It has come to my notice that there is discussion in some quarters that I have swayed away from Sensation Method towards a more repertorial approach. Many have felt that I might be giving up on something very valuable, which has been of great benefit to all of us. Also some people who have spoken against the sensation approach, see my using traditional sources such as Repertory and Materia medica as a sign of failure of the Sensation approach and some have even demanded an apology from me for misleading the profession. Some of the words of my writings esp. from my recent book “From Similia to Synergy” have been taken out of context and have been branded as a confession.
I am writing to clarify my stand. I truly do believe that Sensation Method is of vital importance to our practice and without this, I could not be working today. But I do also believe that we cannot abandon our original tools like the repertory and Materia Medica – I feel we must integrate it all together. The result of this integration has been greatly beneficial to me and more importantly, to many patients.
Thus, I see my current development, not as a regression, but as an evolution and strengthening of the Sensation Method. What I am doing is nothing new, it is exactly what we all do – we all integrate the repertory and Materia Medica knowledge into our practice. The repertory and symptoms helped me to ground the Sensation approach even more, and helped in my remedy prescription.
What I am doing now is exactly the same idea that you all have been doing, except a name and nomenclature, ‘Synergy’, has been assigned. It is important to realize that Sensation is an integral part of Synergy – without Sensation; there would be no Synergy. Synergy is bringing people in from all schools of thought, even making believers of those who previously disregarded the Sensation Method – it is achieving what we have always wanted to achieve – a unity and solidarity amongst us all.
I would like to say that to those who have understood and grown with the Sensation Method, it is impossible to abandon it, as it takes us to the core experience of the person. I surely cannot forget it and it will be forever rooted in my practice – if I originated it, I definitely cannot forget it!
It is obvious that different cases require different approaches. I foresee that the development of homoeopathy lies not in a militant difference between the different approaches but in the integration and synergy of the different schools of thought. It is only when we bring together the crucial aspects of the traditional branch of homeopathy and the contributions of the innovators of the present generation, would we be able to establish thorough and definite results.
The last 20-30 years have witnessed phenomenal shifts in homeopathy. Over this period of time, there have been vast improvements and innovations in software, provings, techniques and understanding of homeopathy, and in schools of homeopathy. It seems as if everything has sprouted up in this era. We have had the gift of having such wonderful thinkers and researchers. For example, Jurgen Becker connected the world of homoeopathy with the world of symbolism and mythology. Jeremy Sherr contributed many valuable and dynamic provings to the field. Massimo Mangialavori enhanced taking the work of remedy families forward. Sehgal explored the use of Mind rubrics. Jan Scholten’s great contribution has been the study of the periodic table. Roger Morrison successfully has integrated traditional homeopathy with Sensation and miasms. David Warkentin developed Mac Repertory, and Reference Works, a database of vast materia medica knowledge and provings.
What I have observed to occur is that some of the followers of various schools or teachers get the impression that that particular method is the only way and best way. They become narrow-minded and adopt a one-tracked, tunnel vision. Conversely, I have seen that the originators, researchers and innovators of the newer ideas are able to learn and integrate other concepts into their practice. I have been giving joint seminars and conferences with teachers of other schools and I found them open, respectful and wanting to integrate others’ ideas in their practice.
You can say that two things happen here. One is that you integrate different approaches into practice, and the second is that you are able to see the commonality in all approaches and have the understanding that the essence behind all of the approaches is the same. It is like coming to the same point from different paths – a meeting point as such.
I feel that there is a strong need for all of these innovators to come together on one platform so that a strong message of unity amongst diversity is sent to the profession.
I find the Sensation method a wonderful tool, but when used with other techniques, it becomes even more powerful, solid, complete, and balanced. When we are equipped with different tools, we will be able to know which one applies to the case in front of us better.
None of us hold the truth; we hold only parts of the truth. In order to hold the full truth, we must integrate. I believe the future of homoeopathy is golden and it lies in the form of synergistic integration of the old and the new. Once we have accomplished this, our perceptions will expand and we will have reached a stage of maturity, wisdom and responsibility. Also, if we are able to use all these tools synergistically, our confidence and our results exponentially rise.
Consistency of results is really the most important thing in practice. It is the test of any methodology. In homoeopathy the traditional method of Repertory, Materia Medica and keynotes, with its comparison of the symptoms of a remedy to that of the patient, has led to many beautiful results and has been the foundation for homoeopathic practice.
In the past two decades newer ideas of classification of the remedy according to Kingdom and miasm have emerged. Along with this development, an understanding of the importance of knowing the exact experience of patient in terms of Sensation has been rediscovered. This has reawakened the idea that we can generalise the local sensation, that what is true of the part is true of the whole, as enunciated by Boenninghausen, called the Genius.
The discovery that each remedy has the qualities of its Source has given a new dimension to our understanding of our Materia Medica.
