The other song – International Academy of Advanced Homoeopathy has always been a platform for sharing and exchanges of ideas and advances in the field of Homoeopathy. The institute’s open-minded approach to all schools of thought in the field has made it immensely popular among students as well as practitioners of the science. To enhance this purpose of promoting the best approaches and learning from them, the other song had organized a seminar with the renowned international homoeopath, Dr. Heiner Frei on its premises on the 15th February, 2015, Sunday.
Dr. Heiner Frei is a pediatrician in Laupen, Switzerland. After clinical training as a pediatrician and hematologist and oncologist he started practicing Homoeopathy 27 years ago. In 2005, he has become internationally known as the author of the rigorous Swiss ADHD double blind study, which led to a significant difference between homoeopathic remedies and placebo. For this trial he developed Polarity Analysis, a new method to improve the precision of homoeopathic prescriptions. He has published books on ADHD and on Polarity Analysis in German and English. For his research, Dr. Frei received several scientific awards.
In the seminar, Dr Frei introduced the concept of Polarity Analysis, helping the participants solve acute and chronic cases with this approach to a point that enabled them to use it scientifically in their practice.
Polarity analysis (PA) is a method that leads to an efficient and reproducible choice of remedy and increases the precision of prescriptions. It is a development of Boenninghausen’s concept of contraindications. It serves to determine in individual disease a healing probability for each homeopathic medicine in question. Polarity analysis is based on the revised edition of Boenninghausen’s Therapeutic Pocketbook, an exceedingly reliable repertory. Dr Heiner Frei has taken the concept of contraindication of Boenninghausen and developed the method of polarity analysis to solve acute as well as chronic cases. When choosing a remedy Boenninghausen strived to match the patient’s set of symptoms and especially the modalities as closely as possible to the ‘genius’ of the remedy. The genius of a remedy includes the modalities, sensations, and clinical findings that have repeatedly appeared in the provings at different locations and have been healed by this remedy. These are in fact the characteristics of a remedy.
This system is based on the understanding of polar symptoms and gradation in remedies. Polar symptoms are those symptoms that have an opposite aspect, an “opposite pole” such as thirst / thirstlessness, cold aggravates / cold ameliorates, desire for fresh air / dislike of fresh air. A patient can have only one pole of a polar symptom. He is either thirsty or thirstless. Since the symptom set of a remedy is composed of the observations of several provers, a remedy can possibly cover both poles.
Normally these poles stand in different grades: If five provers have observed thirst, and thirst has been healed by the remedy, thirst stands in third grade. If in addition one prover has observed thirstlessness in the same remedy, thirstlessness will stand in first grade. In order to select the remedy we must understand what ‘Polarity Difference’ is and how do we calculate it.
The polarity difference indicates the level of congruence between patient symptoms and homoeopathic remedy. The higher this polarity difference, the more the remedy corresponds to the patient’s characteristic symptoms, assuming there are no contraindications.
In order to calculate the polarity difference for each remedy the grades of all polar patient symptoms are added.
The grades of the corresponding opposite symptoms are subtracted from the resulting sum. The result is the polarity difference (PD). Here is an example of repertorization using polar symptoms in Boenninghausen repertory:
With this, we can interpret that higher the polarity difference, the better the match between patient symptoms and remedy, and the more likely the remedy will heal. According to the approach of polarity analysis, the criteria for the choice of the remedy are – the size of polarity difference, no contraindications, completeness of coverage of polar symptoms.
Working tools which are to be used for case solving with polarity analysis is Software of Boenninghausen‘s Therapeutic Pocketbook 2000, Polarity Analysis Checklists and Questionnaires (free download from www.heinerfrei.ch) A dictionary of the materia medica, Textbook: Heiner Frei, Polarity Analysis in Homeopathy, a Precise Path to the Similimum.
