Recently, I was contacted by “Revista Homeopatica de la Salud.” based in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, a new Spanish-language publication that invited me to send in an article.  I was happy to comply.Since I don’t speak much Spanish, I wrote the article in English and they kindly translated it for me.  For those, who, like me, will require a translation back into English before reading it, I am posting the original copy in English here.  It is a very basic look at how homeopathic remedies can be used most effectively in the acute sphere.  Take a look:


Notes on Acute Uses of Homeopathic Remedies


I am always surprised when, within the homeopathic community, acute prescribing is seen as something less, something simpler than constitutional or miasmic treatments. Something that belongs in the hands of students only.

In this one aspect of medical practice and philosophy, it seems to me that the allopaths are actually more correct in their thinking.  After all, is the Emergency Room in any hospital seen as a lesser place than the rest of the wards?  And are ER doctors thought of as those who lack the skills to practice any other form of medicine?

Where the allopaths celebrate the skills that make for effective emergency medicine, even build television shows around them, we homeopaths tend to think that any student who has leaned enough to think of Arnica Montana when their child bumps his head has the skills needed to practice that which may be called “acute homeopathy.”

This, of course, is far from the truth.  In fact, in many cases acute treatments require that the practitioner, amateur or professional make decisions rapidly, basing them on case taking by their own senses.  The demands of medical emergencies often require that the homeopathic practitioner be able to assess the situation at hand nearly instantly and without the ability to have the patient fill out a multi-page intake form or even to have the patient give rational answers to questions.  Therefore, the homeopath must be able to fall back on his or her own knowledge of materia medica, which they have to understand well enough to recognize the physical differences, in terms of physical, emotional and mental symptoms, among the many potential remedies for a given case.

Without the luxury of being able to snuggle up with a nice cup of tea, a repertory and any number of materia medicas and slowly, methodically taking a case apart, looking at the present symptoms in light of past circumstances and family history, the homeopath who finds himself or herself looking at the results of physical trauma and/or emotional shock will need to have a broad understanding of homeopathy to fall back on.  And those who practice acute homeopathy therefore need to be recognized and honored for the skills that they call into play each and every day, even if the emergencies tended to are of the household variety and quickly set right with the use of an appropriate remedy.

With this all in mind, let us consider what it takes to use the homeopathic pharmacy effectively and safely in the practice of acute homeopathy:


Preparation:  In other words, if you have waited for an actual emergency to occur to run and get your home guide or your repertory, it is for all intents and purposes too late.  If you wish to be a good enough student of homeopathy to handle common household emergencies, like colds & flu, cuts and scrapes, toothaches, fever, measles and mumps need to work well in advance.  It is important that, before you ever touch a remedy that you study that remedy and its uses, know what potencies it works best in, what antidotes the remedy and what remedies precede and follow it well.  You also need to be able to assess the nature of the emergency, whether it is appropriate for you to be treating it at all, of if you should be contacting a medical professional or calling for an ambulance.  You need to be well aware of what makes an acute situation acute and what the difference between an acute homeopathic treatment and a constitutional treatment is.  And you need to know that even in acute treatments, homeopathic medicine NEVER allows you to think in terms of reaching for Arnica with every bump and bruise.  We can never take a remedy selection for granted in homeopathic treatments—we can never equate any remedy with any symptom, however strong the desire is to do so.

All students of homeopathy, before they ever touch a remedy, need to learn how a case is taken and, just as important, how it is managed.  When to give and when NOT to give a remedy.  When to begin treatment and when treatment should end.  These are all just as important to the acute case as they are to the constitutional.

Understanding the Goal and Nature of Acute Treatments:  Here we have a stark contrast between constitutional and acute prescribing.  And here, the acute treatment can be clearly seen as the simpler task.  Where acute treatments seldom give us the opportunity to repertorize at our leisure, they do present a simpler challenge in terms of ultimate goal of treatment.

When we treat a patient constitutionally, we are treating the whole of that patient, every cell in his body, and all levels of being, body, mind and spirit, all at once. Therefore, it is the goal of the constitutional treatment to not only relieve the patient of the symptoms that trouble him, but to also leave the patient fundamentally in a better, stronger and freer state of health than he enjoyed before undergoing treatment. We seek a fundamental shift for the better for the whole of the patient’s being.

