If we don’t understand Hering’s Law of Cure, we can’t manage even a single case!
The Law of Cure, also known as Hering’s Law observes that true healing takes place:
1. from the inside out
2. from the center to the periphery
3. from the most important organs to the least important organs
4. from the top down and
5. in reverse order of occurrence.
The first 4 pretty much mean the same thing, namely that when your body receives a remedy, the most serious, most limiting symptoms will be dealt with first, symptoms like pain, physical distress, itching, insomnia, loss of appetite and nausea. The immune system knows what it’s doing! Last to go will be something superficial, like acne or a rash with no pain or itching. The point is, your “favorite” symptom, the one you wanted to leave, might not leave first.
An old symptom might come back. This is because a case will often “go back the way it came”! We call this “return of old symptoms”. We think of this as a good sign, a sign the remedy is working.
It is also possible that a new minor symptom may pop up out of nowhere, or another symptom in the case might become amplified after a remedy. We call this “exteriorization”, or as Hering said, “from the center to the periphery”. That’s why the image of a pebble dropped in a pond with the ripple-effect moving outward is homeopathy’s unofficial symbol:
It demonstrates what happens after a remedy: the case moves from the “center to the periphery” as in when you drop a pebble into a pond and a ripple-effect ensues; meaning, you’re going to feel great at your “core”, while odd symptoms “ripple” through your body on their way way out. For example, I just gave someone a remedy for the flu. He felt better immediately, but developed a backache out of nowhere! It stayed for a while and then left. That wasn’t a “new” complaint, that was Hering’s Law! I always say, as long as you’re improved at a deep level, don’t worry about a new or worsening symptom at a superficial level, it’s just Hering’s Law!
Think of the remedy as the ignition key that starts your car: once started, you take your hand off the ignition and sit back! Things happen: lights come on, bells go off– but no need to scrutinize any of it because the car knows what it’s doing! Similarly, your immune system knows what it’s doing, it just needs to be kick-started; as long as you’ve seen an improvement at a deep level, just observe in a detached way!
And no need to keep starting your car over and over again once it’s running! Isn’t that right? That would be the height of insanity! Did you ever absent-mindedly try starting your car while it was already running? It makes an awful noise, you’d never make that mistake twice! Similarly, if your case is “running”, moving, stop taking the remedy!
The remedy is only a catalyst, it’s a “starter”; your immune system takes it from there! You shouldn’t despair as long as the remedy is acting, doing something; just wait!
The first thing to change will be your mental/emotionals (and you should feel like you have more energy and a sense of calm; in fact, you might fall asleep, or feel like you want to fall asleep; children, babies, usually do fall asleep after a remedy, it’s very common and we generally count it as a sign that the remedy chosen was correct), next will be the physicals and they will be dealt with in a certain order, not all at once and, again, when an issue is resolving, it moves out, like the ripples in a pond, rather than simply disappearing! Mental disturbances, for example, may disappear and be replaced by a fever or a “cold” (don’t run and get antibiotics or Tylenol, etc. because you will just suppress your case back to the mental plane); so, it’s really important to be able to properly judge just what a new “complaint” means after a remedy. Is it a real illness? Or is it just Hering’s Law?
I have to tell you a story. I don’t mean to be gross, I’m just trying to help you. About a year ago, I was sick. I don’t know what it was! Food poisoning? A stomach virus? A gastro-intestinal flu? I couldn’t tell you! I only know I was lying in bed feeling quite miserable, weak and nauseous with diarrhea. I took Arsenicum, it didn’t work. I took Veratrum alb., it didn’t work. I actually lost track of all the remedies I took. Finally, running out of ideas, I took Zingiber 30C (homeopathic ginger), not holding out much hope for it. Almost immediately, I started to feel worse! I hurried to the bathroom, and I will try to put this delicately: discharging from both ends ensued suddenly and abruptly; and then it was over, after which I felt COMPLETELY NORMAL; weakness gone, energy restored, health restored! I realized that Zingiber did what a remedy is supposed to do–a complete cure followed by discharging! That was actually a textbook case of Hering’s Law, “from the center to the periphery”, you don’t see that so dramatically every time; but, I’m saying this to make the point: did I need a remedy for that, for what happened at the end? Was that an “illness”? No.
