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Critically evaluate one homeopathic methodology of your choice and compare it with the classical model. Give an account of the assumptions underpinning the method. Briefly discuss possible clinical situations where this method could be indicated and appropriate. In Aphorism 21 Hahnemann wrote that it is “undeniable that the curative principle in medicines is not in itself perceptible” and that therefore we should “rely on the morbid phenomena which the medicines produce in the healthy body as the sole possible revelation of their in-dwelling curative power”.
Hahnemann, 2001) Although it is possible that here Hahnemann was referring only to the “Doctrine of Signatures” (whereby it is considered that the shape of the plant reveals its medical properties) since he wished to promote the integrity of medical science, it has been argued that this Aphorism should also be applied to Jan Scholten’s theories regarding the Periodic Table and that therefore the use of remedies using Scholten’s methods cannot be considered homeopathy. (Habich et al, 2003).
Scholten advocates the use of compounds on which there have been no more than ‘meditative’ or ‘dream’ provings as opposed to physical provings. However although Scholten’s work on the periodic table has not promoted the use of physical provings; he originally studied both chemistry and philosophy (for two and three years respectively) and has applied logic to draw a picture of the homeopathic properties of all cations and anions using the periodic table and the compounds which they make.
Scholten’s work is based on key concepts rather than the individual symptoms from a proving and in his book Homeopathy and Minerals he describes a process called ‘Group Analysis’.
In group analysis all the common symptoms in a family of salts or cations, (such as potassium), or anions (such as the carbonates, chlorides, phosphates and sulphates), are extracted and grouped together. This way of looking at a remedy is in line with classical homeopathy and influenced by Kent’s grouping; for example under the mind section in Kent’s Repertory ‘impatience’ contains five different potassium salts (kali-ar, kali-bi, kali-c, kali-p and kali-s).
In the same way as Kent, from this type of information Scholten would deduce that all the potassium salts would exhibit impatience; a conclusion drawn whether or not an individual potassium salt had been proved or not. Kent had already begun this type of deduction by including a picture of Kali-Silicatum and Kali-arsenicosum from his knowledge of Silica, Arsenicum and the potassium salts in his Lesser Writings.
However Scholten expanded on this work and developed key concepts for individual elements: When the individual key concept of a cation and an anion are known he posits that when combined into a single compound the compound can be given a definitive concept by drawing conclusions from the cation or anion characteristics. For example in Kali-carb the themes of duty and pragmatism in a kali, and self worth and hard work in a carbon would be combined to form a picture of principled person doing their duty. (Scholten, 1993).
Scholten’s work also goes further still and he has divided the periodic table into the horizontal and the vertical for use in homeopathic analysis. The horizontal relates to the number of shells surrounding an atom and these he has categorised into seven different series; Hydrogen Series(one shell), Carbon Series (all those atoms with two outer shells), Silicum (all those with three shells), Ferrum (all those with four shells), Silver (all those with five), Gold (all those with six) and Uranium (all those with seven).
He has related these to Themes (Being, I, Other, Work, Ideas, Leaders and Magus), Age (seven stages from foetus to old age), Area (seven stages from spaceless to universe), Sense (from smell to intuition) and Tissue (from skin to Bone marrow). In Scholten’s view of the periodic table the eighteen horizontal arrangements which relate to the size of the atom decreasing in size in relation to its density (i. e. density increases) along the periodic table are arranged in a cycle.
This cycle he relates to eighteen stages starting with beginning, then steadily moving on through the following seventeen stages; finding space, company, establishing, preparing, proving, practising, perseverance, success in sight, Lord and Master, preserving, division, withdrawal, formal, loss, remembering, the end, letting go, rest and then finally back to beginning. (Scholten, 1993) In this way a fuller picture of the elements and hence the resulting compounds can be drawn.
Scholten tells how he first looked at known remedies but the logical order that presented itself meant that he was able to fill in the gaps by making an informed guess as to what should be next in the table, very much like Mendeleev when he was first constructing the chemical periodic table and made correct guesses as to the next in a sequence. (Scholten, 2005) By using these methods group analysis can not only cover particular known salts or anions by can be extended to so a whole series in the periodic table so that each elements unique identity s revealed. It also means that element or compound can be looked at in greater breadth and this can be particularly helpful not only where elements have not received a proving but where they have only received a small proving. Scholten himself also asserts that his remedy pictures are more holistic in that they also show a positive side whilst the traditional provings tend to show mainly the negative side resulting in a picture that is a caricatures of the remedy. Scholten, 2009) Although it could perhaps be argued that there is a justification for making assumptions about minerals where the anions and cations in them have received physical provings, meaning that there could be an automatic right to call the use of this homeopathy, it is harder to justify those compounds in which neither anions nor cations have had any physical proving.
