Mark O'Sullivan, 2nd Year Irish School of Homeopathy

Essay: Miasms 30. May. 2006

Subject: Miasms
Word Limit: 1500 words “Miasms represent susceptibilities programmed into energy as it compacted itself through countless millennia to become the stuff of our physical being and to give us the opportunity to creatively participate in our own evolution”.
Jerome Whitney, in The Homeopath No. 57, 1995

1. When taking a chronic case how would you find out about your patient’s miasmatic inheritance? (300 words) When determining the most active miasms of your patient, most everything about them can be examined for the hallmarks of the most active miasm. One would look into the nature of the patient's complaints to spot the miasmatic susceptibility, then see if there are miasmatic themes inherent in them which stretch back through their history of health, into that of their siblings and ancestors. If a patient presents with a skin condition that is dry and slow to heal, you're thinking of Psora. If it is spreading fast and producing lots of tissue, then Sycosis is indicated. Finally, if it is septic and destructively corrupting the surrounding tissue, Syphilis is indicated. If more than one of the above characteristics is present, the Tubercular or Cancer miasms are indicated. The modalities and timings around symptoms can also reveal miasmatic motifs. Any one of these miasms could be dominant in a condition despite it having the same allopathic label. Physically, the body shape, proportions, birthmarks and their location, the shape of the teeth and nails can all provide pointers to a dominant miasm. The patient's health history can be elicited, providing clues in the childhood diseases, serious conditions during their lives, susceptibility to accidents, allergies and the immunity's robustness. Similarly the conditions of their upbringing whether sheltered or full of strife, controlling or absent parents. The kinds of activities and friends they have associated with, will all narrow the field of dominant miasms and correspondingly, of indicated remedies. The mental and emotional picture will also be indicative of the active miasm. Are they closed or open? Do they experience strong fear, doubt, rage, grief, guilt, shame or selfloathing? Each of these are strong keynotes of different miasms. Finally, determining the situations and health complaints of their siblings and ancestors can shed further light on the miasmatic inheritance of your patient.

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Mark O'Sullivan, 2nd Year Irish School of Homeopathy

Essay: Miasms 30. May. 2006

2. How is this information useful to you when assessing prognosis? (200 words) Knowing the active miasms provides huge insight into the likely progression, complications, speed, severity and curability of your patient's pathology. It will also provide a view on how your patient is likely to behave during the progress of cure and what likely further conditions your patient is susceptible to. In Psoric patients, the outlook can be good, since this miasm is less compacted and deeply pathological as the others. Progress can be slow, as underfunction, lack of vitality with somaticised fear and grief1 are likely to be present. Sycosis is trickier, with its keynotes of imbalances and extremes2 leading to deeper rooted pathologies that change state quickly. The patient's psychological profile is more complex than the Psoric and their often excessive lifestyles may present more obstacles to cure. Syphilis, the most destructive of the three Hahnammanian miasms has the deepest, most painful, aggressive pathologies in its diathesis. Conditions arising from this miasm do not have a good prognosis and the practitioner is alerted to this. Again, obstacles to cure in the form of lifestyle or existing heavy allopathic suppression for severe conditions can be in place as challenges to case management. Thus, by identifying the dominant miasm, clear indications can be gleaned as to the likely progress of the disease and the likelihood of new conditions arising from the miasmatic weakness in the future is diminished.

3. How is this information useful to you when making a homoeopathic diagnosis? (400 words) When the dominant miasm is identified an indication as to the depth of the pathology is indicated. For example, If a patient with GIT disorder displays the psoric diathesis, the practitioner has an indication that intestinal under function is likely, whereas in the case of a syphillitic patient these symptoms may alert her to the likelihood of ulcers or pre-cancerous conditions as the causation. A Psoric profile may lead the practitioner to ascribe the emotional aetiology to an episode of grief whereas with the syphilitic it is more likely to be anger. These are simplistic examples but illustrate how similar constellations of symptoms may be ascribed differing diagnoses
1 Lilley, David Seminars, Module 1, Day 1 (audio) 2 Ortega, p69
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Mark O'Sullivan, 2nd Year Irish School of Homeopathy

Essay: Miasms 30. May. 2006

when seen from the miasmatic perspective. The practitioner can ascertain if the dominant miasm is dormant, active or exposed3. If the miasm is exposed, the patient's picture corresponds to that of the nosode of the miasm, so this is given as the current similimum. If the miasm is identified as active, then this can be one method of narrowing the field of likely remedies for the patient, matching the dominant miasm to a remedy known to act on that miasm. Also, during the progress of cure if the well indicated remedy ceases to act, the practitioner knows that the prescription of the nosode of the dominant active miasm can assist in moving the case on. She also is forewarned of the likely progress of cure, according to Hering's law as expressed through the dominant miasm. In terms of potency, identifying the dominant miasm can be useful in order to match the energy of the potency with the energy of the condition. Psoric states are generally enervated, so the practitioner may choose to go with a lower potency than with the more intense syphilitic state. Sycosis can be more challenging in this regard, since in their unbalanced state, overfunction may be masking underfunction in a different area of their totality leading a weakened state to appear more charged than it actually is. Finally, when taking the totality, miasmatic background included can result in a better selected remedy which the practitioner can feel more confident in staying with for the duration of the treatment, while it is still indicated, since it addresses the patients condition and their miasmatic background. The knowledge of the miasms increases prescriber confidence4.

