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Friday, May 3, 2013

The International Hahnemannian Association

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- On the cutting edge of extinction : how the quest for modernity led to the erosion of identity in american homeopathy from 1865-Craig Repasz (Craig Repasz)

The International Hahnemannian Association 
In the early 1880s, many of the conservative homeopaths organized to form a unified front against what they perceived to be a destructive path set by the liberal majority. Homeopathy in the decades before saw the relaxing of standards of strict Hahnemannian tenets and the adaptation of a scientific identity that was at odds with pure homeopathy. Conservatives felt that these trends had become the policy of the AIH and many of the state and local homeopathic organizations.
 The conservatives alleged that the majority of homeopaths were not homeopaths but rather "mongrels," practicing an eclectic form of medicine, using whatever seemed to work and denouncing what did not. The "mongrel" homeopaths had turned Hahnemann into a symbol of what was old and ineffective. The conservatives felt that if the current trends were allowed to continue, homeopathy would become extinct.
 By 1881, conservative homeopaths saw a need for a national society to uphold homeopathy to counter the liberal trends. The Lippé Society consisted only of members from Philadelphia, and elected honorary members, conservative homeopaths from England, Canada and most of the northern states in America. The society was still considered local, and it did not fulfill the need for a national level organization. Therefore, during the summer of 1881, the International Hahnemann Association (IHA) was formed. Three of the four founding committee members were honorary members of the Lippé Society.
 One of the founding members, Dr. C. Pearson of Washington, explained the need for the national association. "The causes that gave rise to the organization of the International Hahnemannian Association," he explained, "were operative for a number of years prior to any decisive action being taken. The immediate followers of Hahnemann had long noticed with regret the retrograde movement on the part of the would be leaders of the so-called Homeopathic school, the advocacy in our journals and medical societies of palliative treatment with crude drugs together with the heresy that what ever cures must be homeopathic, forgetting that though morphia is not homeopathic to pain, it may in crude doses temporarily suppress it."li Pearson was addressing the trend by many homeopaths to use allopathic drugs to palliate symptoms. 1
 He further stated that, "there was a growing tendency to ignore every cardinal principle of Homeopathy." He claimed that, "every journal article, reported case and paper read before homeopathic medical societies demonstrating the superior merits of pure homeopathy over any other system and especially the homeopaths who were mixing methods, were met with criticism and ridicule by fellow homeopaths."lii
 Pearson traced the trend to the speech given by Carroll Dunham in 1870. Pearson claimed the speech was received with gloom and foreboding by the Hahnemannians yet with enthusiasm by the "eclectic wing of the school." He asserted that in 1874, when the AIH voted to drop the term "homeopathy" from all requirements for membership, it hastened the destruction of homeopathy. The change allowed anyone to join the AIH, regardless of whether or not they had any training in homeopathy.
 In light of these events, the purpose of the IHA became clear. The membership felt that homeopathy was headed for extinction on its current course. Pearson further recounted events that occurred at the annual meetings of the AIH in 1879 and 1880 that pushed the IHA into being-events that showed the AIH had rejected everything that was homeopathic.
 The first event occurred in 1879 when the AIH initiated the "Milwaukee Test." The "Test" was a standard by which to evaluate homeopathy. It was comprised of old arguments initially posed by Worthington Hooker and other allopaths five decades earlier, that were allegedly resurrected to "throw suspicion and distrust on the teaching and practice of Hahnemann."liii (Worthington Hooker was a very vocal opponent of homeopathy during the 1820s and 1830s.) What apparently was disturbing to Pearson and the Hahnemannians was that it made no sense to evaluate homeopathy by external standards from a bygone era. Furthermore, Pearson could not understand why such an action was being taken by an organization that called itself homeopathic.
 The second event Pearson recounted, was the June 16, 1880 meeting of the AIH held in Milwaukee, when a conservative homeopath delivered an address that "contained too much wholesome truths and too much homeopathy to be popular in that body [AIH membership]."liv
 By 1881, many of the conservative members of the AIH had discussed the need to form a conservative organization in the months before the AIH meeting in Milwaukee. In the afternoon after AIH activities had ended, a group of conservatives met at the Milwaukee courthouse to launch the IHA. Pearson read a list of resolutions that later became the association's declaration of principles.
 The resolutions stated Hahnemann's Organon was the only true guide to therapeutics. They reaffirmed the Hahnemannian laws of similars, single remedy and minimum dose of the dynamized drug. They further asserted that there was a great number of homeopaths that repudiated and violated these principles and that there had been an effort to unite the homeopathic and allopathic schools.
 The declaration further stated, "Resolved, that the time had fully come when legitimate Hahnemannian Homeopathy should free itself from all such innovations, hurtful alike to its reputation as a science and fatal to the best interests of the sick. That the mixing or alternating of two or more medicines displays on the part of the prescriber the lack of skill [and is] inexcusable and non homeopathic." It further stated that it is not homeopathic to administer drugs and preparations that suppress symptoms or palliate the condition. Further stating, "that as some self-styled homeopathists [sic] have taken occasion to traduce Hahnemann as a 'fanatic,' 'dishonest,' and 'visionary,' and his teaching as 'not being the standard' of the homeopathy of today,' that we denounce all such as being traitors to our cause, and recreant to its best interests."lv
 The next day at a second organizational meeting, with Lippé presiding, 19 physicians each paid a $1.00 initiation fee and signed an organizational constitution. The old guard was formally established. The IHA had re-established homeopathy as a science above all other sciences. They had re-established all of Hahnemann's laws as pure homeopathy without exception. Most importantly, they established Hahnemann as an icon who should never be slandered.
 To the liberal homeopaths the IHA appeared regressive, sacrificing scientific progress for an archaic icon. In response, the Hahnemannians claimed that the methods of Hahnemann were tried and proved to be the most effective system of therapeutics if administered properly. Furthermore, the Hahnemannians did not hold the sciences in high esteem and did not see the need for the sciences in homeopathic training and practice.
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