WHAT IS THE BEST METHOD OF SELECTING
THE REMEDY - P.P. WELLS, M.D.
(H.H. VOL. VIII, 8/1982)
It is evident without argument that this must be the method of law. If there be a law, and if this is to govern this selection, it must have had its origin in the mind which devised and created the body the selected remedy is intended to cure. It must then have been made one of the laws which were to govern its life, especially its sick life. In order then to a clear view of the duty of this selection, let us go back to the scientific elements in this, and examine them, and see if from these we can gain light on this best method.
The objective of this selection is the cure of sick humanity. Then the first object of examination is man himself. And in the outset we find him not an accident in the world, but the product of an intelligent creating power, complex in his constitution, the many parts or organs of which were each formed for the performance of its special function, and each in the execution of its own office, when undisturbed, is in that perfect accord with every other which conserves the organism as a whole, and each of its parts. This harmony of function is health. Function is the result of motions in these organs, and in each is the particular motion its function requires. Motion implies motive power. Organs are moved to the execution of function only as they are impelled by this power. So, in man, as before the problem of this selection we have organs, the power which moves them, and the resulting functions.
Now this power which is the characteristic of the living man, was when placed within him for the purposes of life, made susceptible to impressions from agents, without itself, which are capable of modifying its action on organs and functions, so that the harmony of these which we call health is destroyed. This discord in organs and their functions we call sickness, and this is always tending to the destruction of both. The first impress then of the cause which has disturbed this harmony is on the power which executes functions. We have then, first, the impart of the morbid cause on the power which executes functions, then the resulting disturbance, and then, perhaps, changes of organic tissues, if this lost harmony is not restored before there has been time for these changes of function to produce them. This is the order in which the processes of sickness succeed each other. The processes being once set up, the problem before the healer is to find the agent which has the power to restore the lost harmony. How shall we proceed in our search for this? There are but two obvious courses open to us – one under the guidance of law, the other with no law or guide other than guessing. We can see no other course nor reason, for proceeding to demonstrate the superiority of that underlying law. Nor is it needful to declare, as before this problem, that there is but one known law, and that one is the Law of Similars. The clinical experience of more than three quarters of a century has abundantly demonstrated this to be a law and neither opposition to this, nor the needs, sufferings, and dangers of human sicknesses have, in all this time, brought to our knowledge any other.
Then what does the law require of us if we are to proceed under its guidance, as we attempt the selection of a needful curative? First, that all the elements in the problem of the selection shall be known, while it assumes that all necessary to a right selection are knowable. It will at once be seen, if we are to proceed under the law which underlies the science of therapeutics the Law of the Similars, that these elements are presented to us in two categories: one embracing those pertaining to the phenomena of the sickness, the other to those of the recorded actions on the organism of the agents from which the selection is to be made. The law declares that the record of that agent which is found to be most like the phenomena of the sickness is its curative, and it requires a complete knowledge of both categories before it will accept responsibility for the cure by any selected remedy. Thus, it will be seen, it sharply rejects all elements which may be intruded into the problem by whatever of guessing which may be called by whatever specious or well sounding names.
Then of the sickness. It will be borne in mind, this has resulted from the impress of some agent, on the force which executes and governs functions, with power to change these from a living harmony to a destructive discord. This discord is sickness. Then the law will know the history of this discord, the order in which its different elements have appeared, and of those elements which constitute this discord, what functions are so affected by this agent, and how are these affected. Each function is to be questioned as to the kind of modification it has had impressed on it, especially as this is declared in the modalities accompanying the change, as to what is the character of the pains, or abnormal sensations, if any, what the time of day, or in whatever other circumstances is this change found, aggravated or relieved. How is this change affected by other functions of bodily organs, as by motion, rest, position, eating, drinking, breathing, by evacutions of whatever kind, and this as to each and every function, and in utmost detail, and as to every circumstance or condition, by which any one or more of these find aggravation or relief of sufferings? A record of these, clear and plain, is to be made, and then the prescriber is ready to pass to the other category of his problem, the record of the action of the agents on the living organism, for which he is to make his selection. But before proceeding to this, it will be well to note that up to this point his problem is wholly made up of dynamic elements, and not at all of any material entity. This assumes that the sickness with which we have to deal, has neither a mechanical nor a chemical origin.
