Double Take

'When you've seen beyond yourself, then you may find peace of mind is waiting there. And the time will come when you see we're all one, and life flows on within you and without you – George Harrison

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Double Take (published in the Society of Homeopaths Journal Spring 2017) by Rowena J Ronson and Nigel Summerley

Double Take
(Spring edition 2017, The Journal of the Society of Homeopaths)

Do you practise homeopathy only with your head – or does it involve your heart and soul too? Rowena J Ronson and Nigel Summerley have differing views…

RJR: Practising homeopathy is quite a heady experience. Analysing cases, choosing methodologies, selecting rubrics, comparing repertorisation and differentiating remedies – these skills all involve the part of our brain that is rational. Our lucidity enables us to be the objective, grounded and clear-thinking unprejudiced observer that Hahnemann encouraged.

And we know that practising homeopathy is a very hearty experience too. Often it is the empathetic wounded soul within that awakens us to our purpose and journey as homeopath and healer in this lifetime. And our infinite compassion undoubtedly fuels our desire to help others in need.

But I wonder what ingredients of our inner being support us to remain consistently present throughout our years in practice, endlessly empowering us to stay motivated, open and willing to persist in service.

For me, my practice as a homeopath, is an extension of my practice as a human being. In life I am boundlessly curious to discover the keys to unlock the obstacles that stand in the way of my healthy journey forward. In our current era of mass deception by corporations and the media, coupled with the persistent myopic and mechanistic medical model, it takes an unbreakable kind of mindfulness for us not to be hoodwinked into dropping down into a hidden well of suppression and toxicity.

I perceive my trail ahead of me, and I am excited by the view. My journey so far has not exhausted or broken me, but has imbued me with a special kind of wisdom and understanding. And in the holding of that light, I am forever motivated to share it with others.

I see my life past as one of many lessons learned, and my future self as a vessel for that continued learning. Each heartbreak, trauma and loss brings to consciousness a part of me that I did not know existed, and I use that dynamism to carry me forward. I actively resist resistance, with the awareness that the more I evolve, the more I am able to empower myself – and guide and empower others.

To adapt Kahlil Gibran’s sentiment, the healing comes through you but not from you. I know when I sit with my patients that my intention to heal and transform, the potency of the words with which I choose to enquire and flow, the field in which I work, and the ability to perceive a person’s essence, comes through me, because I am open and receptive to embody a healing vehicle for them. I feel the support of the animals, minerals and plants from whom we have come, and with whom we share this planet. I feel their connection and energy, as I do that of the person with whom I sit, who has come to me for help.

And for myself and my life, and my practice as homeopath, Dylan Thomas’ words resonate: ‘Do not go gentle into that good night – rage, rage against the dying of the light.’ My dying I will accept in peace, but while living, I will let his words ignite me with endless fire to continue on my quest – and support others in theirs.

NS: I tend to be passionate about the things I feel are right – sometimes too passionate. But the passion in my approach to homeopathic practice was always cooled by a vision of being as down-to-earth as an old-fashioned family GP.

I wanted to employ the potential of homeopathic remedies to help with everything from babies with eczema, to adults with midlife crises, and the elderly with chronic ailments for which allopathic approaches seemed to have very little to offer.

I recognised that my desire to be part of an alternative healing process was born out of my own experiences (and those of many others) with conventional medicine, and was also (for good or ill) part of an anti-establishment attitude.

I did not and do not see it as part of some deeply spiritual journey – either for me or for the patients. People get ill – we all get ill – and there are natural ways to rebalance people’s health and get them closer to being whole again. Homeopathy is one of those ways, along with a number of other long-established non-allopathic therapies from all over the world.

If, as practitioners, we employ the wisdom of nature – herbs and minerals and nutrition or massage and bodywork systems or energetic medicine – it doesn’t necessarily make us mystics or shamans.

Hahnemann always stressed that homeopathy was a science, and by practising it according to the basic laws that he discovered and laid down for us to follow and possibly develop, we are – or should be – behaving like scientists.

Yes, homeopathy is also an art – but it may not be helpful if we lose the balance between science and art and sway too much towards the “creative” approach to homeopathy.

