Therapeutic regimen is one of the three pillars of Medical Heilkunst, the other two being medicine proper and therapeutic education. Regimen operates distinctly from, but often conjointly with, the other two realms. This article will give an overview of the science of regimen, from the more general to the more specific.
As with everything we do, the question should always be why, what’s the point? Keeping that question in mind as you read this, will go a long way toward understanding why regimen is an essential component in any true system of health care.
The Development of Regimen
Modern living is largely dominated by the human intellect. We cannot go back in an evolutionary sense to the dream consciousness of man’s original participation in nature that writers such as Owen Barfield have written about. We cannot stay in the material waking consciousness of the intellect; rather, the task before us is to bring spirit back into nature through the development of a newer, higher consciousness.
Historically, the increasing role of the human intellect provided us with the opportunity to break free from the constraints of nature so we could become sovereign individuals. The resulting de-natured world we created, however, has corrupted our healthy instinct and inherent wisdom and rendered it unreliable. But what has been lost can be found in a more conscious way as a new rational knowledge that is grounded and clearly understood in natural law and principles, as Dr. Hahnemann called for in Aphorism 2. This is a time to wake up and put our rational mind to work to sort through the array of bewildering choices for the purpose of preserving and furthering our free state.
We must use this higher rational capacity to build a system of remediation that returns us to a participation in nature, but this time consciously and as a co-creator.
Here we turn to Hahnemann, who identified the functional duality of the living principle as embodying two sides that are distinct yet interrelated. The two sides are referred to as the generative (creative) aspect and the sustentive (health sustaining) aspect. Within the context of the dynamic system of thought, which understands the functional duality in all of nature, Hahnemann laid out the foundation of a science of regimen.
The Foundation of Regimen
“Regimen encompasses those activities of man that constitute nourishment for the body, mind, soul and spirit, or the intake of sustenance in all its forms from both the earth and the cosmos.” (Book 2, The Dynamic Legacy).
In a general sense, Hahnemann’s views of regimen are grounded in the principle of moderation and in the law of resonance, and based on the Law of Opposites.
The results of regimen can be seen in the sustentive aspect of the dynamis and show as radiant health. If someone has radiant health, they are filled with inner light and are luminous. Their sustentive side is fully charged. They are full of orgone, as Wilhelm Reich pointed out. The exciting thing about applying regimen consciously is that when we engage our will, we are activating our generative power, which is at the seat of our creative forces. When we consciously make choices to nourish ourselves in body, mind, soul and spirit, we are engaging in a resonant activity. Resonance operates on the love principle. The more we make choices out of love, as opposed to diseased choices coming from the more superficial satisfaction of attraction, the more we strengthen our generative aspect and the more radiant we become.
On a similar note, there is a tonic and a pathic side to regimen. When we think of nourishment, it is usually in the form of receiving or taking in. We take in what we need to sustain our health. This form of regimen to maintain balance is the pathic side. What about the tonic side? What does it mean to tone up with regimen? Firstly, it is not connected to sustenance. It is taking in for a different purpose: the purpose of gaining strength and tone at various levels of our being. There is value to exerting effort. By participating in regimen, we can propel ourselves to reach the highest level of constitutional homeostasis.
How Hahnemann used Regimen
Hahnemann was very clear that regimen played an important role in health. He wrote a series of essays under the title “The Friend in Health” that are published in his Lesser Writings. His aim was to convey to people the necessity “…to devote some time to the finer but often less important study of the structure and modes of preservation of the human body.” (Lesser Writings). He covers such topics as protection against infection in epidemic diseases, the quality of indoor air, the importance of town planning to help stop the spread of infectious diseases, proper living conditions to support health and methods to make the body hardy and children grow strong.
Hahnemann talks about ill health that people bring upon themselves due to faulty regimen. In Aphorism 77, he outlines the importance of discerning the true cause of chronic disease by first identifying probable causes due to faulty regimen.
Hahnemann speaks of dietary regimen in people’s passions, customs, practices and habits of many kinds. He identified seven members of a human and each of these members must have their appropriate resonant diet for health. For instance, Hahnemann recommended a diet for the physical body as well as a diet for the soul. In Chronic Diseases he says that a person would rather endure 10 years on a slave ship than one year in a loveless marriage.
