Interviews

Grant Bentley and Louise Barton – 2

Last modified on January 29th, 2010

A useful article about Grant Bentley and Louise Barton – 2.Full details about Grant Bentley and Louise Barton – 2

Dr. Bhatia – Grant, I can not help asking you this now. In your book ‘Appearance and Circumstances‘, there is a small passage, where you write –

What is the difference between miasms and karma? The short answer is, there is no difference at all. Miasmatic knowledge is nothing more than the age-old laws of karma with a medicinal application.

I am unable to relate this with the immune-response approach that you just mentioned. The Encyclopedia Britannica summarizes the concept of Karma as –

In Indian philosophy, the influence of an individual’s past actions on his future lives or reincarnations. It is based on the conviction that the present life is only one in a chain of lives. The accumulated moral energy of a person’s life determines his or her character, class status, and disposition in the next life. The process is automatic, and no interference by the gods is possible. In the course of a chain of lives, people can perfect themselves and reach the level of Brahma (God), or they can degrade themselves to the extent that they return to life as animals. The concept of karma, basic to Hinduism, was also incorporated into Buddhism and Jainism.

How do you explain the passage in your book?

Grant

When I talk about Karma I am talking about the laws of the non-material universe.  As we know through Homeopathy, the non-material ‘energy’ universe is governed by laws opposite to those that govern our material one.  The infinitesimal dose where less means more as well as the law of similars are great examples of this.  In the physical world, it is opposites that attract and similars that repel, look what happens for example when two protons meet, but in the non-material world it is the opposite that is true.  The more we concentrate on something through thought (energy) the more it manifests and the more similar energy is attracted toward it.  With Karma we learn by circumstance what energy resides within us.  If negative things keep happening then it is because negativity is within us, we get what we cause.  Constitutionally, karma is a life theme and life themes are rubrics.  As your question states, karma is a chain of events.  If a patient has an abusive upbringing and then becomes involved with an abusive spouse, spiritually one would say that abuse is their karma, homeopathically we say abuse is their constitutional life theme and because it is causing so much damage and impact – a kind of never been well since effect – it is what is draining their energy and allowing chronic disease to develop. Violence is an important rubric in the repertorisation of this patient.  Karma is our make-up and that means it is our constitution, who we are, what we love and what we hate.  These are all the things Kent stated we need to know if we are to successfully treat and understand patients with chronic disease.

Karma means being caught in captivity by negative thoughts and deeds that secure us to the earth in the endless cycle of birth and rebirth.  After good constitutional treatment, many patients become stronger in what they need for themselves, they become less angry, less jealous and less domineering.  These are the traits that keep us earth bound and the traits karma tells us we must overcome.  If we must move away from domination to find our own inner strength, that is our karma – our life lesson.  Domination or abuse will be drawn toward us not as punishment but as something to overcome so we become stronger.  Using constitutional remedies also achieves this and the causative circumstances and trends cease.  This is why I say the law of karmic attraction and the law of similars are the same.

Dr. Bhatia – When and how did the idea of using facial features for assessment of miasms strike you?

Grant

Allen and Roberts not only made Hahnemann’s concept of the miasms clearer, these two authors also mention facial features as indicators to the miasm.  It was these books, Allen’s Chronic Diseases and Roberts Art and Principles of Cure that got the ball rolling.  I was fascinated by the idea that internal miasms would be represented by and influence external facial features.  Later by reading other authors such as Donald Foubister and his account of the Carcinosin appearance, I began to understand that if miasms are inherited and influence all physical structure which they have to do to create specific disease processes; they would also influence physical make-up including facial structure.  It is crazy to think that psora for instance can stamp its own unique mark on pathology as well as on the mind but not on the appearance.  That is contrary to holism which is the basis of constitutional prescribing.  So I began a private research project in 1999 to see whether I could extend upon the work of Allen and Roberts to create an observable diagnostic system by the miasmatic determination of facial features.

Louise

Yes it was very fortunate that Grant focused on the facial features.  In the early days we just looked at everyone’s faces and tried to see the link between features and their pathology.  We were stuck in the whole idea of “essence” prescribing and had ideas that perhaps faces would have “types” too.  After a rocky start we discovered this couldn’t possibly be true.  Once we had more than half the features categorized it became obvious that nearly every patient had at least one feature from each of the primary miasms.  So they all belonged to the Cancer miasm!  Of course this couldn’t be true so we sat down and thought about this long and hard and decided to try the idea of dominance.  Within weeks we were convinced that this was the way to go and we haven’t looked back since.  Now as we see the whole picture and how each part operates we know it couldn’t be any other way but everything is easier in retrospect.

