Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Don’t Just Smile… LAUGH!! It Reduces the Stress on Your Heart!

When I saw the neighboring uncle sitting gloomily in his porch early in the morning, I obviously asked him what was wrong. This question changed his expression and he smiled back to me saying, “Nothing beta, just back from the laughter club and thinking what to do ahead!” At the same time, saw aunt (his wife) entering house with a huge laughter that she seemed to share with her neighbor over some gossip issue! Well, even though uncle couldn’t, I could readily sense the controversy in his own statement. Why on the earth a person visiting a laughter club would sit sullenly as if he is the reason behind the world economic crisis?  

No wonder this uncle has recently undergone a bypass surgery for the closed tubes of his heart and is therefore doing everything possible to avoid the future attacks. But unfortunately he is unable to change his temperament!

I am sure he needs a good homeopathic prescription! :)

With the growing number of people visiting laughter clubs every morning, it is evident that people know the importance of laughter. Gone are the days when people used to share their happiness with those living around and the entire muhalla (lane) used to enjoy the festive atmosphere for days to come. “Things were so good then”, we hear so many times or say ourselves. But do we realize what we are jeopardizing in an attempt to seclude ourselves from societal openness? The most important thing that we have forgotten is to laugh! Sadly…

If you google, you would find hoards of quotes and SMSes related to “Smile” but there are very few comparatively for “Laugh”! It is true that smile is the concept that emerges from the heart, from the deepest of our emotions! But many times (especially in today’s corporate world), smile can be fabricated. It may be used as a weapon to avoid conversation and stay away from questions. But the person who smiles knows whether it’s genuine or not. On the contrary, laughs are usually non-fabricated. One cannot laugh heartily without really feeling like laughing.

Actually this is the reason I don’t like Laughter Clubs (no offense meant). In these clubs, what people do is ‘try to laugh’ for the sake of it. This is just decisive movement of your laughing muscles and larynx in an attempt to make a sound like laughing! Laughter clubs boast about utility of these clubs to help one with heart problems. Does it really? If this needs to be done, laughter clubs should have some genuine joke-tellers or some fun-games that would evoke natural laughter from the participants.

But still there is a problem!

Have you seen people criticizing the best of the jokes? May be either they don’t understand it or they feel too proud to laugh at a joke! Their grim faces ooze proud (or foolishness!?) that they took even the joke lightly and didn’t allow their face to budge! Now that makes me laugh… I am sure this pride is going to sit around their heart and make their arteries go fatter!

Why can’t we allow ourselves to enjoy the most natural expression ‘laughter’? Is it bad to express? If tears are the expression of joy, sorrow, sympathy, empathy, and love, laughter is an expression of sheer joy!! If tears are important in our life to shed the heavy weight on heart, laughter does the same task more easily and subtly. Laugh at every instance you can. Your family is your best friend. Share your ideas with them. Pick out on your own inhibitions, inferiorities, and feel proud to make fun of it. It is said that there is no as good catharsis as talking about one’s own inadequacies. Why hold back ourselves? Read fun books, read fun jokes, create your owns and send your friends, and enjoy the feeling of laughter you spread around! Make it contagious!

No need of scientific evidences to tell us the importance of laughter and that it helps our heart to function smoothly! Laugh and you will find that your chest is expanding like never before and you can feel the rush of fresh air that enters your body with each laugh!

Laughter that comes from heart and helps the heart is truly worth! Try it!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Homeopathic Cough Remedies! Let’s Differentiate a Few!

As we know, more than the diagnosis of any given case, symptoms of the case are important while treating any case homeopathically. You do not attribute the successful case taking to considering the signs and symptoms of the disease per say but the characteristic symptoms on physical, mental, and emotional planes of the sufferer. This makes homeopathy more of an art, as the homeopathic physician has to possess tact to seek these details from the patient with the help of careful history taking.

Here we are going to see one of the common symptoms “COUGH” in its various aspects and homeopathic approach to a patient of cough.

