HOMŒOPATHY AND HEALTH CARE OF CHILDREN
(H.H. Vol.13, Dec. 1988)
“Child is the father of Man.”
Children are born into this world not of their choice. It is, therefore, the duty of the parents and the society to develop them into healthy (mentally and physically) citizens. A healthy child develops into a healthy adult and becomes an asset to the society; a sick adult is a liability. HAHNEMANN has said that pre-natal anti-psoric treatment is far superior to the immunizations attempted after the child is born. If the mother-to-be has not been doused with antibiotics, X-rays and other pollutants and if she is under the care of a genuine homœopath who would give her homœopathic pre-natal care we can safely say that her child will be comparatively free from inherited ills – ‘Miasms’ as we call them (para 284 of Organon). The conscientious homœopath would, therefore, carefully enquire of the mother her past illnesses and give suitable antidotes.
Dr. Leon VANNIER has suggested the following pre-natal homœopathic course: Tuberculinum 200, Syphillinum 200 and Sulphur 200 at intervals of 14 days to be given to the pregnant mother, then Calcarea carbonicum, orCalcarea fluoratum or Calcarea phosphoricum according to constitutional requirements. This will save unnecessary later vaccines being injected into the child.
Homœopathy is absolutely without equal in preventive medicine. Many diseases become incurable in later life. They could have been prevented in childhood. In fact ‘preventive’ and ‘constitutional’ medicines form the very core of homœopathic work. We have excellent “preventives which can be successfully given when epidemics occur. HAHNEMANN was very keen in preventing diseases. His prescriptions for prevention of Scarlet fever and the scourge Cholera are famous and valid even today. Of course the best ‘immunisation’ is the ‘constitutional’ medicine. Even at the very first or earliest illness of the infant for which it is referred to a homœopath its ‘constitutional’ medicine must be evaluated and administered. A child being unpolluted by sophistry will easily present the necessary symptoms – subjective and objective.
The homœopath would watch the development of the infant maintain charts of its growth and development. What was its birth weight (3 to 3.5 Kg.). Does it put on weight in proportion to its age (150g. weekly during the first 6 months and at 75g. weekly next 6 months; from 1 to 5 years increase should be at 2.275 Kg each year – 450g. Birth weight doubled at 5 months of age; trebled by 1 year of age; quadrupled by 2½ years of age). What about its growth Height: average length of full term new-born infant is about 50 cm. During the first year of life an approximate increase of 7.5cm. per year until 7 years of age. After this, growth in height is about 5 cm. per year for about 4 years and the height at birth is trebled at 13 years of age. Examine whether the child has been developing appropriately (physically and emotionally). (For normal ‘growth and development’ see the ‘guide’ appended. Of course these are average and each would develop according to its own ethnic and genetic qualities).
Early detection of developmental abnormalities will help correct them before they become difficult. The homœopath redresses abnormalities, checks excesses, corrects deviation and gives mental and physical balance to the growing child. The homœopath alone knows the apparent or hidden hereditary taints. He can set in order endocrinal functions; he can foresee and prevent because in this infantile stage it is nothing if it is not foreseen, “A child is essentially a being in the making and it requires its whole vital force to realize its functions.” Organic equilibrium is of the greatest importance and the homœopathic physician should try to maintain it before all. Prevention being easier, cheaper, less painful and long-lasting, aim must always be to improve the patient’s constitution. This way Homœopathy is the greatest preventive medicine in the widest and deepest sense of the term and not merely a prevention of mere bacterial/viral infections which can be curtailed by simple hygiene and civic measures.
The mother would be encouraged to breast feed the child for 12 months at least if not longer. There are good homœopathic medicines for improving lactation.
A child which gets frequent illnesses show low immunity. If it is due to malnutrition, the physician would give suitable dietary advice. Medicine cannot replace nutrition. The physician would check dietary errors and wrong living. Malnutrition and infections make each other worse and form a vicious circle. This circle must be broken. “He is a preserver of health if he knows the things that derange health and cause diseases and how to remove them from persons in health” (para 4, Organon). Poor parents should not be advised to procure costly tonics but instead cheap and easily available foods must be recommended. Nutritious food need not necessarily be costly food.
It is also the duty of the physician to stress personal and community hygiene. Proper food, hygiene and the homœopathic ‘constitutional’ medicine would help healthy growth and development.
Taking the case of the child: Enquire for details of birth (weight, whether normal delivery, whether the child cried cried quickly, etc.), past illnesses, nutrition history (breastfed or not), sicknesses if any the mother suffered during pregnancy etc. Did the child cross “milestones” (see ‘guide’ annexed). We have excellent remedies for children late in: ‘walking’ (Calc., Caust., Nat-m.), ‘talking’ (Nat-m.); ‘poor development mentally and physically’ (Bar-c.). Enquire family history, brothers, sisters, their health.
