Homeopathy Papers

The Dynamic Philosophy -Galvanic Response to High Potencies

Written by S.W. Cohen

The author responds to Dr. Hathaway and some other homeopaths who were skeptical of the higher potencies. He offers a letter from Dr. Bernhardt Fincke (inventor of the Fincke Potentizer) in which Dr. Fincke shares his research into high potencies using galvanic skin response. This in 1888!

From: The Southern Journal of Homeopathy -January 1888

The object of my present communication is to refer Dr. Hathaway and such of the Homoeopathic fraternity, whose preconceived notions or bias have expunged the word Excelsior from their vocabularies, to a letter I received from Dr. B. Fincke, about ten months ago, while I was diligently investigating the efficacy of the higher potencies,—applying to every source for information, with a true scientific spirit, untrammeled by previously educated prejudice. At the outset of my investigations I stood firmly fixed, as I thought, just about where Dr. Hathaway stands today. Today, I must if honest, take issue with my former hide-bound conclusions.

I publish Dr. Fincke’s letter to set many minds to thinking anew and not merely to startle the egotistical views of any. While some may perhaps scoff at the learned scientist’s letter, it may be an appreciable revelation to others, and their own testimony in time will endorse poor Hamlets words, that—”There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

But to the doctor’s letter :

From Dr. Bernhardt Fincke:

Brooklyn, January 25, 1888. Dt. S. W. Cohen, Waco, Texas:

Dear Doctor—Your favor of the 20th has been duly received.

Neural Analysis was started first by Dr. Gurtan Saeger, in Stuttgart, who used a chronoscope for testing the efficacy of Homoeopathic remedies as high as the 4000  centesimal potency, and the result of his investigation was that this 4000 percent of Natrum mur, showed the highest percentage of nerve-irritation. The instrument of precision which he uses is Hipp’s chronoscope, a kind of clock with a hand and a dial, showing a circular division of 100 parts of which every part denotes 500 seconds or two milliseconds. This clock is set going by the introduction of an electric current into the machinery. The operator does so by the pressure of the finger upon a key. In the same instant when he sees the hand on the dial move he closes the circuit again by removing the pressure of the finger and reads off the milliseconds which the hand has described in that moment of time. This time, therefore, gives the time which has passed from the eye looking, to the finger removing the pressure, and is called the “nerve-time”. The astronomers who use the Chronoscope to correct personal errors of observation call it for personal equation.

The operator now takes a number of such observations (10) to ascertain his nervous susceptibility. After that he inhales for twenty-five minutes the alcohol with which the potencies have been prepared and so observations are taken. Then, likewise the fluid potency is inhaled for twenty-five minutes, and observations are taken. The difference between the nerve-time of the sound condition plus alcoholic-inhalation, and the inhalation of the potency gives the percentage of the nerve irritation of the organism, which the given potency is capable of producing. From the observations of Saeger it appears that the higher potencies have a more energetic action than the lower potentcies. He published his work in German: Die Neural-Analyse insbsonders in ihrer Anwendung auf die horn. Verduennung mit sieben Tafeln, Leipzig. Ernst Guenther’s Verlag, 1881. There has been an extract from this in the Hahnemannian Monthly about 1882 or so, I think, by J. H. Biegler in Philadelphia. Saeger at that time went as far as 2000 decimal with Natr. mur.

I was so much pleased with his corroboration of our physiological researches in proving and healing that I offered a scale of Natr. mur. of my own preparation up to c. m., to test and find out how far the chronoscope analysis would go. He accepted my offer and found the limit between 4000 and 5000 centesimal. This most gratifying result stimulated me to take up my old labors in that field of 20 and more years before.


The means of my investigation was the electric current without the machinery of the chronoscope. I succeeded in building a galvanometer of 4050 feet No. 34 wire, which would show very small electric currents, and two rolls of copper were attached to it which, when taken into each hand, would move the astatic needle hanging in the double coil of insulated wire, according to the condition the subject was in. The first experiment was in 1862 when I tested Ignatia 3 m. upon my servant who had a deflection of 22°; then after the medicine had hardly melted 30°, and shortly after 45°, after a while falling off to 15°.

In 1882 I reconstructed the instrument and added more wire, so that it now consisted of two coils of 4500 feet insulated copper wire; the upper coil with 6000, the lower with 5700 windings. An astatic needle was hung on a silk fiber in the interstices of the double coil and a copper plate was attached to the ingoing, and a time-plate of same size to the outgoing end of the wires. The other two ends of the coils were soldered together. The needle was so arranged that it took a normal position of the upper south pole of the needle upon 60° northeast, the instrument being placed in the meridian and furnished with a circular dial with the “O” due north.

The capacity of this instrument is shown by pressing the two poles, copper and zinc, with an intervening rag wet with water, together, when the needle standing at 60° northeast flies westward in an amplitude of 27°.

The analysis on this, the electromagnetic method, consists in that the operator, after being sure of the full capacity of the instrument, places; his thumbs well wet with water, the right one upon the zinc, the left one upon the copper-pole, fastened upon a horrizontal board. Instantly the needle moves to a certain degree westward, and indicates by the amplitude of the deflection the nervous force at that moment. After taking a few observations, showing similar degrees, the operator takes the medicine in a few pellets on the tongue, and within three minutes the application of the wet thumbs upon the poles will give a deflection which will vary from the deflections more or less, and indicates the action of the medicine upon the organism. There is no potency ever so high, which has not been able to show by the degree of deflection of the needle, the difference from the original normal deflection. How far this method exceeds the chronoscope in fineness, is shown by the fact that millionth potencies are shown by it to act in a few minutes, whilst the chronoscope requiring much more labor does not exceed in reaction of a 4000    percent, potency.

This, I think, is a general outline of neural Analysis, and will I hope, give you an idea of the two methods.

Yours faithfully, B. Fincke

About the author

S.W. Cohen

S.W. Cohen M.D.

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