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- Homeopathy in France (J-C. Ravalard)
|Homeopathy in France|
There Hahnemann was able to resume his medical activity and to continue his work and research on the liquid dose and the LM potencies. He succeeded in recording this work for future generations of homeopaths in the 6th edition of the Organon. Even though this edition reached us after great delay, it is there, nonetheless, to guide us.
Hahnemann's casebooks of clinical observation were protected and are preserved in Leipzig, today. With help from David Little and his colleagues, as well as Doctor Edouard Broussalian and his French colleagues, we are able to make copies of the Paris casebooks. These original casebooks were recorded by Mélanie in her fine, elegant, easily legible writing and by Samuel Hahnemann, in a spidery scrawl. The latter is very difficult to read (as with so many doctors around the world) with many notes in German, along with references to repertory rubrics.
When he arrived in Paris, Hahnemann lived on La rue des Saints Pères ("the Street of the Holy Fathers"). Today a plaque is witness to and reminder of his life there. The plaque also gives Hahnemann the last word to his adversaries at the Academy of Medicine since it is placed almost directly in front of the main entrance to the Faculty of Medicine.
Hahnemann has since remained among us, buried with Mélanie in the cemetery of the Père Lachaise in the XI ° district of Paris. Interestingly enough, in December 1999, two very violent storms passed through France, which felled many trees in the French forest, in particular in the region around Paris and the cemetery of Père Lachaise. There, the roots of many trees were brought down by the violence of the wind, which lifted and raised numerous coffins in the cemetery and destroyed many monuments. At Samuel Hahnemann's grave, which was in a particularly stricken zone, the monument of pink marble built in his honor, remained unharmed, while the adjoining white marble monument was smashed by a falling tree. Other nearby monuments were toppled or broken. But Hahnemann's bust was not even shaken; the smile etched on his face still smiles at us. Maybe this grave remaining unharmed is a gesture of gratitude from heaven for his numerous cures with homeopathy.
In the 1830s and 1840s, there were a number of good homeopathic doctors in Paris who pursued Hahnemann's work. It is necessary to mention Doctors Croserio and Petroz, and also Dr. Curie, the grandfather of the famous physician Pierre Curie, who practiced in Paris before leaving to settle in England.
Regrettably, classical or Hahnemannian homeopathy, beloved by Hahnemann, was distorted, bit by bit. Fundamental principles which govern homeopathy-such as "like cures like", the single dose, succussion and dilution-were violated. Classical homeopathy was replaced by French homeopathy, which is to say, a form of therapeutics using diluted and succussed remedies aimed especially at symptoms (losing sight of the individual subject behind those symptoms) and using several remedies in combination or on the same day. This is very remote from the Hahnemannian ideal. (In France we speak of unicism and its opposite, pluralism.) These practices became the norm not only in France, but in many countries in Europe. Hahnemann fought hard in his time against this movement and the "half-homeopaths" who supported these practices. But in France it is still true that pluralism has become the most commonly practiced method of homeopathy.
Why this drift? Where did this pluralistic movement come from? Where did the technique of multiple prescriptions of homeopathic remedies come from? Did these homeopaths think themselves smarter than Hahnemann? Did they believe that Hahnemann was superceded by the modern contributions of medicine and pharmacopoeia?
Some French homeopaths looked for recognition from the Academy of Medicine, or at least for acceptance by official medicine. They desired acceptance of homeopathy remedies from the authorities-but at what price!
At present, pluralist homeopaths are a majority in France. About 4500 doctors are now listed in the phone book as homeopaths, but the number of classical homeopaths is much smaller, about 200. Most of the schools of homeopathy are pluralist, whereas you can count the schools of classical homeopathy on the fingers of one hand.
Homeopathic doctors are considered general practitioners and like them, have to sign an agreement with the French system of Social Security which decides how much can be charged, and what amount is to be reimbursed by the government. But how is it possible to perform good quality homeopathy with the low rate we are reimbursed by the Social Security? The rate for consultation with a National Health Service doctor is only 115 French francs or $20 (US). This is a big handicap for the doctor who is interested in classical homeopathy. It is certainly much easier and much more economical to practice pluralism, which limits itself to the treatment of symptoms, without taking time for a complete observation. Classical homeopathy will not thrive unless there is a widespread change of attitude and a real recognition of homeopathy by the French government, which will establish a specific status for the homeopathic doctor.
The situation of the non-medical homeopaths is even more delicate. They risk being accused of practicing medicine illegally at any time, and facing a trial in front of courts.
I became interested in homeopathy in 1981, and I received a pluralistic education in a school sponsored by a homeopathic laboratory. I had never heard about homeopathy until then. And furthermore, I had never heard of unicism or about classical homeopathy.
I began to practise homeopathy very carefully, then more and more frequently. I began to make a personal search to treat myself for repeated colds, which were very prolonged and tiring. For many years I could not find a treatment for myself, having no success in taking remedies morning, noon and night, day after day. I finally abandoned pluralist homeopathy, quickly forgetting the system of treatments imposed by this methodology. I turned instead towards the Founder and read the Organon and in particular aphorism 273.
My path directed me to a unicist practice, and I chose not to adhere to convention any longer. I take time now with each patient and work on their cases with a peaceful mind.
I pursued my search by getting in touch with classical homeopathic doctors. I had the chance to meet and to become friends with Edouard Broussalian, who launched a software repertorization program based on Kent's Repertory. I then participated in the development of his homeopathic website (http://www. planete-homeo. org/).
Edouard Broussalian managed to gather together a number of lively forces from within French homeopathy. We work together to regain recognition of classical homeopathy and to return to the great, fundamental principles of homeopathy as created by our founder, Samuel Hahnemann. This is one of the purposes of the national homeopathic school, president of which is Dr. Edouard Broussalian. There are other homeopathy groups in France which work towards the same goal. Recent seminars on classical homeopathy have attracted over a hundred classical homeopaths from all over France.
It seems that once again pure Hahnemannian, classical homeopathy has a future in France.
For more information on homeopathy in France, I suggest you visit the website at http://www. planete-homeo. org/.
Jean-Claude Ravalard set up practice in 1976 as a general practitioner in a little French town of 13,000 inhabitants in the Vendée area on the Atlantic coastline, famous for the Vendée Globe, a single-manned boat race around the globe. He became interested in homeopathy in 1980 and has practiced Hahnemannian homeopathy for the last seven years. E-mail: Jean-Claude. Ravalardwanadoo. fr