Achieving Optimum Health
Bio-Energetic Medicine and the Coming Revolution in Healthcare
As we prepare to enter the final decade of the 20th Century, we are beginning to witness a revolution in medicine and healthcare. Central to this transformation is the ever-growing recognition that we need to expand our previous dependency on pharmaceuticals and surgery as the primary means of therapeutic intervention and include nutritional/biological modalities, as well as bio-energetic systems such as acupuncture and homeopathic medicine.
Along with the trend toward a more ‘Holistic healthcare system, which bridges the gap between "conventional" and "alternative," there is an increasing awareness that the emphasis must shift ever more toward prevention in order to reduce the risk of more serious disease and financial embarrassment. It is recognized by the highest levels of government and industry, including statements of the U.S. Surgeon-General, that we can no longer afford to wait for disease to strike, but must work to prevent all disease possible by changes in our national and personal behavior and attitude.
In addition to advocating better nutrition, regular exercise and belief systems, which encourage health and longevity, we are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of environmental pollution and the role that hereditary susceptibility play in affecting our health or disease. Doctors need to be considered in both the sick and the well if we are to establish a truly comprehensive therapeutic and preventive medical program for the 21st Century.
The Bio-Electronic View of Disease
At the heart of this expanded view of therapeutics and preventive medicine is the application of post-Einsteinian concepts of modern physics to medicine. ‘Whereas surgery intervenes at the level of structural anatomy, and pharmaceutical medicine at the level of cellular biochemistry, the Einsteinian model moves us away from the older Newtonian mechanistic world view to one that looks upon matter as particularized energy, vibrational in nature, and the human body as a multidimensional energy field". (See Vibrational Medicine by Richard Gerber, M.D. for a comprehensive view of this subject.)
When we begin to realize that illness often begins with subtle imbalances in the human energy field, completely undetectable through conventional diagnostic technologies, we can understand why pharmaceuticals and surgical procedures (often life-saving in the gravely ill or injured person) need to be complimented with ‘bio-energetic medical interventions,’ in addition to nutritional/biological and psychological support, for the most comprehensive patient care.
There is both a diagnostic and a therapeutic application of the Einsteinian concepts to modern medicine. On the diagnostic side, many innovative physicians and clinical researchers are now experimenting with advanced technologies such as electro-diagnostic/biofeedback instruments. Such instruments, applied to topical acupuncture points, can detect subtle bio-electrical energy imbalances that provide information that serves to elucidate the cause(s) of the deeper bio-energetic disturbances. Such instruments are really a synthesis of advanced electrical and computer technology and the ancient concepts of Chinese medicine. Known as Chi in traditional Chinese medicine, this bio-electric energy is said to flow through a series of circuits called meridians, which can be affected by stimulating the topical acupoints of the body.
Although the theory of Chi life-energy (called the Vital Force in European natural medicine) may seem very abstract to logical Western thinking, European researchers have validated the existence of these acupuncture points by electrical conductivity readings. Since these topical acupoints have a lower electrical resistance compared with other areas on the skin, their conductivity as measured by changes in galvanic skin resistance is higher. It is this particularity that is the basis of our ability to ‘electrically read’ the energy field of the corresponding organs and tissues.
Information received in this manner can suggest the status of the various organs of the body, the possible presence of an environmental irritant, a viral or bacterial infection, or, even, an allergic hypersensitivity state. With such pre-diagnostic screening information, complimented by appropriate conventional diagnostic procedures, it is obvious that the clinician can gain greater insight into the nature of the patient’s condition as a basis for effective treatment.
On the therapeutic side, electrodiagnostic/biofeedback technology can also help us to determine which nutritional/biological and homeopathic formulations may best correct the bio-energetic dysfunction. In this way, we are better able to prevent the later manifestation of more serious disease and expediting the return to health of those who are ill.