The Levels of Regimen
Therapeutic Regimen has three different levels, going from the simplest to the most complicated level.
Regimen in its simplest form maintains constitutional homeostasis by following the principle of moderation and applying constitutional prescribing (the genotype).
The next level can restore constitutional homeostasis. This involves applying the law of opposites to address the imbalance that has been disturbed by persistent excess or lack.
Thirdly, there are various therapies that are used in the most complex level of therapeutic regimen to address tissue damage that cannot be restored by medicine. Some of these therapies include Dr. Gerson’s dietary approach, Dr. Wilhelm Reich’s clinical orgone therapy, Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophical medicine and Dr. Reckeweg’s homotoxicology.
Hahnemann felt he couldn’t cure disease caused by the effect of drugs, especially the chronic effect of drugs (iatrogenic dimension). Dr. Reckeweg, a German doctor (1905 – 1986) combined his research at the tissue level with the law of similar resonance. He studied the effects of allopathic drugs at the tissue level and showed how, progressively over time, the body was damaged and compromised at the cellular level. He made the process of the effects of drugs more transparent, leading to the knowledge that any trauma (drugs, poisons, stresses) at the functional level, over a period of time, can cross the “biological section” (the area between functional disturbance and tissue damage) into tissue damage. His system is called homotoxicology.
The value of his work is in the understanding of the process of morbid pathology. He laid out a systematic avenue for the progression of disease. He talks about the excretion of toxins, the deposition of toxins, and the degeneration of tissue due to the toxins. His work involves the sustentive power because he is focusing on the unfolding of disease, or the counter-action of the life force (sustentive side) to a given disease agent.
Four Cardinal Points
One of the goals of regimen is healthy functioning. A straightforward method to assess function is to look at what is called the four cardinal points that are necessary for human survival, both individually and as a group. These points, much like the points of a compass, can serve as a quick guide to make sure we cover all bases. The four cardinal points of regimen are hydration, nutrition, dormition and recreation. Air is a given because it is so essential to our survival; without it, we would die in a matter of minutes.
Our organism demands that we participate in the four cardinal points for survival, even if we don’t consciously want to.
Physiologically, full hydration is necessary for optimum cellular function (proper potassium/sodium balance) and optimum protein function. Dr. Ling discovered that potassium is the structuring component of the cell. The cell is not just a sac of water surrounded by salt water. He dismissed the “sodium pump” theory on the basis that it is not possible according the law of physics. Even when there is no energy in the cell, the sodium still moves freely in and out of the cell and the potassium remains. Dr Ling’s work at the cellular level provides a rational basis for Dr. Gerson’s dietary approach (restriction of sodium and the supplying of foods rich in potassium) and Dr. Batmanghelidj’s water cure. Dr. Batmanghelidj’s research (Your Body’s Many Cries for Water) shows that a lot of symptoms and so-called diseases were actually due to a lack of water.
Also, according to Dr. Wilhelm Reich, a lack of water in the surroundings can lead to armouring or rigidity, limiting the expression of our living power. As well, Rudolf Steiner points out that a dry education and abstract thoughts (ungrounded) can lead to a weakened organism because of a failure to generate warmth in all its forms, including creativity.
Let’s go back in history. In times of drought, the body reacted to this stress by rationing whatever water it had in reserve. The brain got priority and the rest of the water was distributed to the various organs. As the rationing became more active, alarm signals were sent out in the form of pain. This type of stress management is still in place today. Our modern world functions on stress, so when we are under stress our body reverts to water rationing.
Dr Batmanghelidj found that the chronic effects of dehydration can weaken our system, and this in turn is passed on to subsequent generations, making a link to chronic disease. In Chronic Diseases, Hahnemann lists all the symptoms of Psora, the first chronic miasm, the essence of which is dryness.
Generally, people in our society don’t drink enough pure water, despite there being plenty of it, because there are so many other things to drink. Coffee, tea, soda and alcohol are considered desirable drinks based on attraction, though they are not hydrating. Choosing to drink pure living water to hydrate our cells is an act of love (resonance).
