Raymond Edge is the founder, dean and resident homeopath of the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine. Raymond began his career in the healing arts as a medical herbalist, graduating from the Dominion Herbal College in 1978. He has been studying, practising and lecturing in homeopathy since 1987. He graduated from the School of Homoeopathy on-campus program in Devon, England and was the director of the Mirianog West Children’s Clinic in Wales, providing low-cost homeopathic treatment for underprivileged children. Raymond is a registered professional member of the North American Society of Homeopaths (NASH). He is also certified in classical homeopathy with the Council for Homeopathic Certification. He is a core lecturer and clinical supervisor at the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine.
BI: You’ve been in the health profession for a long time. You practiced as a medical herbalist in the 70’s into the 80’s. What inspired you to get into homeopathy?
RE: When I first became interested in homeopathy in 1982, there were barely a handful of practitioners in the Toronto area and no homeopathic colleges in Canada or the U.S. At the time I was a struggling musician, tired of being on the road and living in hotels and seriously considering an alternative career.
Apart from music, my other passion was health and healing and I had completed a program in herbal medicine in 1978, but my success was limited and I grew discouraged. Then a friend was visiting Toronto from England and brought me a gift of a homeopathic first-aid kit from Nelson’s Homeopathic Pharmacy in London. I was fascinated by the little pills and odd-sounding names.
I tried Arnica for some bruising after a fall and it speeded up my recovery time greatly. I tried Nux vomica for a nasty hangover one New Year’s day and it took away the headache, nausea and vomiting like magic. I was hooked! I began to read all I could on homeopathy and was amazed that such a powerful, yet gentle and effective system of medicine was not more well-known, given its 200 years of documented cures.
I learned that homeopathy is the only western medical system recognizing the spiritual nature of man and the importance of our life force in regulating and balancing all sensation and function of the body. When that life force is disturbed in some way, sickness results and health can only be regained by addressing that disturbance with specially-prepared homeopathic remedies capable of resonating with the life force and influencing it to heal. I had to learn more.
In 1984 I decided I wanted to study homeopathy seriously and moved to the U.K. to do so. There were several excellent colleges of homeopathy there and I started my training full of enthusiasm for the subject. It’s an enthusiasm that has never left me. In 1994 I returned to Canada after practising homeopathy in Britain for a few years, only to discover that Toronto had a great need for a school in this true healing art. I was convinced that I should go ahead and start one and the Toronto School of Homeopathic Medicine was born! The response was phenomenal and we filled our rented University of Toronto classroom the first year! Clearly homeopathy’s time had come in Canada.
Now, many years later, the interest in homeopathy is stronger than ever. Regulation of the profession in Ontario gives us greater credibility and this is attracting very motivated, passionate individuals who are determined to follow a meaningful and fulfilling profession that offers such hope to so many. Today I consider myself very fortunate to be able to indulge my two passions – music and homeopathy.
A while back I recorded a CD of original songs which has generated much interest and airplay. One of my songs is the backdrop to our College website video. Go to www.rayedge.com to hear more. We’ve also launched the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine in response to the increased interest in our quality training programs. On our website is the phrase: The Passion to Help; The Knowledge to Heal; You Belong Here! That says it all.
BI: Let’s touch upon some procedures of homeopathy. As homeopathy grows the methods of prescribing can evolve from the original Hahnemannian perspective. There are contemporary strategies like Sankaran, homeopathic facial analysis, etc. What is your opinion on that?
RE: Hahnemann encouraged us to “imitate me, but imitate me well”. Boenninghausen, Lippe, Hering, Pulford, Nash, Wells, etc. followed this advice and achieved unparalleled success in their time. This sort of success is within our reach as well, but we need to become good imitaters. I think one of the primary jobs of any homeopathic school is to seep students in Hahnemannian philosophy so that they have a solid foundation based upon the teachings of Hahnemann – the master homeopath himself. Sankaran is a brilliant innovator, but I do not think his methods should be introduced to students until a firm foundation has been established, as they inevitably lead to confusion.
BI: Being persistent and dedicated is indispensable for any aspiring homeopath. Where do you see the major challenges in studying homeopathy today?
