Homeopathy Papers

A Biography of Guy Beckley Stearns MD

A Biography of Guy Beckley Stearns MD 1

Homeopath Sue Young presents a biography of Dr. Guy Beckley Stearns who developed autonomic reflex testing of remedies. Beckley found that a remedy in a vial placed on the skin or brought close to a patient, produced measurable autonomic reactions. These included, pupil dilation, changes in pulse and respiration, and percussion of the abdomen and chest cavity.

This article is reprinted courtesy of Sue Young, from her excellent website of homeopathy biographies:  https://www.sueyounghistories.com/

A Biography of Guy Beckley Stearns MD 2
Guy Beckley Stearns MD

Guy Beckley Stearns 1870 – 1947 was an American physician specializing in homeopathy and the developer of autonomic reflex testing in the study of homeopathic remedies. He also was the founder of the Foundation for Homeopathic Research.

Stearns conducted early research with very highly potentized remedies, first with fruit flies and later with the Emanometer, a tuning device made by William Ernest Boyd of Glasgow, Scotland.

He made contributions to the beginnings of kinesiology and radionics. He also criticised over drugging with aspirin and warned about the dangers of such massive doses:

“Aspirin and the other coal tar products are condemned as causing great numbers of unnecessary deaths. The omnipresent aspirin is the most pernicious drug of all. It beguiles by its quick action of relief of pain, a relief which is but meretricious. In several cases, aspirin weakened the heart, depressed the vital forces, increased the mortality in mild cases and made convalescence slower. In all cases, it masks the symptoms and renders immeasurably more difficult the selection of the curative remedy. Apparently aspirin bears no curative relation to any disease and it ought to be prohibited.”. The Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy, Volume 13. American Institute of Homeopathy. 1921. Page 1041.)

Dr. Boyd did countless studies and was very pragmatic and scientific in his approach. His claims were investigated by a committee of orthodox medical men and scientists called the Horder Committee and the findings were submitted to the British parliament.

William Ernest Boyd arranged a series of double-blind tests capable of being evaluated on a statistical basis. In this manner the accidental success ratios could be compared with actual successes. The most rigorous of these trials was repeated at an interval of a few months and produced a 33,000,000 to 1 ratio in favor of the reality of the phenomena. The controls were carefully kept by the investigating committee.

The scientists concluded that they did not understand the mechanism involved in the emanometer but noted that the results were consistent and dramatically self-evident. The group then turned their findings over to a parliamentary committee.

Although little came of it, this “official recognition” is one of the reasons that further work in medical dowsing has not been suppressed in Britain as it has been in the USA. The IHA committee was headed by Guy Beckley Stearns, MD, and published a paper of its findings in 1925. Dr. Stearns was a well-known homeopath who was a colleague of Allen and Boger.

Dr. Stearns took up William Ernest Boyd‘s work in the USA and worked out the autonomic reflex testing of remedies directly on the human body. He demonstrated that the autonomic nervous systems react to homeopathic remedies on mere contact or at a distance if the constitution is susceptible to their action.

This testing works with standard clinical reflexes such as the pulse, heartbeat, respiration, pupil dilation, the act of percussing the abdominal and chest cavities, palpation of tissue and muscles, changes in small blood vessels on translumination, as well as a number of changes in sense and touch sensations, etc.

He even observed the reactions of the heart directly by fluoroscope and changes in galvanic skin response through rubbing a dielectric rod made of glass, rubber, or bakelite, on the abdominal area.

Stearns demonstrated that the most important effects which William Ernest Boyd observed with the emanometer could be carried out directly on the human organism in question. This led to the use of clinical reflexes rather than using the various devices and became known as Autonomic Reflex Testing.

(With thanks to David Little) In 1922 the I.H.A. requested The Foundation for Homeopathic Research, under the auspices of Guy Beckley Stearns MD. to investigate the claims of Albert Abrams that the traditional clinical reflexes responded to homeopathic remedies in a thorough scientific manner and to report back to the association.

The results of this study were delivered 10 years later in a lecture before the I.H.A. Bureau of Clinical Medicine on June 9, 11, 1932 and were published in The Homoeopathic Recorder on Nov. 15, 1932. The report confirmed the abdominal reflexes of White, Albert Abrams, and William Ernest Boyd and much, much more.