The Miracle of the Potentized Microdose
While more and more physicians are beginning to accept the role of clinical nutrition, biological medicine, and the influence of the mind on health and healing, the value of modern homeopathic remedies has only been recently rediscovered. Established about 200 years ago by the German physician and chemist Samuel Christian Hahnemann, homeopathic medicine even today, is still ahead of its time. Author of one of the most respected chemistry textbooks of the time and the personal physician to several members of the German royal family, he gradually became disillusioned with the conventional medical practices of his day. Hahnemann gave up the use of the powerful toxic substances then being used as medicines. He found, all too often, that the medicine was often worse for the patient than their illness. He was not discouraged, however, but persisted in his lifelong goal to discover "if God had not indeed given some law whereby the diseases of mankind would be cured."
Because of his devotion to truth and a strong commitment to benefit mankind, Hahnemann experimented on himself and an ever-growing list of friends and followers. He discovered a fundamental law (which had actually been alluded to by historical predecessors such as Hippocrates and Paracelsus) referred to as the law of similars, whereby a medicine is given to a patient based on characteristics which it has in common with the symptoms and personality of the person being treated.
From a homeopathic perspective, all disease is an external manifestation of an internal physiological and bio-energetic disorder unique to that individual. As such, no single part of the body can be ill without affecting the person as a whole. Since all the symptoms being manifested are assumed to reflect the effort of nature to heal, all must be taken into account in order to select the homeopathic formulations best suited to strengthen the person’s defense and healing mechanisms at that particular time.
Hahnemann had come to the conclusion that there was a balancing mechanism or vital-force that would continually strive to keep a person in optimum health in spite of all the negative influences, whether biological, environmental, or psychological, that they were exposed to. But if the stress were too great or prolonged, or if the defense mechanism too weak, then signs and symptoms unique to the individual would follow. The theory was that the appropriate homeopathic program would strengthen the vital force and support dramatically the process of healing already in progress, so that health could be restored quickly and naturally.
One problem that confronted Hahnemann in his early work was the issue of toxicity. Utilizing the "Law of similars", he had obtained very impressive clinical results. However, sometimes there was a great aggravation of symptoms before the improvement occurred. In an effort to correct this situation, Hahnemann began to experiment with the size of the dose to see how little of the medicine he could administer and still create a sustained healing response.
After years of effort, he disclosed a method of refining and purifying the original natural substance (from the plant, mineral, or animal kingdom) from which the homeopathic remedy was derived. These purified essences were entirely free from the toxicity that had previously bothered him and yet exhibited enhanced biological activity. This process called potentization, places homeopathic medicine at the leading edge of the energy medicines for the 21st Century.
Potentization consists of successive serial dilutions and vigorous shaking or grinding of the original natural ingredient. The most common strengths of potentized remedies are those that have been diluted as much as 6, 30, 200, 1000, 10,000, 50,000, and even 100,000 times or more. This process of Potentization is quite different, when one considers the energy released, from simple dilution. Neither diluting or shaking (grinding) alone will work; it is a particular combination of both processes, which potentizes the remedy so that it becomes both effective and non-toxic.
That he could produce such outstanding results with these minute doses, without the risk of toxicity, astonished the medical profession of Hahnemann’s day. But the clinical results were indisputable and many prestigious physicians, who were originally called upon to discredit and expose homeopathic medicine, soon became outspoken advocates of the system.
If it is difficult in our day for the scientific community)’ to appreciate the validity of a medical system that depends primarily on a bio-energetic interaction with the inner resources for self-healing, rather than on a biochemical reaction with a part of the body, imagine the situation 200 years ago. In that pre-Einsteinian era, referred in medical history as the "heroic era", nothing was known of energy fields and electromagnetic waves. Physicians still employed regularly such crude methods as burning, purging, bleeding, and the dosing of their patients with toxic substances such as mercury and arsenic. Even today, it is often far easier for physicists to understand the concept of acupuncture and homeopathic medicine than for those who have been locked into a departmentalized and materialistic view of health and disease by their somewhat outdated orthodox training.