We have knowledge of and access to hundreds of healing remedies and these can be employed for the good of those who are suffering. This is a wonderful and at times seemingly miraculous thing – but maybe it is good to keep ourselves rooted in practicalities rather than float off into clouds of self-discovery and spiritual significance.

I am retired from practice now. But recently I took my first case in many months for a friend suffering with a chronic ailment that nothing else could help. Within days of taking the remedy, their symptoms had gone and they remain well. My passion for homeopathy – and my amazement at its effectiveness – has been reignited.

RJR/NS: Homeopathy is a serious business – for both practitioner and patient. Whether the homeopath’s natural tendency is to be either spiritual or earthly, they need to combine passion with practicality, and art with science. As long as we strive to be ourselves – with openness and honesty – we can do our best for others.


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Talking About Guilt And Regret by Rowena J Ronson and Nigel Summerley

Talking About Guilt and Regret by Rowena J Ronson and Nigel Summerley

Inside Up by Rowena J Ronson

Photograph, Inside-Up by Rowena J Ronson

RJR: Other than for people who have committed terrible crimes, I am wondering about every day thoughts and feelings of guilt and regret and how these two very powerful dark forces shape our lives. I am curious to hear your initial reaction to this question…

NS: Did you see The Eichmann Show on TV recently? If so, it might be interesting to bring that into this discussion. That looked at guilt in relation to the most terrible crimes – but I think there is a connection between that guilt and the guilt/regret that may affect us all in our everyday lives. Either way, it seems to be bound up with dealing with, and accepting the reality of, the past – and not letting it poison the present (and future).

RJR: I haven’t seen it yet. But I will. But I am less interested in the obvious guilt that people who commit terrible crimes ‘should’ feel. I am more interested in how are lives are shaped by guilt and regret, and shame for that matter, and how you feel about that.

NS: I was just thinking of The Eichmann Show – or more correctly, the original footage from the Eichmann trial that was used in the film – because the focus was on Eichmann’s face as he was confronted with the evidence of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, for which he bore considerable responsibility, although his defence was largely that he was acting under orders, and according to his loyalty to the Nazi state. That face was almost constantly twisted in a lopsided grimace that seemed to me (but I could be wrong) a sign of painful suppression of acceptance of guilt for the awful suffering of thousands of men, women and children. When we suppress guilt or regret, then it so often manifests in some other way – physical, mental or emotional. On one or more levels we can become twisted or crippled. This seems to be a danger for all of us. Not on the level of Eichmann – although he was an “ordinary” human being, albeit tangled up in dreadful actions. Guilt and regret will cripple us, if we let it. So is the simple answer to accept our mistakes and wrongdoings, and see the stupidity of guilt and regret and let them go?

RJR: This is where I was coming from, yes. I would say acceptance is key to everything. Accepting our wrongdoings and those of others. Allowing the lessons we have learned to influence and create who we are, but not allow our guilt and regret to colour our landscape by tainting our present and future. Otherwise we live a life stuck in the past and we become disabled in our ability to fulfil our purpose in this lifetime…

NS: Many people would say that they can’t help feeling guilty or can’t help feeling regret. Why is that? And how do they get rid of these feelings? And do they really want to get rid of them? Acceptance may be difficult for them – for all sorts of reasons.

RJR: I would say because people can feel helpless to feel any different, or they can feel they deserve the guilt and regret they are feeling. And I guess for some, these feelings are not really in their awareness. Certainly I feel a lot of people think that once they think in a particular way, changing their thoughts and consequently how they feel, is beyond their control. What do you think?

NS: It’s odd – because it can feel beyond one’s control. But logically, actually, it all comes from within. That thing of deserving to feel guilty can be strong, as if imposed from outside, but again, it is self-imposed. Do parents, education, media and religion all play a part in setting down the framework for guilt and regret? Or is it purely a masochistic self-harm? It seems like it may not be a case of changing thoughts – but simply stopping thoughts that basically don’t make any sense.

RJR: Feeling guilt, shame and regret are certainly programmed into us as a result of our original conditioning. But they are also sustained by our ongoing self-conditioning. I counsel many people who have these kinds of thoughts and they can be very attached to them. I think they would argue that they do make sense, as they have become so proficient at viewing the world through that lens. CBT can be really helpful I find.