RE: Homeopathy has to be the most difficult medical system to master, but in my opinion the most rewarding as well. A homeopathic student today has the benefit of highly sophisticated software programs to help analyze cases which saves hours of time sifting through the repertory, material medica or provings searching for the simillimum. It’s become rare to see a homeopath without this software. The software however, does not make you a better homeopath, just a quicker one! The major challenge, it seems to me, is success in practice. As I said earlier, success in practice inevitably comes when one stays true to the teachings of Hahnemann. Those students who are trained with a broad mix of styles and ideas eventually run into the brick wall of confusion.
BI: What are you finding as the main reasons people choose to study homeopathy?
RE: People choose to study homeopathy professionally for a variety of reasons. The main motivators are:
- A strong desire to be of service to others in helping them regain their health and vitality in the shortest, surest, least harmful way. They recognize that the prevailing healthcare system is lacking and offers no real hope of cure.
- They resonate with homeopathic philosophy. Homeopathy is the only Western system of medicine which recognizes that there is a spiritual life force in all of us which governs the harmonious sensation and function of the entire organism. Homeopathy is capable of influencing the life force and restoring health.
- They, or someone they know have been successfully treated with homeopathy when all other methods failed. A circumstance like this can be a huge motivator for people to take up the challenge of a new career to offer real healing to others. There have been examples throughout history where allopathic doctors have given up their profession in favour of pursuing a career in homeopathy.
- A sense of fulfillment, meaning, purpose and satisfaction in belonging to a profession that can bring such positive change to so many people’s lives.
BI: In many cases, homeopaths have difficulties identifying the constitutional remedy of their patients? What do you recommend to them?
RE: According to Vithoulkas, Hahnemann himself alluded to the idea of constitutional remedies when he stated that in order to cure completely and permanently you needed to find the “deeper” indicated remedy according to his theory of the chronic miasms. The meaning of such an expression was never clear in the homeopathic sense and before one can talk about a constitutional remedy we should define what we -in homeopathy – really mean with this expression. A remedy can be defined as constitutional when it covers the basic chronic or acute symptomatology of the person throughout his life; in spite of the fact that such a person may suffer, in different stages of his life from different illnesses like otitis media, lumbago, sciatica, bronchitis, or psoriasis, the indicated remedy remains always the same.
If we accept such a definition as correct then experience from every day practice shows the following:
– Such patients could be found today in at best very, very few cases. These are the exceptionally healthy people living up to a very old age with very few problems. Today they are found practically only in rural areas and in the clean climates of the mountains, living a very quiet life, away from civilisation and almost never in the crowded cities.
– Such cases could have been met more frequently in older times when people were much healthier in comparison with today’s degenerated states of health that we meet in our everyday practice.
– Another point that we have to consider is the fact that according to our theory if a person gets his right remedy-or his constitutional one- then -at least theoretically- he will be cured and therefore automatically change from the type of person he is. The question again remains is there another remedy that could help such a patient or should we expect that with the same remedy we will solve all his future problems?
If a constitutional remedy is not identified, just go with the best indicated remedy based on symptom totality.
BI: You have an intensive, fast-track program specifically for doctors. What can they expect to get out of it?
RE: Our program for doctors is virtually identical to our main diploma program. The only difference is that doctors would get an exemption from studying the medical sciences and physical examination. It’s a challenging program that in some ways is more difficult for doctors. We’re asking them to put all they’ve learned about treating disease on the shelf and accept a totally different model.
BI: You oversee the distance education program at CCHM. For those looking to study virtually, what advice can you give when selecting the right program?
RE: If you wish to study homeopathy to a professional level but live some distance from reputable homeopathic colleges, or are unable to attend class due to family or work commitments, our professional Distance-Education Program was developed to meet your needs. The course is similar in content to our accredited lecture program offered at the University of Toronto. You will study Homeopathy, Nutrition, Anatomy & Physiology, Pathophysiology, and you will be required to complete a Clinical Internship and Externship component in both Intermediate & Advanced Levels. You can begin the program at any time and there is no deadline for completion. You can achieve a solid education in homeopathy, studying in your spare time and progressing at your own pace.