treating every single case as a unique entity is much more time and brain intensive than merely following an algorithm for every case with the same diagnosis.
Homeopathy does not generate large profits for the manufacturers of medicines or even the ancillary support services and products. Homeopathy helps resolve illnesses, which reduces costs over the long run. Everything about homeopathy is anathema to conventional allopathic practices.
As long as the field of medicine is dominated by for-profit industries seeking to keep it profitable, homeopathy will be pushed aside using any available means, including lies, propaganda and ultimately making it illegal to practice. It’s time that America (and the world) woke up and took a look around and noticed that their lives have become exploitable commodities that are being bought and sold and managed like so many cattle on a ranch. Until we do collectively wake up, meaningful, inexpensive, and effective practices like homeopathy will continue to be bullied and shut-out of academia, the marketplace and hospitals, not because it is ineffective, but because it doesn’t generate a profit, and it can’t compete in a profit based system
I’m not sure that any response from the homeopathic community will matter that much, but if we don’t try, we will never know. Ideally, people should be strenuously objecting to what the FDA is already doing with homeopathy. They should be objecting to the language and the attitude that the FDA has toward this valuable healing art. People should be insisting, not just that the FDA leave homeopathy alone, but they should be insisting that medical schools start teaching it again, that researchers begin researching it again and that our public health system make its inclusion a priority for every American. The sidelining of homeopathy in America is a crime against the public
People should write to the FDA, but also to their elected officials and tell them what is important to them.
AS: So the battle continues and the same forces that are lined up against homeopathy are also causing other kinds of damage. California recently passed one of the most draconian mandatory vaccine laws. What kind of consequences are we looking at if getting 69 vaccines by age 17 becomes national law? Could homeoprophylaxis and constitutional treatment replace vaccines?
RW: I haven’t looked critically at all the research on homeoprophylaxis, but what I’ve seen is very encouraging. We definitely need more research and more critical and unbiased analysis of the data in this promising field. The Cuban study on leptospirosis was extremely positive, suggesting that homeoprophylaxis has an important role to play in the management of public health crises, particularly in epidemic diseases.
There are very serious concerns about the use of vaccines for several reasons. For one, vaccines contain many toxic and hazardous ingredients, and people have been found to react adversely, both in the short and long-term to these ingredients. But there is another reason to be highly suspicious of vaccinations that is rarely discussed: many of the diseases that have been eradicated may actually be essential for normal immune system development.
Conventional medicine is on a crusade to eliminate diseases, but few scientists have ever stopped to ask the question of whether this is a good idea or not, and what studies on these populations show. What happens to our immune systems when we eliminate diseases? In Sardinia, Italy after malaria was completely eradicated by a program sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, it was replaced by the world’s highest incidence of autoimmune disease: Multiple Sclerosis. Researchers in Europe found that when children are not exposed to early childhood illnesses, including measles, rates of allergic diseases skyrocket.
Records from the federal register show that mortality rates for almost every common childhood disease rapidly declined before vaccines were introduced to fight these conditions. It is possible that these once common childhood illnesses play essential roles in the development of our immune systems. Eradicating these common, benign, acute, self-limited conditions may set the stage for life-long chronic ailments of immune dysfunction, including allergies and autoimmune diseases.
Americans happen to be a “captive” market for the mandatory marketing of these products that are neither good for the individual or the society. They are only good for the bottom line profits of the manufacturers. One has to ask the question that if vaccines are so good for people, why do they have to be made mandatory? If they truly offered the protections that manufacturers promise, then those who voluntarily wanted the protection could get it and have nothing to worry about. Those who chose not to receive the vaccine would need to worry. But this is not what is seen. When outbreaks are studied, it is invariably those who were already fully vaccinated that come down with these illnesses.
A few studies have compared vaccinated with unvaccinated populations (very few of these studies were ever done) and have found that the unvaccinated groups are healthier and have much lower “all cause mortality” rates than those who were vaccinated. The U.S. supreme court considers vaccines to be “unavoidably unsafe”. There is a Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) and a vaccine injury court that has already paid out damages in the billions of dollars. If vaccines are so safe, why did manufacturers make a deal with the federal government providing them with complete immunity from claims of damages from the public?
AS: You’ve spoken at length on the importance of microbiomes and dysbiosis. Why should homeopaths be familiar with this? Is there a place for bowel nosodes in restoring balance in the bowel microbiome?