But the professional mind being what it is, it is quite likely before passing to the medicinal category, to enquire: What about the name of this sickness I am about to attempt to cure? Is it needful before proceeding to the search for the remedy that I shall give a name to that to be cured? You have given no hint as to the duty of the diagnosis – name. Is it not needful before going further to answer the question, “What is it I am about to cure?” We answer, the law has nothing to do with names of sicknesses, but with the phenomena which characterize them, and the name is not one of these. It demands that you find in the record a simillimum of these phenomena, with which the name has nothing to do, you need have no concern as to a name, till you have found your simillimum. The name will not help the search for this in the least. It may, if lugged in, prove a hindrance to the “scientific” search for the true simillimum.
But then the Pathology of the case – is one to pass to the search for its remedy before this is settled? Is one to search for a curative for a given case before he has decided what it is that needs curing? If, by Pathology you mean something different from the totality of the symptoms, you are talking of that which the law has not made necessary to your successful search for your remedy, and of which, most likely, you will in the end find yourself guessing more than you know, and guessing, law will not accept as any part of a service under its direction. The totality of the symptoms is all that can be known of the Pathology of any case, and these are the only what the case presents for curing. If there be reasons for believing that there are in the case certain conditions of internal parts of organs, these reasons can only have their foundations in the perceptible phenomena of the case, which can be known, and not in any imperceptible imaginings which no man can know. These phenomena are just the mnatters with which the law requires the healer to deal, while it rejects all unknown imaginings as only calculated to damage success.
Having thrust out diagnosis and Pathology, not from clinical duties, but from this one of them, the selection of the remedy where they have no place, though they have important uses in other clinical duties, we proceed to the next step in the progress of our selection under the guidance of law, and this is to compare our record of the sick phenomena of our case, with that of the actions of drug agents, as these have been ascertained by experiments and observations of them, on the healthy organism. These agents have been found to have power to disturb functions, and each in a manner peculiar to itself, each in a way which differs from that produced by all other drugs. The record of the sick phenomena is to be compared with the record of the drug actions, that the greatest similarity may be found in the record of some drug to that of the case to be cured. This found, and the process of the selection is ended, for the law declares this to be the curative of the case.
But the selection of this from the many of its associates is not so simple and easy as it may appear to the inexperienced. We have shown that all the phenomena of the sickness are to be gathered, with all of modalities, circumstances and conditions, pertaining to each. This is by far the most difficult part of clinical duties. “This record fairly and rightly made of any case, and that case is more than half cured”. This was said to be written by one of the greatest masters of the healing art ever known. In comparison with this difficulty, that of finding the specific remedy is quite an easy matter. The same knowledge is required as to the actions of the drug agents, i.e., as to the modalities, circumstances and conditions which have marked the disturbances in the organism, observed in the experiments which have given us our Materia Medica. The record of these is a part of the proving of every drug which has given to this its clinical value. We require these in both the record of the sickness and the drug in fullness of detail, before we proceed to the comparison which is to end in the selection of our curative, because it is in the likeness of these modalities, etc., that the curative relation between sickness and drug agents, exists. Hence it is, that in other, there are found facts of more and less importance, as the record, on the one side and the other, there are found facts of more and less importance indices of the true specific to be selected. We must have all, that we may be sure we have those which are most important. This is found, oftener than otherwise, not to be the facts which have had most the attention of patient and friends, and perhaps of the doctor.
To illustrate this, take a case of Dysentery. The pains, tenesmus, and frequent evacuations, are most likely to be the facts of greatest consideration to the patient. They are comparatively of but little importance to the prescriber. They say the case is Dysentery, perhaps, but they have no voice as to what will cure the case. That the patient faints at stool, does not seem a fact of much consequence when it is accompanied by so much of misery in the other and more obtrusive facts. And yet this slightly regarded fact, proclaims in loudest and plainest speech the specific curative for the case. It is the mark of the master-healer that he recognizes those symptoms, of the many which dominate the selection of the specific curative of his case. That he knows characteristic symptoms when he sees them, and gives to them their authoritative consideration in his selection of his curative.