Dynamic nature of nutrition
The quality of food is an important aspect of dynamic nutrition. There is a reason that our diet should be more than just calories, food groups, vitamins, fibre, minerals etc. Food gives us life energy! And life energy is, as Wilhelm Reich discovered, orgone energy. The more orgone energy a person has the more radiant and fully functioning they are. The key is function over quantity.
When we take in food and digest it, it is not just about fueling up. Our body is designed to attack foreign invaders, so we must strip a foreign substance of its otherness before it can become a part of our self. If this fails to happen, then we create immune reactions. In this way we are participants in our digestion.
Whole foods vs. fractionated supplements
Food must be as natural, whole and fresh as possible, grown in nutrient-rich soil. As Hahnemann pointed out, a healthy diet provides the foundation for health in terms of the sustentive side of the Living Power of Life Force.
Fractionated and synthetic supplements are flooding the market. People are trying to fill in their nutritional gaps with substances that are not whole food. It’s a tricky game for a few reasons.
With chemical substitutes, the body has no choice but to deal with them and this could create a biochemical imbalance or toxic overload. But with natural foods and food concentrates the body can choose to assimilate what it needs and excrete what it does not need. And it is simultaneously filled with life energy. The more life energy a person has, the easier it is to choose foods based on resonance as opposed to attraction. And when we consciously choose healthy foods and participate in our choices, we get in the habit of not falling prey to harmful yet attractively advertised foods that weaken our system and make us more susceptible to disease.
One option now available for those who cannot obtain access to a steady supply of healthy, living foods in season and grown locally is whole-food concentrates or living green concentrates, which essentially take living foods grown organically, bio-dynamically and generally in conditions designed to foster their living energy, and extract the water content without destroying this life energy.
Now that we’ve established that a healthy diet consists of natural, whole foods with little or no medicinal effect, we have to take into account that the same diet doesn’t resonate with or suit everyone.
However, there are certain typologies that can be used to help determine which foods work best for which types. Recent science has revealed three typologies in particular that we can use to provide guidelines for patients – the metabolic, glandular and blood typologies.
Basically, the Metabolic typology is based on the work of Dr. Wolcott (The Metabolic Typing Diet) and is the most variable and easiest to influence. Most attention should be paid to this aspect in sicker persons, or those who have done little previous work on regimen.
Once the Metabolic Type is balanced in the form of the Mixed Type, we would next turn to the demands of the Glandular type that is based on Dr. Abravenel’s work (Dr. Abravanel’s Body Type Diet and Lifetime Nutrition Plan).
Finally, once the Glandular Type is balanced in the form of the Meta-body Type, we would rely on the Blood Type recommendations for specific foods. The Blood typology is based on the work of Dr. Peter D’Adamo (Eat Right For Your Type) and Dr. James D’Adamo (One Man’s Food… is someone else’s poison).
When all is said and done, Anthroposophical medical teachings provide us with another reason to continue to strive for resonant choices in terms of nutrition. All food has an etheric component, and eating food with a high etheric content increases the strength of our etheric body.
At the end of the day, we owe it to ourselves to continue to cultivate resonance with our food choices. It’s nature’s law.
More detailed information on dietetic typologies is available from these websites:
Metabolic typology: http://www.metabolictyping.com
Glandular type: http://bodytypes.com
A sound, restful and refreshing sleep is the objective of a healthy balance in this domain.
Most people have sleep that is incomplete, interrupted with wakeful moments and/or too short in duration. To keep a balanced cycle of sleep we need both sleep cycles: REM and non-REM sleep. REM (rapid eye movement) is active when we dream, and non-REM is quiet. REM sleep is crucial to developing the brain, for dreaming and for visual development. If we don’t get enough sound sleep, then we incur a sleep debt that has to be repaid.
A mother’s REM sleep may affect the fetus; thus sleep deprivation may be passed on to the next generation.
