Excerpted from Dr. Cyrus Thomas’ book, The Homeopathic Promise which can be read at his website: http://www.sanfranciscohomeopathy.com/ 
We’ve mentioned that suppressed physical symptoms can go deeper into the body and if they can be suppressed no further, in other words, can go no deeper, then they will jump to the emotional body. The same holds true with emotional conditions treated suppressively with Allopathic or recreational suppressive substances. They too can, when no longer able to go deeper into the emotional body, jump to the mental body. The main reason that it is important to understand the difference between the emotions and the mind is to be able to identify when an emotional symptom has jumped into the mental realm. The ailment of Alzheimer’s is a perfect example of complete physical and emotional suppression resulting in mental aberration.
A patient may present at the age of 40 with a history of vaccinations in childhood (which begins the weakening of the defensive mechanism), antibiotics for earaches and tonsillitis, another suppressive tactic, and finally cigarettes and alcohol and marijuana in the teen years to suppress feelings common to teens…and this can lead to a sense of isolation from the world, an inability to make good decisions and other mental symptoms. Here we see a progression from body to emotions to mental symptoms.
It must be noted that this progression does not always go in such a linear fashion. Sometimes a physical problem, when suppressed, can jump to the emotional body before it has gone as deeply into the physical body as possible. For example a person treated suppressively in succession for sore throat, then acne, then recurrent diarrhea, can experience a jump to the emotional before a deeper neurological, physical, problem has occurred. So they may present with depression. If the depression is not treated homeopathically, and instead is suppressed, it may return to the physical realm as a lump in the breast, endometriosis, or for males, a prostatitis or severe allergies or asthma. The progression is not always linear from physical to emotional to mental.
The same phenomena may occur if depression is treated suppressively and it jumps to the mental as difficulty with memory, before the depression turned into grief, despair or panic attacks. If the mental symptoms are treated suppressively, they have nowhere to go other than to remain in the mental and become worse and worse since mental symptoms rarely jump back to emotional. The Allopathic professions are divided into specialties, one for the emotions, the psychiatrists, another for memory loss, the neurologist and they rarely consult with each other and end up treating each ailment as if it were a different entity and not the same ailments traveling around, shifting planes of existence. Homeopathy views the person holistically. This is what wholistic really means, to see the progression of suppressions and to reverse the process….unsuppression.
As the process reverses and old symptoms begin to re-appear, a process we call retracing, the person is actually getting better with each retracing. It may be nice to know that when the retracing occurs, the re-appearance of symptoms usually lasts less long in time and reoccurs with less intensity. Often the patient can just wait these out or, if they are too uncomfortable we can treat them palliatively for discomfort by giving the remedy relating to the condition. In either case the symptoms will pass.
An example is the person in their forties who presents with depression. The depression, if treated correctly using non-suppressive homeopathic medicines, will get better and a few weeks later they experience a cold with sinusitis and a light fever. We let this pass, or treat palliatively if the person is too uncomfortable, and then reconvene to take the next step in the un-suppressing process. At this point the immune process has already been reactivated. They are able to clean house, to detoxify the body when needed. They can also develop fevers, a crucial element in self-defense. A greater fever may still want to express itself later.
The next consultation occurs and a remedy is given that matches the new situation, one whereby depression is no longer the focus. Invariably the patient will present with new complaints…complaints that were previously not so important but now are a new focus. Three weeks later on the next consultation the person may develop a sore throat, one like they had in their youth. At this point we know the retracing is continuing. Encouragement is needed at this point. In fact the patient has never been this symptomatic in previous years as much as they are now and may be wondering why they started this homeopathy in the first place. Educating the patient on retracing is a must at this juncture or they may quit homeopathy.
Once a substantial amount of retracing has occurred the doctor will look into the need for correcting inherited weakness brought forward from the family lineage. This is called the treatment of ‘miasms’. More later. I wanted you to see what an example of retracing may look like. Retracings can take a myriad of forms. Again, homeopathy is for those willing to take responsibility for their care and who have a modicum of courage in order to endure the discomforts. These discomforts, by the way, differ from what nutritionists call a ‘Healing Crisis”. My experience has been that the homeopathic patient always feels more energized after a retracing but that those who have said they have had a ‘healing crisis’, myself included, feel depleted and weakened by the process. Nutritionists should revisit this issue and be sure they are not depriving the patient of needed nutrients during their process. This brings up the question of whether, in nutrition, one should detox the patient by depriving them, or first nutrify them; making sure there is nothing missing in the diet and supplementation. More on this in the chapter Nutritional Considerations.
Catherine Coulter once lectured about the life of Mark Twain, based on all she had read of his works. She drew a graph on the chalkboard. The base of the graph was the time span of his life. The vertical column showed the intensity of remedy types he was experiencing. One remedy remained low in intensity and rose to a peak in his mid life. Another peaked in early life and then again later. A third remedy had a brief hey day later in life. At all times in his life all three remedies were depicted as present but they ebbed and flowed in their intensity. It was a fascinating study.
Catherine Coulter once wrote about a woman to whom she gave a deep acting dose of Natrum Muriaticum (sodium chloride – salt). On each successive monthly visit the patient reported a retracing. Previous symptoms had left and a new picture was reappearing each month. Each visit, Catherine did not re-prescribe. She waited patiently. And each month previous symptoms left and new ones appeared. Each time new symptoms appeared they were actually old ones, symptoms the patient had experienced in the past. For 12 months this continued until eventually the patient was experiencing sore throats as she did when she was a child. One dose of one remedy had worked over a year’s time!
Retracing is not unique to homeopathy. Chiropractic physicians and Acupuncturists talk about retracing too. But homeopathy specializes in it. We actually use it as part of our interpretation on each and every visit. If conditions are treated, with any modality, in order to simply bring comfort, without removing a layer and exposing another, we have simply palliated. What are the implications to this retracing? The patient should be encouraged to treat each successive layer and to go through the unlayering, unpeeling process.
When a patient says, ‘thank you very much, I feel better now and I’ll call if something comes up”, it is our duty as a medical provider to encourage them to go further. If they again refuse you must let it go, but I firmly believe we are educators and not just palliators. The importance of explaining what it means to treat layers until no more layers exist should at least be attempted. The voicing of refusals on the part of the patient are often not the patient speaking at all but what we call ‘the dis-ease speaking’. The negative side of our self wants to remain in at least some degree of sickness. This is the subconscious speaking. Yet no sane individual can believe that they want to remain sick. The patient will want to save money, not be bothered with doctor visits, and not want to have to experience more discomfort, which is inevitable in many, but not all, deep cures. Practitioners must at least try to encourage them, in this author’s humble opinion.
One patient I encouraged to continue care, after homeopathic phosphorous had removed 28 different fears, was a minister who was mostly afraid that God would single him out for divine wrath. We were both amazed at how many fears had been removed by the remedy phosphorous but the fear of God’s divine wrath plagued him. I gave him what I thought was a deep acting constitutional remedy for him, Silica. A few things improved, especially his irresolution, indecision about whether to leave the ministerial role with which he was becoming uncomfortable. In a month’s time he reported that he was going to become an attorney. But, still, the great fear remained. I then prescribed Kali-bromatum, famous for just this particular fear of God. It was gone in weeks! Six years later he called me from some distant state and said he was successful as an attorney and wanted me to know how much he appreciated my work. That was nice!