A Case of Asthma: A Healer’s Analysis
What follows is the case of a woman with asthma; discussed here both for teaching purposes and to help you, the reader, understand the analysis of a case from a healer’s viewpoint.
Kate Smith (not actual name) was a 36-year-old divorced mother of three boys, ages 5, 7 and 12. She came to the office with complaints of depression that started about 9 months ago with spurts of “the blues” then continued to get worse to where she now has an underlying sense of sadness continuously. She is not suicidal nor has ideations of such. Her depression presents itself as lack of appetite, lack of energy, disinterest in her hobbies or work, and difficulty sleeping (falls asleep easily but awakens after a few hours and then can’t get back to sleep for another 2-3 hours).
Kate also has had asthma since she went through puberty at age 12. The asthma is usually under control with medication (oral and inhaled) except for times of stress or increased emotional difficulty, such as her depression has become. Now she feels the need to use her “rescue” inhaler (albuterol) two to three times daily. She has needed steroid medication (prednisone) twice over the past six months due to increased difficulty breathing; again, as a result of her emotional difficulty. She has not required hospitalization for asthma for more than 2 years.
Kate states she is healthy except for the depression and the asthma.
Emotional: depression, characterized as noted above. Underlying sense of sadness and loneliness. Fear of her son developing a disease (asthma).
Mental: thoughts are scattered and unfocused. Kate believes she spends a lot of time worrying about her children and her life alone, wondering what is to come of her once the children are grown and leave home. She is also afraid the eldest boy will develop asthma when he reaches puberty (as she had). Her job (call center) was also high-stress and she really would like to find another but this one has a great medical plan.
Spiritual: declined discussion.
Physical: asthma, slightly overweight (150 pounds; 5’0”).
Allergies(reaction): penicillin (difficulty breathing), bee stings (rash), milk (diarrhea).
General Health History (Progression towards disease analysis):
Kate stated she was healthy until she went through puberty. At first she developed severe acne at age 11, which was treated with topical and oral medications (she didn’t know their names) for 2 years, after which she began to develop asthma. She began oral medications and inhalers for management of the asthma. Shortly thereafter, when her periods began, she had a lot of cramping and stomach discomfort. The doctor gave her birth control pills, but after 6 months she stopped taking them because she developed a blood clot in her right lower calf requiring hospitalization and “blood thinning” medication (Coumadin) for 6 months. Since that time, there have been no recurrences of the blood clot. Her periods continue to be painful, heavy, and cause nausea, along with flares of irritability and depression (PMS). She developed anemia during each period due to the amount of blood loss from the heavy periods.
Surgical History: Tonsils removed at age 6 (unknown reason); appendectomy age 14 (found to be undiseased; it was later believed to be menstrual pains).
Medications: oral and inhaled asthma medications (names not listed for privacy)
Natural Supplements (reasons stated): a women’s multiple, vitamin C 500 mg (immune boosting), vitamin E 400 IU (heart), garlic (heart), mullein (lungs), St. John’s Wort (depression), ginkgo (heart), B-vitamin stress formula (stress), dong quai (hormones), licorice root (energy), and a formula for lung health (name not listed for commercial privacy). These had been recommended by a natural practitioner after the practitioner did “muscle testing,” also known as Applied Kinesiology or just Kinesiology.
Family Health: her 3 sons are generally healthy except for her eldest developing severe acne at age 11; he uses a topical cream every night—prescribed. The middle child has been having behavioral difficulties at school; Kate declined to discuss further; he takes a medication for ADHD. The youngest has had several bouts of ear infections (treated with antibiotics).
Kate’s two brothers and one sister have various health concerns, none similar to Kate. Her mother developed heart disease at age 50; her father died 2 years ago from a stroke (at age 55)—she didn’t know him; he had left when she was 6. Both maternal grandparents died of heart disease; paternal grandparent information is not known.
Diet: Breakfast is usually skipped. Lunch is some form of fast food (eaten at work at the desk). Supper is usually something fast, as she works until 5 and then has to pick up the boys and make something quick for supper. “Home-cooked” meals are rare (less than 2 times/month). Snacks are popcorn, potato chips, pastries, and cookies. Drinks coffee throughout the day; rarely drinks water or sugared sodas. She does not consume artificial sweeteners.
Nature Time: none
Examination (alterations noted):
BP 140/76. Dry skin, dandruff. A few gray hairs. Slouching posture. Crosses legs when sitting. Wearing high heeled shoes; blisters on the outer toes from shoe wear. Tongue coated with white; teeth marks at the edges. Numerous mercury amalgams in molars (all but 1 have fillings).
Drug and Supplement Interaction Analysis:
1. the oral medication Kate was taking for asthma was a derivative of caffeine; she was also drinking coffee throughout the day. Drinking coffee and taking the medication would increase the levels of the drug in her body, making it difficult to control her asthma, causing shortness of breath and other signs of asthma.
2. between the multiple and the extra B-vitamins, Kate was taking 150 mg of vitamin B6 each day. Studies have shown that a daily intake of over 50 mg per day for more than 6 months can lead to irreversible nerve damage.
