We sometimes get new-comers who know nothing about homeopathy; they’ve been referred to us by a friend or relative or they’ve seen an article online; they come in apprehensively, and this is when I start to realize how unorthodox we are! They’re used to the medical world, they come prepared to talk about their blood tests and X-rays. They have no idea they’re about to spend the next two hours answering questions about what kind of a person they are, what kind of weather they like, and what kind of food they eat. Clearly, this calls for an explanation. The interview–why we ask what we ask?
Dear New Person,
I can imagine that you’re more than a little wary about venturing into the uncharted waters of Homeopathy! It’s a funny sounding name, but it only means “like cures like” in Greek.
You may have heard that we work with “remedies”, but, what are they?
Any substance (plant, mineral, etc.) can be a “remedy” just by serially diluting and shaking it, as many as 100 times or more. By the time the remedy is “done”, it has become an “energy” or “vibration”, not a “substance” anymore. It can communicate with your immune system better in this way. Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, said that the immune system itself was an “energy”, which he referred to as the “vital force”, and which in Acupuncture they call “chi”. It seems that all ancient cultures knew about this.
In homeopathy, you take a remedy pill or “pellet”, drop it in a cup of water, take a sip, and that’s all there is to it! The next thing you know, you’re well! (Especially if the case is acute. Chronic cases might take a while.)
Whatever a substance can cause, the homeopathic version of that can cure! If snake venom causes hemorrhaging, then homeopathic snake venom stops hemorrhaging! If poison ivy causes itching, then homeopathic poison ivy stops itching! If coffee keeps you up all night, then homeopathic coffee is good for insomnia! I could go on and on with these examples!
(“I don’t get it!” you might say. “What would you give for a burn, something that causes a burn? It sounds crazy! Doesn’t it make more sense to put a cold pack on it?”) I address this question on the homepage of my website: elaineLewis.hpathy.com. Suffice it to say that it has to do with a phenomenon called “rebound”, which is what your body does when the soothing effects of the cold pack wear off! Why does the body “rebound”? Because it’s always self- adjusting to impressions! It’s always striving for balance! If you apply a cold pack, your body is now going to be forced to create heat in the area where you applied cold, to restore balance! And how is that going to make your burn feel? Much worse! Think about it!
All that’s left to do is figure out which remedy you resemble the most, and that’s the purpose of the interview and the questionnaire!
I take online cases, so, the questionnaire gives me the information I need about your case but also about you as a person–your nature, likes and dislikes, etc. because in homeopathy, we are looking for just one thing: a remedy whose “profile” matches you!
How do we compile “remedy profiles” (which we also refer to as “materia medica”)? We know what profile a remedy has because test subjects (called “provers”) take a remedy in overdose and in doing so, take on the characteristics of the substance in much the same way that an intoxicated person has taken on the characteristics of alcohol!
Let me give you an example. People who need the remedy Mercurius, which is homeopathic mercury, are very sensitive to changes in temperature, have a very narrow range of temperature-tolerance and are constantly adjusting the thermostat in the house or opening and closing windows and throwing the covers off and on in the hopes of finally getting the temperature right, and what do we use mercury for in real life? Thermometers! Do you see how the patient resembles the remedy?
This is the kind of information we hope to uncover in the questionnaire and the interview. Let’s take salt, which is called Natrum muriaticum (Latin for sodium chloride. All remedy names are in Latin). What type of person might need homeopathic salt, or, “Nat-mur” as we call it? Well, what do we know about salt? You know what they say, throw salt over your shoulder to put the past behind you. Well, Nat-mur people can’t do that—put the past behind them! They dwell on the past, they live in the past, past injustices, past hurts, betrayals, etc., consume their present moments! They dwell on what they should have said and should have done and what might have been.
Remember the Bible story about Lot and his wife? Lot and his wife were allowed to leave Sodom but were told, “Don’t look back!” Lot’s wife turned around and looked back and turned into a pillar of salt! So, “salt people” are always “looking back”, dwelling on the past, living in the past.
What else is there about salt? Salt is a drying agent, it’s known for dryness. Nat-mur people can’t cry! Their eyes are dry; and what are tears made of? Salt water! Nat-mur people are very stoic, dignified, and they are better alone by themselves. They don’t like people fussing over them or consoling them because consolation might move them to tears, and they’re so afraid of crying that they close themselves off from the world where they can feel safe.
Do you ever watch “Frasier” on TV? The sit-com about two snobby psychiatrists from Seattle, Washington? The character Lilith on “Frasier” (Frasier’s ex-wife), is a typical Nat-mur:
Do you see how unapproachable she looks? How prim and proper and emotionally distant she appears? Here’s how the actress describes her character:
“I find Lilith very innocent, very sweet, very naïve. She’s socially inept. She has no idea how to react with other people. She’s shy and uncomfortable with people. She’s a scientist, she’s very analytical, she’s very honest.”
Are you familiar with Simon and Garfunkel?
They had a song out in 1966 called “I Am A Rock”, which I call the “Nat-mur Theme Song”! Here it is:
I Am A Rock
A winter’s day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
Don’t talk of love,
But I’ve heard the words before;
They are sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.
And here’s another shocker: Nat-mur is actually ROCK salt! I kid you not!
Do you remember “Yesterday” by The Beatles? This is another Nat-mur song!
“Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play, now I need a place to hide away, oh I believe in yesterday.”
Well, that’s Nat-mur for you, it’s is all about Yesterday.
It’s one of our most often-prescribed remedies! You must know someone like this. You see the similarities between the substance, the folklore, and the person, right? And so what we expect is that the remedy will cancel out whatever is similar to it in the patient. The Nat-mur person, after taking the remedy, should be able to put the past behind him, socialize, make friends, break out of his isolation, his depression and join the rest of the world.
Nat-mur’s, not surprisingly, crave salt and salty snacks! So, we’d expect their craving for salt to go down. We’d expect that this constitutional remedy will cure whatever “disease” the person might have because it changes the person from the inside out. In fact, after the right homeopathic remedy, people often feel brand new!
If we ask you about all the things that influence you, the way you react to certain situations and people, and other things you probably think don’t have anything to do with your complaint, now at least you’ll know why! We are trying to find your constitutional remedy!
But I hasten to add that some of you will be coming in for temporary problems: a bee sting or a sprained ankle or a cold; in which case, we have slightly different questions! We’re less interested in getting to know you as a person in general and more interested in hearing details about your complaint specifically. We might say, “What was the weather like when your cold came on?” Or, “Is your bee sting better for cold applications?”
All these seemingly “irrelevant” questions help us to find the right remedy, if you can just bear with us!
See you again next time!
Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine takes online cases, write to her at [email protected]