How does the child behave in the clinic Shy, timid, bashful hiding behind its mother (Bar-c.); active alert, taking stock of things in the room, restless (Ars., Phos.); does not like to be looked at, touched, sulky (Ant-c., Nat-m); has to be dragged into the clinic unwillingly, nervous, listless, uninterested (Sil.); weeping angrily or just piteous whining (Nux-v., Puls.); tense and nervous (Dys. co.); just sits for any length of time (Calc.); keeps on scratching all over; frequently handles the genitals
What is its facial expression Panicky, anxious, furrowed forehead (see Kent Repertory ‘FACE’ Expressions). Flushing easily (Ferr.) red lips, red ears (Sul); how is its tongue Dry Much salivations; teeth: cup shaped (Syph.) caries (Fl.-ac., Staph. etc): dwarfed (Syph); much ulcers in the mouth
The homœopath would examine the child by taking off all its clothes. The physiognomy will reveal much to the carefully observing physician. (para 90, Organon): Does it have a Calcarea carbonica, Lycopodium, Phosphorus, Sulphur, Psorinum, Silicea constitution Any peculiarities of the limbs One warm, other cold; too thin; Curved or bowed (Calc., Calc.-ph.), (Sil.); how is the child’s hair, its colour, dry (Thuja); soft, grassy, splitting at end, brittle (Kali-c.); tangled (Bor., Fl-ac) Glossy (Phos); lice (Psor) Does the child perspire More or less Any peculiarities like partial perspiration, only of covered parts etc. Is the sweat sticky, staining
In high fevers we should not fail to examine the ears (Otitis), throat (tonsillitis), urinary regions (urinary infection).
All these objective examination would reveal reliable clues.
Enquire as to how the child sleeps. Sleep quality and sleep position, bed-wetting. Sleeps on abdomen or only on back With arms/feet out-stretched, mouth open Does the child like to be covered or throws off the covers
For quick ‘acute’ prescriptions one should develop one’s own ‘ready reference’ manual (see ‘model’ appended).
The mother/father of the child will generally either exaggerate a symptom or totally ignore one which they may consider unimportant-for example the mothers who generally complain that the child has a poor appetite which in fact may be an exaggeration or the child cannot go to sleep without light on in the bed-room which the mother may consider unimportant to mention. We must look out for these symptoms.
Repertory is a mine – gold, diamond, platinum – according to the knowledge one cultivates in using it – and never exhausting. Certainly one repertory alone will not furnish all. We must learn to combine many – BOGER, BOGER-BOENNINGHAUSEN, CLARKE, BOERICKE, KNERR, KENT, BELL etc. What may be missing in one will be found in another. Continuous up-dating as also cross-referencing the ‘main’ repertory (Kent) is a must. Books like Dr. Borland’s ‘Children’s Types’, Burnett’s ‘Delicate, Backward children’. Vannier’s ‘Difficult, Backward children’ all would help a great deal. In the edition of Kent’s Repertory (1887 Edn) there was a rubric ‘CHILDREN, Affections in’ which has been omitted in later editions; we may add that:
1. Child health-care begins with the health-care of its mother; anti-miasmatic remedy should be given to the pregnant mother rather than later vaccinations to the child;
2. Examination of the child must be thorough – both subjective and objective;
3. Note child’s behavior, facial expression, moods, responses, reflexes; colour of skin, tone of tissues, hair, perspiration, odours;
4. Check whether milestones, crossed;
5. Nutritional history.
6. Abnormal growth or retardation.
7. Warts, moles, eruptions, etc.
8. Enquire h/o injuries, shocks, etc.
9. Enquire for immunizations and reactions.
10. Teach the parents simple hygiene;
11. Suggest cheap, easily available nutrition;
12. Pay the same attention and care to the poor children who need your help more as you would for the rich who may pay you more; you will never be worse for it;
13. Understand the anxiety of the parents and do not ignore their judgements;
14. Be kind and sympathetic;
15. Never be cursory in your attitude; take as much time required;
16. Handle the child gently, respect its words and feelings also;
17. ‘Quality’ means doing everything as well as possible; keep apace with the general progress in medicine, nutritional and environmental sciences and learn to adapt them without violating the homœopathic laws.
18. Do not feel shy to refer to your reference books in the presence of the patient.
Symptoms totality is not a mere total of symptoms. We have to make a qualitative selection from the many symptoms noted down.
In children remedy appears to be quickly consumed and hence may require more frequent repetition; the faster the biological activity the faster will the remedy effect wear off.
There are many children ‘living’ but ‘sick’. Each child possesses a potential asset and we should endeavour to help develop it.
HAHNEMANN has said that a ‘medium illness’ becomes a ‘serious one’ because of bad handling by the doctor. “The homœopath cannot, when he fails, find comfort in the attitude that science knows no answer for the condition which defies him. The range of possibilities inherent in Homœopathy is so boundless.” Constant striving must be our motto.
“Pure Homœopathy does not camouflage symptoms. In curing the patient, it liberates him little by little. When one sees families which for several generations have had hare-lip or cleft palate which increase in each generation, and which, thanks to proper preserving homœopathic treatment, subsequent generations are freed from, when one attends neuropathic or tuberculous families (especially if one can treat the mother during gestation) and can point to healthy descendants having healthy children; when these chronic tendencies which have a propensity to appear in successive generations stopped from the moment when the law of similar is applied; when one looks through the statistics, hears the stories of patients or the case reports of homœopathic doctors who, from father to son, have handled generations of the same family, then indeed one penetrates the privilege of liberation and the renovation possible to the race by the aid of a therapeutic based on a veritable natural law. And the public, like the doctors, can never feel gratitude enough for this unique method.” (Pierre SCHMIDT).
“It is not safeguard of the individual who is a passing phenomenon; it is more important to safeguard the species”. (Higinio G. PEREZ).