Actually, even apart from bio-energetic considerations, the knowledge that very small amounts of a substance can be responsible for significant physiological effects is not unheard of to medical science. As Dana Ulirnan, M.P.H., states in his book Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicines (Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 1984, pg. 15-16):
A milligram of acetylcholine dissolved in 500,000 gallons of blood has long been known to lower the blood pressure of a cat, and even smaller amounts affect the beat of a frog’s heart. Florey, the co-discoverer of penicillin, reported in 1943 that pure penicillin can inhibit the development of sensitive microorganisms in the laboratory at dilutions of 1:50,000,000 to 1:100,000,000.
"The human body manufactures only 50 to 100 millionths of a gram of thyroid hormone per day, and the concentration of free thyroid hormone in normal blood is just one part per 10,000 million parts of blood plasma. Yet this hormone is a powerful regulator of metabolic rate. "There have been numerous other experiments in the fields of botany, zoology, bacteriology, and physics that attest to the power of microdoses, including homeopathic potencies more dilute than 12c."
Double blind clinical and laboratory studies have also provided evidence that the medicines act even though the dose is infinitesimal. One study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology showed the effectiveness of homeopathic medicines in treating people with rheumatoid arthritis, mustard gas and rats exposed to lead. For more information on more recent research regarding this subject, the reader is referred to the Foundation for Homeopathic Education and Research, 5916 Chabot Crest, Oakland, CA 94618; (415) 420-8791.
In some ways, the potentization of medicines is both the most exciting and the most controversial part of the homeopathic system. It is believed that the energized homeopathic remedy works on a fundamental bio-energetic vibrational level rather than on a chemical level and can therefore affect the "whole person" by balancing subtle energy disturbances that are contributing to or causing the disease condition.
Practicing clinicians use homeopathic remedies because they work and because they are safe. From the patient’s point of view, this is all that really matters. We await further research, by advanced electrocomputer instruments, into the vibratory nature of homeopathic remedies for a deeper explanation of their exact mechanism of action. In the meantime, they are available and can be readily used along with other nutritional and biological modalities, for the benefit of the people for a wide range of acute and chronic disease.
An Enduring Natural Therapeutic System
What is generally not known by our contemporary society, or even by our modern medical profession, is that in the year 1900, 20-25% of all medical physicians in American cities identified themselves as homeopathic. There were over 100 homeopathic hospitals in this country and 22 homeopathic medical schools
The list of supporters included such prominent people as Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Daniel Webster, William Seward, William Lloyd Garrison, Louisa May Alcott, Samuel F.B. Morse, William James, John D. Rockefeller, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. William Cullen Bryant, noted poet and journalist, was President of the Homeopathic Medical Society of New York City and Charles Frederick Menninger, the founder of the Menninger Clinic, was a homeopathic physician and the head of his local homeopathic medical society. He was so confident of the power of the homeopathic medicines, he once said, "Homeopathy is wholly capable of satisfying the therapeutic demands of this age better than any other system or school of medicine.
The decline of homeopathic medicine in this country is a complicated story, involving political, social, and economic realities. In general, it was caused by the emergence of powerful pharmaceutical medicines which seemed to bring more rapid results by quickly controlling symptoms and which left the slower working, but truly healing, natural medicines appearing to be old-fashioned. With the passage of time, however, we have seen not only the benefits of these new drugs but also their limitations. The ubiquitous nature of these adverse side effects has once again created an interest in natural therapeutics and preventive medicine.
Though undergoing a renaissance in the United States, homeopathic medicine has always remained popular in other nations around the world. Today, Queen Elizabeth II is the patron of the famed Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. The Queen Mother is the Royal Patron of the British Homeopathic Association. The private physician to the British Royal Family is a homeopathic physician (as has been the case since the 1830’s), and Prince Charles is known to carry homeopathic medicines whenever he travels. In France, over 18,000 pharmacies sell homeopathic medicines, and over 60,000 physicians actively practice the homeopathic system. In India there are over 70,000 registered homeopathic practitioners and Mahatma Ghandi stated that Homeopathic Medicine "cures a larger percentage of cases than any other method of treatment and it is beyond all doubt safer and more economical and the most complete medical science". Mother Teresa’s support for homeopathic medicine is also well known.
