Through the observation of outcomes on our clients, the Montreal Institute of Classical Homeopathy (MICH) has developed an exhaustive understanding of the relationship between stress and susceptibility to disease.
Susceptibility is highly individualized, different in every case, and involves internal and external factors, as well as material and nonmaterial dimensions.
We see excellent examples of material factors and external causes at our homeopathic clinic in Honduras. There, MICH homeopaths treat susceptibility that has been destabilized by physical factors such as: exposure to the elements, poor living conditions, lack of sufficient food, epidemics and invasive parasites.
This is rarely the situation back home, however, where the appearance of chronic disease is most often directly related to internal stress and immaterial causes. Internally generated stress is proving to be a key factor in disturbed susceptibility and the development of chronic disease, as demonstrated in recent research.[i]
Chronic Disease and Perceived Stress
We began our exploration into the effective treatment of susceptibility and the causes of chronic disease by examining stress as a dimension of susceptibility. It has been determined that 95% of chronic disease is stress-related. The ultimate cause of disease is not the stressors per se, but the individual’s susceptibility to specific internal and external stressors.[ii]
Let’s first review some facts about stress. Stress can have a positive effect if the stressor represents real physical danger and the individual can act on it: fight, run away, physically defend or attack.[iii] Under stress, the body is primed for physical action such as running very fast, or fighting for life or death: very intense movement for just a short period of time.
If however, the stressor does not represent a physical danger, but constitutes a perceived danger, there is no physical action the individual can take and therefore no way to reduce the stress. This internally induced stress is registered by the mitochondria, and is directly linked to the expression of metabolic diseases such as diabetes, auto-immune diseases, cardiovascular disease, diseases linked to the central nervous system (including depression), and other chronic disease.[iv]
Thus, it is perceived stress that is the cause of most chronic disease. Over the last ten years, the MICH community of homeopaths, (now numbering close to 100) has been able to apply effective homeopathic treatment to their clients’ susceptibility through the individual’s perceptions, subjective experience, and interpretations in relationship to stress.
Perceived Stress and Sense of Self
What we have found is that the most prevalent source of stress is related to the sense of self. We all have a self-image consisting of various personality traits and attributes that constitute our sense of self, a pattern of “me”. A pattern formed by neuronal synapses that span the entire brain. This pattern involves both the frontal lobe of the neo-cortex and the mid and limbic brain. An exhaustive exploration of the numerous areas of research contributing to this understanding can be found in a book by Bruce Hood: The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity.[v]
Of course, this knowledge is not new, it is central to Buddhist philosophy and dates back many millennia. Our over-identification with, and over-attachment to a sense of self, has wrought havoc throughout history. Modern science has now brought to light the precise survival mechanisms linked sub-consciously to this process, and their effect on our health.
What homeopathy provides is an effective tool that aids the person in releasing attachment to the “hard-wired” sense of self. This reduction of the rigid sense of self allows greater freedom of response, improved adaptation resulting in less stress, symptoms and chronic disease.
The Three S’s of Susceptibility due to Stress: Striving, Sense of Self and Sensation
In short, we have been able to fill out three dimensions of susceptibility related to stress: striving, sense of self and sensation.
We all “strive” for some sort of ideal. Striving is an essential element of the spiritual dimension of the human being: the “spiritual” or “soul” dimension intimately connected to the vital force, health and well-being.
The following case illustrates how these three dimensions are used to prescribe and effectively treat susceptibility.
A CASE OF SEVERE ALLERGIES AND HAY FEVER
The spiritual dimension corresponds to the highest functions of the human mind. This “archetypal” level of thought is representative, symbolic.
A client with hay fever explained that the season in which his symptoms are worst represent the time of year when the family farm and manual labour were most intense. He abhorred manual work and strove to avoid it completely by getting an education. The aetiology of his hay fever corresponded to the time when he lost his white-collar job. The stress he felt was concurrent with an increase in his susceptibility to external, physical factors (the pollen he is allergic to). He became susceptible to pollen through what they represented to him: hard, physical work.
The ability to create and react to a symbolic representation, as in this example, is a dimension of consciousness not present in our animal predecessors. It permits creativity, imagination, the ability to envision and appreciate perfection, and the ability to project into the future. It is this “Archetypal” dimension linked to spirituality that is both our greatest gift and biggest challenge as humans. It is predominantly associated with the forebrain, which is able to create false perceptions based on imagined future projections: “what if’s”. These “what if’s” trigger the limbic system into reacting with a stress response to situations that do not exist, and may never come to be. However, once this loop is set in motion, it is difficult to stop its escalation. As the level of anxiety rises due to the limbic reactions, the forebrain is triggered into imagining more terrible scenarios. This process can easily escalate to frenetic anxiety and panic attacks.
