Introduction to Luminos Homeopathic Provings
Introduction to Provings These provings were conducted by students of the Homeopathic Master Clinician (HMC) Course, sponsored by Luminos Homeopathic Courses Ltd. Prior to the proving, the HMC Course curriculum prepares students to understand the nature of provings, particularly from the perspective of clinical use. Participation in these provings is not compulsory and the provers and supervisors volunteered their time outside of the course. Some classes did not do provings because of time constraints or for other reasons.
Homeopathy is based on the principle of "similar curing similar." A substance that can create a set of symptoms in a healthy person can cure those same symptoms when given in a diluted and "potentized" form to a "sick" person suffering from similar symptoms. Homeopathic remedies are developed traditionally by recorded poisonings and from experiments called "provings."
To conduct a proving, a group of individuals takes a diluted and potentized substance and carefully records their symptoms and experiences in an organized fashion, over a period of time. The data from these provers is then organized and compiled into the form seen in this book.
A successful proving should reflect or echo the pathology that the remedy can cure, instead of creating the pathology. This "echo" of the pathology is in the form of sensations that the prover experiences in a temporary way. The indicated disposition of the new remedy, which includes non-pathological symptoms, is also expressed during a proving. I have included information on the extraction meeting, including subjective impressions. These can add to a grasp of the disposition of the new remedy.
Remedy Preparation Michael Quinn from Hahnemann Laboratories kindly supplied all the remedies for the HMC Provings except for the Vanilla Proving. The substances were carefully classified and then prepared according to exacting standards. The 30c potency was used for all provings.
You can order these remedies by contacting the Hahnemann Laboratories through their website, http://www.hahnemannlabs.com/, or by phoning 1-888-4-ARNICA in North America.
Vanilla planifolia was provided by Remedia Pharmacy in Austria, http://www.remedia.at/.
Participation The most important aspect for a successful proving is the volunteers and individuals who contribute their time. I acted as the master prover, and an individual volunteered to be the co-master prover, for each proving. Each individual prover had a supervisor and both remain anonymous. Participation in a good proving produces a very special dedication, as well as insights into homeopathy.
In 1995, with the help of various members of the San Francisco HMC Course, I developed a document to be signed by all participants in provings, with reference to the Helsinki Human Experimentation Accord. This document addresses concerns about prover's expectations and experience, and dictates the manner in which each prover and participant is to be treated and heard. The signing of this document has had a very beneficial effect on all the Luminos provings. It is published in the appendix.
The Nature of these Provings The rigorous methodology with which these provings were conducted grew out of the comprehensive approach used in the Homeopathic Master Clinician Course. The standard for these provings was set by Hahnemann and has been further elucidated by Jeremy Sherr. He is greatly appreciated for his books on proving methodology, which revitalized the art of provings for modern times. In my work with provings, I've further refined this methodology and added more extensive protocol, including the Prover Integrity Agreement. By utilizing rigorous Hahnemannian methodology, whereby proving symptoms are recorded for several weeks or even months, secondary symptoms, as well as primary symptoms are revealed by the provers. Structure of Provings
Prover Each prover took a homeopathically prepared substance in the 30c potency. This was repeated only if the initial dose failed to produce any effect. Most provers took only one dose. The provers kept journals of their symptoms, updating them on a daily basis, or as symptoms occur.
The volunteers for the provings were students in the Homeopathic Master Clinician Course. The nature of provings and their clinical application is an integral part of the second year of the course. As such, the provers volunteered and were vetted in a careful way; thus in some provings the number of provers is small. Each prover had a supervisor who took their case prior to the start of the proving. The supervisor then followed the individual prover on a daily basis in the beginning. This approach provides a degree of safety for the prover, as well as helping the provers stay on track with effective reporting of symptoms.
Supervisor The supervisor's role is to assist the prover to relate and record symptoms effectively, as well as to monitor any strong or adverse reactions. Prior to the prover ingesting the remedy, the supervisor took a complete "case," recording all the symptoms the prover was experiencing at the time. After the prover took the remedy, the supervisor stayed in contact, usually by phone, and recorded the interactions. The supervisor also recorded all symptoms that he elicited from the prover. These are then compared to the prover's journal of symptoms in the final extraction.