We have seen that sicknesses are in their nature dynamic. That they are only disturbed forces, and consequent changed function. It is equally true that in drugs which causes and cures sicknesses is a dynamis. This, if remembered, may save important mistakes. It should be remembered, because the likeness which the law requires, reaches to this fact of dynamic nature of both factors in the problem of finding the specific for a cure. It is true men may get sick, and other men may find means to cure them, and neither of them have any thought of the dynamis nature of the factors law presents for the healter to deal with. But it is true the best success in healing attends a proper recognition and use of this fact, and we all are, or should be, as healers, emulous of that which is best.
The fact that the dynamis in the drug, which alone acts curatively, is bound up, and therefore is comparatively inert in the crude drug, is capable of liberation, and indefinite development by proper manipulation, should be borne in mind, as the degree to which this shall be carried in the case of a selected specific, is often a matter of the first importance, and never one of indifference. It is not always, as some have supposed, that the higher this process of dynamization has been carried with the selected drug, for a given case, the greater is its power to cure that case. But until this power has been liberated and developed, it is, comparatively, but little available for the purposes of the healer. It is that degree (and this I regard as an important point) of development of this power in our specific which brings it into harmonious relationship with the dynamis of the sickness, which best prepares it for the best success. I think this is a fundamental principle in Homœopathy.
And finally – let us remember to regret, that, when first experiments were made to reduce drug power in the dose, that aggravations of the patient’s sufferings might be avoided, there came into use in our nomenclature such misleading terms as attenuation and dilution. The idea was the reduction of drug matter, and the terms may fitly express this, as to the matter of the drug. But it was found that though the matter had been reduced, the curing power had been rather increased, showing demonstratively, that the two elements are not identical. I think it is a proof positive that the matter of the drug and curing agent are not identical, that the same manipulations which reduce the one enhance the other. The matter was diminished, while by the same process which effected this, its dynamis was developed, and its curing power enhanced. These terms are wholly misleading when applied to that which has happened to the medicinal agent when passing through the process which has been more fittingly termed a dynamization. In dealing out our medicines we are really handling forces, and not materialisms, and to talk of diluting or attenuating a force is to talk of what is wholly inconceivable. A right understanding of these facts will save much confusion of ideas, and render quite plain many facts, which, though facts, are seemingly impossible, and are wholly incomprehensible. All we know of them is that they are facts, and this we do know.
In the beginning we called the method of selecting the remedy we have presented, the best method. If any inquire why we have done so, we reply – first, because it has has given us a record of successes in healing, greatly surpassing that of any other. It is this record and no other which has given to Homœopathy its world-wide repute and acceptance. Second, because it is a practical embodiment of the principles of its law, and a partial departure from this method is by just so far as this extends, only a partial exhibition of Homœopathy at the best and may be, not seldom is, so great that the law of therapeutics is left wholly out of sight. This is true of all practical proceedings, based on the principle, advocated by some and called liberality, that of “going as you please.” i.e., following individual inclinations and judgments, rather than the demands of law, and yet, those who so teach and do, claim the right to be called by the name which rightfully characterizes only those who obey law. They claim to be accepted as Homœopathicians, though Homœopathy is wholly a law, and these are “bound by no law.” Third, we accept this method as best, because it was the method of those who have given us our brightest examples of practical successes in the administration of our healing art. It was the method of HAHNEMANN, GROSS, STAPF, BOENNINGHAUSEN, RUCKERT, FRANZ, BACKER, HERMAN, HOMBURG, LANGHAMMER, WAHLE, JAHR, Friedrich HAHNEMANN, and the other worthies who joined our great master, in his labours which gave the world the priceless treasures of our Materia Medica. Fourth, we have called it the best because a trial of it of near half a century has fully justified the confidence which the example and testimony of these worthies inspired.
And now if any man has a better method, with a better record of successful healing attached to it, than has this of law, let him bring it forward with evidence of the verity of this record, and if he can make this satisfactory, I am his friend and will accept his better method with all thankfulness.
[Courtesy: Medical Advance, 1896]