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Case Taking with Homoeopathic Facial Analysis

Written by Grant Bentley

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– The argument between the academic and the practical

– Different roads leading to the one place?

– Being ideologically promiscuous

– Homeopathic Facial Analysis (HFA) – strong and unchanging

– The two modalities that exist in every chronic disease

– The mentals – not the key to unlocking the remedy

– Generals – more discriminating than mentals

– Physical form is unique – the human condition is not

– 90% of valid information is non verbal

– The body is a vault that keeps past memories alive

– Nature has our best interests at heart

– Our facial features have molded into a design most beneficial for our individual needs

A former patient of mine who has studied homoeopathy for more than twenty years, described HFA as the most usable system she has ever known because of its straight forward simplicity.

In any walk of life, professional or technical, there is an age old argument between those who are practical and those who are academic, and in homoeopathy it is no different. Accountants often disagree with economists, while builders shake their heads as they look at the drawings of the architect. There has always been a difference between theorists and those at the coalface. My patient was stating that HFA is coalface homoeopathy. It is designed for the clinic because it comes from the clinic and its membership is dominated by working practitioners whose bottom line is ease and reproducible results.

This does not mean theory is irrelevant, but the argument about whether it is practical, is too important to be overlooked. During a discussion I once had with an Osteopath who also studied homoeopathy, he mentioned how there were so many theories in homoeopathy by comparison to other modalities. I replied, ‘Wouldn’t that be a good thing? After all doesn’t this show a thinking profession?’ His reply was ‘No, it shows a profession that has too much time on its hands!’

The problem for him when it came to homoeopathy was not the system itself, but the multitude of competing theories that kept emerging in reference to practice. Most disturbing is how many different theories are adopted by practitioners, as if they are interchangeable and saying the same thing. Some of these theories have entirely different opinions on miasms, remedies and even pathology. Some do not focus on miasms at all while for others they are the central core. Some have different ways of prescribing, different modes of delivering the remedy, different potency scales and different ways of taking a case, yet they are all being viewed by some practitioners as if they are different roads leading to the one place.

Many homoeopaths act in a manner that is ideologically promiscuous, sacrificing quantity for quality in a search to repeat the rush that comes from being ‘amazed’. Promiscuity never delivers the comfort and depth we instinctively crave. Promiscuity is a short term fix to an insatiable need for stimulation. But a constant need for stimulation comes from a lack of sustainable fulfillment. This is the difference between eating porridge and chocolate. People don’t crave what is nourishing and satisfying because satisfaction is the opposite of craving. Cravings occur when satisfaction is momentary but unsustaining, which causes our desire for more.

Regardless of whether it is food, drugs or knowledge, jumping from one to another is neither healthy nor productive. It is not professional development that is in question, but the search for the thrill that comes from ‘insight’ which can be addictive and even dangerous. It is addictive in the way any thrill is addictive, because it leaves you wanting more. This makes some research authors feel pressured into churning out ‘discoveries’ because of public demand. It also often makes continuous or annual discoveries look suspicious to other researchers, who know how much time it takes to research a project thoroughly. Theories that come out annually will be judged rightly or wrongly as more concerned with supply and demand, than advancing real understanding. This is a practical reality of life; supply and demand drives everything, including homoeopathy, but the problem as always is that anything mass produced often sacrifices quality for quantity.

HFA is not a market driven system, because once you know it – you know it. The system itself has remained virtually unchanged since its conception, which shows the strength of its foundation. While the philosophy continues to evolve and expand, getting progressively deeper yet simpler at the same time, (see Appearance and Circumstance and Soul & Survival) the process of applying HFA in the clinic remains fundamentally strong and unchanging.

When a patient enters my clinic, there is nothing to differentiate the HFA system from standard classical homoeopathy. In the beginning the consultation centres around the patient’s presenting complaint, examining the type of pain they experience including times, aggravations and other factors. Once this has concluded, the consultation extends into the patient’s life story. Generally this takes place easily and naturally because it is rare for any chronic disease not to have two primary modalities. The first modality is that the patient and their symptoms are worse when they are tired. The second modality is that the patient and their symptoms are worse when they are stressed.

While these two modalities seem obvious, the ramifications that come from understanding why they exist in every case of chronic disease is so broad they change homoeopathic philosophy completely, and yet still we ignore them.