NS: Why are we programmed in this way? Is this a worldwide phenomenon or is it peculiar only to some cultures? And are we so deeply programmed that we can’t see that that is why we feel the way we do? How does CBT help? Is it really more effective than stopping and taking a deep look into oneself – seeing what has happened and accepting it and starting afresh?

RJR: Being a parent is not an easy task. It is not like we start with our own clean sheet. We have our individual conditioning, developed, perfected and passed on through our ancestry. We are complex human beings. And each and every interaction with our children, and all their interactions with their siblings – when we are exhausted, exasperated, when we are doing our best, when they are learning and pushing our boundaries – all of this goes into the picture of how they will then see the world and the stories they will tell themselves of who they are and how they fit in. Is it a worldwide phenomenon? I would say so. Are some cultures more susceptible than others? Yes. Are we deeply programmed, so much so that we cannot be objective? Yes. Are there many techniques to help us become more self aware? Absolutely. Is it an easy journey? No. Nigel, have you known many people who can just stop and perceive themselves objectively and then have the tools to see the world from a completely different perspective? CBT is a useful tool but there are others too. CBT helps us to question our beliefs about ourselves. But reading a good book or watching a thought provoking film can do the same, if we are open to self-reflection and change. And of course homeopathy is another tool for creating a shift in how we view the world and ourselves within it.

NS: Is there a danger that some of the tools for self-reflection and change – however well intentioned – may actually add to the “programming” and make it even more difficult for us to see straight (something which, as you say, is extremely difficult for just about all of us).

RJR: Can you say more about what you mean? Maybe give me an example?

NS: Say, one takes up some form of meditation or subscribes to some belief system or some therapy or method (all of which will have been devised by someone else), then might that only add to one’s inability to see clearly? The argument of “Have you known many people who can just stop and perceive themselves objectively?” (answer: no) does not necessarily mean that that is not a way to go.

RJR: I think the right method will help a person step out of their way of viewing themselves and encourage insights. When I use the process of journalling to work through an issue, I do so with the intention of challenging myself and finding more insights for a particular situation, for example. I think it is all about intention. If we have the paradigm that people do not change, we will create that as our reality. I am curious about your question and how you have phrased it. ‘`Stop’. Stop what? I think there needs to be a process someone goes through to perceive themselves differently. Can we ever see ourselves objectively? I don’t think so. Can we try and see things and ourselves from someone else’s point of view? In conversation, yes, if we are truly open to doing so. But it would be by no means easy….

NS: Stop going in the wrong direction? If we suddenly see we are going in the wrong direction, we stop – before going in the right direction. The question is whether insight comes in an instant or whether it is the result of some process. We have strayed away from guilt and regret… but perhaps not very much at all. Can we see – in an instant – that guilt and regret are destructive and pointless? Or do we need to go through a process to have that insight?

RJR: Yes, of course every moment we are capable of having a spontaneous insight, an epiphany, which can alter our perception. And in turn this can affect our thoughts and therefore our feelings of guilt and regret. I think patterns of feeling guilty can go back a long way though, and, as I said before, can be part of our conditioning. Guilt for one issue might shift in an instant with an insight, but an entire deep rooted pattern might take longer. But anything is possible 🙂

NS: That seems to be the essence of the problem. Some guilt/regret can be shifted in an instant. But we may not even be aware of how the deep guilt/regret is affecting us. If the instant insight works through seeing something completely clearly, can we somehow see the deeper problems just as clearly? As you say, anything seems possible… but are we frightened that if we do see things clearly, then we might be somebody different?

RJR: I am not sure Nigel.  I think people are generally acutely aware of how guilt can rule their lives. They can see that in an instant. But shifting a whole way of being in their world is not as easy as making a decision that you will. Much like regular doses of homeopathic remedies, there needs to be gentle, regular pushes to our unconscious to continue to remember to create change….

NS: Perhaps everyone has to tackle the problem of guilt and regret in their own way – with or without outside help. I think that one thing we can agree on is that neither guilt nor regret serve no useful purpose for us – and that we will live better lives (and behave better to those around us) if we are free of these negative and destructive feelings.

RJR: I couldn’t agree more. What do our readers think?