Dr. Bhatia – Tell us about your findings related to the use of facial features for identification of miasms in detail.

Grant

At first the project consisted of information gathering and so findings were limited as all beginnings are. Information gathering consisted of analyzing the facial features of successful constitutional cases with remedies well known to represent a specific miasm.  For instance if a patient had a successful result with Sulphur, photographs of his face were taken and kept for future reference.  When other successful cases with Sulphur came through, the clinic photographs of all these patients were then compared to find the common features relating to all.  When you are dealing with the miasms you are dealing with a genus epidemicus, so our job is not to find the unique, but it is to find the generic.  After analyzing patients over a five year period a comprehensive system of determining the dominant miasm in a patient by their facial features had developed.  For the last three years we have not added anything significant to the model as we believe it to be complete.  There are always going to be small details and fine tuning that needs to be done on a regular basis, but the model itself is reliable, sound and effective.  What both Louise and myself have found is how successful Homeopathy can be.  What I mean by this is previously to HFA, I imposed restrictions on how far a remedy could go.  In the past with a condition like epilepsy or cancer I would have imposed guides on myself that limited what I believe could be achieved with the Homeopathic remedy.  If a condition was serious I viewed my role as secondary and believed for many years that while Homeopathy could offer valuable service it could not necessarily be the primary medicine to complete cure without any outside adjunct.  HFA has shown me that by matching the remedy to the miasm, that my previous outlook was naïve.  Rather than becoming more “realistic” about the potential of our remedies, I have learned to open myself to the “unrealistic” because I have seen that anything is possible.  Cancer for instance was a disease that I thought was difficult to treat constitutionally because of my previous limited success and therefore treated most cases by organo-therapy.  This is no longer the case; all chronic disease is constitutional including cancer and should always be treated in the same manner.  The problem was not the system, it was simply – as it always is – my choice of remedy.  We offer open clinics to both students and practitioners here in Melbourne to encourage people unfamiliar with HFA to see first hand what Homeopathy is capable of.  For years I practiced in the traditional sense without HFA and so know the difference between the two when it comes to results.

Louise

Yes it was the same for me.  Now I couldn’t imagine practicing without doing a facial analysis every time.  It is such an important piece of information and makes choosing remedies so much easier.  Remedies can look alike – especially when you first start practicing and the subtle differences aren’t clear.  Even now I have come to realize that although an “essence” picture may be true of some patients there are other patients who seem quite different but still need the same remedy.   We have gone back to repertorising every chronic case, using rubrics that represent the generals like Boenninghausen suggested and being very careful when choosing mental rubrics and always working out the miasm using facial analysis.  Our current students are really lucky as we decided to only teach them how to take a case, how to repertorise, how to choose the miasm and then accept the remedies that were delivered to them as part of this process.  If they have more than one remedy to choose from then it is back to checking the materia medica for the final decision.  They are doing some very good cases using this method and are far more advanced in their confidence and outcomes than we were at the same level.

We found it quite incredible when patients of the same miasm started describing life stories of great similarity.  We came to see these stories as “themes” and still can’t get over how the case story and the face will lock and key.

Grant also made an amazing link when he started applying the findings of this model to trends in history and disease.  There is a clear link between epidemics and social history that fits perfectly into the seven colour miasm model.  These same social themes fit the stories of the patients with corresponding faces.  Of course anyone who has studied metaphysics knows these things but seeing universal patterns in action is constantly exciting.  His current book explores all of these issues with a particular emphasis on the dual nature of humans, the role of the miasm, the vital force and what will probably be controversial – that Homoeopathy can be completely explained using Newtonian physics rather than Quantum physics.  We have had many discussions with each other and our students and believe this work will be of great importance to Homeopathy.

Dr. Bhatia – That’s great! But how do you analyze a face? What are the features that you focus on and how do you differentiate between subtle differences in the facial features?