Cough as a Protective Reflex-

The “COUGH” is one such symptom that can be associated with variety of disorders ranging from common cold to asthma. Primarily ‘cough’ is a protective reflex instituted by higher centers in brain. So, actually coughing means that you are driving out the unnecessary toxins present in the body or the body is trying to get rid of those toxins by forceful and natural expectoration. Therefore, this discretion, whether the cough is due to some kind of reflex activity by the body or an exaggerated form of this reflex, needs to be verified before treating any patient with cough.

Do not treat each and all cases presenting with mild to moderate cough with medicines. Understand the necessity behind this cough reflex. Many times, physicians do a big mistake of treating a protective cough that is insinuated by the lungs to throw off the sputum produced as a result of some infection or allergy. This cough if helps the person to reduce his chest congestion when in moderate degrees. The fine line of demarcation to recognize between a patient protected by cough reflex and a patient needing cough treatment comes with the academic qualification and practice; one who possesses that excels no doubt!

Classification of ‘Cough’-

Most rough classification of cough can be- (1) Dry cough and (2) Wet cough. Most obviously dry cough is the one in which there is little or no expectoration while coughing; however the cough reflex can be severe enough to bother the patient through his day to day activities. If sputum comes, the patient has to try hard to evacuate his lungs in this dry variety. In wet variety, usually easy sputum production occurs and the patient spits many times to feel at ease. In either case, there can be wheezes depending upon the patient’s constitutional tendencies. Crepitations are usually heard with wet variety.

Though varied causes of cough can be given ranging from seasonal bronchitis to low immunity due to AIDS, when we treat homeopathically, rarely we need to consider the diagnostic aspect in any patient, because we have our exceedingly powerful weapons ready in the form of similarly acting homeopathic medicines. These medicines however have to be chosen very carefully to end the spells of cough in the patient and impart a lasting relief.

Let’s consider some of the most important “Cough-Remedies” homeopathy offers—

(1) Spongia-
-         This is one of the crucial remedies for dry coughs
-         Gasping cough with feeling as if he is breathing through sponge
-         Great anxiety accompanying cough with heavy breathing, palpitations
-         Hollow sounding cough without sputum associated with fullness in chest
-         Tight croupy varieties with sawing, barking cough
-         Worse- talking, touching larynx region, signing, swallowing, cold drinks, thinking of cough, night after head touches the pillow (or worse after sleep/ sleeps into aggravation), sweets, mental excitement
-         Better by eating, drinking warm drinkss

(2) Antimonium tart-
-         Cough resulting after eating sour fruit, especially in a child
-         Huge secretion of mucus; mother tells his chest makes wheezy sounds at night
-         Despite lot of secretion, has to exert a lot to expectorate
-         Whining and moaning before coughing
-         Clinging tendency in the children suffering from recurrent colds coughs
-         Craving for apples
-         Icy cold finger tips
-         Excessive sleepiness and drowsiness
-         Incessant sweating with suffocative feeling in chest
-         Coughing and yawning alternately
-         Worse- anger, warm room, lying down, mornings, overeating
-         Better- expectoration, vomiting, sitting erect

(3) Ipecac-
-         Loose cough with rattling in chest
-         Bronchopneumonia with bloody sputum
-         Entire system pervaded by a nauseating feeling that gets aggravated as he coughs
-         Tightness pf chest and larynx with spasm of vocal cords
-         Gasping for breath with asthmatic breathing
-         Incessant suffocative cough with paroxysms of retching, vomiting
-         He kind of stiffens with each paroxysm of cough, with each breath, turns red or bluish and finally gags and vomits but nausea still prevails
-         Marked periodicity
-         Worse- warmth, dampness, pork, rich food
-         Better open air

(4) Arsenicum album-
-         Alternate dry and wet cough
-         Must sit up and bend forward as he is short of breath
-         Whistling inspiration with wheezy chest
-         Excessive restlessness with cough or asthmatic breathing
-         After an attack, extreme prostration out of proportion to the illness
-         After 12 o’clock at night, springs out of the bed due to shortness of breath and then inability to lie down for fear of suffocation
-         Associated with cold sweat and debility
-         Worse- cold drinks, cold food, cold air, after vegetables, bad meat, suppressed eruptions, tobacco, exertion
-         Better- elevating head, sweating, movement, hot food and hot drinks