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Healing Profound by Rowena J Ronson

Healing Profound by Rowena J Ronson

Embryo by Rowena J Ronson Embryo by Rowena J Ronson

Yesterday I received a profound healing from a colleague of mine and as a result I am inspired to share the experience with you. Kate Codrington practises an energy therapy from Mexico called Rebozo. I had actually booked a session on impulse, not knowing what it involved but trusting the space Kate holds and knowing I would reap benefits, as I always do, in her multi-talented care. I could sense energetically when we began that it was an intuitive and safe space she was offering, as I lay on her massage couch open to the experience. I had actually prepared myself for the session by limiting my food intake before I went so my system could focus on healing rather than digesting. I had also journaled in the morning to clear my mind so that I was free from incomplete thought processes whirling around in my brain.

Kate encouraged me to enter a deep state of relaxation by rocking different parts of my body. She wrapped up my legs, arms and then my head, individually and consecutively and then either rolled or stretched me, according to where her intuition guided her. She sensed my legs needed grounding, so not unlike someone mastering an alien force, she vigorously took on the task energetically until calm ensued and my legs were at peace and several inches longer!

I have always been a fan of rocking, if the truth be known, and took up its practise as a small child. The rocking process is a way to self pacify, as it encourages the release of our morphine-like endorphins, which bring peace and calm. And of course we experience that gentle rocking sensation in the womb, in our mother’s arms, and if we are present in nature as the trees hold that space for us too, as they rock back and forth in the wind.

During this first part of the Rebozo process some thoughts did bounce around in my head but I practised Mindfulness and saw the thoughts for what they were – separate from me – and this allowed me to let them go on their merry way so that I could be completely present in all ways. I now felt fully stretched and very relaxed, in an unfamiliar yet familiar way and it felt really good.

Kate then wrapped my whole body up in a cocoon of knotted, firm pieces of cloth and I felt deliciously warm and altogether snug. She moved up towards my head and her presence there energetically encouraged me to focus on my third eye. Instantly I felt a shift. Shapes and colours replaced thoughts and stuck energy and I surrendered to an even greater level of relaxation in my secure, simulated womb. I flowed in this meditative state down my left side and then up through my right as if I was spontaneously and unconsciously performing a yoga nidra. Within Kate’s safe container, I was able to travel deeper and deeper inside myself, calming my parasympathetic nervous system. Consequently, my own ‘vital force’ stimulated its inevitable healing response.

When I ‘awoke’ I actually felt completely different from whence I began, as if the train leaving the station was somehow transformed by its journey, and could acknowledge it when it returned an hour later. It was more than a sense of calm. It was as if I had been dynamically realigned but at the same time, reborn. I guess this was as a consequence of my inner self’s recognition of its safe and unconditional holding in my mother’s womb. My energetic body remembered and somehow reset my clock, or so it seemed.

I asked Kate, after she finished working on me, what she picked up from the experience. She said that energetically it took quite a lot for her to ground me and as she neared my head she had considered closing my connection to source a little, as I was so open. But she realised that this was not the session’s intention or what I needed, so she let it be. She felt this at the same time as I experienced the healing channelled through my crown and third eye chakras.

She mentioned that this kind of healing is wonderful at reminding our system about our own physical and emotional boundaries. As I left I thought about this on a cellular level as I am taking Natrum muriaticum homeopathically. Nat Mur types constitutionally have issues with boundaries, which makes sense for a remedy made out of salt. Being held so tightly in those knotted cloths, really firmed up my boundaries and brought a calm I had not experienced in a long while. I also thought about vibrational healing and how Kate’s healing, similar to homeopathy, works on an energetic level and is super powerful.

The fact that Kate is following her purpose in life is supremely evident and extremely potent. I recognise this in Kate as I do in myself and it makes a tremendous difference, in my opinion, to the therapeutic relationship and how patients respond and heal in our care. I do not say this from a place of ego but from a deeper sense of acknowledgement and acceptance, and I am truly grateful to know Kate and to experience her work.

Insights and inspiration continued to flow for several hours after the session, and well into the night. I felt like I had been given a gift – a confirmation of my connection to source and earth and to the never-ending flow of life and time. For me it was a reminder of my energetic body, and ‘her’ ability to be healed with vibration and intent. There was something truly fundamental and archaical about the experience – in the knowing that we embody eternal wisdom and we are healing infinitum.

For more information about Kate’s work and specifically Rebozo, follow this link….