Grant

The inference of both Allen and Roberts is that miasms influence facial structure in accordance to their own design.  For example, we know that sycosis is hyper-function which means accumulation.  Excessive inflammation, mucous or fatty tissue, tumors, fibroids and cysts are all results of the sycotic tendency to accumulation.  If excess occurs internally, and facial features are formed by the internal miasm, then larger or excessive features also represent sycosis.  This is a conclusion that was formed from successful cases.  I did not set out to prove that excess internally, would be excess externally, but when I saw it by examining the photographs of successful sycotic patients, it became obvious that it could be no other way.  It also became obvious with the syphilitic inward miasm why so many successful syphilitic patients had facial features such as deep set eyes, dimples and inward pointing teeth.  This is cutting a long story very short but it gives you an idea of the philosophy of the system.  In practice we take the photographs of every patient after concluding their consultation.  These photographs are then examined and each facial feature is assessed in accordance to hyper, hypo and inward structure.  Each individual facial feature once assessed is allocated into its miasmatic group.  The rest is based on Hahnemannian theory and simple addition.

Hahnemannian theory is that two dissimilar diseases cannot live in the same body at the same time, the stronger will dominate the weaker.  If the diseases are of equal strength they will join to form a complex miasm such as the tubercular miasm (psora and syphilis).  The addition is simply adding all the facial features influenced by each miasm in a chart, to determine which is the stronger disease (miasm).  If a person has far more syphilitic features than sycotic or psoric, then syphilis would be the stronger disease, therefore a syphilitic medicine must be chosen.  Hahnemann stated in Chronic Diseases that the treatment of chronic disease must consist of the miasm and the totality not just totality alone.  Up until now we have had no real definitive way of recognizing the stronger internal miasm.  What HFA has provenn is the miasm that is strong enough to influence the majority of facial features is also the miasm that is strong enough to dominate the rest of the body, therefore it is the stronger disease and the one we must treat.

Louise

We are writing an on-line course with Pioneer University in Dubai to help practitioners to develop their skills and apply HFA.  Some faces are definitely easier to analyze than others.  In the same way as some cases are easier to analyze than others.  However with practice everyone’s results improve.  Our students study it for 18 months and after about nine months most of them are getting the correct miasm.  It is all about learning to see size and shape and structure.  Once you know what to look for it becomes easier.  We recommend studying at least fifty faces before you will really feel some confidence.  It isn’t that hard to do – your family, friends, movie stars, people in restaurants – there are faces everywhere.  Once you get started you will be seeing noses and ears and hairlines and knowing straight away which miasm is dominating that feature.  Then it is just a matter of adding up all the features to see the totality and where the dominance lies.

Dr. Bhatia – Does being male or female affects this analysis? The differences in the male and female skull and facial features are quite easy to recognize.

Grant

No, being male or female makes no difference whatsoever.  We are only comparing each facial feature against other features and the overall size of that person’s face.   Women can have inward teeth and men can have inward teeth (syphilis).  Men can have a down-turned nose (psora) and women can have a down-turned nose.  It is not about overall looks and it is not about beauty.  This is about shape and size, nothing more.

Louise

Everyone is individual regardless of their sex or race. Facial analysis is about looking at all the parts and adding up the totality – really the same as case analysis. So while, for example, sycotic features tend to be seen more in females than males there is no exclusivity. We see all miasms that include both sexes. Once you really look at the features you will see this is true. There are more than seventy different features – this is why there are nearly six billion different faces (a bit less due to identical twins of course); but having the three core miasms and then seeing their impact on the majority of facial features on each single face allows for a multitude of outcomes – our individuality. So one psoric person will look quite different than another and the same is true of each of the miasms. After a while you start to recognize similar combinations that add up to the same miasm but even then the variety of placement of features can allow for a completely different look. Say for example two people are of the same miasm and they both have similar hairlines, eyes, foreheads, ears and mouths but one of them has much larger teeth and a broader smile whilst the other has a broad nose – all of a sudden they will look quite different. However when each feature is rated and the totality is decided upon they still come up the same miasm. Whether or not they need the same remedy depends on the case – sometimes yes, sometimes no. In the end it is just a diagnostic tool but a fascinating one that’s for sure.

Dr. Bhatia – And what about the facial features of various races? Does that have any effect on the facial analysis?

Grant

Yes certain miasmatic features do seem to be more dominant amongst some races.  However to suggest that everybody from a particular race will belong to one miasm is nonsense.  In an interview with a Chinese migrant on a Melbourne radio station, the Chinese man laughed when he said that all us round eyes look alike! Everyone from a different race becomes overwhelmed at first by the similarity of a new race.  But after only a few days of being amongst a new culture, variation becomes obvious.  By the end of the week there is as much variation in the new culture as there is in the old.