In order to help understand and apply this method better, Dr. Heiner Frei demonstrated a few of his cases which were successfully treated using this analytical approach. One of the cases he presented was of a child whose troubles began three days before consultation with a mild sore throat. Since then he had developed a headache and pain in the limbs, as well as a high temperature of 39.4 °C (102.9 °F). He was very weak, could hardly swallow and tolerated only cold food.
The examination revealed a bright red throat, severely swollen tonsils, and petechial bleeding on the palatal arch. His tongue was bright red, the cervical lymph nodes were severely swollen and painful, and tenderness over abdomen on palpation. The provisional diagnosis was streptococcal tonsillitis. The diagnosis of scarlet fever would also require the presence of the characteristic skin rash with light speckling of small, slightly raised bright red spots. His skin showed that the exanthema had already formed.
Using the Checklist for Ear-Nose-Throat and Eye, the mother picked the following symptoms:
- Mouth odour
- Dry mouth
- Thirst – P
- Swallowing: worse – PFood and drink, cold things: better – P
- Cold in general: worse – P
- Warmly, from wrapping up: better – P
- Open air: worse – P
- Air, aversion to open air – P
- Movement: worse – P
- Physical effort: worse – P
- Lying position: better – P
- Standing: worse – P
- Pressure, external: worse – P
The references to the chart are as follows:
- The remedies are ordered according to the number of hits.
- Symptom descriptions: < = worse; > = better
- Polar symptoms are marked with (p).
- The number after the symptom in square brackets (for example, thirst ) refers to the number of remedies matching the symptom. This information is important because it shows how strongly the choice of remedy is restricted by the use of the symptom rubric.
- Patient symptoms: these are listed underneath the blue line and above the red line.
- Opposite poles: these are shown in italics and are found below the red line.
- Calculation of the polarity difference: the grades of the polar patient symptoms of a remedy are added up. From this total, the sum of the grades of the opposite poles listed for the remedy were subtracted; the result is the polarity difference (example: Nux vomica 35-18=17).
- Contraindications, CI: The opposite poles at the genius level (grades 3-5) are compared with the grades of the patient’s symptoms. If the patient’s symptom has a low grade (1-2) but the opposite pole is listed for the remedy with a high grade (3-5), the genius of this remedy does not correspond to the characteristics of the patient’s symptom; the remedy is therefore contraindicated.
- Example: when checking Nux vomica, we find that the patient’s symptom > food and drink, cold things is listed at the 1st grade whereas the opposite pole < food and drink, cold things is listed for the remedy at the 4th grade. In other words, < food and drink, cold things is a genius symptom of Nux-vomica. Therefore Nux vomica does not fit the patient’s symptoms and is contraindicated. Columns with contraindications CI are shaded grey so that we can instantly see which remedies are contraindicated.
- If we repertorize just the polar symptoms, eleven remedies completely cover all symptoms, four of them without contraindications, but with greatly varying polarity differences (Bry 21, Merc-s 12, Nat-m 12, Thuj 2). If we include the scarlet fever rash in the repertorisation, only Bryonia and Mercurius solubilis
The child was given Bryonia 200 C due to the large polarity difference. In the following night, the child still had a slight fever. The next morning, twelve hours later, the throat pain and headache had completely disappeared.
In this case, the patient would have received Bryonia even without a materia medica comparison, since the genius of the remedy, expressed in the very high polarity difference, far more comprehensively and specifically matched the modalities than Mercurius solubilis.
Another case example of a gentleman who came for an emergency consultation. His current illness began two months ago after a walk in stormy weather. He suffered general joint pains and tension in the neck and shoulder that he could hardly turn his head; even swallowing was painful. He also had general symptoms, especially a feeling of heat in the entire body and outbreaks of sweating with an inclination to uncover. He feared having a serious illness, and he came to a pediatric homeopath, to avoid undergoing aggressive conventional medical treatment.
On examination he appeared a tense, thin and pale patient with a poor general condition, who attempted to conceal his anxiety by cracking jokes. The muscles in the area of the shoulder and neck were tense on both sides and the rotation of his head was restricted. The most probable clinical diagnosis was sub-acute rheumatic polymyalgia.