Homeopathy: Healing Inherited Trauma
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How much do you know about your parents and grandparents, and their life experiences? If you visit a homeopath, you will be asked to find out. Because what the field of epigenetics is just discovering, has long been known by homeopaths: that the experiences of our forebears can affect our physical and mental health, generations later. Epigenetics is the science of the way experiences (specifically infectious diseases, environmental chemical exposures, diet, and stresses) can cause genes to be switched on or off in us, and in our descendants. The genes themselves are not changed, just whether they are active or not. One example, is a behavioural epigenetic study, which found that mice made to associate a certain smell with pain, passed that association down to their grandchildren, who themselves had not had the original, trigger experience. This of course leads to all sorts of implications for human behaviour and experience. Recent studies with the descendants of Holocaust survivors found that have they different stress hormone profiles than their peers. This hormone profile seems to predispose them to anxiety disorders. The good news though, in terms of healing inherited trauma, is that the switching can be reversed, among other things, by diet and homeopathy.
Homeopathy & Epigenetics
In 1828, in his search for the fundamental cause of chronic disease, Hahnemann, the founder of Homeopathy, concluded that inherited tendency (aka ‘miasm’ in homeopathic speak), is what dictates how readily we succumb to certain infections, and psychological stresses. Only by treating the underlying tendency, he suggested, could a person return to full health. Twelve years of research later, he had discovered three types of inheritable tendencies underlying chronic disease – Psoric, Gonorrheic and Syphilitic. These days most homeopaths work with five, having added Tuberculinic and Carcinogenic. And the Sankaran school of homeopathy works with ten.
Hahnemann’s original theory, now supported almost 200 years later by epigenetic research, was that an inherited tendency is triggered by an ancestor (parent, grandparent or beyond) having contracted a certain infectious disease: In the case of the Psoric tendency, an infectious skin disease; and in the cases of Gonorrheic, Syphilitic and Tubercular, the diseases of the same name. The Carcinogenic tendency is slightly different. It usually results from the accumulation of the other four tendencies, and is then triggered by certain types of life experience, which I shall come on to later.
Having one of these active tendencies, however, does not imply that you will necessarily contract the disease implied by the label. It is used by homeopaths as a way to classify physical characteristics, disease possibilities, and temperament. For example, a person with an active Tuberculinic tendency may be susceptible to coughs, and very sensitive – especially to allergens. Unfulfilled adventurers, Tuberculinic people are often highly creative, restless and easily bored. They hate to be tied down, and as a result love to travel, may struggle with a desk-job, and frequently their change job or relationship. In kids, this sometimes manifests as ADHD. The Tuberculinic tendency may then develop into the Carcinogenic tendency, if the restlessness and creativity is punished or suppressed. In fact, suppression (together with grief and trauma) is the main trigger for the Carcinogenic tendency e.g. authoritarian, critical parenting, domination by a friend, boss or partner, or some kind of extreme stress or trauma like rape, torture or abuse.
The Nazi concentration camps were a potent trigger for the Carcinogenic tendency, rolling, as they did, suppression, trauma and grief all into one. I have treated a number of people whose parents or grandparents survived the camps, and I see in them the homeopathic theory and epigenetics writ large.
One woman – the granddaughter of a camp survivor – came to me for treatment. In line with the epigenetic research into the descendants of Holocaust survivors mentioned earlier, she suffered with anxiety, as well as insomnia and digestive issues, common companions in my experience, of anxiety. However, not only had her maternal grandmother survived the camps, her paternal grandmother had died of cancer. Double whammy. She exhibited the typical Carcinogenic temperament: passionate and driven, she often overworked, feeling anxious and overwhelmed; she tended to ignore her own needs to please others; she was perfectionist and obsessionally tidy; and a telltale physical sign in the Carcinogenic profile – she’d had Glandular Fever (Mononucleosis). Within a three months of starting treatment, not only had her anxiety, insomnia and digestive issues all receded, but she was starting to stand up to her boss and her friends, whom she had previously allowed to take advantage of her.
We keep hearing of an increasing number of illnesses and syndromes, that are found to have a genetic component, such as alcoholism, obesity, and breast cancer. The discovery of the BRCA gene in particular, and its link to breast cancer, has led some women – most famously Angelina Jolie – to ‘preventatively’ remove their breasts. However, according to homeopathic philosophy, an inherited tendency may be ‘dormant’ i.e. none of the physical or emotional characteristics are present; or it may be ‘active’, meaning those characteristics are present; or ‘exposed’, meaning the person has the actual disease, that gives its name to the tendency. And this idea seems to fit with the epigenetic discovery of switches, that can turn a gene on or off. So maybe, if epigeneticists and homeopaths are to be believed, carrying a gene for something does not necessarily condemn us to contract the disease or syndrome in question, because the answer may lie in ensuring the expression of that gene is made dormant. And homeopathy is one way of doing that.
The Brain: The Switches that can turn Mental Illness on and off, Discover Science for the Curious, June 2010
Grandma’s Experiences Leave a Mark on your Genes, Discover Science for the Curious, May 2013
Development of Miasmic Theory, National Centre for Homeopathy
Descendants of Holocaust Survivors have altered Stress Hormones, Scientific American, February 2015
Fearful Memories Haunt Mouse Descendants, Nature International Weekly Journal of Science, December 2013
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A free 20 minute call for you to find out how homeopathy could help you,
and what to expect from working with me.