Louise

Yes we get many people asking about race.  Because Australia is so multi-cultural we are used to seeing many races although still predominantly Caucasian.  People are so sensitive about equality that they point out differences even between individuals, let alone whole groups – however this is what Homeopathy is all about!  So yes racial features are often asked about.  No matter what race the patient, each feature still tells the same story – if it is distinctive, it will be either psoric, sycotic or syphilitic. Whilst some races have common features – e.g. the recessed lids of Asians, the wider nose of Africans, the lower hairline of Arabs, the down-turned nose of Europeans, the dominance for each patient within a race can (and does) vary enormously.

Dr. Bhatia – You have said that your results have been significantly better after you started using facial analysis. Have you ever quantified the difference in success? What changes have you found in your clinical practice and the success rate after using facial analysis?

Grant

I have quantified the success of HFA by checking a one year period of patients, examining the result of each case and placing them into a category of unsuccessful, partially successful or successful. Unsuccessful is self explanatory, partially successful means an improvement of between 50-80%. Successful means that the main problem is dramatically alleviated as well as an improvement of energy and well being with no or few minor ailments remaining. For example if a patient suffers from depression, insomnia and panic attacks as well as gastric reflux and has two warts, if all their complaints are ameliorated to a level of more than 80% but the two warts remain I would still regard this as a success. Patients whose symptoms have ameliorated between 50% – 80% are placed in the partial success group. Patients who have had no benefit or discontinued treatment within two visits were placed in the unsuccessful group. Obviously at a personal level I believe if I had been given more time, this unsuccessful group would have a much lower percentage. However for the sake of statistics, I must accept this result. The number of constitutional patients who achieved a better than 80% success rate on all levels regardless of the multi-factorial nature of their complaint was 64%. The number of people who reached a 50 – 80% amelioration of their complaints, therefore qualifying as a partial success, was 12.5%. 23.5% were rated as unsuccessful. Of partial and successful cases most were achieved within four visits. This means statistically that 76.5% of patients will achieve within four visits a 50% or greater improvement of their health regardless of the nature of their pathology. This is important as there is no specialization in the clinic and the chronic diseases treated ranges from suicidal depression to cancer, to panic attacks, to rheumatoid arthritis. Chronic conditions also include allergies, asthma and pneumonia.

Louise

I saw Miranda Castro when she came to Australia and recommended doing a self audit to determine how well you were doing as a practitioner. It is a daunting task especially with chronic cases. I wasn’t too happy as the really successful cases were few and far between. However many of the patients who didn’t get the wonderful outcome got peripheral improvement for periods of time and so they kept coming back. It is interesting that most of the long timers have got extremely good remedies (finally) after applying HFA – mostly in the last few years. Like Grant, close to 60% get a remedy that really turns them around and partial successes account for another 15 – 20%. The other 20% leave or I am still trying. These are the cases where a polychrest just won’t do and with those patients that persevere we try to get results with smaller remedies – knowing their miasm through facial features means we will be able to confirm more remedies once a positive outcome occurs.

I really like knowing that I am in the ball park with most patients. The facial features are absolutely essential for gaining this confidence. If my patient for example is tubercular or dominantly cancer miasm, in most cases a major polychrest will help them very quickly. Repertorising is essential (did I mention this?) and we use much larger rubrics than before knowing that this process only draws in possibilities – the miasm will determine which three or four remedies to look at.

I now expect that all aspects of the patient will improve, especially their energy and well being and of course always the presenting pathology. So even if they come for one pathology – say hay-fever and the remedy I chose in the past helped that condition but then I find they suffer with anxiety attacks too, I won’t consider the result a success until both conditions are under control. I no longer look at the patient in a layers model but as a whole person who expects to get better in a whole way with single remedy treatment or in some cases a series of remedies, but always one at a time. Another area in which I fully I fully expect an outcome is in the amount of time it takes to get a solid result. Solid improvement should commence within a couple of weeks to a month – if nothing has happened then I know there is a better remedy. Obviously the depth and longevity of the pathology has to be taken into account but using miasmatic remedies means the simillimum is so close that the healing commences quite quickly. This came as a surprise to us as we were trained to be patient and cautious especially with long standing complaints. But when you regard the action of the remedy as rebalancing the vital force rather than curing the condition you come to expect that the patient will quickly see changes. I didn’t practice like this in the past – there was a lot more waiting and expecting aggravations. Now when working with the miasm the reaction to the remedy is often very fast and far more holistic in the outcome. So it becomes an expectation and I am far happier with the results. Also results hold well in most cases – it is just far better all round. And easier. It has been a pleasure to teach the method and see our students do so well so quickly.

