Where is medicine headed? Why has holistic, person-centered (or soul-centered) medicine become an important concern and essential consideration for the most prestigious medical institutions? We live in interesting times: times that are ripe for a new revival of an “old” medicine infused with great wisdom.
We have come to regard the human being as a machine. Although this modern mechanistic “parts-approach” has enabled western medicine to excel in both mechanical and chemical replacements, and life-saving interventions, it has greatly impeded it in its ability to regard the whole. In its tinkering with genes and biochemicals in an effort to control symptoms, pharmaceutical medicine overlooks the very basis of disease, and too often, the individual who is sick. This is why a new “camp” is being formed by an ever-increasing number of leading edge researchers, medical universities, and concerned doctors and nurses who are examining ways of pulling together the parts and bringing in an “integrative”, Holistic approach to try to address the individual as a whole – and, as an individual.
For example, in the last decade, the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, which was formed to promote and support integrative medicine in medical schools, has ballooned from 8 member institutions to 51. That list includes top academic names, like Harvard University, Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic, and Canadian universities such as Laval University, McMaster, University of Alberta and Calgary.
There are Two Medicines
It is becoming clear to both camps that there are two, complementary medicines: a life-saving, parts-based, chemical-mechanical, technology-based medicine, and another, whole organism based medicine that can address the person – as an individual, and as a whole being, and encourage complete self-healing and the restoration of health.
It is difficult to make the transition from a part-based approach to a holistic one. What is essential to making an individual an individual cannot be found in any particular part, nor by creating an amalgam of parts. It is something greater than all parts that defines the individual as a unique “whole”. This is not a new idea, it goes back to the very roots of western medicine, and requires a different way of thinking, seeing, and knowing than the current analytical approach.
The Ancient Greek word for that which makes an individual unique, and an individual, is the same word for life, spirit, and consciousness, the vital breath, or animating principle in all living creatures: (psyche) “soul”. The soul animates the (soma) “body”. To be ‘alive’ is to be ‘ensouled’. The soul is that which gives life. It is also the orchestrator of all life processes in the organism. But, what are the steps in the holistic diagnosis and holistic treatment of the soul?
Resources for Whole-Person, Soul-Based Medicine
Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.) wrote an entire treatise on the soul. In Peri psyche, or De anima, he views the soul as a natural phenomenon: “an actuality of the first kind of a natural organized body” (412b4): that which makes the body alive and capable of performing its characteristic functions. Aristotle divides these into vegetative powers, concerned with nutrition and growth; sensory powers and intellectual powers. Aristotle is an important resource, as is Thomas Aquinas, Dr. Hahnemann, Dr. Alphonso Masi, and many others who have helped to identify specific attributes of the soul, specific responses that can be traced to this, the deepest knowable source of life, the life principle in the living being.
The painstaking work of hundreds of homeopaths studying both provings and successful cases has resulted in an understanding of how disease develops (pathogenesis) in all aspects – body, mind, emotions – all the way down to the deepest level of the central organizing principle. Clinical Provings conducted by Drs. Hahnemann, Allan, and Hering have been examined in great detail to uncover the specific pathogenetic process represented by each remedy, so that the correctly chose immaterial remedy source (from over 5000 sources in nature) can interact directly with the similar, immaterial soul, and optimize the individual’s response.
Coming from an understanding over 2000 years old, and 200 years of solid clinical research, homeopathy provides the most solid foundation available for a truly holistic medicine.
However, the immaterial nature of the soul, and the corresponding immaterial medicine that addresses flies in the face of the current mechanistic and materialistic world view. Practicing a holistic medicine requires a major paradigm shift. More on this in the next article: What do you consider “real”?
Stay Abreast of Our Discoveries
At the Montreal Institute of Classical Homeopathy (MICH), we have developed and are always developing new methods of teaching homeopaths how to uncover the nature of the individual soul by carefully applying the instructions laid out by the founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann. This blog is to explore and share some of our most fascinating discoveries, and aspects of our approach, methodology and teaching. Welcome!
Judyann McNamara – N.D., D.Hom., CCH
Originally a physicist and biomedical researcher, Judyann has had a clinical practice for over 15 years, has held conferences since 1984 and has been a teacher of courses in physics, health sciences, homeopathy, holism and spirituality since 1975. Visit her profile page in our professional directory to learn more.