Some of you, before coming to homeopathy, have taken drugs to “control” a “disease”, let’s say it was asthma. Later, a homeopath takes your case and gives you your constitutional remedy. Your energy comes up, you feel great, better than ever, and wham! The asthma comes back! What has happened here? The drug didn’t cure your asthma, it only suppressed it! Now with the homeopathic remedy restoring your strength, the previously suppressed asthma pops out! So now what? Now you can give the suitable homeopathic asthma remedy that you needed in the first place, or, you can wait for the asthma to go away by itself in a short period of time, as is usually the case with “return of old symptoms”–they stay for a while and then leave; but something as life-threatening as asthma might call for a remedy to be given right away.
Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy, said in his ORGANON OF MEDICINE, paragraph 253:
“The very beginning of improvement is indicated by a sense of greater ease, composure, mental freedom, higher spirits, and, a return to naturalness.”
When I see this occur after giving a remedy, I breathe a sigh of relief! It means the case is headed for cure. I would rather see this than an improvement in the chief complaint with no change for the better on the mental/emotional plane!
Don’t get me wrong, some cases are purely physical, like the pain from a sprained ankle or itching from various causes, and have no mental component. Even still, some people may feel a concomitant sense of relaxation and relief after the correct remedy is given, children especially; in fact, children often fall asleep after the remedy! That is truly a good sign! Pain and itching should be relieved right away! You can’t have improvement on the mental/emotional plane if you’re in physical distress; at least, it seems very unlikely.
How soon will the pain and itching stop? I can’t give you a time-table. It could be literally right away, within 5 minutes; or it might take a few days. It’s a function of how chronic or recent your complaint is. Pain from an injury or illness that just happened should resolve immediately. But you do have to get the potency right! 30C would be the lowest potency I’d want to give in an acute emergency.
Also, again, if your complaint is purely physical, you may be shocked that it doesn’t just disappear all at once. You have no idea what your immune system considers to be a priority! Let’s say you have colitis. You want to see normal stools occur right away, but it seems your immune system considers so many other things to be more important, like your appetite, or pain or sleep, and naturally you’re thinking the remedy isn’t working; but in reality, all you want to see after a remedy is some evidence that the case is starting to move–and moving in the right direction: from the most important organs to the least important organs; from the center to the periphery! Is the case moving? In the right direction? Then that’s all you need to know! Stop trying to be smarter than your body, it knows what it’s doing, don’t try to understand it because you never will.
You might ask, when do I give the next dose, in three hours? Six hours? If you’ve improved noticeably on the mental/emotional plane, just wait! The remedy continues to work even if you’re not taking it. Repeat at the first sign of relapse. Similarly, if the physical distress has stopped or greatly improved, no more dosing is needed. Repeat only if a relapse ensues. Remember that if your spirits are high and you’ve relaxed, everything else is taking care of itself!
If the remedy makes you worse, what we call an “aggravation”, you can “zap” it. See my article “The Aggravation Zapper”, it’s on my website: . No one should have to tolerate a distressing, prolonged aggravation. Certainly stop the remedy if that happens. Aggravations generally wear off by themselves.
But remember, when your patient comes back to you and says, “The remedy didn’t work”, always ask, “But, how are you feeling mentally and emotionally? How’s your energy?” Don’t be surprised if he says, “Oh, I’m doing great, my spirits are very high!”
See, patients aren’t trained to believe this matters, so they won’t tell you; and to us, it means everything! It means we’ve got the right remedy and what could be more important?
If for some reason the remedy doesn’t cure the whole case, we have to consider the possibility that a local pathology requires its own remedy; OR, there may be a second etiology in the case we didn’t consider; otherwise, don’t change a remedy that’s helping you in general for one that only matches a problem in a single part; the “general remedy” is more valuable and may well move on to tackle the particular problem that doesn’t seem to be budging at first. If it doesn’t, then you have to take the case of that particular issue and give the remedy that matches it.
So now, let’s conclude. After a remedy, what are we looking for? Something I call…
“The Signs of Health”.
The signs of health let you know you’re on the right track. We also call this “The Center of the Case”. No need to repeat a remedy unless the “center of the case” falls apart:
- Calm and Relaxation/feeling of well-being.
- Restoration of energy.
- Lifting of spirits.
- Improvement in or restoration of appetite and thirst.
- Better sleep.
- Clarity of mind.
Elaine Lewis, DHom, CHom
Elaine takes online cases and animal cases too!
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