Miasm: Myth or Is There Something to It?
Homeopathy is what makes me come alive! I love everything about it – the philosophy of homeopathic medicine, its elegant simplicity as both a healthcare and lifestyle choice, and most of all I love the way homeopathy makes me think deeply and provocatively. Throughout my homeopathic education, I was fortunate and blessed to receive tutelage from many world-renowned scholars and practitioners of homeopathy. I always considered one of my main responsibilities as a student to identify practitioner biases where the practice of homeopathy was concerned, no matter how passionate or persuasive the argument for a particular perspective. One of the greatest biases and issues of contention in homeopathy is the disagreement on what Hahnemann really meant by the word "miasm".
I filed this bias and all the other ones under my mental To be determined folder. In the back of my mind, I knew that I must find a useful and practical application for miasms before I could even consider dismissing it as a philosophical concept in the selection of a homeopathic medicine. While studying at the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine, I dreamed of one day going to study homeopathy in India. To really be able to call myself a homeopath with conviction, I knew that I must come down from my Ivory tower in North America, and go to India to see homeopathy practiced on a larger scale of volume, where in many cases homeopathy is the only healthcare choice available to patients due to extreme poverty.
A year and a half after graduating, I found exactly what I'd been searching for while browsing through the international events calendar on the Whole Health Now web site. The advertisement for the Bengal Allen Medical Institute in Calcutta, India reads "READY APPLICATION OF CLINICAL MATERIA MEDICA & MIASM (Use Miasm as repeatedly verified formula in daily practice)". The ad also indicates that this formula would be applied in over 200 live cases during the two-week program. Admittedly, I was a little skeptical, mostly because of the word formula. Words like formula and protocol make my intuitive, homeopathic hairs stand on end. They just don't reinforce the idea of individualized medicine. I was, however, unequivocally sold based on the volume of cases alone! I registered for the clinic program that day, optimistic and hopeful that I could add another piece to the intriguing and passion-rousing miasm puzzle, and confidently come to my own conclusion on this massively contentious issue.
Dr. Subrata Banerjea did not disappoint! He is a fourth-generation Homeopathic Doctor. Homeopathy is in his blood, both literally and figuratively. He knows Boericke's Pocket Manual of Homoeopathic Materia Medica & Repertory like the back of his hand, often quoting directly from the book and citing exact locations of specific information. Dr. Banerjea bases his homeopathic prescriptions on this simple, practical, and easy-to-use formula called MTEK, which stands for:
M Miasmatic Totality
T Totality of Symptoms
E Essence, which includes gestures, postures, and behaviours
K Keynotes, which includes strange, rare and peculiar symptoms referenced in Aphorism 153 of Hahnemann's Organon
During the first slum clinic, Dr. Banerjea saw 27 patients in less than 3 hours, which is incredible in itself. What is even more incredible is that 26 of 27 patients saw improvement in their chief complaints. My curiosity was very piqued, and my skepticism waning about the usefulness of the application of miasm. Clinic after clinic, patients reported improvement in their conditions. I watched Dr. Banerjea masterfully prescribe and follow up using the Kentian wait and watch method with outstanding results to back up his methodology for homeopathic prescription. In the majority of the cases we saw over the two-week clinic period, patients would go months, sometimes more than a year, without receiving another dose of the homeopathic medicine while still experiencing improvement in their chief complaints. My skepticism was waning further still.
I loved that Dr. Banerjea did not rely on a computerized repertory for his medicine selection, and that his clinic results only further reinforced his impeccable knowledge of materia medica. What I started to notice for myself after observing his clinic for a few days, was that I too started to develop these
on-the-spot prescribing skills. I'll use the analogy of a translator versus an interpreter to make my point here (and I was a translator for many years so I speak from experience). When you're a translator, you have the luxury of consulting dictionaries and terminology banks to find the precise term you want, similar to using a computerized repertory as a homeopath. As an interpreter, you do not have the luxury to search for terminology. You must process the words live and generate the equivalent words in the target language. Dr. Banerjea's MTEK formula gave me a tool to perform the latter successfully. And, I'm already seeing an improvement in results when I apply this formula to my own patient base.
Is miasm just a myth or is there really something to it? I encourage you to find out for yourself. There's no better place than India to observe the healing power of homeopathy on a massive scale, and see pathologies that you might never see in North America. I would specifically recommend the Bengal Allen Medical Institute's two-week clinical program that runs every January in Calcutta, India.
2010 Graduate of the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine.
Postgraduate student of The Allen College of Homoeopathy, England via video-link.
4th April 2012