In the past, Hearing International has looked at the international success of Acupuncture, Chiropractic and other treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus. These days there seems to be a lot of homeopathic treatments for tinnitus. They take the forms of pills and compounds consisting of roots, bark, and animal parts that are all supposed to get rid of tinnitus, among other disorders. We know the trade names, such as Quietus, Ring Stop, T-Gone, Tinnitus Miracle Cure, and many lesser known or homemade brands. The next few weeks Hearing International will investigate the homeopathic treatment of tinnitus. Does this stuff really work or is it just plain poppycock praying on the suffering and frustration of tinnitus patients? Can homeopathic medicine be used in a tinnitus treatment regimen either in isolation or to augment counseling, masking, tinnitus retraining therapy, or the Neuromonics tinnitus treatments? To begin the discussion, let’s first look at Homeopathic Medicine and its origin and what is really meant by the use of this treatment.
Origins of Homeopathic Medicine?
Modern homeopathy was pioneered by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). Samuel Hahnemann studied medicine at the University of Leipzig, University of Vienna, and finally graduated with an MD from the University of Erlangen in Germany in 1779. He took jobs as the village doctor in addition to various other positions and finally resorted to work as a translator in order to feed his family. Obviously medicine was not a lucrative occupation in 1780s Europe. He also traveled quite a lot around Europe and used this “time of wandering” for testing some of his theories. Dr. Hahnemann was justifiably distressed about the traditional treatments of the time such as bloodletting, leeching, purging, and other 18th Century medical procedures that did far more harm than good. In the early 1800s he began to develop his medical system that was based upon single drugs in harmless doses, pure observation, empiricism and experimentation. Although unpopular in his own time, his writings and teachings at the University of Leipzig established the fundamental principles of the science and art of Homoeopathy and netted him the title of the “Father of Experimental Pharmacology”. Among his numerous publications were Essay on a New Principle (1776), The Medicine of Experience (1805), Contrast of the Old and New Medical systems (1825), as well as a number of other controversial publications or Organons on his homeopathic methods. Thinking that treatment of disease should be to “balance the body’s humors by opposite effects”, Dr. Hahnemann developed his “Similia Similibus Curentur”/“Like Cures Like” or the Law of Similars” that states that symptoms of disease can be cured by extremely small amounts of substances that produce similar symptoms in healthy people when administered in large amounts – a notion that prevails today in the development vaccine for various diseases. The Law suggests that when a remedy produces symptoms in a healthy person, that same substance will cure those same symptoms when manifested by a person in a diseased state. Dr. Hahnemann was the first physician to actually prepare medicines by proving their efficiency on healthy human beings to determine how they would act to cure diseases. Before Hahnemann, many spurious medicines and treatments were introduced on speculation, mainly on the basis of authority without any knowledge or experimental verification. The law of cure has been verified by millions of homoeopaths all over the world since the time of Hahnemann.
Just so that you don’t think that old Sam was all work and no play, his life took a nice turn in 1834. Four and a half years after the death of his first wife, Johanna, a new lady entered his life, Melanie D’Hervilly Gohier (1800-1878), a young, attractive and well-connected French artist. Over forty years younger, she became first his patient, then his homeopathy student and then his lover. They were married in January 1835 and moved to Paris in June 1835, but not without significant controversy. Their love affair and marriage caused a sensation among his conservative German colleagues, neighbors, and local newspaper reporters that attempted to ridicule the marriage. He called this time of his life in letters to friends as “better and happier than I have been for years.” It is also certain that in those final, blissfully happy, eight years of his life, he established a thriving medical practice in Paris with his young wife. During this time he became a celebrity and the preferred physician of the rich and famous, as well as giving free treatment to the poor. Throughout his life Dr. Hahnemann continuously experimented with various substances and even introduced the smelling of remedies, or Olfaction, in 1832. It was, however, during this last phase of his long life that he established Olfaction and the LM potencies as central pillars of his Paris Homeopathic practice. These procedures are mentioned in detail in his sixth and final Organon published in 1842, which did not see the light of day until 1922. Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the first physician to really evaluate pharmaceuticals and what they could cure, was truly one of the 18th and early 19th Century medical pioneers.
What IS Homeopathic Medicine
Web MD defines a homeopathic health practitioner or homeopath as one that uses pills or liquid mixtures (solutions) containing only a little of an active ingredient (usually a plant or mineral) for treatment of disease. These are known as highly diluted or “potentiated” substances. There is some evidence to show that homeopathic medicines may have helpful effects. In Europe homeopathy is a very popular form of treatment for many disorders in countries such as the UK, Belgium, France and Germany. It enjoys a strong and increasing level of support from both the general population and the medical community. In the US, however, it is much less popular and does not enjoy the same support from the medical community. In many respects, this is not surprising as the general population will usually accept a treatment methodology that works for them, while many in the medical community are unable to accept or unable to be seen to accept, a treatment mode that is contrary to their teaching. Dr. Hahnemann found this out in the early 19th Century and it is no different today.
However, the latest research by leading Universities, private research institutions and companies, using new devices such as NMRI (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging), is showing that homeopathic medicine is being proven scientifically. The fact that homeopathy appears to work on a completely different set of principles to that of allopathic medicine explains why the technology used to quantify its benefits is only recently available.
Next week at Hearing International will explore some of these benefits and how they are being proven.