And for more information about my work, follow this link….

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Heart Connection by Rowena J Ronson

Heart Connection by Rowena J Ronson

Transcendence by Rowena J Ronson

This is an article that appeared in the ARH Journal, Homeopathy in Practice, in 2006 – I hope you find it interesting….. Photograph is called Transcendence by Rowena J Ronson

We know, as practitioners of homeopathy, that a certain distance is needed between us and our patients so that we practise professionally and appropriately. We abide by a code of ethics which protects both ourselves and our patients. If we find we over-identify with stories heard in clinic, we need to stand back and reflect, in order to own what is ours. And therefore we won’t project issues on to our patients that are not part of their case or central to it.

If we are holding on to suppressed anger in our shadow, for example, is it not so easy to see it in others, or imagine that we do? Professional and personal development is all part of our training and on-going CPD. This is an area that particularly interests me and I have written extensively about the subject.  Encouraging students to look within is my passion and, for me, the key to building a successful career in homeopathy. I always recommend having eyes wide open to growth and progress – our own, our patients’ and our practice.

It occurs to me that sometimes there is a certain synchronicity about the way people can appear in our space and time, almost as if it is for a specific reason: perhaps to help us move on; to help us learn. Our patients regularly feel this way about discovering homeopathy and sometimes even about their homeopath. And for us as practitioners, it might be that we glean something more about a remedy, a disease, case management and occasionally even ourselves.

This is why I would like to share with you a recent sequence of events which for me, illustrates how profound a connection we can have with others. If we ever think the healing relationship with our patients is a one-way street, then I hope this story can serve as a reminder that, ultimately, we are all entangled and it is a privilege we can share with our patients when they come into our lives. Sporadically someone will knock on our door and something very unlikely will happen. We won’t just receive golden nuggets about homeopathy or insights into ourselves but we will be given a gift from the universe; our own guidance and healing.

It might seem self indulgent of me to write my personal story here, but I feel I have learned so much these last few months that I wanted to share it with you. So by way of introduction, for several years now, I have been trying to mend my emotionally scarred heart and retentive bowel with a plethora of complementary and alternative medicines, time, self awareness and reflection. All have played their part and I have been grateful for the process. But part of me had still been holding on to old love disappointments revealing themselves in repetitive unfulfilled dreams, painful emotional releases in empathy with characters portrayed in films and physical manifestations of not letting go.

This year I was determined to get to the core of it and make the shift required to move on. I had been visiting my homeopath regularly and had made some progress but September 2005 allowed my healing to step up a gear due to my inexplicable connection with an acquaintance who had become my patient this time last year.

We had met at a mutual friend’s house years ago and I immediately sensed an affinity with him even though our worlds were far apart. It was like a heart connection but not of a romantic nature. Eight years later having not seen him again and after a two-year stint on his waiting list, he started teaching me piano; he is a gifted musician and teacher. Last November he called me as I was about to leave home for my lesson and said to me, “You know you have been telling me all about homeopathy. Well I now need your help. Today I was diagnosed with Leukaemia.”

After the shock, of course I wondered whether I should treat him and so I weighed up the ethical issues. True, I had a great fondness for him already but felt I could be objective and that if I put my piano lessons on hold we could change the dynamic between us and start a homeopath/patient relationship. He had also made it quite clear that if he wasn’t going to have homeopathy with me, he would not seek it elsewhere. I felt my previous knowledge of him would not cloud my judgement for remedy choices and that we were not so familiar with each other that case management issues, such as boundaries, would arise.

So I took his case but no one clear remedy state presented itself; instead there was a multi-layered, multi-miasmatic picture. I could identify three highly active miasms – sychotic, syphilitic and tubercular and remedies for each were all strongly indicated but it was impossible for me to decide which one needed treating first. I do actually treat a lot of patients with cancer and most of the time one remedy is evident at the start of treatment but this really wasn’t the case with him.

So he commenced his homeopathic treatment alongside his allopathic and I prescribed according to the cancer protocol created by Dr Ramakrishan and written about in his and Catherine Coulter’s book A Homeopathic Approach to Cancer. For cases of Leukemia he recommends, from his experience, that the principal remedies are Hekla lava, Symphytum, Ceanothus americanus and Strontia. I chose Ceanothus americanus over the others because of the splenetic enlargement in this remedy.