(5) Argentum met-
-         Hoarseness of voice with cough of professional singers and speakers
-         Total loss of voice
-         Throat of larynx feel raw or sore on swallowing or coughing
-         Laughing excites cough and produces profuse mucus
-         Has to hem and hawk while talking
-         Cough with easy expectoration of gelatinous mucus with too much  viscidity that looks like boiled starch
-         Great weakness of chest worse on left side
-         At the bifurcation of trachea, feels a raw spot
-         Worse- using voice, mental strain, noon, 3 to 5 am
-         Better- coffee, wrapping up, movement

(6) Squilla-
-         Stubborn coughs with rattling
-         Associated frequently with sneezing, coryza, watery discharge
-         Urine spurts while coughing
-         Cough ends in a gag
-         Easy heavy expectoration with stitches in chest
-         Pleurisy
-         Heat in chest
-         Absence of sweat
-         Worse- early morning, evening, movement, uncovering
-         Better by wrapping up

Monday, March 14, 2011

Homeopathic Posology (Potency Selection) as Perceived from Stuart Close’s “The Genius of Homeopathy”

Many homeopaths while practicing come across many hurdles. Right from the method of convincing people about the depth of homeopathic science, they often face difficulties while applying the different potencies (powers) during treatment process. I have met some homeopathic physicians who have propensity to choose certain potencies all through their practice. I have seen patients, who while self-treating homeopathically choosing 30C potencies invariably, as they think it is somewhat middle potency and will neither do any harm (as high potencies might do according to them), nor will they be too small to elude action!

Well, certainly as you can guess, choosing the potency is a very important decision when you want to give or take any homeopathic medicine. There are many chapters on posology (art of applying dosage) in homeopathic literature. Many views have been expressed in different books and one might find some remarks confusing wile searching for the right tool to believe in.

While reading Stuart Close’s “The Genius of Homeopathy” while in homeopathic college, I felt at ease. The reason behind this feeling was simple. The guidelines given by him are according to the homeopathic principle and are corroborative of Hahnemannian Classical Homeopathy. They are easy to comprehend and one can apply these guidelines in day to day homeopathic practice, rarely facing any failure while clinging to them. Therefore, this is an effort to put forth these guidelines once again in simpler fashion-

Let’s derive some points out of it--

(1)   Simply put, the posology is a science of dosage. In homeopathy, as with its eternal principle, we can add a word “art” too. Thus, it is a science and art of dosage. Many people come forward for homeopathic treatment with the notion in their mind that homeopathy means small doses. It is pleasant way to treat oneself without large tablets to be taken with harsh preparations. In right sense, it is true; however, it is necessary to impart knowledge in public regarding the depth of homeopathic medicines and their smallness of dose implying greater strength should be insisted upon for broader understanding of the science!

(2)   Dose is one thing in homeopathy that needs greater emphasis. Even while teaching homeopathy in schools and colleges, this aspect is not well-stressed. Dose is one of the essential elements of homeopathic system, the other two being the principle and the remedy. Even Hahnemann at one time, in order to bring an end to an endless debate on potency selection, proposes to treat most cases with the thirtieth potency; such was the controversies, confusions, and misunderstandings on the subject. Many homeopaths therefore try to solve this mystery by adopting what can be said as “Self-Law” when it comes to potency selection, which is not good for sure.

(3)   The fact of apt therapeutics however says that every practitioner should be free of prejudice when it comes to potency selection too. This is stated so because- “Under homeopathic principles, any potency may be required in any case. It is as unreasonable to expect to cure all cases with any two or three potencies as it is to expect to cure all cases with any two or three remedies. In either case, those who follow such a course are governed more by the love of ease and their prejudice than they are by their desire for efficiency. One must remember that a well-selected remedy may fail utterly, or even do injury, because of wrong dosage. Dose as well as the remedy must be adjusted to the patient’s need.”