Stars exist in the night sky; they are obvious and have always existed. As a result we don’t pay them much attention and treat their existence with the contempt that comes from familiarity. Chronic disease with the modalities – worse when tired or stressed, is in the same position as the stars in the sky. Stars are not just little lights that twinkle when it gets dark, they are nuclear powerhouses that drive the material universe, and by understanding stars we can understand the origins and make-up of how life began. Accepting “worse when tired or stressed” without thinking, is the same as seeing the stars but not understanding their significance. Understanding why every chronic disease is worse when the patient is tired or stressed has the potential to reform homoeopathic philosophy and create the next leap forward – but it is must be properly understood. (See Soul & Survival for more about personal energy). This is the first big difference between HFA and contemporary homoeopathy.

Once a patient understands the link between personal energy levels and disease, it is easy to take them to the next step and review the impacts life has had by discussing their personal history. This is the second major difference between HFA and other contemporary methods. Contemporary homeopathy uses life stories to find the inner core of the patient. For some it is an attempt by the practitioner to uncover a subtlety to distinguish one remedy from another, a necessary process for those who practice ‘personalised drug picture’ type prescribing. In another approach, life stories are used as a way of getting the patient to delve into their pain until they reach the point of a primal scream and open themselves up to an epiphany. This approach is psychoanalysis dressed in a new suit. The process is not unsound, but psychological medicine was forced to drop this technique in favour of more practically based methods, because the process took far too much time and results were simply not proportional to effort. In HFA however, life stories are used as a way of ascertaining stress, exhaustion and repeating circumstances. Biographies sometimes yield good rubrics but not always, which is why in Homoeopathic Facial Analysis the mentals are not regarded as the key to unlocking the remedy.

Life themes are repeating patterns and HFA practitioners take them literally without interpretation. For example, if a patient came from an alcoholic background and made the decision that they themselves would never drink because of the damage they had seen alcohol do, but their partner or child drinks more than they should, then alcohol becomes a rubric because it is a repeating life theme. I do not ask how they feel about alcohol or what physical sensation it causes, I just accept the impact this substance has made and note it as an influential stress.

Some may find it unusual at this time to go against the tide of mental’s prescribing. Most current methods attempt to come up with ways of precision focusing on feelings or beliefs. HFA is the opposite and this is its third major point of difference. To describe why the mentals are not as discriminating as generals is a book in itself, but physical form is unique where as the human condition is not. The aspirations desires and needs of most human beings are similar and therefore not distinct, and certainly not as individual as a physical feature like fingerprints.

The theory has always been that mind and soul forms physical form but I am not so sure that is true. Other people’s attitudes, attractions, opinions, repulsions, suspicions, friendliness, openness and sexual desire are driven by how we look, and what feelings our looks evoke in them. This in turn shapes how we view the world because of the people and attitudes that have come our way. A sexually vulnerable looking woman like Marilyn Monroe will have different experiences and beliefs about human nature than a woman whose looks are stronger, and as a result has not shared the experiences caused by having those looks. Men will act differently around these two women because of the feelings each create. Not everyone acts in the same way to the same person because looks interplay with life experience bringing forth different reactions depending on personal history. In one man, a woman’s vulnerability may bring out a predatory side, while in another that same vulnerability can make some males protective or even paternal.

Experts agree that 90% of communication is non-verbal. One study at UCLA indicated that up to 93% of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. So why are homoeopaths not using or embracing such vital information, particularly when clinical effectiveness is totally dependent on gathering the facts? The reality is that up until now it has been impossible because we didn’t have the right tools, but with Homoeopathic Facial Analysis there is now an effective way of gaining this vital information. The reason we need to dig and delve to look into the labyrinth of the unconscious mind, is because we are only getting ten percent or less of the information we need, the rest is hidden in our body. Ninety percent of the facts are missing because they cannot be verbally acquired, regardless of intellectual promises to the contrary. Homoeopathic Facial Analysis solves this problem, because it is the only available homoeopathic system designed to read facial structure in a clinical and exclusively homoeopathic way. This is one of the reasons why its success rates are so high.