Master Prover and Co-Master Prover The master prover (Louis Klein) and co-master prover (varying from proving to proving) made decisions regarding what remedy was to be proven, and the overall organization and monitoring of the proving. If any of the provers experienced a severe problem, the master prover and co-master prover were prepared to deal with it.
Extraction Meeting Three to four months after the beginning of the proving, the provers, supervisors, master prover and co-master prover come together in a meeting called the "extraction meeting." For each proving this meeting was held in the city where the proving was initiated. At this meeting all participants in the proving had an opportunity to express themselves and relate their experiences. At the end of this expression, comments were added by other provers. These meetings give a necessary sense of closure, or the beginning of closure, to the proving. Compilation Many hours of work go into compiling the proving information into a usable form. A number of individuals volunteer for this process. (For the provings in this volume, the individual compilers, under the supervision of Louis Klein, used somewhat different methods of compiling; therefore you may see differences in the way the symptoms are written up.)
Repertory Symptoms The translation of the collated material to homeopathic repertory symptoms is a long and laborious process. For these provings this work was done primarily by Jan Lips and Louis Klein.
Personal Notes on Provings The homeopathic provings presented in this book were done primarily in conjunction with a postgraduate course of study called the Homeopathic Master Clinician Course, which I taught in various locations. The proving was usually done in the second year of the course, after much teaching and discussion on provings, with emphasis on the significance of provings in clinical practice.
I am known as a practitioner who uses "small" remedies, yet I believe the term "small remedy" is a misnomer. The only thing that is "small" about a remedy is the amount of information known about it. A remedy that cures is a remedy that cures, no matter how much or little is known about it. If the practitioners who decry the use of "small" remedies have used just one to cure a patient, then they open up the possibility that many of the remedies that are relegated to obscurity may, in fact, be indicated for many of our patients. I have found this to be true in my practice.
The lack of information and poor provings of the "small" remedies create challenges in prescribing the remedies effectively. For some of these remedies, the problem stems from the manner in which the original proving was conducted. I have observed that many remedies in our materia medica were only partially proven, or that the information was derived primarily from poisonings; and I discuss this in my classes. Also, many provings were conducted just long enough for the primary symptoms to be aroused, but not long enough for the secondary symptoms to present themselves. My experience has shown that these later, secondary proving symptoms are important, as they give indications for treatment of chronic problems. A large percentage of the provings in our materia medica do not contain secondary symptoms.
In spite of these challenges, the underlying theme of any remedy can be ascertained by an experienced practitioner. The less reliable the information we have to work with, the more difficult it will be to perceive clinical indications and themes. This opens up the possibility for much conjectural information to replace reliable, empiric information. I'm not sure this is any worse or any better than the other extreme of using remedies that are so well known as to be ubiquitous (or only using remedies that were proven by the"right" homeopath).
In a perfect world we would have the information on and indications for any homeopathic remedy in succinct and clear form— not too little and not too much. Since we don't live in a perfect world and are part of the dynamic evolution of homeopathy, I have learned to derive the necessary indications for applying these smaller remedies from little information, and even from, what some would consider, trivial symptoms and indications. I have become a reluctant expert at this.
Because of these considerations, I decided to prove some new remedies and set a standard of leadership for my students. The practical reality of doing thorough, excellent provings, however, has presented difficulties. I found that the numbers of provers were low in some of the provings mainly because I require high standards of the volunteer provers. Despite the emphasis on completion, thoroughness, and secondary symptoms, some provers did not record their symptoms carefully enough or complete their journals. In spite of these difficulties, there was still a significant amount of information derived in these provings, as you can see. I believe these remedies, like all new provings, once grasped and applied through the prism of these provings and clinical use, are important additions to our materia medico.
Prior to taking my course, some of my students had previously participated in provings of remedies made from rather intense substances (provings were led by other individuals). In many cases the provers experienced strong symptoms. After these provings, many provers felt a lack of "closure," and what they perceived as negative sensations seemed to remain. In some of the sessions I taught, I found myself addressing these problems or attempting to repair friendships that had suffered as a result of the incompleteness and lack of communication in these other provings.