He prescribes the indicated remedy in a 200C potency plussed and alternated weekly with generally either Carcinosin 200C or Scirrhinum 200C, the cancer nosodes. This method involves one dose of the remedy to be taken over a period of a week at fifteen minute intervals for two and a half hours per day. So my first prescription for this patient was Ceanothus americanus 200C plussed and alternated with Carcinosin 200C weekly and I saw him for follow-ups every month to check his progress.

He progressed until the summer of 2005, as if he were not ill at all. From the very sick place in which he originally came to see me, his vitality grew stronger and stronger. He was extremely responsive to the remedies and on the rare occasions that I prescribed acutely – a dose of Arsenicum 30C for a tummy upset, a dose of Aconite 30C on the nights he couldn’t sleep due to his fear of dying and Propolis in tincture for coldsores – good results were always obtained.

In July his Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia expressed itself in a more acute form and his white blood cell count became out of control. He had not been responding so well to the chemotherapy and the new ‘wonder-drug’ Gleevac. Its role was to switch off his Philadelphia gene which created his susceptibility to the Leukaemia in the first place, but unfortunately it had been unsuccessful. I realised too that my remedies had probably been providing only palliative support. However the hospital commented that they had never seen anyone with that level of the disease looking so well and still carrying on with life as normal.

In September he was booked in for a bone marrow transplant, a desperate measure but the only allopathic option available for such a serious condition. In his last appointment with me two weeks before his admission to hospital he told me that he was disappointed. He had really wanted to work with a psychic healer he had recently heard about, who was running a course in October on spiritual awareness and personal development. Coincidentally I had also been looking to join a psychic circle in order to improve my skills of intuition so I decided to follow this lead and explore the course for myself.

I attended my first meeting of the psychic circle on a Friday afternoon and I left feeling completely exhausted. After an unsociable couple of days in which I cancelled all my arrangements, my children returned to me from their weekend stay with their father and I immediately felt overwhelmed. I wanted to be left alone; to shut away from the world in the peaceful stillness of my purple bedroom and not talk or listen to a soul.

By the Monday morning it was clear to me that an old wound had opened up during the psychic circle and had left me lost in a black hole. I felt I needed a repeat dose of Natrum muriaticum 1M that my homeopath had prescribed nine months earlier and, as I could not get hold of her, I took on the responsibility of self-prescribing, not something I normally do. I responded to the remedy with a restless, sleepless night and an unexplained fever which lasted four days. George Vithoulkas, one of master practitioners, would certainly say this is a good sign of a return to health. Other than my temperature, physically I was asymptomatic.

My children took care of themselves and me when they came back from school and I enjoyed being able to let go of all responsibility and just sleep. Time, and a dose of Sepia 30C prescribed by the Homeopathic Helpline, as my homeopath was still unavailable, and I started to recover. And much to my total amazement, so did my retentive bowel. Finally I achieved the letting go I was looking for and my heart breathed a sigh of relief. Whether this would have happened had I not attended the psychic circle, I will never know but I had tried everything up until that point; homeopathy, herbal medicine, nutrition, acupuncture, aromatherapy and colonics.

In the meantime, in hospital my patient started his two week preparation for his transplant – intensive chemo and radio therapies. When I was well again I visited him and saw he was in such agony that he actually wanted to die. The radiation had burned his entire GI tract and he felt as if he were on fire. He was vomiting every twenty minutes due to the chemo and couldn’t swallow the thick saliva he was producing because of his ulceration. I looked at this lovely young man lying in this hospital bed, his boyfriend by his side, and my heart went out to them both.

At that time the hospital did not allow me to prescribe and I didn’t want to either. The purpose of these strong drugs was to knock out his immunity; to kill off his white blood cells and to make him neutropenic in preparation for the new graft cells, and I wasn’t going to interfere with that process. I had spent the summer researching thoroughly how to treat this patient. Because of the book I am writing, Looking Back Moving Forward, I am regularly interviewing very experienced homeopaths and I asked all their opinions to gain insight. Unfortunately I didn’t get any definitive answers and in fact I felt more confused than ever and disappointed that we have little shared experience in this field to draw on.

