Managing not Curing Psoriasis
Psoriasis, a common curse, was discussed by Pat Kenny on his show this morning. He interviewed Helen Hanrahan who operates the website http://www.theflakyfashionista.com/ and Professor Brian Kirby, consultant dermatologist at St Vincent’s Hospital.
While many say Homeopathy doesn’t work, you’ll hear doctors say their medicines “work”, are “effective” and have an “adequate response,” as Prof Kirby says in this discussion. But medicine needs to clarify what it means by these terms, after all, a hammer across the back of the head “works” – you soon forget the flaky skin!
To clarify these statements then puts an onus on the medical practitioner to know what the outcome of treatment should be and what the long-term prognosis is. In short: what is the purpose of my treatment; what outcome am I expecting here; why am I following this particular course of treatment? These questions haven’t always been asked, let alone answered.
Professor Kirby does outline some sort of goal, albeit it vague. He talks about “controlling”, “managing” and apart from taking the treatment for the rest of your life, you carry on as if it’s not there, which hardly matches Hahnemann’s ideal of cure.
This deprives a medical practitioner of the kudos to make a conceited quip about “many patients” who claim to benefit from using apple cider vinegar, especially when he has just admitted using “mucky tar” – sulphur – which old ladies up in the hills have been using as a local remedy in the form of a sulphureted butter.
I’m not suggesting cider vinegar as a treatment but, to open one’s mind a little, we’d realise there are at least two benefits for the skin, which is why it has been added to some cosmetics.
First, it contains enzymes which soften the skin so can be added to a bath. Secondly, it’s acidic. The skin has an acid mantle so helps to maintain it in dilution.
Other advice was to avoid herbal remedies as they can be “dangerous.” This is true but can sound disingenuous after admitting some medical treatments harm fertility – and certainly damage the liver – and cortisone can cause problems. If you do use herbal remedies, we are warned, don’t spend much on them, which should bring a few gasps from patients paying “€200 for five minutes” to be prescribed something the G.P. could have prescribed.
Good advice was to avoid tobacco and the benefits of meditation was promulgated which won’t please the science police!
While some useful comments and suggestions were made, what wasn’t said was also worth commenting on. Dr Kirby introduced psoriasis as being due to an overactive immune system. From a homeopathic point of view, which miasm are we talking about? He then said it is characterised by thickened flaky skin. To clarify this, he means an excessive build up of skin. Again which miasm? Psoriasis is frequently in patches. Which miasm?: all sycosis. Unfortunately this is lost on medicine so, since Hahnemann has postulated a cause which allopathy hasn’t, we can at least conclude Homeopathy is more scientific.
Hahnemann distinguished between the fundamental cause (i.e. miasmatic) which disposes a person to psoriasis and the exciting causes, for example, stress, which was mentioned in this radio discussion.
Another aspect of the “cause” in psoriasis is the false belief that a strep throat brings it on. Because someone may have a strep throat prior to the skin eruption, it doesn’t follow the throat causes it. The two problems, throat and skin are rather two branches of the one root cause; Hahnemann’s sycotic miasm.
A second point missed; not everyone has their psoriasis displayed in patches, so why treat everyone the same? Why even treat everyone’s skin the same? Homeopathy is more successful because it individualises and secondly, we never treat the skin! We treat the person who has the skin. My most successful cases are the ones where I don’t even consider the skin symptoms.
Direction of Cure
Many years ago, a British T.V. station filmed the work of a traditional Chinese medical practitioner working in Soho. They showed the results of her treatment of a baby with severe eczema from top to toe.
Everyone was delighted for the poor child when its body was totally cleared. (The baby was being treated in Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.) On the contrary, knowing Professor Hahnemann’s experience and research he has freely shared “for suffering humanity”, I was worried for that child. The body was clear but the eczema was still over the scalp and face.
Why should I be worried? Because the direction the symptoms receded was the reverse of the Law of Cure; from below upwards instead of from top down as happens with a proper cure (e.g. as is the case with measles)
The example of the Dr Subrata Kumar Banerjea’s patient being treated in the photos above: before; during (after 22 months) and after (85 months) show the contrast between the deceptive conventional approach (I think I’m getting better but I’m not and being told, “this is the treatment” as if it’s the only one or is a scientific treatment) and homeopathy. Study the photos above and you can see clearly there is a direction of cure; from top down – an essential third point missed by the dermatologist and the long-suffering patient.
This is in contradistinction to a common scenario. A girl, coming up to her Leaving Cert exam, might develop a plque or two of psoriasis on her abdomen. Medicated cream is applied. Now it goes to her chest. More cream. Now it’s on her face and soon her scalp.
When doctors like Prof Kirby talk about treatments “working” what do they mean? They probably mean suppressing the symptoms so they can’t be seen. The direction then moves either upwards or inwards. If inwards, then other problems will most likely ensue and in psoriasis, the patient invariably feels tired and becomes arthritic. One friend, a consultant surgeon, said, “They say if you suppress psoriasis it can lead to serious problems like cancer.” Cancer I’m not sure, but more serious problems, yes.
Looking at the case presented by Dr Banerjea as well as my own cases over the years and the many shown at conferences by homeopathic doctors, we can conclude that the homeopathic approach to psoriasis and skin diseases generally is quicker, gentler and more permanent – Hahnemann’s ideal of cure.
While Banerjea’s case took 85 months, that is the end of it and the patient himself will be free from concomitant throat and joint symptoms. Many might not like the idea of such a long treatment (this was a particularly bad case if you see the rest of the photos), yet it’s nothing to Helen Hanrahan’s “sixteen years trying everything” but only reaching the point of “managing” or “controlling” it.
A Further Conclusion
When critics of homeopathy say homeopathy only works because it’s down to placebo, this is wrong. It’s not enough to get better – whatever that means – it’s essential that a patient gets better in a particular way as can be seen from the above down direction of the psoriasis in the pictures above.
If the above patient, like the baby with eczema treated with Chinese medicine, got better from below upwards I wouldn’t be happy. While the skin might look nicer, one thing is for sure: the patient will be worse.
Credits: Dr S.K. Banerjea: Allen College of Homeopathy; website and the above case with more photos: click here
The above case is presented on video here
The Pat Kenny Interview on TalkFM can be listened to here or here. It begins about three quarters of the way through part 1 on Wednesday 25th February, 2015. (It’s not a user-friendly site so I can’t give the exact link!)
For more on disease causes visit my tag on it here
Hi Stephen, thanks for your article (and for the many others ones). You make your points with great precision and clarity. I loved the way you compare other treatments with homeopathy and particularly the fact that you stress the importance of the direction of cure and also that you point out the importance of the patient being cured rather than the parts. Well written.