RW: Homeopathy is largely about the individual, but it is much more than that. It is a system of medicine that recognizes and treats the body and the mind simultaneously. It derives medicines from the energetic matrix that underlies all substances, since any substance can be turned into a homeopathic medicine. The effectiveness of homeopathy suggests that there is a deeper connection between us and the world that stretches beyond physical and chemical interactions. The fact that “energetic” derivatives of natural substances can influence human development of mental and emotional health in profound ways, suggests that some kind of resonance occurs between us and the natural world. Hahnemann called this the “vital force”, but we don’t have a good name for it. Homeopaths have studied the phenomenon for more than two centuries and found that it is real, verifiable, predictable, and reproducible. It is so real that it is a tremendous threat to those who haven’t figured out how to make a profit from it yet.
As far as your next question: the human microbiome is important for homeopaths to know about for several reasons: For one, it appears that it is at least one of the ways that homeopathy exerts its influence on the body. The microbiome is the microbiological life that no human or animal can live without. Early homeopathic research shows that homeopathy affects, impacts and changes the microbiome. We don’t know if this is a primary or secondary action, but we do know that whenever our health shifts, so does the microbiome. It is either the cause of that shift or the result, or both. Laboratory research in homeopathy shows that homeopathic medicines affect genetic expression, protein synthesis and a host of other pathways and cellular functions. Life itself is affected by homeopathic medicines down to the smallest biological unit that we have been able to study.
Homeopaths have been working (unknowingly) with the microbiome for years. Conventional methods have tried to work against it, but antibiotic resistance shows how futile that path is. The microbiome provides direct evidence that the ecological environment of the human body is one of the most fundamental keys to health, longevity, reduction of inflammation and disease resolution. Conventional medical therapeutics have approached this dilemma by trying to eradicate or (unsuccessfully) control it. They believe the environment (and microbiological life) is a hazard that must be dealt with, controlled, or pushed out of the way and made to do our bidding. Environmental science and the NIH sponsored Human Microbiome Project has shown that true health is a holistic ecological endeavor that depends on the integrity of the microbiome. Homeopaths have been doing this all along, without knowing that this is what they were doing
Bowel nosodes are a good example of using dysbiotic bacteria as medicines to help cure the problems that modern medicine has caused. All homeopathic medicines can affect the microbiome, but they have to be chosen appropriately and matched to the individual case at hand. Bowel nosode science is in its infancy (since there are literally thousands more nosodes waiting to be developed) and holds fantastic opportunities for restoring health. Some of the greatest uses of these nosodes have been in restoring health after it was carelessly damaged by conventional medications and procedures.
AS: It does seem that new discoveries in science and medicine, as with the microbiome, often validate the direction homeopathy has taken. Hahnemann managed to infer answers to many things at a time when medical knowledge was much less developed. Given the current state of knowledge in medicine, how might he have defined the Vital Force?
RW: As for your last question, I don’t think that modern medicine or modern science has gotten us any closer to understanding what Hahnemann meant by the “vital force”. Conventional doctors, when they think about it at all, consider “homeostasis” to be the body’s ability to correct its own imbalances and heal itself from illness. That still doesn’t explain how it works, but it does acknowledge the possibility of self-healing and self-correction. We do understand some of the mechanisms of how the body accomplishes these things: the immune system and the microbiome. When Hahnemann practiced there was no knowledge of either the immune system or the microbiome, but now we know that the interplay between these two organs is crucial to health, and that disturbances in one, cause disruptions in the other, and that they both need to be whole, intact and complete to provide for healthy growth and development.
In my own practice I tend to ignore the concept of the “vital force” because it just isn’t important. The term is archaic and vague, like “spirit” or “energy”, and is inadequate (It’s like trying to describe a 5 dimensional space with language that heretofore has only been used to describe 3 dimensional objects: it can’t be done). I find it more of a hindrance to think about the “vital force”, since I don’t need to know how it works in order to use it. I just have to respect the observed laws of its phenomena.
I do like to understand how things work, but sometimes that’s just not possible. In physics we still can’t explain magnetism, gravity or light. We have different theories, but we know that they are all wrong, or only partially correct. I trust that homeopathy is part of the same puzzle. I trust magnetism, gravity and light in the same way that I trust homeopathy. I’ve seen and felt the effects of all these things. I know that homeopathy works, and that it affects the “glue” that holds me together, but I just don’t know why. Is it because of some “vital force”? Nah, I doubt it. I think Hahnemann himself was only scratching the surface when he gave it that name. I believe that the answer, when it comes, is going to be much bigger.
It may take many more generations to “explain” how homeopathy works, and I suspect that the answer will be far more incredible than any of us can even imagine. What we call homeopathy today is probably just the “tip of the iceberg” of something so important, true and essential that it’s simply ungraspable by our limited minds. It is an “elephant in the room”, but it’s so large that from our perspective (as dust particles on its toenails) we can’t even see it.