The body expresses more than pain. It is a vault that keeps the memories of the past alive to be used in the present when necessary. That is the purpose of evolution, to adapt to the constant stresses of the past so the present has a better chance of survival. But what homoeopathic system caters to this jewel of nature apart from Homoeopathic Facial Analysis? – None. Chronic disease is hardly ever a disease in the infectious sense of the word. There is no asthma virus or cancer germ because chronic disease is an outcome. It is a result of all the events and stresses that have come before it. Chronic disease tells us the story of the patient, how they have lived and what they have endured. The body is designed to store memory. How can new life be created without the physical transference of memory via genes?

Over time ducks evolved webbed feet because they spent so much time hunting in the water. As a result benevolent nature decided that the duck would benefit if its feet were webbed. Because we know how to read the signs, we can tell that any animal with webbed feet spends a lot of time in or around water. We don’t have to intellectualise this information because we accept that physical form in animals remembers, and adapts to consistency or stress. Why do we think human beings are any different? Why would nature be less benevolent to us than to a duck?

Have you ever tried to convey an emotion to another person while keeping a deadpan and unchanging face? Try conveying real anger without intonation or facial expression. It cannot be done and do you know why? Because the human face is specifically designed to be the main conveyor of emotion. Not just the emotions we feel but also as a medium of communicating what emotions we need to get from others. Every practitioner knows that certain patients keep attracting the same type of people and this is why. Not only do we instinctively and unconsciously through our face display our emotional needs, we are also unconscious experts at reading what others through their face are asking of us. Some who respond will do so with honour but others will capitalise on this request.

This is the fourth major area of difference between HFA and more contemporary methods. HFA knows how to read this unspoken facial language and its practitioners can read what memories are locked in the patient’s unconscious.

After the patient has finished their story, what we call a “top to toe” examination is verbally conducted, asking the patient a totality relating to any pathology or pain they may experience. This is called a top to toe because we start with the head and work our way down. Starting with the head my questions will be

* Do you suffer from headaches or migraines?
* Do you have any skin condition of the scalp?
* Is there any problem with your hair?

When there is an affirmative reply, a check is made to find any modality that accompanies the symptom. Once all the information about this symptom is found further areas of the body are checked – this involves a lot of leading questions

* Do you have any problems with your eyes?
* Are you prone to conjunctivitis or any other repeating infection?

Once this process is complete the physical generals will stand out. The headache was worse of the right and at night, so too was the knee pain. The liver pain is a constant problem (<right side), so too is their difficulty falling asleep (<night). Each little section does not have to be repertorised because they are particulars, but the < night and < right side are valuable physical generals.

Because the body is designed to adapt, being able to read it is vital. When a body builder trains in a gym their muscles adapt to the heavy weights, gaining size and mass. If that same person decided to take up marathon running instead, their body would become a different shape, shedding fat and bulk in an effort to make them lighter for long distance running. The same happens inside the brain. The more we focus our attention on a subject or skill, the more the neurons in our brain break past links to create new ones. The key to what happens with the body and brain is frequency. Nature is a system that ensures that physical form adapts itself to need. In the past whenever human beings concentrated on a task, either physical or mental, it was because that task was important to survival. Nature helps us with important tasks by allowing our body to readjust and adapt quickly to any repeated task. This is why practice makes perfect and why habits and addictions are difficult to break.

The human face is part of nature’s adaptable make-up and plays a vital role in acquiring need. Most of the time we don’t need to be told that our patient is anxious, exhausted or tense, it shows itself in how they carry themselves but even more, it is etched on their face. The process of evolution is remarkable and it shows that nature has our best interests at heart. But evolution and adaptation are long term processes that rely on holding the memories of the past. Snow leopards for example, have changed their coat colour to better suit their surroundings. In the jungle the yellow and black of a large cat’s coat is perfect for the sun and shadows. In the snow this jungle coat would be a hindrance not a help, so nature allows the coat to change into white so the leopard can now blend with the snow. However these adaptations are only useful provided the environment doesn’t change. If the snow leopard suddenly moved to the jungle its coat would be a hazard because it is the wrong reaction to the environment.

Human beings have these same forces of nature and we also adapt to our most stressful and dangerous environment. However, before nature commits to any physical change, the stress or conditions in the environment must be long-term and stable.

