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Creating Waves of Awareness

You may ask 'How does magnetism work or how does electricity work?'

I believe it is energetic. I have had results by simply holding a bottle and on a couple of occasions I have had a severe reaction to a remedy in a bottle that was, unknown to me, leaning against my leg. At the time I could not work this out as the bottle was glass and glass acts as an insulator ... but only an insulator for some things. It does not insulate against magnetic fields and it obviously does not insulate against homeopathic remedies. I know that I am very sensitive to some remedies especially those that I need but that is not the point. The point is that the homeopathic remedy acts in an energetic form - certainly not chemical - and acts very quickly.

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The problem here Trevor is how we frame the question. When we ask how anything 'works', implicitly we are framing the question within a Newtonian/Cartesian/19th century world view where matter and energy are two entirely different 'things' - matter being entirely inert and governed by Newton's laws of motion and energy being that which acts on matter, and governed by the laws of thermodynamics. Most importantly, this world-view (which goes back millenia to ancient Greek philosphers like Democritus and Leucippus) insists on trying to understand the universe in all its diversity and complexity in terms of the random (i.e., mindless) interactions of tiny particles. posits a built-in ontological separation (concretised by Descartes) between the observer and that which is observed. So, again, within that world-view we have to be extremely careful about the language that we use to describe what happens. For example. the word energetic - this is not me criticising you, by the way: it is just that we have to carefully unpick the twisted skein of language and realise that when we use words in a certain way, there are a whole bunch of people out there who understand those words within a highly defined and narrow context.

Now, there is nothing wrong with that world-view per se, as long as we bear in mind that that is what we are using, and that it has some by now well-known limitations, especially when it comes to dealing with what happens between people (by the way, it also has huge problems dealing with any kind of complexity even when we are considering so-called 'simple' systems operating close to chaos). Thus, within this world-view, patients, practitioners and remedies are seen as ultimately discreet entities. And because it is based in the belief that all interactions can be reduced to that between atoms and molecules, then highly diluted homeopathic remedies cannot have any effect, let alone a therapeutic one (....but then, look at the latest info about the memory of Water hypothesis - get onto Professor Martin Chaplin's web-site here in the UK, at London SouthBank University).

For me, ALL manner of therapies - conventional medicine included - start with two people in a room....Now, it so happens that that 'grand inquisitor' of any therapy - the randomised controlled trial (RCT) - does appear to show that when we look at all the trial evidence for homeopathy, around 60% of all trials show that homeopathy has an effect above and beyond placebo.

But you see, there is an added catch, because the RCT also has a built-in implicit assumption: that the MEANS of a therapeutic modality (in homeopathy, this would be the remedy) can be neatly separated from the CONTEXT in which that therapeutic modality operates (e.g., the relationship between the patient and the practitioner). Why? For the simple reason that it makes the gathering of statistics and the drawing of meaning from them a whole lot easier. There is in fact no a priori reason for making that assumption other than that. Indeed, we see what happens when we go along with that assumption, not just in homeopathy, but when it is applied to conventional medical drugs as well, and that is that effect sizes for a remedy/drug are vastly reduced compared to what is known about effect sizes 'anecdotally', i.e., from real life practice. Of course, the other thing that RCTs fail to do is to pick up the long-term deletarious side-effects of conventional drugs (not to mention the actual cheating and lying that Big Pharma companies indulge in to ensure that their drugs 'pass muster' with the FDA, etc....but that's a whole other ball game).

So, what's my point? That in order to do research into homeopathy, we have to be very clear about what kind of research we are doing - is it to be based in a conventional science epistemology, or perhaps something else, like the epistemology that social scientists and anthropologists might be used to, or perhaps something else again - the discourse of quantum theory (but this does NOT mean orthodox quantum theory as practiced by high-energy physicists: what I mean is a generalisation of quantum theory's discourse that allows it to be applied to the complex interactions that go on between people....). Now, within that kind of discourse, there are patients, practitioners and remedies but they come together in a special way such that trying to 'disentangle' them as ordinary conventional science likes to do, actually destroys the therapeutic effect.....needless to say, I have been the butt of many sceptics' ill-humour for suggesting this, but hey, what the hell. It seems to point to some interesting ways of understanding not just homeopathy, but the whole therapeutic relationship/journey that we engage in with our patients - and this necessarily would have to include the various sentisitivities and susceptibilities, not just of our patients, but of ourselves.

Anyway, this has rambled on long enough

best wishes

Oh Lionel, you make me look so simplistic and perhaps I am. You have raised some points worthy of long discussion however, I will remain simplistic. I like the often used analogy that homeopathy offers a placebo effect. Good. Give me the placebo every time.

Another issue that is often raised is the psychological effect, practitioner to patient. You tell me sweet words and my believing them makes me feel better. I say 'good' to that too but it fails when one considers remedies given to babies, birds and animals where they have responded in a physically visible manner - not just smiling, being happy, looking better - but where severe rashes, growths, leg injuries are seen to be cured right before your eyes. Obviously magic, an illusion.

Sorry Lionel if I am being too simplistic. Thanks.
ultra sensitive. Yikes! Be careful what you get near.

Quite a philosophical discussion going on here. Makes my brain activated.

