Annual Conference Report 2011

Louise McLeanBy Louise McLean LCCH, MHMA           10th April 2011

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This year’s Annual Conference was held at The School of Pharmacy in London and marked the celebration of the 256th Anniversary of the birth of Samuel Hahnemann. There were four speakers for this very interesting and relaxed conference, with lively debate from the audience and lots of networking and informal discussions held in the coffee and lunch breaks.

Dr Colin Lessell, Essentials of Homeopathic Dental & Orofacial Prescribing.

Colin Lessel & Parm RandhawaDr Lessell, who graduated in both medicine and dentistry, has written three books on the science of homeopathy. His talk mainly consisted of all the remedies for a host of dental problems our patients might experience. He covered remedies for abscesses, ulcers, oral herpes, gingivitis and periodontitis, mentioning how these conditions can affect other parts of the body, e.g. causing arteriosclerosis, myocardial infarction and arthritis. In addition, he recommended propolis as an antiseptic mouthwash which is very good for inflammatory states.

Dr Surjit S Randhawa, The Sources of the Symptoms of the Mind.

Dr Surjit RandhawaDr Randhawa, one of the founder members of the HMA who sits on its Council, gave us a fascinating talk about remedies for states of mind. He reminded us that Hahnemann said “Mind is the key to man”. He believed that we must sharpen our observation skills, as the way the patient speaks and behaves gives us a huge number of clues for finding the right remedy. The important things are the intellect, will, memory and desires or aversions. People become ill when their desires are not being fulfilled.

Dr Randhawa prescribes entirely on the mental symptoms and finds that all manner of illness disappears using this method. We need to fine-tune our awareness and watch everything from the way the patient knocks on the door, the way they sit, the words they use and their chief problems. Listening carefully to the words of the patient is essential for translating it into the language of the repertory. He says: ‘Out of the behaviour/attitude or the words/phrases used by the patient, we must make the prescription on uncommon symptoms.’ (Organon 153). ‘Among uncommon symptoms, mental symptoms have the highest value.’ (Organon 213). He reminded us of the words of Dr J.T. Kent, ‘The interior of man must first be turned into order and then the exterior. The cure must proceed from centre to circumference’.

Dr Randhawa provided a long list of examples including patients who hum, whistle, scratch their nostrils, chew, talk to themselves, bite their nails, manner of walking and sleeping, etc. He gave us two cases, both with psoriasis over the whole body, one for 20 years. The surprising remedies which cured were Cactus and Digitalis, based entirely on the chance things they said! Cactus was chosen due to the patient ingesting lots of pills purchased from a variety of places!

After lunch, we heard Jerome Whitney speak about The Ongoing Challenge of Converting Principles to Methodology. Jerome was not only a member of CORH’s Accreditation Working Group but also a member of the ECCH education working party. He now participates in the Homeopathy Course Providers Forum, which is composed of the majority of UK teaching institutions and represents the full range of homeopathic practice. The Forum was originally started in 1999 by the HMA! His talk was about the difficulties of agreeing on a set of principles, rules and methods for teaching homeopathy in the UK. The three main methods of teaching homeopathy have been the subject of a year long discussion at the Homeopathy Course Providers Forum! Jerome discussed the Eclectic, Classical and Constitutional methods and explored the differences between Hahnemannian teaching comparing it to that of Kent and Burnett.

Hahnemann lived in the era of Heroic medicine, rejecting the excessive bloodletting and widespread use of mercury. He was a century ahead of his time in HMA Annual Conference By Louise McLean LCCH, MHMA recommending the need for good nutrition, sunlight, ventilation, personl hygiene, clean clothes, bedding and cooking utensils, as well as the humane treatment of prisoners and the insane. Jerome posed the question: was Hahnemann a healer or a homeopath? He felt this lay behind much of the controversy which has existed among homeopaths. He pointed out that the first six paragraphs of the Organon were about healing and how Hahnemann had modified and refined his teaching from the 1st to the 6th editions of the Organon, finally introducing LM potencies.

 Jerome Whitney and Anne WatersJerome then went on to compare the prescribing methods of James Tyler Kent and James Compton Burnett, which had caused a long running debate over high and low potencies. These two styles of prescribing may have developed due to the fact that there was an 88 year gap between the publishing of the 5th and 6th editions of the Organon, allowing for experimentation. The high potency method taught by Kent, also termed constitutional prescribing, had became popular in the UK in the 1980s. Kent’s philosophy was heavily influenced by Emanuel Swedenborg, who stated that there is nothing that exists in the spiritual realm which is not reflected on the mental, emotional and physical planes.

At the other end of the homeopathic spectrum we have the low potency prescribing of Burnett, known as organopathy, drawn on the teaching of Paracelsus and Johann Rademacher, a contemporary of Hahnemann. Burnett often saw patients with such advanced pathology, that he would only treat the dysfunctional bodily organ using 3x, 6x and 9x potencies, yet frequently found the remedy chosen was the simillimum for the whole person. Jerome also touched on other figures such as Constance Hering who introduced us to animal remedies, nosodes and sarcodes, as well as mentioning Swan’s unusual remedies and Skinner’s high potency prescribing.

The Conference ended with Anne Waters discussing The Homeopathic Controversy. Anne is the co-founder and principal of the Lakeland College of Homeopathy, running courses in both London and the Lake District. She has worked in education for over 40 years, represented the colleges at CORH and is also a member of the Homeopathic Course Providers Forum. Anne touched on the issue of statutory regulation for homeopaths and noted that it had brought complaints and difficulties for the chiropractors and osteopaths. She posed the questions: Will it actually make patients safer and what if it leads to patients having to be referred by doctors?

In her talk, Anne told us she now runs the Media group for ‘One Vision, One Voice’ which was started last year by the Homeopathic Action Trust. This initiative has brought the Society, ARH, HMA and Faculty together to find a solution to the bad publicity suffered over the past few years. She said perhaps the sceptics can be thanked for finally bringing the profession together! ‘One Vision, One Voice’ plan to train homeopaths to speak to local and national media in order to deliver a consistent message. For this purpose, they want to see a media pack sent to all homeopaths.

Anne mentioned the recent Newsnight programme which sent undercover reporters to find homeopaths who prescribed for malaria. She felt that homeopaths should give patients disclaimer forms to sign when giving advice for travelling to affected countries, with a list of sensible precautions. She deplored the way sceptics of the Nightingale Collaboration had sent a huge number of complaints about practitioners’ websites to the Advertising Standards Authority. The ASA was set up through the advertising industry and has no legal ‘teeth’ but could report people to Trading Standards.

Anne felt there was much apathy and fear among homeopaths with a lot of talk but little action. She said we should dare to be wise (Aude Sapere) and dare to be different and that the professional bodies needed to take a stance. There are approximately six million people in the UK using homeopathy and the individual’s right to choose should be backed. She believed we need to develop a response to the media which is less emotional and presents our evidence base. She said it was time to challenge the randomised double blind placebo controlled trial as the gold standard. There are hundreds of high quality homeopathic studies and Dana Ullman has collected them all, available on his website as a regularly updated ebook at Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Many top scientists such as Professors Luc Montagnier and Brian Josephson are now supportive of homeopathy.

After further discussion from the audience, the Conference was wrapped up with photographs being taken and people going down to question the speakers. Everyone appeared to have enjoyed the day and we look forward to next year’s conference in 2012!