(4)   The drugs in physiological doses create some set of symptoms; the same symptoms are cured by the smaller infinitesimal doses. Therefore, it is stressed that the physiological doses have nothing to do with their homeopathic use. Means, if you are using a drug in physiological dose, you aren’t using it homeopathically, because homeopathic medicines are never used in physiological doses. More appropriately, we can say that the homeopathic medicines are never used for their physiological effect. This is so because; the ‘physiological action’ of a drug is not its therapeutic or curative action. It is exactly the opposite of a curative action, and is never employed in homeopathic practice for therapeutic purposes.

(5)   On the contrary, therapeutic dose means curative, alleviating, healing. Depending upon the size and strength of the dose, susceptibility of the patient and the principle upon which it is given, action of the drug, whether pathogenetic or therapeutic is decided. Pathogenetic doses may be given to healthy subjects in order to make a proving. When we treat patients homeopathically, we do not want to produce the symptoms but want to remove them. This is therefore possible only with the help of a similar remedy in the minimum dose.

(6)   The temporary aggravation after giving homeopathic medicine is truly temporary, so much subtle that many times goes away unnoticed. If there are new symptoms after giving a dose, it is obviously indicative of either wrong medicine or wrong dosage.

(7)   If we come across cure of a particular person after giving certain remedy, we should take it as- ‘The medicine was right and the dose given is the maximum dose consistent with safety.

(8)   Homeopathic dose is always given in sub-physiological or sub-pathogenetic dose (minimal dose), because—

·         We intend to remove symptoms that are already existing and not producing more symptoms
·         Disease already renders the affected part sensitive. Large doses can add to the agony of the patient; however the least dose can modify the affection without any bad effects
·         Also the homeopathic drug is given (or should be given) singly so that the action is complete, unmodified by other drugs; so the small dose!

(9)   To all those people who ridicule the smallness or infinitesimal scale of homeopathic medicines, Stuart Close reminds that infinitesimal is a quantity and it cannot be thought as nothing. He quotes Hahnemann who says, “How so? The smallest possible portion of a substance, is it not an integral part of the whole? Were it be divided and re-divided even to the limits of infinity, would there not still remain something,- something substantial,- a part of the whole, let it be ever so minute> What man in his senses would deny it? And if this be in reality as integral part of the divided substance, which no man in his senses can doubt, why should this minute portion, as it is certainly something, be inactive, while the whole acted with so much violence?” Truly Hahnemann’s statement is indisputable!

(10)                      To stress the importance of proper dose, he states further that any curable disease may be cured by any potency, when the indicated remedy is administered; but the cure may be much accelerated by selecting the potency or dose appropriate to the individual case.

(11)                      Thus, in conclusion, five considerations are stated that influence the choice of the dose—

·         The susceptibility of the patient
·         The seat of the disease
·         The nature and intensity of the disease
·         The stage and duration of the disease
·         The previous treatment of the disease

Thus, one who masters the art of dose selection along with the remedy selection in homeopathy is the true healer!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Arnica Montana- Lot More than Mere an Injury Medicine!

The credit of most widely used drug by lay people and non-homeopaths should go to Arnica Montana! I have seen innumerable orthopedic surgeons, physiotherapists, and general physicians prescribing Arnica in 200 or higher potencies for different types of bruised and contused wounds. Yes! This is what Arnica is famous for. Only the person who has experienced the magic of this wondrous drug can understand its therapeutic efficacy.

Just recently I had a skeptic comment to one of the articles in which use of Arnica was stressed. The commentator had ridiculed its use and said it is nothing more than a placebo in keeping the patient’s hope high after its intake. Well, as usual I had ignored it! The point of telling this here is the fact that the same skeptic after a few days wrote to me, (This is what he says exactly; have taken his permission to put this in his own words), “My son aged 6 years had a contused wound made by the hit of a stone to his right index finger 3 days back. I had given him the best of analgesic but he was still wailing in despair. There was marked swelling and he couldn’t move his terminal phalanx. While wondering what to do, I remembered about the bottle of Arnica 200CH I had bought on one of the occasions on insistence of my wife (but didn’t find it useful at all in one of the instance, so had kept it aside). Gave my son 3 globules of Arnica and miracle happened. Within next 2 hours, his swelling substantially reduced and next day he was absolutely free from pain. Perhaps, I had used it in wrong place earlier; so please excuse me for my earlier skeptic comment on it”. Certainly not too many skeptics have this big heart!