I came to see that there were some potential pitfalls or problems that could occur during provings, which could be prevented or corrected. As such, in provings that I initiated the problems occurred less frequently and did not remain as much in many of these other provings.
I perceived that the problems with these other provings had occurred for the following reasons: 1. Primarily, poor communication. 2. Extraction meetings that did not create closure. 3. Lack of understanding of the nature of provings.
Some of the solutions are as follows:
1. Communication. The primary problem of poor communication in other people's provings had to with the provers experiencing some symptoms which created temporary suffering, but having no mechanism to handle their personal reactions to it. This created a fulminating anger along with a loss of communication with their supervisors. Such unexpressed feelings can be compounded if the proving substance is one which can create a loss of communication or a desire to fight or quarrel.
The solution to this major problem was the creation of the Prover Integrity Agreement. This agreement is signed by everyone in the proving, and lays out the responsibilities of all parties involved. Additionally, the agreement clarifies the intention of doing the proving, which is essential to everyone having a successful experience. The main emphasis in the agreement is that all provers agree to communicate even when they feel no inclination to do so.
Having too few provers can be a problem, but from the perspective of potential conflict and loss of communication, too many provers creates a bigger problem. Too many provers can also create a problem with the extraction meeting.
2. Extraction Meetings In an extraction meeting the provers, supervisors, and master prover relate their experiences. This is a time when the provers need to be supported and applauded for their fortitude in enduring the experiences of the proving. Hearing that others temporarily sustained similar kinds of suffering helps them feel like part of a larger totality. The sense of this larger experiment potentially helping others becomes clarified and accentuated at this final meeting, which is very exciting for everyone involved. Indeed, this is the primary purpose of the meeting.
This sense of the total proving might not be achieved if the provers simply read their notes verbatim. This flattens and extends the process. While as much detail as possible should be in each prover's and supervisor's journal, not all of the details have to be presented at the extraction meeting. For each prover to hear every detail is too much; it should be left to the provers to obtain a copy of the collated materials after they are published.
Instead, I suggest that in the meeting the provers read or talk about the highlights ofctheir experience, focusing on any difficulties they may have had as a result ofcparticipating in the proving. After each prover and supervisor has finished hiscindividual expression, then others can remark or respond. During this meeting thecmaster prover's job is to create a sense that each prover is heard, and to give thecproving a sense of closure.
3. Understanding of the Nature of Provings Having a grasp of how provings work gives us clues for evaluating responses tocremedies and significantly assists our clinical application of homeopathic remedies.
My perspective on provings done in a seminar or in a "meditation" was and is that while they contain a piece of the truth about what that remedy can do, it is inevitably an incomplete piece. In a meditation or seminar proving there is too much room for uncertainty and extreme conjecture. In a proving that is done for a longer time period, with supervisors, there are definitely fewer uncertain conclusions. I strongly advocate doing provings that are as complete as possible, which cannot be done in a brief seminar.
I use only potentized remedies, primarily the 30c, in my provings. I do this because of the action of potentized remedies versus the action of crude substances. A proving defines some initial directions for the remedy's clinical use and the pathology it can cure. My hope is that a proving will create only a reflection of the pathology, not the pathology itself. The prover should experience temporary sensations, and sometimes even temporary pain, that may indicate the nature of the disease(s) the newly proven remedy may cure in the future. This is why I use a relatively higher potency (30c), and not the lower potencies, which might create poisoning symptoms.
Despite all of the challenges and the time commitment, I will continue to do provings. I also encourage others to do good quality homeopathic provings. Provings are an important part of our science and art as they promote a very powerful dimension of our understanding of homeopathic materia medica. Provings affirm the positive and awesome nature of homeopathy's underlying principle of similar curing similar and its potential ability to overcome whatever disease states may come our way.
Appendix 1 - Proving Integrity Agreement
Author: Louis Klein, R.S. Hom.
Published in the book Luminos Homeopathic Provings by Narayana Verlag, Germany 2004.