This book review is reprinted from Volume 3, 2010 Edition of Spectrum of Homeopathy with permission from Narayana Publishers .
Lac Remedies in Practice - Clinical Materia Medica with Cases
Emryss Publishers 2010. Hardback, 220 pgs.
Reviewed by Sue Spurling
Homeopathy has been going through a huge and on-going transition, as different approaches to finding the core essence of a patient's distress, and hence the remedy, are explored and incorporated into practice, including the enquiry and work of such homeopaths as Sankaran, Scholten, Mangialavori, Welte, Schlingensiepen-Brysch, de Schepper, and many others. It has been a testing time not only for those who have chosen to explore outside the square but also for institutions facilitating the growth and independence of homeopathy students and for students themselves (as we all are) trying to understand how to get to the best remedy for their patients.
The aforementioned pioneers of new thinking and application have helped provide us to some extent with a road map to guide us into the unknown territory of the patient's situation, furthering the original work of the founders of homeopathy. These 'maps' have shown us the importance of identifying the nuances and the so-called non-human language often hidden deep within the unconsciousness of the patient.
There are increasing numbers of homeopaths who are producing books based on their practical experience, giving us deeper insights into remedies which are still being explored in terms of their whole remedy picture. Sometimes, there is supporting evidence through provings, and sometimes not. Sometimes, the experience with particular remedies may not be extensive but that has fortunately not held authors back from sharing their valuable experience with us.
Philip Bailey has done just that with this new book on the Lacs. He generously shares his sometimes limited experiences with the reader and describes his investigations into the remedies.
When one picks up the book, one is immediately touched by the gentleness of the illustrative cover, with Leandro Stanzani's beautiful photograph of the mother dolphin supporting her baby, as it gains greater independence. The content of the book develops the issues surrounding poor bonding between mother and infant through discussion of eight human and animal Lac remedies. The lack of early nurturing that can result in fear and unstable foundations in those early days following birth is a key indicator for a Lac remedy.
In the introduction, Philip Bailey discusses the Lac themes, which opens one up to the enquiry within the following chapters. I was immediately drawn to make links with the work of Luc de Schepper and his insights into intra-uterine and birth trauma. Philip Bailey, however, makes the point that it is not so much the birth trauma that produces a Lac picture constitutionally, but more the generational bonding difficulties that bring about the need for a Lac remedy. As he demonstrates, the result of a mother who experienced poor bonding with her own mother may be seen in attachment and dependency issues, as well as other subsequent behavioural; relationship difficulties and poor self worth.
I believe the discussion of intra-uterine and birth trauma can be seen in conjunction with Philip Bailey's work, especially when one reads his discussion, in the Introduction, of the 'paradise of the womb' that the infant enjoyed, where 'it felt at one with its environment'. If that experience was not safe, for whatever reason, then a Lac remedy may be required, even if there was no generational bonding issue. Bailey does go on to say that adverse intra-uterine experiences may cause the infant and later the adult to withdraw away from life. He also differentiates varying states that may ensue and the remedies that may also be considered.
Whilst the eight Lac remedies in this book have been discussed by other authors, such as Farokh J Master, it is Philip Bailey's sensitive approach and insights that bring greater depth of information to each remedy picture. His work comes directly from his own clinical experience and is supported by the experiences of others, such as Karl Müller and the provings of Nancy Herrick and Rajan Sankaran. It is the case studies that enrich the information provided, with patients' own words being used throughout. Those expressions and Bailey's observations form some of the new rubrics that will need to be added to the future repertories.
The book is simply structured and easily read, with each chapter starting with relevant sketches by Jane Dune from Ireland. The introduction immediately fulfils its purpose by identifying the themes of the Lacs and draws the reader into the deeper layers within each subsequent chapter. Its beauty lies in its simplicity and in the descriptive narrative that Bailey uses, illustrated well in the chapter on Lac equis. The picture of the shackled or constrained horse and its desire for open spaces conjures up such clear imagery that it creates no doubt as to the themes of this remedy.
Throughout each chapter, Bailey differentiates extensively between the Lac remedies themselves and non-Lac remedies from the materia medica, which allows readers to develop further their own skills in differentiation. In the chapter on Lac caninum, for example, he describes the results of abuse on the patient and how one needs to be clear whether one is looking at a case requiring Thuja, with its bravado and secret, or Staphysagria, both of which have self-loathing. Lac caninum also has denial, which may give an incorrect picture to the homeopath because of the accomplished 'cover-up' by the patient!
Philip Bailey demonstrates the congruency between what he has found in his practice and what has been identified through provings of the Lacs, especially the keynotes and common themes. His work highlights the importance of sensitive case taking (and follow-ups) as well as thorough differentiation, as demonstrated in cases where seemingly well-prescribed remedies, while helping, did not get to the heart of the problem. He demonstrates the difficulties of having had insufficient information on these important remedies. As he states in the chapter on Lac defloratum, "every article I read seemed to cover only common Lac themes, except for the symptom of 'delusion will die soon'. It was only after recognising and successfully treating a couple of cases that I began to be able to differentiate the remedy from other Lac remedies."
I had every sympathy with those needing more information, when I received into my clinic a man who I began to realise needed a wolf remedy. I had never heard of Lac lupinum but I trusted my instincts and made further enquiries. He responded very well to the remedy.
At each step, Bailey offers analysis and comment about the information gathered during case taking, together with extensive differentiation. The work illustrates the complexity of individuals and the challenging journey to the solution. It is thanks to the work of people like him that we can make good use of the fruits of their efforts, perseverance, rigor, and generosity. This work is a very welcome addition to the homeopathic library.