The list of clinical observations that react to the contact of homoeopathic remedies included the change of percussion tones of the abdomen and the chest; relaxation of the muscles and connective tissue on palpation; changes in the heartbeat, pulse rate and character; changes in the respiratory rate, dilation of the pupils: intensification of the color of the iris; direct observation of the blood flow changes in the capillaries by transillumination of the ear lobes and webs of the fingers; direct observation of the variation in the caliber of the veins on the back of the hand; movements in the fine reticulations of the skin; changes of shade of colored pigments when they are rubbed into the skin; observation by fluoroscope of the changes in the amplitude of the heart pulsations; impediment of a dielectric rod when rubbed on the skin; and changes of sensations associated with touch; and changes in the taste.

Out of these various tests the easiest methods to use in the clinic are the pupil dilation effect; changes in pulse and respiration, the percussion of the abdomen and chest cavity; and the impeding of a dielectric rod or glass bottle on the skin of the abdomen, on the inside of the arm, and near the spine. One who is skilled in the art of palpation can also detect changes in the tonus of the muscles and tissues of the body to remedies.

All of these effects are the reaction of the autonomic nervous system to the radiations of energy waves from the homoeopathic remedy. In fact many of these reflexes will react before the vial is actually brought into contact with the patient.

This also includes assessment of changes in leg lengths and body alignment as well as muscle testing by the Applied Kinesiology of Goodheart.

Kinesiology is not as objective as the traditional clinical reflexes because of the intimate involvement of the operator in the testing of the reflex. It also entails the use of both the autonomic and voluntary nervous system and the conscious minds of both individuals.

This statement is not meant to debunk or disclaim the system in the hands of an expert operator. In fact, Applied Kinesiology can be very useful when kept within reasonable bounds.

Nevertheless, the clinical reflexes cannot be as easily manipulated consciously or unconsciously by the tester because the reactions only involve the autonomic nervous system of the client. Autonomic reflex testing is an art that can be learned by anyone who is willing to try it.

Stearns added the following insight into the process of testing and its relationship to homoeopathy. Life often demonstrates the truth that “what goes around, comes around” as this method ended up saving Dr. Stearns’ own life.

He was given up for lost due to a severe heart condition by the best homoeopathic prescribers in America. He became so ill that he could not even walk more than a few steps without suffering great pain. In an attempt to save his own life Dr. Stearns trained two laymen in the pupil testing methods.

For 12 days his assistants tested 100 medicines a day, a totality of 1200 remedies. On the 13th day all the remedies that had shown a response on the pupil were retested and compared. At the end of the day it appeared that Morphine Acetate came through as the best remedy.

Dr. Stearns took this remedy and made a slow but steady improvement. This remedy was later followed by two other remedies that showed up during the testing, Ruta and Rhus tox.

On these three remedies Dr. Stearns made a full recovery. Thus Dr. Stearns’ own vital force assisted by the two laymen was able to do what the best classical prescribers of the day could not! (continue reading:)

Guy Becley Stearns was born in Wilmot, New Hampshire, a son of Minot Stearns and his wife, the former Sara J. Hazeltine. Stearns married Ada King prior to 21 April 1912. She died in 1956.

Stearns was a graduate of the Homeopathic Medical College in New York City and a 1900 graduate of New York Medical College.

In The Homoeopathic Recorder (Vol XLVII, Nov. 15, 1932, No. 11), Stearns published an article called Body Reflexes as a Means of Selecting a Remedy.

“This is a seminal article of this genre. It is a report of a committee,” wrote Jack Prince in “The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients“. “They found that if a remedy in a vial was placed on the skin or brought close to a patient, measurable autonomic reactions occurred if it was the simillimum.

“The study included 1,200 remedies measured on a patient, 100 per day for 12 days. The study included many patients. The two most reliable reactions for remedy selection were changes of the pupil and the pulse.

“Other changes include color change in the iris and the tone of chest percussion. Many changes were recorded including alteration in the amplitude of heart pulsations observed by fluoroscope.

“If an individual is touched with a homeopathic vial, a dielectric rod is impeded when rubbed on the skin. The remedies were always in glass containers for this study. No contact with the physical material was made.

“The conclusion was that reactions were due to energy acting on the autonomic nervous system.”

For Laurie’s Domestic Medicine, a medical guide published in 1942, Stearns and his research assistant, Edgar D. Evia, contributed an essay called “The New Synthesis“, which that same year was expanded into a book called “The Physical Basis of Homeopathy and the New Synthesis“.