3. between the multiple and the extra vitamin E, Kate was taking in 800 IU of the vitamin. Studies have shown that the body can only use 400 IU per day. Plus, the 400 IU in the multiple was synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopherol); studies have shown that synthetic vitamin E (dl-) binds to natural vitamin E (d-) and can increase the risk of heart disease.
4. vitamin E and garlic both can cause increased bleeding time (a.k.a. blood thinning abilities).
5. Licorice Root acts similar to coffee with oral asthma drugs (see #1).
6. the “lung formula” contains pseudoephedrine, a drug that interacts with most asthma drugs (including the oral in inhaled ones Kate is taking); it also has been shown to increase heart rate and blood pressure and can cause irregular heart rhythm (which can be life-threatening).
7. caffeine, pseudoephedrine and licorice root can all cause insomnia; most asthma drugs can cause insomnia as well. When asthma drugs are combined with supplements that are stimulating, an additive effect of insomnia can occur.
Evaluation: a homeopathic evaluation was done. Based on the symptoms presented, and the way the body heals, the lungs take precedence over menstrual difficulties, even over the “weaker” emotions such as “underlying feeling of sadness.” Also, the lungs are a vital organ (the body needs to breathe for life) so they need to be addressed first.
Recommendations: (these recommendations were made the first day)
· stop the current multiple and switch to one that is natural (the synthetic vitamin E has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease; Kate has a family history of the disease)
· stop taking the additional B-vitamin (to avoid nerve damage from too much vitamin B6)
· stop taking the additional vitamin E and garlic (because Kate had a lot of bleeding with her periods)
· stop drinking coffee and taking Licorice Root (they interact with her oral medication for asthma and may be a contributing factor to her difficulty sleeping)
· stop taking the lung formula (it interacts with her oral and inhaled medications for asthma, plus Kate has a family history of heart difficulties)
· stop the Dong Quai, as PMS’s mental/emotional symptoms are from too much estrogen in the body, and Dong Quai increases estrogen production
· alter her diet to eat three meals per day and have healthy snacks in between (to keep blood sugar at an optimal level; it may help with her emotions)
· be wary of the photosensitive effects of St. John’s Wort (it was now Summer and this herb can cause a person to get a sunburn very quickly)
In homeopathy, emotions and mental thinking are very important and ALWAYS need to be addressed. Often, one remedy can be found to address both the physical symptoms as well as the emotional ones; in Kate’s situation, that was not the case. The indicated remedy was Carcinosin.
1 month follow-up: Kate stated she was sleeping better and seemed more relaxed. Her use of the asthma rescue inhaler had also decreased. She was having a difficult time adjusting to eating differently. She still felt saddened and concerned about her sons’ health. No changes were made to her homeopathics or supplements.
2 month follow-up: Kate was having more spurts of shortness of breath but her emotions were better. Another homeopathic evaluation was completed based on her new symptoms and a different homeopathic was recommended: Natrum carbonicum 30C.
3 month follow-up: Kate hasn’t needed her rescue inhaler at all over the last month. She continues to sleep better. Eating has improved and she now manages at least one home-cooked meal each week. She is again doing her hobbies. No changes were made in her homeopathic or supplements.
6 month follow-up: Kate is feeling great. She continues to use her oral asthma medications but has not required the rescue inhaler and has decreased the steroid inhaler (had discussed it with her physician). Eating habits continue to improve. She has found a boyfriend as well and has been walking and/or biking often. All homeopathics have been stopped. After discussion, it was decided to stop all supplements as well to see how things would progress (no supplement should be taken forever, as they are intended to be used “medicinally”—for short term use only).
1 year follow-up: Kate is doing much better and is considering talking with her doctor about stopping her oral medication for asthma. She is engaged and plans to marry within a year. No changes made to restart any supplements or her homeopathic remedy.
Overall Case Analysis: Kate had, in essence, three chronic illnesses: menstrual difficulties, depression, and asthma. Based on how disease progresses (see the Homeopathic Centers of America’s website for the article on Hering’s Law of Cure), she started with having acne, which was suppressed by drugs. Later she developed asthma then menstrual difficulties. The depression (an emotional symptom) is just that, a symptom. The fact that it had begun over 6 months ago makes it a chronic condition in homeopathic terms. Had she come before the 6 months, it would’ve been the “condition” that I would’ve needed to address first (acute conditions take precedence over chronic ones).
Kate also had many supplements that either interacted with the medications she was taking, interacted with other supplements, or interacted with her health concerns. As the supplements had been recommended after muscle testing, it should be pointed out that muscle testing is flawed, and often is used as a means to convince people to buy supplements. As noted with this case, the muscle testing “showed” Kate that she needed supplements that were not right for her, and even made things worse. Muscle testing should never be used as a substitute for knowledge.
The dietary changes that were made also probably helped with Kate’s blood sugar regulation. When the blood sugar is low, the person can become depressed and tired. By altering the diet and eating regularly and eating less-processed foods, the blood sugar can stay at a good range to keep the brain functioning at an optimal level. As Kate was on medications that kept her body functioning at a fast rate, she probably burned through sugar quite rapidly, leaving her brain (and body) starving. A starving brain doesn’t work very well; two of the first signs of this are fatigue and emotional instability.