3 Smith, Michael, from lecture notes. 4 Banerja, p4
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Mark O'Sullivan, 2nd Year Irish School of Homeopathy

Essay: Miasms 30. May. 2006

4. Hahnemann described three miasms: psora, syphilis and sycosis; most homoeopaths now recognize at least another two. How and why has his theory of miasms evolved? How many miasms do you think there are? (600 words) The theory of the miasms were a late Hahnammanian innovation, which arose out of careful clinical observation and led him to the conclusion that underlying chronic conditions were caused by dynamic, energetic, inherited and contagious diseases passing down through the generations of humanity. David Lilly claims that Psora may well have begun with self awareness, the awareness of death and the attendant Psoric keynotes of grief and fear that arose from them. In other words, with the funerary rites of Neanderthal humans5. The irony in Miasmatic theory is that it arose from the western rationalist enlightenment tradition which holds as axiomatic that as humanity advances through time, we improve in health, morality and technology. This is often mis-termed “evolution” when in the darwinian sense, that word simply means “adapting to one's environment” without the value judgement of “getting better” attached. Miasmatic theory would hold the opposite – that as time goes by, miasms increase in number and strength, causing a deterioration in health and moral integrity. This, plus the embracing of holism has meant that Homeopathy has been swimming against the current of mainstream enlightenment thinking ever since. Hahnemann himself acknowledged that his miasms were just the ones that he himself had encountered during his practice. This has left the door open for other disease states to be termed miasmatic in places other than Europe. Then there are also conditions arising from the pollution we have visited upon ourselves, such as heavy metals or hormones, for example, which have been termed miasms. There is also the progression of time to consider. In Hahnemann's time, world population was under a billion, whereas now it numbers almost 7 billion.6 More population over more time means more contagion. This is demonstrated by the increase in chronic disease, even as death rates have decreased. The incidence of Sycosis and Syphilis alone have multiplied exponentially since Hahnemann's day and have been complicated by centuries' worth of suppression by new allopathic drugs. So here we are. We know that times and health have changed since The Chronic Diseases was published and see arising from the population, rampant chronic disease conditions such as Tuberculosis, Cancer and AIDS all of which are now ascribed miasmatic status with their own nosodes. The work of Sankaran and his followers have put forward the typhoid, malarial, ringworm and the leprosy miasm. All of these new miasms have been
5 Lilley, David Seminars, Module 1, Day 1 (audio) 6 From: http://geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/worldpopulation.htm
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Mark O'Sullivan, 2nd Year Irish School of Homeopathy

Essay: Miasms 30. May. 2006

theoretically retrofitted into relationships with Hahnamann's original three. Then there are also the Heavy Metal miasm (caused by listening to too much AC/DC*) and the hormone miasm cased by successive years of the pill and other hormone drug therapies infusing the environment. There is the question here of what constitutes a miasm and how are these subsequent classifications of remedies being used:
“...Therefore the distinctions of the miasm are useful only if they have clinical relevance – that is if they help us to find the correct similimum. In a sense, it does not matter if the proposed miasm is “real”. If the definition of the miasm is clear and easily determined by all trained observers in the patient and the remedies can be more easily identified by this grouping or categorisation, then the concept is useful. The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding”7

Morrison appears to imply that the existence of the miasms is a moot point so long as they are useful classifications of disease type. I doubt that Hahnemann intended the miasms to be considered a convenient taxonomic fiction and if the above logic were to be applied to homeopathic remedies themselves then the logic of the above utilitarian argument would hold them to be only convenient placebo. If the miasms are indeed impacted, unresolved disease energy passing down through time, looking to express both their positive and negative transformational power then it makes sense that through mass suppression, they will complicate, strengthen and cross-fertilise. I believe this is what has happened with TB, Cancer and Aids. I have not sufficient clinical experience to comment on Sankaran's new classifications and as for the metals and hormones, these have not arisen organically from within the population as the miasmatic diseases have and so are more like very large maintaining causes than miasms.

References:
Morrison, Roger. “Back to Basics” Homeopathic Times, Vol. 9 No. 1. Sankaran, Rajan. “The Soul of Remedies” 1997, Homeopathic Medical Publishers, Mumbai, India David V. Tansley, “Chakras – Rays and Radionics”, D.C.1984, C.W. Daniel, Essex, UK. Ortega, Dr. Proceso Sanchez “Notes on the Miasms”, 1980, National Homeopathic Pharmacy, New Delhi, India Banjera, Dr. Subrata Kumar “Miasmatic Prescribing”, 2001, Allen College of Homeopathy, Essex, England.

* NB: This is a joke 7 Morrison, Roger in “Back to Basics”. Homeopathic Times Vol.9 No. 1
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