So we really want to see all Homeopaths using HFA – for obvious reasons. We all want to do the best for ourselves and our patients as quickly and deeply as possible.

Dr. Bhatia – Many homeopaths have focused on the concept that the true simillimum should not just cover the symptoms but also the underlying miasm. So the concept is not new. But so far, homeopaths have relied on symptom classification and pathology to identify the underlying miasm.  Have you ever compared the results of miasm identification through symptoms and through facial analysis? If so, are the results similar with both approaches?

Grant

I suppose if I had found the traditional model of miasms, that is the allocation of pathology into a miasmatic group successful, then the need to develop another model would not have arisen.  I think one of the reasons there are so many different and often opposing views of how to apply the miasms, is because the traditional model fails in its attempt to clarify.  There is simply no way we can say that Hahnemann’s legacy of the miasms and how to apply them in clinical day to day practice has been successful, and yet we know at the same time, that Hahnemann was the greatest medical mind the world has ever seen.  So if he stakes his reputation on stating that the medicine chosen for a patient must be based on the totality of their symptoms, as well as their miasm, then we must listen.  Miasmatic symptom prescribing yielded no results above symptom totality alone, at least not for me.  In the end I disregarded miasms altogether as many practitioners do, and based my prescriptions entirely on presenting symptoms – exactly what Chronic Disease says NOT to do.  In short my answer to your question is yes, I have tried them both and my conclusion is miasmatic symptomology does not yield results, and historically this would also prove to be the case for the profession, however facial analysis (HFA) has been a rich vein of success.

Dr. Bhatia – You have said earlier that with essence prescribing ‘results never reached expectation’ and also ‘Modern homeopathy in the west can be extremely interpretive’. Can you elaborate on this further? Do you think that the excessive focus on subjective symptoms and interpretation of dreams, delusions, and sensations is making homeopathy less productive? Do you think we should stick to the age old tried and tested methods of symptom repertorization (no interpretation) and finding the miasm? What is your opinion on these modern developments and what is the future of homeopathy in your opinion?

Grant

In western Homeopathy there is a strong focus on seeing remedies as distinct and individual personalities in the same way as we see people.  Much of this has arisen because of the works of Kent and Tyler.  Hahnemann did not view medicines in this same way and one look at Materia Medica Pura will clarify that he saw medicines as medicines.  In Aphorism 9, Hahnemann states that there is a distinct difference between the predictable vital force and the more unique and individual characteristic soul of an individual.  The vital force according to Hahnemann is a program designed for our well being but distinctly separate from our mind and character.  Because Homeopathic remedies work on our vital force they work on a preordained program not our personality, or our individuality.  If remedies had to be specific to the most characteristic parts of our personality there would be no such thing as a polychrest.  A polychrest is a drug of many uses but it can only have many uses because it fits many types of conditions in many types of people.  Most of the contemporary understanding regarding medicines as unique and distinct personalities has been attributed to Kent and yet Kent himself advises against this, and chastised Tyler for doing so in Drug Pictures.  For any who doubt this I would suggest they read Kent’s Lesser Writings and look at the cases he presents at the end of the book.  It soon becomes noticeable that while Kent talks theoretically about individualization and character, his prescriptions are based on pathology and physical generals.  The idea that Homeopathic remedies touch or alter the immortal soul is absolutely wrong.  Remedies interact with the vital force but as Hahnemann has pointed out the vital force is NOT the soul.  Therefore remedies do not have to be individualized to suit the person, but need to be individual enough to suit the way that person’s vital force is responding to stress.

About the author

Dr. Manish Bhatia

Dr. Manish Bhatia

- BHMS, BCA, M.Sc Homeopathy (UK), CICH (Greece)
- Ass. Professor, Organon & Homeopathic Philosophy, SKH Medical College, Jaipur
- Founder Director of Facekom.com
- Editor, Homeopathy 4 Everyone
- Member, Advisory Board, Homeopathic Links
- Co-author - Homeopathy and Mental Health Care: Integrative Practice, Principles and Research
- Author -
- Awardee - Raja Pajwan Dev Award for Excellence in the Field of Medicine; APJ Abdul Kalam Award for Excellence in Homeopathy Education
- For consultation, seminars or clinical training, write to [email protected]

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