What I expect to see in the future: I will continue to see Kate about every 6 months to a year to analyze if she is continuing on a course towards health. As she continues on a healing path, one-by-one her symptoms and illnesses should disappear, in reverse order of their initial occurrence. As she had depression more recent than menstrual difficulties or asthma, the depression would clear before the menstrual difficulties, then the asthma, then the healing from the blood clot, then the underlying cause of the acne.
A Note on Suppression by Drugs: Symptoms are a sign that something isn’t right with the body. Covering them up (i.e. suppressing them) does not make the cause of the symptoms go away…it only keeps you from knowing about them. Ignoring the problem makes the problem grow, become worse, and make it necessary for interventions; the most common interventions are medical drugs or surgery. Either way, the problem still does not go away.
No organ becomes diseased over night unless there is a trauma to that organ, from a fall or car accident or such. Every disease imaginable starts off with symptoms, usually small symptoms, such as acne, hair loss, a fever, a rash, etc. Something “visible”; it is your body’s way of saying: “look, something’s wrong.” If you cover the symptom (suppress it), the body has to come up with other ways of letting you know something is wrong. These symptoms are then more deeper, usually something like an ear infection, sinus infection, digestive complaints, etc. If these too are suppressed and ignored, the organ that is having the difficulties in the first place becomes more ill, so the next set of symptoms becomes more severe until finally you find yourself managing your disease symptoms with medical drugs, drugs you feel you will need forever, for to not take the drugs means to suffer.
So I urge each and every reader to not ignore symptoms. Don’t reach for the cough suppressant next time you have a cough; find out why you have the cough then work with it naturally. Next time you have a fever, find out why; for if you suppress it before you know the reason, you may be allowing a virus to move freely throughout your body, thus making your healing time longer, and your suffering more severe.
Medical drugs have their place, but know that all drugs either suppress symptoms or take over body processes. Examples: birth control pills stop the pituitary gland and ovaries from regulating the female cycle—the drug puts the hormones into your body; a certain group of blood pressure pills suppresses the conversion of one enzyme to another, therefore keeping that new enzyme from increasing blood pressure; pain medications inhibit pain message transmission.
I am not saying not to take or use medical drugs—they have their places and purposes. But ALWAYS find out what a symptom is trying to tell you…please.
A Personal Note: Homeopathic medicines work a lot different than natural supplements because they work at the core healing level. Homeopathy is very intricate, very individualized, and very powerful. I have seen cases where healing from an acute injury occurs almost instantaneous (a concussion case—see my website). I have also seen people with chronic illnesses no longer suffer (again, see my website).
But know that homeopathy has three “weaknesses”: 1) it cannot “fix” an organ, or the organ’s system, once an organ has been removed (if it isn’t there, it cannot be healed); 2) it cannot fix damage caused by drugs or surgery (ex: the structural changes in the brain caused by an antidepressant medication); 3) it cannot “heal” someone who has been too damaged by suppression where organ degeneration has occurred (ex: a person who has taken many drugs for many years usually has had major suppressive therapy so the organs and body systems cannot be rejuvenated); and 4) it cannot heal congenital or birth defects.
I’ve been trained in, and have used and recommended herbs, vitamins, minerals, etc. But I’ve found nothing that can do the healing like homeopathy can. I truly believe this and highly recommend that anyone with a chronic disease seek the care of a Classical Homeopath if you want to heal. Do healing the right way—heal through and through—don’t just cover up the symptoms.
A word of caution about drug-supplement interactions and supplement-supplement interactions: when taking more than one supplement that has the same healing property (such as taking two supplements that can increase bleeding time) or taking a medical drug with a supplement that also does the same thing (such as taking Coumadin with garlic or another supplement that increases bleeding time), there can be an additive effect of that property. It is possible that the interaction can be deadly or life-threatening. Therefore, never take a supplement with a medical drug unless instructed to do so by someone knowledgeable in BOTH natural supplements and medical drugs!
A Brief Word on Classical Homeopathy and Modern Homeopathy: There are two types of homeopathic medicine practiced today: Classical and Modern. The focus of Modern Homeopathy is to treat symptoms whereas the focus of Classical Homeopathy is to remove the symptoms by removing the disease that causes the symptoms. There are more characteristics between the two forms of homeopathy, but in a nutshell, the above-mentioned characteristic is the key.
When you want to heal, choose a Classical Homeopath!
Disclaimer: The information provided by Dr. Ronda Behnke Theys is for educational purposes only. It is important that you not make health decisions or stop any medication without first consulting your personal physician or health care provider.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Ronda Behnke Theys is a distinguished practitioner of Classical Homeopathy and other Natural Healing methods. As co-founder of The Homeopathic Centers of America, Dr. Ronda passes on what she has learned through her seminars, articles, books and when working with individuals. Amongst her clients, she is known for her exceptional insight and non-judgmental presence. You can contact Dr. Ronda via the website www.MyHCA.org or by calling 920-558-9806. "When it’s time to heal, call me…I will listen to you." For a FREE guide to help you along your healing path, visit the HCA website as noted above.