In the New England Journal of Homeopathy (Spring/Summer 2001, Vol. 10, No. 1.), Richard Moskowitz, MD, called the Stearns-Evia article:

“a cutting-edge essay into homeopathic research that prophesied and actually began the development of kinesiology, made original contributions to radionics, and dared to sketch out a philosophy of these still esoteric frontiers of homeopathy at a time when such matters were a lot further beyond the pale of respectable science even than they are today.”

The Physical Basis of Homeopathy and the New Synthesis has been described as

“a fascinating synthesis of various ideas about potency, the biology of reaction in organisms and techniques for measuring nervous system responses to a remedy.

“The book discusses pulse testing and pupillary reaction as a method of testing sensitivity to homeopathic substances.”

The book remains in print, published by B. Jain Ltd. of New Delhi.

Stearns and Evia also contributed, from March until June 1942, a column entitled “The New Synthesis” to the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy. The pair also published, in the February 1942 issue of the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy, an article entitled “The Physical Basis of Homeopathy.

Stearns was a well-known collector of rare books, including a 1479 edition of the works of Horace, a partial autograph manuscript of Mark Twain‘s A Tramp Abroad, and a first edition of Ben Jonson‘s Q Horatius Flaccus.

His name is given in an Edgar Cayce reading 254-97 on file at the ARE in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Arthur Hill Grimmer mentions that Dr. Guy Beckley Stearns, a famous New York City homeopath and researcher, had made remedies from several strains of influenza including the Spanish Flu.

Dr .G.B. Stearns of New York collected through the International Hahnemannian Association 17,000 cases of Influenza with a mortality rate of 4%.

Guy was not impressed by aspirin.  Aspirin and the other coal tar products are condemned as causing great numbers of unnecessary deaths. The omnipresent aspirin is the most pernicious drug of all. It beguiles by its quick action of relief of pain, a relief which is but meretricious.

In several cases aspirin weakened the heart, depressed the vital forces, increased the mortality in mild cases and made convalescence slower. In all cases, it masks the symptoms and renders immeasurably more difficult the selection of the curative remedy. Apparently aspirin bears no curative relation to any disease and it ought to be prohibited.

Guy wrote extensively about the nosodes.  A nosode is an isopathic remedy consisting of the product of some specific disease administered in minute doses for the cure of the same disease”. (Century Dictionary.)

This definition applies better to allopathy than to homœopathy because, in old school practice, a vaccine is administered specifically for its own disease, whereas, in homœopathy, a nosode is given in potentized form on symptomatic as well as on clinical indications.

In the old school, vaccines can be either autogenous or standardized products and are usually given hypodermically. (continue reading:)

Guy left an important legacy to Homeopathy.  Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis. We have already made a start through the generosity of the late Dr. Stearns of New York and I have been elected President of the International Foundation for Homeopathic Research. We have a capital of $15,000 and a valuable library.

Guy wrote Treatment of Influenza, A New Synthesis, The Physical Basis of Homoeopathy and a New Synthesis, Mental Ills Considered from the Standpoint of Sigmund Freud’s Theory…, Apropos of Radium, Significance of Symptoms, Types of Infection Cured by Arsenicum, Calcarea carb in both The Hahnemannian Monthly and Transactions and many other papers on various homeopathic subjects published in most of the American Journals.

About the author

Sue Young

Sue Young

Sue Young obtained a degree in psychology from City University London and subsequently studied homoepathy at CPH and also trained with Robert Davidson. She has been a practicing homeopath for over 20 years and says she owes her life and health to homeopathy. Sue also studied history and archaeology at Birbeck College, which fueled her deep interest in the past. These days she spends much of her time researching and writing fascinating biographies of homeopaths throughout history. You can see the fruits of her labor here : http://sueyounghistories.com/

1 Comment

  • This is a wonderful case of body reflexes as a means of selecting a similar remedy. Dr streams, a homeopathic graduate of New York (1932) was able to find true similar remedies for severe heart illness with the help of two layman which he says the best classical prescribers could not do. He got fully recovered by finding a remedy with the help of his assistants who got tested 1200 remedies in 12 days (100 remedies per day). In short he found exact similar remedy by developing an autonomic reflex testing of remedies which were highly potentized by rubbing a dielectride rod duly dipped in a remedy on the skin areas. This type of testing is new to me. I also remember an homeopath in Delhi who tests the exact remedy for a patient by dipping an hair from the head of the patient and claimed this process very scientific for knowing and curing the patient. The distinguished doctor may please enlighten that how far these methods are better in proving remedies instead of by proving the remedies by mouth.

    thanks and regards
    Dr C S Gupta

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