Use of this thematic understanding according to Kingdom, Subkingdom and Source information, along with miasms, has been termed the Sensation Approach, and it addresses the conceptual side of homeopathy. This approach has appealed to the artistic side of many in the world of homoeopathy, and it has come to be used extensively. However I have found that the most consistent results come when this artistic side and the logical, traditional side are integrated. In fact they have always been integral to one another.
When we see this integration our prescriptions become more rounded, complete and sure. In remedies that are sufficiently well-known a third aspect also has to be considered: the Genius – the main idea, the flavour, the essence, the grand general of the remedy. When we use these three aspects: the Genius; Materia Medica and Repertory; and the Sensation Approach concepts, then we are using an integrated approach and not a fragmented one. I have found that this integration has given me the best results so far in my practice.
The word ‘integrate’ means to make integral. Integral means that all the parts of a system are both interlinked and essential to its full function; to its completion. Sensation, Symptoms and Genius are the three integral parts of remedy selection, and all three are essential to its completion.
Thirty-five years of clinical practice, along with deep grounding in Materia Medica, provings and Repertory, has brought with it an on-going evolution and refinement in my approach of practice. I know that the Sensation idea holds true but I am not rigid about the approach of case-taking. I believe that we should go as deep as the patient will let us. Pushing beyond that can be counterproductive, causing us to go off on a tangent, chasing one expression and missing the core of who the person really is.
Some practitioners and students who observe my case-taking in the clinic or in a seminar are surprised that I do not use “Sankaran’s approach” in all cases. They see me take different approaches in different cases.
In one recent live case demonstration a student asked me how I came to a remedy despite the patient not showing any hand gestures. These queries come from the delusion that “Sankaran’s approach” is totally divorced from traditional homoeopathy and is a very fixed way of taking all cases.
The knowledge of the Kingdoms and Subkingdoms is derived from the study of provings, Repertory and Materia Medica of the various remedies within each group. I do not see the new and the traditional knowledge as separate, but as complementing each other in a natural evolution of traditional practice. The symptoms and system speak of the same thing from two angles. They are like two sides of the same coin. To see both sides is definitely better than seeing only one side. I use both approaches in parallel during case-taking and analysis. In fact, the two approaches inform and deepen each other.
After some time the clues become clear. You may hear very strong indications for the Kingdom, Subkingdom or miasm. Then you will want to see that all of the other features of the given Subkingdom or miasm are found in the case. You may locate characteristic symptoms and then zero in on or confirm the remedy. Sometimes the most prominent feature of the case is one or more characteristic symptom. The remedy that emerges from these symptoms should be explored and compared to the features of the Subkingdom and miasm evident in the case. The Symptoms and the Sensation are intertwined.
By following the symptoms which are most distressing to the patient and encouraging her to describe more and more, we can go directly and deeply into her inner state. When we leave behind our own conjectures and interpretations and ask only for the description of the patient’s subjective experience, she can describe her inner world. At a particular stage in case-taking she may begin to experience and describe spontaneous images and sensations which can seem strange, illogical and non-human. But these seemingly nonsensical expressions become fully coherent and meaningful in the context of nature. We are then hearing, in the pure language of nature, ‘The Other Song’ – the song of a mineral, plant or animal which is the source of the remedy.
This approach of case – taking was so successful with some patients that practitioners of the approach tried to take every patient to this depth, which was not always possible. For example, what do we do with infants, with comatose patients, or even with people who are not inclined to go to such depths?
A certain rigidity within the approach resulted in sometimes pushing an unwilling patient too hard to speak about a specific gesture or word. When pushed, the patient would either stop talking altogether or speak from her imagination rather than from her experience. When this occurs the view is distorted, and it becomes hard for the practitioner to discern the direct expression of the patient’s inner state.
Sometimes in eagerness to have the patient reveal the Source, the practitioner would ask the patient which thing in nature their experience felt like, or else would jump to any animal or other source that the patient had casually mentioned, neglecting to see that it was not the central point of the case. Every concept and system however good, has some pitfalls. This applies to the Repertorial approach as well. Blind or mechanical repertorisation, using keynotes or essences without wisdom can also lead to error. Each system needs to be understood well, learnt properly and used wisely.
A much more serious issue is that the practitioner felt the need to choose between the traditional approach, using Repertory and Materia Medica, and the Sensation Approach, using analysis according to Kingdoms and miasms. It was either/ or. Often the Sensation Approach practitioner did not even feel the need to use Repertory or Materia Medica, analyzing the case solely according to Kingdom and family themes, and hopeful that the patient would spontaneously reveal the name of the remedy.
The formula for success is to be flexible and to vary the case-taking style to suit each patient, while at the same time keeping in mind the destination – knowledge of what is to be cured in disease.
When an idea is developed or learned, it should not be put into a rigid box. As useful as that idea may be, we need to be able to think beyond that structure, as well, and not be confined to it. This is true of any system. In homoeopathy, I believe it is also true for any approach or technique, whether it is repertorisation, keynote prescription, or any other ‘school’.