So I kept in touch, observed but did not prescribe. Ten days later and a week after his transplant, while we were waiting for his white blood cell count to kick in but at the same time not reject the donor cells, I attended a course run by Jane Wood for homeopaths to learn supervision skills. Early in the day I received a call from my patient’s mother requesting aid for his radiation-induced ulceration; the hospital were now allowing homeopathic treatment again. I had known this was coming and a selection of remedies was waiting for him by his bedside.

The symptoms she described seemed to match his constitutional picture Phosphorus – burning, a great thirst and a desire for coke. He had started to take it in an LM1 potency, one dose daily, in the summer and had responded well. But I was really unsure what this remedy would do and whether, if it were too deep, we were in any danger of boosting his immunity in such a way as to instigate a rejection of the new graft cells. My research had indicated that prescribing constitutionally when a patient is very sick can sometimes aggravate their condition. I was also told there is a 70% chance anyway of fatal graft-versus-host disease within the first ninety days post-transplant and we were only a week in.

I opted for advice I had been given in supervision – a group to which I regularly took this case – and prescribed Borax 30C and Hypericum 30C both alternated every hour. I was hoping that they would work superficially to aid relief of the pain and ulceration but not interfere with the overall process. We were in touch throughout the day and his mother reported back that the Borax made him feel more nauseas and the Hypericum didn’t seem to help so they stopped both by the evening.

I used the day in supervision to process and reflect on the issues that were coming up for me around this case. And there were many as I found myself in a very charged place having also taken on some of the mother’s projected fear for her son. In the afternoon Jane asked for a volunteer to demonstrate a particular technique that she wanted to teach the group so I put myself in the hot seat. The other homeopaths sat in a semi-circle behind me and had to comment, when prompted, what feelings they were experiencing during my piece of supervision. I was to take their feedback and work with them as part of the process.

So I went straight into my patient’s case and Jane guided me deeper into issues of why I chose to work with him and why I choose to work a lot with cancer patients generally. Input from the other homeopaths indicated that the energy had suddenly turned very heavy and morbid, not a feeling I experience working with these patients, but interesting to note nevertheless. I realised that maybe I had got so used to grief that I had become immune to it.

I reflected on my own grief issues and the part of me that hadn’t really wanted to let them go and suddenly I felt that I had achieved one of those gestalt moments when things fall into place and insight is gained. I sat back down next to a fellow homeopath and dear friend, and whispered to her, “I think I need Aurum for my aching heart and addiction to grief.” But I wasn’t going to self-prescribe.

A week later I was booked in to see my homeopath again. The possible virus that I had had a few weeks earlier, I had gifted to my son who had then given it right on back to me in the form of a niggling cough and a weakened voice. Despite this, my homeopath noted, just by looking at me, that a major shift had occurred. Drawing on her background of Chinese Medicine she used tongue diagnosis and acupressure to assess the state of play of my bodily systems and organs.

I recalled for her my visit to the psychic circle, my downward spiral, the Natrum Muriaticum and the fever that ensued. But for her the cough was incongruent to everything else that was going on. She asked if I would be receptive to her using her new skills in reading Tarot to gain some insight. I was not totally open-minded to this as I prefer to keep my psychic/spiritual and homeopathy support separate but I agreed, intrigued to take part in what my trusted colleague had been learning recently.

She placed a card centrally on the table with the intention of ascertaining what was going on for me right now. Having observed the shift she half expected the cards to reflect some deep and as yet unresolved issues from perhaps childhood or early relationships. The central card was meant to represent a guide and she asked me who this young man might be; he was younger and had a slightly feminine energy. I wasn’t sure. She then placed another card on the first and said that he was unwell and that the card indicated that he needed the remedy Arsenicum in low potency, perhaps a 12C.

It all started clicking into place. A possible option for a remedy for this patient was being given to me during my own consultation. I had not been allowed to visit him while he was so ill so perhaps he was communicating what he needed from me through this spiritual opportunity, rather than the conventional observing of symptoms.

Unprofessional, it may seem and if I were reading this I would have almost certainly thought so had I not experienced it myself. I was visiting my homeopath for my own treatment; my patients have never come up before and I have always been very clear that issues around my patients should be taken to supervision, which I have regularly.