This is the case with the Lanthanides; here Scholten has made predictions as to the key concepts in these hitherto unused remedies using a combination of meditative provings and assumptions from the work on the periodic table (Scholten, 2005). He argues however that meditative provings not only have a financial advantage over a traditional proving but that there is an advantage in that they are not ‘attention dependent’ or open to disturbances taking place in the life of the prover although he does recognise that a meditative proving will only give a partial picture (Scholten, 2007).
In contrast, as well as Hahnemann’s advocacy of relying only on phenomena produced by remedies in healthy bodies in aphorism 143 he also purports that only when a considerable number of medicines have been tested will ‘we have a true materia medica’ (Hahnemann, 2001) He lay down exacting guidelines for provings which have today been expanded upon and the European Council for Classical Homeopathy has produced its own set of guidelines issuing safety guidelines and advising on best practice.
However it was the clinical success that Scholten first achieved from developing key concepts with previously unknown salts that inspired him in his development of the Periodic table furthering work that was first attempted by Sherr and Sankaran (Scholten, 1993) and which subsquently led to the work on the Lanthanides. These too have been reported to be a valuable homeopathic tool and the clinical successes achieved by their use have been reported in an article published in The Homeopath by Jackie McTaggart. McTaggart). By presenting remedies in a sequential way it also facilitates understanding of remedy relationships, and therefore acts as an aid in choosing follow up remedies or promoting an understanding of how a better choice of remedy could be arrived at. Scholten also points out that although data that does not come from provings is ostensibly frowned upon, by other leading homeopaths, including Vithoulkas much of the data for the polychrests does not come from provings but from clinical data.
On his website he offers as an example the fact that in Essences of Materia Medica (Vithoulkas, 1991) Vithoulkas gives fifty-two symptoms of Lycopodium whereas in the original provings there are only thirteen symptoms. (Scholten, 2008). This group analysis or thematic prescribing has been criticised for its lack of adherence to physical provings but its basic idea has proved popular. There are homeopaths that having learnt the system, find this way of prescribing simpler and more successful (Watson, 2004) and it has proved popular and widely used enough to be included in the MacReportory.
Although still finding acceptance in some quarters Scholtens way of prescribing is very much pointed towards classical prescribing, with its emphasis on definitive holistic concepts. Having only one definitive concept (for example Ferrum Muriaticum being defined as Disciplined Mother) means it would not lend itself to prescriptions that use more than one remedy. Since the concepts employed by Scholten appear to have been primarily developed along psychological themes it would also appear that this method of prescribing does not lend itself to palliative or acute prescribing either.
However the beauty of the system is its expansive nature and it could therefore easily be adapted to to both acute situations; for instance beginnings of a cold brought on by over indulgence, or a chronic situation that needed palliating such as advanced bone cancer when one might look to letting go, series seven for bone. Finding concepts for acute situations or those that need palliating could be aided by the Repertory developed by Scholten; it includes 15,000 rubrics and has over 40,000 entries and auguments his previous work; Homeopathy and Minerals and Homeopathy and the Elements written three years later in 1996.
It is clear that Scholten recognises that much in homeopathy needs to be updated and he has presented the format of rubrics in a new way with nouns being put first followed by verbs, adjectives and adverbs so that along with a more scientific way of investigating the homeopathic properties of elements and compounds there is a more standardised way of finding the concepts and symptoms too. Scholten does not stop there; in the repertory he also suggests that it is time has come for the old familiar names to make way for a newer system.
Being a chemist Scholten would be aware that in the last sixty years there has been a movement headed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) to standardise the nomenclature of chemicals so that there sequencing can be deduced from their name. It is therefore not surprising that he should also seek to standardise remedy names so that place in the periodic can more readily be understood meaning that it would become easier understand the characteristics of a remedy simply by readings its name.
In ‘Stages as a universal principle for differentiation’ Scholten is also currently looking at how the series and stages relate to the plant and animal kingdoms (Scholten2007) Although tools such as MacRepertory have made it easier to find the correct remedy the standardising effect of Scholtens work should be a great aid for both educators and students of homeopathy should it be looked at more closely. It promotes both greater understanding of remedies, a greater range of remedies from which to choose and also by its logical nature can be an aid in understanding remedy relationships.
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