Classical and Modern Homeopathic Medicine
The classical practice of homeopathic medicine relies primarily upon the patient interview from which the information elicited becomes the basis for the selection of an individual potentized remedy according to the Law of similars. The homeopathic remedy is finally chosen which, in physiological doses in healthy people, produces a symptom pattern most closely resembling that of the sick patient.
With modern or progressive homeopathic practice, the determination of a medicine is based on "vibrational resonance" as defined by a balancing of the energy field represented at the topical acupuncture points. ‘With either method, the potential for self-healing under the influence of a potentized homeopathic medicine is greatly and profoundly enhanced.
Actually, there is a unifying principle behind both classical and modern homeopathic practice, which can be understood or at least conceptualized in terms of bio-energetic resonance. Fundamentally, disturbances within the energy’ field (chi or vital force) generate the compensatory energetic and physiologic mechanisms which represent the system’s best effort to heal itself. These adaptive mechanisms are experienced as "symptoms" by the patient and are observed as signs by the physician.
In the classical approach, the vital force is telling us, through the unique and characteristic symptoms, what remedy it needs to resonate with the bio-energetic system. The clinician then compares the symptom picture of the person with the toxicological data accumulated through provings of individual medicines compiled in the homeopathic materia medica. Since the information consists only of provings of single homeopathic medicines, the classical prescriber chooses the single remedy’ which he feels is most similar to the symptom picture presented by his patient.
With the advent of computerized electro-diagnosis, the disturbed energy field is measured directly to determine which homeopathic remedy or combination of remedies is needed to achieve the proper bio-energetic resonance. The clinician, who uses electro-diagnosis, is not limited to single remedies because he can determine with the bio-energetic technology those combinations which the system "reports" will best achieve the desired balance.
Electro-diagnosis can also be utilized to provide pre-diagnostic screening information regarding chemical or environmental irritants, which can then be cleared at the beginning of the homeopathic medical program to allow the deeper acting constitutional remedies to be that much more effective. In the next 5-10 years, we are bound to see many applications of the combination of both classical and modern homeopathic practice in a unified healthcare system that integrates the bio-energetic perspective with biological/nutritional and behavioral modalities.
We are truly on the verge of an incredibly unique time in human history. In every area of human endeavor, and no less so in health and medicine, a revolution in thinking and behavior is taking place. While, at this moment, not everyone can appreciate these changing patterns and the new opportunities that are available to us, the next 20 years, we feel, will witness an unprecedented "new renaissance" for the advancement of mankind.
On every level, we are witnessing the blending, integration, and synthesis of many concepts, methods, philosophies, and cultures of health and medicine, which have as their common goal the solution of the problems presented by human illness and disease. As we come to the final years of the 20th Century, and prepare ourselves for the 20th, we envision the roles of modern transportation and communication as helping to bring our world closer together. So that we can learn from one another, share insights and discoveries, and uplift the quality of life for the entire human family’.
A synthesis of Eastern and Western medicine, of modern with traditional methods and of those, which are conventional with those, which are new and innovative, is taking place rapidly about us. In this context, a growing realization of the need for meta-physical and even spiritual concepts to compliment material technology is emerging, for the psychological aspect to be unified with the physiological, and for new models of health, illness and cure to be developed.
A new era of worldwide co-operation in the research of the cause, treatment and prevention of illness is emerging, and we are truly on the verge of a new higher-dimensional level of human existence. We can all join in the process; human history is waiting.
William Leslie Bergman, M.D. Medical Director, Hahnemann Health Associates, New York, N.Y.