Dr. Dement (The Promise of Sleep) did research on the physical aspects of sleep. Work by T.S. Wiley (Lights Out! Sleep, Sugar and Survival) on the biological and bio-physical impact of improper sleep cycles is also critical to understanding the importance of sleep on health and illness.
There is also a need to understand sleep in its super-sensible context. Anthroposophical Medicine teaches us that during sleep the upper astral body and ontic organisation are able to rejoin the cosmos and be refreshed in soul and spirit, so that after a proper sleep, we awake “refreshed.” If, however, stresses and emotional shocks, not to mention other factors such as the chronic miasms, interfere with this necessary nightly separation, we suffer from the continuation of the catabolic forces of daytime into night, when the anabolic forces should prevail, with the resultant degradation of our life energy.
Recreation in the form of movement is one of the four cardinal points in regimen.
The first distinction to make is between activity, or natural rhythmic movement involved in work and play, and exercise. We need to be active, not sedentary or inactive in terms of our metabolic-limb system, just as healthy children are.
To meet the most basic needs of cardio-vascular and respiratory functioning, walking is the preferred form of exercise. Various studies have shown that the greatest reduction in premature death is between those who walk and those who are sedentary.
Exercise is a more controlled, focussed movement for specific therapeutic purposes. We have an aerobic and anaerobic function, and both need to be stimulated to stay in peak condition.
For aerobic exercise, there has to be a short, sudden increase in intensity. Dr. Sears developed a safe system of cardio exercise called PACE, involving workouts where you move intensively, such as running or fast walking for two minutes followed by a more relaxed movement for a minute, this cycle being repeated about 5-6 times once daily or every other day. Such short bursts of speed followed by periods of rest will increase lung capacity, burn fat and reverse heart disease. http://www.alsearsmd.com/pace
Our anaerobic system, driven by the autonomic nervous system, also needs to keep in shape and one very beneficial approach for this is the Slow Burn approach to exercising (www.seriousstrength.com). This approach avoids overstressing the system and provoking a predominance of catabolic activities in the metabolic function.
Moving our limbs is something we all do. When we consciously engage in recreational movement to optimize our health, we strengthen our sustentive power so we are able to carry out all our tasks with more ease.
Preparing the Patient for Medicine
Just as a medical doctor has to be qualified to give medicine, a patient must be qualified to receive it. Most people instinctively turn to regimen when they are not feeling well. This impulse is correct because a lot of so-called diseases are due to faulty regimen.
Once the patient is following the proper regimen, eating according to their type, and following the four cardinal points, this will help to clear up any muddling of symptoms between true disease and virtual disease. This is what Hahnemann referred to in Aphorisms 3 and 77, in terms of removing the “obstacles to cure.” The true physician, what he termed the “Heilkünstler,” must be as versed in the principles of regimen, and the application of the law of opposites, as in medicine proper and the law of similars.
Equally important, the patient needs a strong, orgone filled (that is, filled with life energy) sustentive power to fully rid themselves of the after effects of disease (that is, involving the healing reaction), and this is a much smoother process if proper regimen is in place.
If we want to truly help our patients, we must consider the role of the sustentive side of the Living Power, the Dynamis, for if it is not balanced and well-nourished, if there are weaknesses and blockages due to improper regimen, we cannot restore health or maintain it once diseases are removed (which involves the generative side of that same Living Power). At the same time, therapeutic regimen, that is, the restoration of a dynamic homeostasis or balance in the body, must be based on natural law principles to be effective. This law is the law of opposites, and the various principles that flow from it based on a rational, scientific understanding of its application in different situations, must be developed. This article provides an overview of some of the basic principles that have been developed to date in Heilkunst.
If we want to be universally law abiding, if we want to treat our body as a temple, if we want to be free-thinking sovereign individuals, then we can turn to the science of regimen for guidance. Within that science there is the opportunity to transform living by attraction into living with resonance.
There is a long list of pioneers who have researched and paved the way to help turn what was once inherent wisdom into principled knowledge. More information about their work and how it can all be integrated into a rational framework, much as Dr. Hahnemann called for in Aphorism 2, is available through the diploma course of the Hahnemann College for Heilkunst. You have only to participate!