Sense of Self and Striving
This example shows how the person had a specific idea of who he is, and what he should be doing with his life. The person rejected manual labor, and considered having a managerial position not only as economically important, but as a condition essential to his identity. His sense of self was of one who “uses his brain, not his hands”. He strove to prove his intelligence and mental acuity. He insisted strongly on how he wants to use his intelligence, not his body.
He associated intelligence with his soul, with purity. This idealization of intelligence represents his striving for something greater more “pure” than ordinary existence. This is the archetypal dimension of susceptibility we call “striving” because it involves some ideal, an idea of perfection, or a utopia. It usually involves the rejection of a human element. In this case, the client felt his body “does not reflect who he really is”: a rejection of his body seemingly linked to his religious beliefs. His physical body is “lower” than who he really is, pollen represent the physical world he rejects.
Although he did find work after his initial layoff, he continued to be susceptible to every criticism at work, every remark by his boss. When his boss made a comment, it is “as if” he was falling into a hole, “as if” he needed to “hold on” to his job. This sensation is the third “S” related to susceptibility. It is like the sensation of being “pushed out” of his first job.
The provings of Sabadilla, of the Lilliflorae family, has exactly these sensations as well as delusions about the body. When the client took his first dose of Sabadilla, he experienced a sense of relief on all levels: mentally, emotionally and physically. Not only did his hayfever never return, he reported a major shift in his relationships and his perceptions of life. He felt “freer” and more aware and in touch with the world: as if “everything is brighter, more alive”. With homeopathy we are able to use the opportunity of disease to provide the gift of a better life.
The Three Dimensions of Susceptibility
Striving, the sensation(s) and the sense of self come together in one movement which describes all dimensions of the client’s susceptibility: we refer to them as the three Ss.
This multi-dimensional understanding provides a complete picture of the person and his disease and allows us to prescribe very deeply and accurately. It accurately reflects the beauty and the complexity of the human being.
Such prescriptions not only address the physical ailments, they change the client’s fixed idea of themselves, their perceptions, their interpretations and their defensiveness, inspiring much healthier and richer relationships. These prescriptions provoke greater freedom and optimism in the clients, and increase vital energy and awareness of life.
When prescriptions result in such profound global changes in the individual’s life, we refer to them as “Noumedynamic”[i] prescriptions. Noume- is related to the word “noumenon”, derived from the Latin “numen” which means deity, divine will or divine presence. A “noumenal” force such as the soul, or vital force is the fundamental organizing principle of the organism, maintaining its integrity and wholeness in a dynamic adaptive and evolutionary process.
We stand in a place of immense potential with the immaterial medicine that is homeopathy, and its power to address the immaterial cause of disease, the many dimensions of consciousness and existence, that underlie the material manifestations of disease.
Judyann McNamara – ND, DHom, 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. To learn more about Judyann, visit her profile page in our professional directory or click here to read more posts by Judyann.
[i] McNamara, Judyann. The Noumedynamic Human and other articles, free webinars on mitochondria, stress and susceptibility are available for free on our website www.michmontreal.com under the tabs: “Resources”. Such results are possible with the multi-dimensional “Holographic Case Taking method” developed by MICH. Please refer to the section on the MICH Method on our website.
[v] Hood, Bruce. The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity ISBN-13: 978-0199988785
[iv] Picard, Juster, & McEwen. Mitochondrial allostatic load, Nature Reviews Endocrinology 10, 303–310 (2014) doi:10.1038/nrendo.2014.22. Published online 25 March 2014
[iii] McEwen et al. Central effects of stress hormones in health and disease: Understanding the protective and damaging effects of stress and stress mediators, European Journal of Pharmacology, Volume 583, Issues 2–3, 7 April 2008, Pages 174–185.
[ii] Bierhaus, Angelika. A mechanism converting psychosocial stress into mononuclear cell activation Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, vol. 100 no. 4, 1920–1925, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0438019100
[i] McEwen, Bruce S. et al. Stress and the Individual Mechanisms Leading to, Arch Intern Med. 1993;153(18):2093-2101. doi:10.1001/archinte.1993.00410180039004.