We should not even box ourselves into homoeopathy. We can be flexible. Our flexibility should allow us to entertain different possibilities, to think broadly. In each case we need to be open to see what will really help an individual patient.
Sometimes the diversity of classical homoeopathy has brought confusion and division. In my practice I use many approaches, in an attitude of openness and acceptance, with the goal that these will converge, enhance, and empower one another.
The last three decades as a practitioner and teacher have been eventful years. I have seen homoeopathy evolve to heights not imagined before; however, developments are a double-edged sword. On one hand, we see many improved results in practice; on the other hand, they have caused a schism in the profession between some traditionalists – who viewed these new ideas with much skepticism and spoke fiercely against them – and some ‘post-modern’ homoeopaths, who embraced the ideas with such enthusiasm that they ignored the solid fundamentals of Classical homoeopathy. Both these extreme positions have helped neither the practitioners nor the profession. A big number of homeopaths however have integrated the ideas and use them together in practice.
In my own practice, I have integrated the ideas of nearly everyone in this conference. I freely use Jeremy’s provings, Massimo’s confirmations of remedies, Jan Scholten’s ideas on periodic table, etc. Similarly, many schools and teaching institutes around the world teach all sides in parallel. The Other Song Academy in Mumbai (www.theothersong.com ) brings together not only old and new but also various school of thought and methods of practice under one roof. This academy shows how we can add to our repertoire by such integration.
The basis of the split is to view remedies either traditionally as individual entities, or as within the framework of a group. You can see Lachesis as an individual remedy or a member of the Reptile group of remedies with many common features. In my practice, I see no division between the old and the new; rather, they are two sides of the same coin, like seeing the same thing from two different angles. Understanding and practising homoeopathy with this insight has been my personal secret of success, as well as that of many of my colleagues.
I want to share this with the profession, to address interested practitioners from both sides of the divide and those in the middle, to discuss the reality of everyday practice: the cases, difficulties, mistakes, techniques, remedies, and systems. I feel that sharing this, in an organized way over two years, would put to rest some of the controversies and provide homoeopaths with practical examples and an understanding of the development and integration of these approaches.
I want to quote from a report by Dr Andreas Holling:
“ Let me tell you about a recent symposium (11th-13th of April 2014) which was held in my town Münster/Germany in memory of Clemens Maria Franz von Bönninghausen (1785-1864) who has died 150 years ago. The name of the event was “Bönninghausen’s Erbe” which means “Bönninghausen’s Legacy”.
We had talks from very different schools of homoeopathy and the aim was to show, how well homeopaths of different schools and approaches can listen and learn from each other.
Heiner Frei from Switzerland who is doing pure Bönninghausen Method with a kind of reinvention of the „polarity analysis“(very interesting!)
Rajan Sankaran showing his newest concept of „Synergy” including the “Sensation Method” approach.
Annette Sneevliet showing cases of pure Sensation Method with the help of Massimo’s findings
Norbert Winter Germany/Karlsruhe showed very interesting generally not known background information about Bogers far evolved thoughts about generalization which built a bridge to the findings of the “Sensation Approach”.
Elmar Funk/Germany/Rottweil gave a series of cases from his clinic where he demonstrated how fast ant elegantly cases could be solved be using Bogers General Analysis.
The idea was to bring together practitioners from different approaches and let them listen and watch each others cases and ideas.
There was a common ground which was of course Bönninghausen who in my eyes is the founder of generalization of symptoms, so he was the one to allow systematisation of materia medica which Hahnemann did not want to start. So all teachers as well as participants realized how strongly you could draw a line from Bönninghausen to Boger and Phatak and Sankaran.
Luckily colleagues like the lovely Heiner Frei helped to bridge the seemingly big gap between pure traditional approaches and the modern sensation method by their openness and respect for every serious professional contribution.
Heiner Frei and Rajan Sankaran met few days before the event for the first time and I had the pleasure to be the host in Münster to show the historical places like Bönninghausen’s farm and house and the Botanical Garden which Bönninghausen had been head of. All this created a kind of common ground and an atmosphere of being members of the same (homeopathic) family, honoring one of its fathers.
Rajan spontaneously suggested to see a new patient of his together and to try and evaluate the case simultaneously with Heiner Frei´s approach and Rajan with Synergy. Surprisingly they arrived at very similar remedies (Chamomilla and Bellis perennis)”.
The era of innovation has now led to the era of integration.
The Meeting Point Conference in London this month (May 2014), with some of the most well known teachers in the world will bring this idea very clearly and bring us forward in our mission, which is to restore the sick to health.
To conclude, I suggest you to watch my recent webinar video organized by Kim Elia on 23/04/14. Dr. Rajan Sankaran’s Webinar recorded on Freecast on 23/4/2014 on “SYNERGY”