Do we have Placebo Forum Discussion group where this would fit?
Not at all Trevor...because in a very real sense, it IS simple. What happens when we give remedies to anyone? It is not just about the placebo. There is of course 'real' stuff going on here. Now you can't take a case directly (by talking to and receiving answers from) a baby or a bird or a plant, but there is always some other human agency involved, i.e., a parent, a keeper, or just the fact that you have come across this being and are exchanging with it on some level. Just by observing and being in the universe means we are locked into it (how could we NOT be in the universe?!). All I am saying is that that connection is unbreakable and in a very real sense we ARE the universe, and the universe IS us....! This is a real mind bender.

You see, what conventional science assumes it can do is be a 'fly on the wall', that is make observations without affecting or being affected by that which is observed. This illusion is quite powerful and is plain wrong. It was the ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras who said, "Man is the measure of all things......" This isn't giant hubris, but the beginning of understanding that we cannot separate ourselves from the universe and think we can push it and prod it as if we could ultimately 'control' it without it somehow coming back on us - recipricality, if you like or biting us on the bum (the whole thing over global warming is really about this....)

This has been known for sometime in quantum theoretical circles, yet it's full implications have yet to really trickle down to the rest of science. It is very easy to think of the universe as something out there, separate from us, which exists whether we observe it or not (an extremely isolating, lonely and ultimately nihilistic way of looking at things). What makes it SO difficult to see through this illusion as that the very languages that we use are predicated precisely on this dichotomy. We say 'I' and 'thou' and are happy to conclude what we mean are two distinct separate individual things.....and for most purposes and the living of 'normal' life that is fine. But there is something else - an underlying connectivity that is not immediately obvious or indeed conscious, in the way that we usually use the term. Deep states of meditation, maybe (or the use of certain psychoto-mimetic substances) can give an inkling of this connectivity....

So, there are remedies and there are people who take remedies and people who prescribe them. My point is this: by insisting on always and in everything seeing these entities ONLY as separate things do we run into this whole problem of whether the effect of the remedy is 'real' or whether it is placebo. There is a word I haven't mentioned yet and that is 'intention'.....Now this is BIG. I happen to think that the best us humans in our usual states of being can muster is 'attention' - we give our attention to our patients and we pay attention to them. Intention is something much bigger than that: it creates universes.....

So, while we are stuck in a dualistic way of looking at things, then there will be this dichotomy between whether the effect of a homeopathic remedy is real or whether it is 'just' a placebo. I think we cannot separate the remedy from the context in which that remedy is given - when we try to do this, as happens in randomised-controlled trials, we either destroy the therapetuic effect or drastically reduce it. Of course, when we consider conventional medications, then that introduces the added complications of side-effects, and I am NOT disregarding the actual biochemical effects of material substances on the material organism. Somehow, we have to learn to live with two different interpretations of reality at once - one which is dualistic, like conventional science, and another which is monistic (hermeneutic?) like homeopathy and much of CAMs. We have to learn to see that they are complementary, not in opposition to each other.....and it is very, very difficult! the meantime, none of this should stop us practicing and trying to help our patients to the very best of our abilities. Because how homeopathy 'works' is a question that isn't just about homeopathy: it's about the whole way we humans - each of us from our own basis and points of view - negotiate, understand, and come to terms with who we are and why we are here.....sorry.....I know this might not what you might have been wanting to hear but there's absolutely no reason why we shouldn't continue thinking and feeling and exchanging over this question until hell freezes over. It's just I've been doing it for far too long.....

All the best

Thank you Lionel. Attention, but what is our intention? The latter is heavy. We give attention but what is our intention? I shall have to ponder that at length.

The 'fly on the wall', in the medical practitioner approach is making observations on, quite usually, just a small part of the whole. The arm, if it has something wrong with it, is separate to the body. So the attention is given to the arm and not the body whereas the arm is part of the body. The problem with the arm may in fact come from the brain. The patient thinks that there is something wrong with the arm. The arm may be damaged, however it is part of the body and the body reacts to that damage and the brain governs the body. Now, if the practitioner is dismissive this has an effect on the brain of the patient which, in turn, has an effect on the healing. The effect may be negligible or not.

A homeopathic approach pays attention to the whole. Often a great deal of attention is given to mental, emotional or physical areas that appear to have no relationship to the complaint yet the result affects the whole.

So, how does homeopathy work? ;-)
Have you seen how mirrors are used to relieve phantom limb pain?

You'll notice he has a poster of Einstein in his room.
Watch all the videos. It may be a brain function - MIRROR IMAGE -
Likes cures likes...
This is a must see video three - sensory mapping. It's like NLP.
How absolutely fascinating! All three videos do need to be watched. That certainly opens the mind - Like cures like quite differently to what we may tend to limit this to.
Nice one Trevor...I think we are in agreement. You can't beat a good old tautology.....and as I said, asking how something works regards things as sums of parts and not wholes. Like how does the brain 'work'? How does one make sense of all that neural electrical activity with all its positive and negative feedbacks, and then point to it and say, "There is consciousness!" No, you can't. Same with healing and homeopathy - we have to consider it as a whole: patient, practitioner, remedy to begin with....


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