In the acute treatment, we have a humbler goal: we seek to restore status quo. An assumption we make in the acute treatment is that, before the recent shift in the patient’s health (before he fell of the playground or began to feel a scratchy throat), the patient enjoyed “good” health. Therefore, what is sought in this form of treatment is not a fundamental shift. Instead, it is more like a simple tap, a slight push to help the patient’s own system heal itself from the condition at hand—a condition that, by the very definition of “acute” is self-limiting. Its onset leads to a specific result. Thus, we seek to only allow the patient to go on his way, feeling as he did before the onset of symptoms. A simpler thing than the constitutional shift perhaps, but often a profound, even highly dramatic shift in and of itself.

I have often seen an almost operatic shift with an acute treatment. The baby who was nearly hysterical with teething pains is quite suddenly sleeping soundly enough that the parent tiptoes into their room again and again to me sure that this now-quiet child is still sleeping peacefully.

I have also seen, time and again, that acute circumstances often require the use of more remedies and more different potencies of remedies in bringing the case to a happy conclusion than will a constitutional treatment—even one lasting months or years.

When we treat homeopathically, we always use the shifts in the patient’s symptoms as our guide for when to give a dose of a given remedy and when to hold back, when to change remedies and when to stay tight, and when to raise the potency or lower it or leave it as it is.  Because the shifts in the acute case then to happen more quickly, the changes in remedy and potency follow.  Often, in long-term constitutional cases, in which the symptoms have been in place for months or years, the changes are slow.  In acute cases, the changes can be quick and dramatic.

A word about “Aggravations.”  Some students of homeopathic medicine expect, when giving any remedy, that they will see an aggravation—a temporary worsening of the patient’s symptoms before improvement begins.  And aggravations are common. And yet, they need not occur.

What is important is that CHANGE happens.  When the appropriate remedy—the remedy that is, in action, most similar to the symptoms the patient is experiencing—is given, there will be a shift in the patient’s symptom picture.  Sometimes it will worsen before it improves. But sometimes improvement will itself be the change.  That baby who was crying from teething, with a bright, hot cheek and an angry disposition, will simply fall into a peaceful, gentle sleep as the remedy works.  In short, never seek an aggravation, never give a remedy in hopes of worsening the symptom picture, ALWAYS seek a change in the symptoms, knowing that that change is your proof that the remedy is working.

Kits, Home Guides, Combination Remedies and Acute Homeopathy:  Acute homeopathic treatments are still homeopathic, which means that even these need to follow the same principles that any other homeopathic treatments do.  Often, when dealing with acute conditions, we try to simplify the treatment by eliminating some of the principles that would always be upheld under constitutional circumstances.

In other words, the remedies given in acute treatments MUST still adhere to the Three Laws of Cure.  They must:

–Always be selected upon the basis of matching the remedy to the patient in the totality of his symptoms.  In homeopathic treatments, chronic or acute, we always uphold the principle of like curing like.

–Always be used singly.  Samuel Hahnemann, the father of homeopathy, is very clear on the need to always use one medicine at a time. This is done because every medicine creates myriad shifts in the human system.  Therefore, the use of more than one remedy at a time makes it quite impossible to know which medicine is doing what.  The case becomes muddled and may ultimately be spoiled and the patient left uncured.  Combinational remedies may be popular, but they are not and can never be considered homeopathic medicine.

–Always be based on the principle of giving the remedy in the lowest effective potency in the fewest number of effective doses.  We never wish to over-treat or to continue treating after the need has passed.  More cases are ruined by over-treating than by under-treating, so beware.

The student who studies the materia medica, who comes to recognize the need for specific remedies when faced with particular behaviors and symptoms, who also learns to use a repertory quickly and effectively and who learns and upholds basic homeopathic philosophy can do a great deal of good in this world.  He or she will act as a blessing in the family, the community and in the world.  The world has an eternal need for healers and healing.  With work, with time, with dedication, you can most certainly help fill that need.