Every one of us has physically adapted and evolved to suit the changing needs of survival, and the area where this physical change has been most prevalent is on our face. This is because our most consistent threat comes from the group we live in. Human beings are less shaped by weather than other animals although obviously environment plays a part, especially with blue (syphilitic) people but that is a much longer story (see Soul & Survival). While Africans look different to Europeans or Asians we are anatomically all the same. Weather is less of a physiological impetus because we can build shelters and fires.

Our peripheral body does not have to continually adjust to life in the elements because that is not where our greatest threat to survival comes from. Our body does however have to adjust and find a survival edge to life in a group. Like all group animals each human being’s greatest threat is the person next to them, because individuals within groups must always compete for resources (see Soul & Survival). Evolution is only successful when it adapts and stores the challenging circumstances of the past. Evolution is playing the odds with the snow leopard, betting that the cold and icy conditions of the past will continue to be the prevalent stress in the present. Human beings have also faced generations of tribulations and have adapted to the physical demands of living in groups. Our body language and facial features have molded and etched themselves into a design that is most beneficial to our individual needs. Homoeopathic Facial Analysis not only helps us select a remedy, it helps the HFA practitioner recognise each person’s basic requirements for survival within a group. Human communities survive by individuals performing different niches and these traits along with emotional needs are displayed, as one would expect, to anyone who knows how to read them. Now let’s return to facial analysis in the clinic.

After completing the physical examination I then take photos of my patient (see Homoeopathic Facial Analysis). This is major difference number five between HFA and contemporary homoeopathy. After taking my pictures I leave the patient in the waiting room while I examine their facial features for shape, size and symmetry (see Homoeopathic Facial Analysis). Each facial feature is then classified into a designated colour group of yellow, red or blue, each colour group represents a miasm; yellow is psora, red is sycosis and blue is syphilis (see Appearance and Circumstance).

Homoeopathic Facial Analysis determines the dominant miasm of my patient. While Hahnemann focused on finding the dominant miasm within remedies, analysing the dominant miasm in people has not received the same attention. Once my repertorisation is complete and I know the dominant miasm of my patient, all that remains is to give the repertorised remedy with the same dominant miasm to my patient. Normally a repertorisation based on the generals will leave up to twenty remedy possibilities, but if I know my patient is syphilitically dominant and Mercury, Conium and Aurum are in my repertorisation, my choice of remedy shrinks from twenty possibilities to three. If my patient is blue (syphilis) then so too must the remedy otherwise we don’t have a perfect similimum – and that is how Homoeopathic Facial Analysis is done. With the HFA method, practitioners no longer have to struggle over essence or wait like Kent suggested for ten years or more, just to become proficient. Many graduates can achieves results of 80% and upwards after studying Homoeopathic Facial Analysis for only a year even in the most difficult cases of chronic disease.

Developing Homeopathic Facial Analysis (HFA) has been a rewarding journey for both myself, my fellow practitioners and my students. Clinical success is consistent and the insight attained through studying the link between behaviour and facial features has opened my eyes to universal laws and how homeopathy taps into this phenomena.

Grant has been working and studying in various fields of natural therapies since 1987. Grant’s qualifications include Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Clinical Hypnosis and a Post Graduate Diploma in Eriksonian Psychotherapy. Grant is the current Principal and senior lecturer of the Victorian College of Classical Homeopathy, a position he has held since 1995.

His first book, Appearance and Circumstance(2003) details the nature of miasms and how facial analysis can be used to determine the patient’s dominant miasm. Homeopathic Facial Analysis (2006) continues this work with detailed descriptions and examples of facial analysis. Soul & Survival (2008) defines how miasms influence us in our daily lives and define our individuality.

Grant has lectured in Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, USA and Europe.

Further information about Grant Bentley’s research and his books can be found on the Victorian College of Classical Homeopathy website http://www.vcch.org/miasm.html and the Soul & Survival website http://www.soulandsurvival.com/

About the author

Grant Bentley

Grant Bentley - Grant"™s qualifications include Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Clinical Hypnosis and a Post Graduate Diploma in Eriksonian Psychotherapy. Grant is the current Principal and senior lecturer of the Victorian College of Classical Homeopathy, a position he has held since 1995.

His book, Appearance and Circumstance (2003) details the nature of miasms and how facial analysis can be used to determine the patient"™s dominant miasm. Homeopathic Facial Analysis (2006) gives detailed descriptions and examples of facial analysis. Soul & Survival (2008) defines how miasms influence us in our daily lives and define our individuality.

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