In short, Arnica Montana is a darling medicine for homeopaths and non-homeopaths alike, as it rarely refuses to act positively when homeopathically applied.

However, the purpose of this article is not to elaborate on the “INJURY” aspect of Arnica Montana but the other aspects of it other than injury! Yes, it is one of the very useful polychrest remedies in homeopathic material medica that needs to be studied in depth to utilize its finest of properties.

Let’s see—

  • One of the most important symptoms of Arnica one should remember is- pain in the part that is used more. It is thus not only the contused wound pain but pain in any organ that is being used a lot. The fatigue from this over-use leads to sore pain. For example- if a person develops sore throat after talking incessantly for long hours, Arnica will help him get rid of this soreness almost immediately. If there is sudden rise of blood pressure in a person who has done loads of hard work, a dose of Arnica will help lower his blood pressure and no anti-hypertensive drugs will be necessary! This thus applies to any part or organ.

  • Arnica is one of the important remedies also for depression! In many cases, the remedial diagnosis comes of Arnica when a homeopath might miss out on this wonderful drug to rouse the patient from his dreaded depressive spirits. The patient dreads to be talked to, hates any sort of conversation, imagines he is suffering from some heart problem and remains frightened; alternating with the state of fearlessness when he says there is nothing the matter with him! Lots of nightmares are usually present with fearful dreams. This usually happens is people who have gone through some sort of physical and/or mental shock. The depression is almost always associated with great soreness of body, because of which he dreads the thought of touching anyone. This painful uneasiness with restlessness permeates through all Arnica patients.

  • Arnica is one of the good remedies for bleeding tendencies. Bluish red spots come suddenly on skin or on mucus membranes or any inflamed part tends to bleed easily. The expectorant is dotted with tiny red blood clots at times. Urine even is bloody especially after an accident and there can be bleeding from various orifices of the body. Arnica is the remedy that helps in early clotting of blood when given at right time.

  • One of the great remedies for rheumatic diathesis. Bruised lame feeling in joints is the marked feature. Usually associated with mental despair and agony. History of joint injury can be traced back as early as in childhood. Sudden turning of joints with blue-black appearance is also one of the hallmarks of Arnica.

  • Also the old cases of gout with extreme soreness and enhanced sensitivity respond very well to Arnica.

  • Any inflammatory condition in the body pertaining to liver, kidneys, bladder or lungs (of course irrespective of the diagnosis) with sore bruised feeling all over the body responds well to very few doses of Arnica. Never doubt the use of Arnica in such cases (for example pneumonia), as the doubt might arise because possibly Arnica has very little sphere of action on lungs. That’s the beauty of holistic medicine like homeopathy that caters any and all symptoms effectively if the remedy selected is based on Law of Similars.

  • Some gastric symptoms are very prominent in Arnica that one should never miss. There is marked aversion to meat, broth, and milk! Many inflammatory conditions in abdomen respond well to Arnica including appendicitis. Dr J T Kent says, “It is only deplorable ignorance that causes appendicitis to be surrendered to the knife. You need not run to a surgeon for every case of appendicitis if you know Bryonia, Rhus tox, Belladona, and Arnica!”

  • Also, nightly diarrheas with very offensive smell respond well to Arnica with offensive eructation and flatus. Stools are usually mixed with blood with soreness of anus.

  • During pregnancy, Arnica is one of the chief drugs to be thought of when the pregnant lady is overtly sensitive to carrying her fetus within her womb. Uterus, abdominal viscera and surrounding organs feel bruised and movements of the fetus worsen the soreness. After long labor, when the woman has dribbling urination, Arnica is one of the amazing drugs. Usually associated with coldness of the body with hot head.