This book review is reprinted with the permission of the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians
HOMEOPATHY IN PRIMARY
by Bob Leckridge
Reviewed by Judith Cassan-Boomer, DHom (Med)
Dr. Leckridge's opus, Homeopathy In Primary Care (1997, Churchill Livingstone: New York, Edinburgh, London) is based on the premise that, in the twentieth century, Homeopathy "seems to have lost it roots. Too often now, desk-based homeopathy is thought of as 'real' homeopathy." This book is aimed at primary health care providers, especially medical doctors who are interested in helping their patients through natural as well as chemical means. There is a dearth of published work on the subject of healing with homeopathy in primary care situations (such as medical clinics, emergency rooms, or hospitals, with doctors having contact with patients on a regular basis, and seeing many patients in one day). Dr. Leckridge has taught for eight years in the Academic Department of the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital in Scotland, and he penned this manuscript with the needs of his students in mind.
Dr. Leckridge's introduction to homeopathy took place when his son had a terrible ear infection that was healed by homeopathic Mercurius. He had been in general practice for five years before this incident, and has for the past ten years been practicing homeopathy integrated with conventional medicine. In addition, he has been the director of a weekly children's clinic at Yorkhill Hospital for Children, Department of Neurology-using homeopathic protocol to help children with severe neurological and developmental disorders. He tells fascinating stories of amazing results and ameliorations of intractable conditions.
[I encourage Dr. Leckridge to write a new book on his experiences in the specific area of modern-day homeopathy in pediatrics. There are not many Homeopaths who have such extensive exposure to children for whom modern medicine has failed, and whose lives have been transformed by the healing touch of the homeopathic simillimum. The Reichenberg-Ullmans and the Rothenberg-Herscus are Americans who see severe cases and deeply help many children with behavior disorders. Their books, Ritalin-Free Kids and Stramonium , respectively, attest to their expertise. But, so far, American homeopaths have little or no opportunity to use or observe the efficacy of homeopathy in an emergency room or hospital ... One would have to intern in a homeopathic hospital, of which there are none left in this country, alas.)]
The first quarter of the book is devoted to Dr. Leckridge's forays into homeopathic philosophy and ethics, answering questions such as: What is Homeopathy? How are remedies prepared? Is there a phenomenon here? This last chapter gives a nice overview of the modern history of the many efforts made to demonstrate the efficacy of homeopathy through use of double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. The section continues with chapters on: Single remedy, single dose; Taking a homeopathic history; Making sense of it all; Choosing a dosage regime; Follow-up; What has happened? and Assessing outcome. Those who are experienced practitioners and have professional degrees in homeopathy might tend to consider skimming or ignoring these chapters, thinking the subject matter to be nothing new. Not so! Even after five years of studying homeopathy professionally, I have found in this book many nuggets of wisdom that I have never before encountered in classes, courses, workshops, seminars, and conferences. For example, I enjoyed his reference to The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine (300-200 B.C.), discussing the five failings of physicians. This is excellent advice to any healer concerned with good outcome for patients.
I also appreciated Dr. Leckridge's "five C's" regarding mental/emotional symptoms that appear with or refer to relationships: Company, Consolation, Confrontation, Contradiction and Criticism. One could also add "Cognitive function" to the list, the category within which Dr. Leckridge mentions delusion-symptoms.
The next section of the book is quite small and answers questions often posed by his student (which generally apply to medical doctors), and other questions frequently asked by patients; he offers advice on how to answer them.
Through his care of patients, Dr. Leckridge has encountered many unusual situations and remedy-uses that have broadened his view of healing with Homeopathy. This is evidenced in the following section, the second quarter of the book, "Common Clinical Indications for Homeopathy in Primary Care"-a compendium of clinical signs and syndromes that are grouped according to whether or not allopathy can effectively treat them:
1) No effective allopathic treatment (including allergies, anger, grief, impotence, infertility, infant snuffles, nightmares/night
terrors, teething problems, and others.
2) Unsafe situation for allopathic treatment (including anticipatory anxiety, childhood problems, dysfunctional labor, morning sickness in pregnancy, and problems in the elderly)
3) Unacceptable side-effect profile (anxiety, depression, night cramps, osteoarthritis)
4) Reduction of allopathic treatment (asthma, constipation, convulsions, dysmenorrhea, eczema, migraine, neuralgias, psoriasis)
I have never before seen a clinical repertory arranged in this fashion, and how telling it is of his success in integrating homeopathy with allopathic care. Even if only three or four remedies per condition or syndrome were mentioned, it will still be helpful to me. Accompanying each is a short case history that illustrates an improved condition resulting from prescription of a homeopathic remedy.
The last half of the book offers a short materia medica on 116 remedies from List A of the UK Faculty of Homeopathy exam requirement. Dr. Leckridge relates four levels of knowledge that should be involved in study of a remedy in any materia medica:
Level 1 is a notable symptom of the remedy. This may range from a one-word description, such as "shock" for Aconitum napellus, to a 'PQRS', peculiar, queer, rare or strange symptom, as "painful, bruised chest, worse from touch, motion, in wet stormy weather" for Ranunculus bulbosus, or a sensation, such as "sensation of constriction" in Cactus grandiflorus, or a clinical indication such as "paroxysmal a trial fibrillation" in Veratrum viride.
Level 2 includes the keynotes of the remedy-four to five outstanding symptoms of the remedy's most distinctive features, plus modalities.
Level 3 is a condensed materia medica. This information is not included in the book; he refers the reader to Phatak, Boericke, or Clarke.
Level 4 is an in-depth study of remedies. This requires consulting with several advanced materia medicas to learn the source of the medicament, its toxicology, description of the remedy from the essence, main themes to cross reference to families of remedies, for use in differential diagnosis and comparisons.
I would recommend this book to serious homeopaths and students at all levels of learning: beginning, middle, and advanced. This is not a self-help book for neophytes or self-prescribers. Many of the conditions of which he speaks require thorough medical knowledge, and could require long-term treatment by a well- trained homeopath. Dr. Leckridge intends his book for use by beginning to middle-level students; he offers good practical advice that would be available to us if we were interning with him at Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital. Most of us in the USA will never have that opportunity. Most of us work and study with homeopaths who practice out of offices or clinics, and most of the advanced stages of pathological disease we will never see because the patient would have gone to an emergency room of his local hospital to be treated. This book would certainly be helpful and instructive in an emergency situation. Dr. Leckridge's approach is that of an allopath who has incorporated homeopathy very successfully into his practice, and who has earned the respect, esteem, and admiration of his homeopathic colleagues in Europe. He has a lot to teach us-and we have a lot to learn from his experience.
Volume XI, No. 2