However, the Arsenicum made perfect sense as it is an acute remedy related to Phosphorus and had the burning symptoms that he was experiencing. As an acute and in low potency I suspected that it would work more superficially and not interfere with his deeper level process but of course we can never be sure and I was aware of that. I hasten to add, if the remedy had not fitted his picture, I wouldn’t have prescribed it. Had my homeopath not mentioned Arsenicum specifically perhaps I wouldn’t have even recognised him as the so called ‘guide’ for the cards.

Incidentally, the rest of the Tarot deck didn’t actually show deep issues from my past but light, happy times ahead; a letting go of grief addiction, a healing of my heart and a clearing of the waters within. And then my homeopath turned to me and said ‘Now you can have Aurum (1M); I have wanted to give it to you all year but you just haven’t been ready.’ Amazing, I thought, as this was the remedy I felt I needed in supervision the week before! And by way of some heavenly miracle my cough disappeared when I left her clinic and my voice returned on my way home.

I sent Arsenicum 12C to my patient that night and even though he didn’t receive it the following day, he did start to pick up from the very poorly, almost deathly place he had been in. When he did take it he didn’t notice an immediate improvement on the burning so only took a dose or two but within a couple of weeks he was out of hospital, three weeks ahead of the proposed schedule if he were to make it at all.

I saw him soon after his release and prescribed for him Phosphorus LM2 constitutionally which makes him feel better in himself. He also takes Nux Vomica 30C after every meal, which has fended off the nausea and vomiting symptoms he was experiencing, and a Bach flower remedy combination for symptoms from radiation. We speak regularly and he certainly feels the homeopathic remedies are helping him alongside the heavy allopathic drug-load that he has to take for the time-being.

These last few weeks have been an emotional roller-coaster of a ride. And a question that came up in supervision that I needed to ask myself I will answer here. Was it appropriate that I take his case in the first place? As I said before, normally I do not take friends’ cases. I have tried in the past and even though I could be objective, case management issues, including boundaries, did arise. For example, patients wanting to give feedback to me on how they were doing when we were both in the middle of a business meeting! So I had decided well before this incident that I would refer my friends and their children to colleagues and I have done so ever since.

But it felt right to take on this young man’s case. My previous experience with professional conduct issues made me feel confident that our connection so far was still comparatively superficial and would not interfere but would actually enhance our homeopathic relationship. I knew he would feel safe with me and I knew I could be objective and provide what he needed. I discovered the connection I always felt with him was all part of his case – Phosphoric personalities tend to attract and shine the light, don’t they?

And the times that I have struggled with his treatment, but not through lack of trying, the answers have been there for us both. They were sometimes unorthodox, to say the least. As I said before, taking a suggestion for a possible remedy for a patient during my own homeopathy consultation is something I would have never considered doing and it is unlikely the circumstance will ever arise again but who knows? I plan on staying clear with my boundaries and those of my patients and will always try and be aware of my projections and issues. But ours is a curious profession and we need to stay receptive to the wonders of it all otherwise we can miss the point.

And I know we absolutely were meant to meet for a reason. I know that we were destined to go on this journey together and that it has been a two-way process. On some level I must have recognised it when my heart first connected with his all those years ago. How lucky we are to work in a profession that is congruent to universal consciousness and connection, in which, if we allow it and stay open, we can learn so much, help so many others and develop and heal ourselves at the same time.

And yes it may all seem strange and wacky to some degree but at the same time the most real and profound experience I have ever had.

December 2005

Rivendell, Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire


Ramakrishnan, Dr, A U and Coulter, Catherine R (2001) A Homeopathic Approach to Cancer. Quality Medical Publishing Inc, St Louis, Missouri, USA

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10 reasons to bring your fertility, pregnancy, birth, babies and children to see Holistic Physician Rowena J Ronson

10 reasons to bring your fertility, pregnancy, birth, babies and children to see Holistic Physician Rowena J Ronson:

The Young Ones

For fertility:

If you are finding that it is taking you longer to conceive than you would like, homeopathy, good nutrition and looking at one’s lifestyle can be useful to help remove the blockages that might be holding you back from falling pregnant. Holistic treatment is also useful for your partner to assist his fertility, and is also beneficial when there is a history of miscarriage.

For pregnancy and childbirth:
If you are looking to be in optimum health while pregnant; or are suffering from symptoms of pregnancy – nausea, vomiting, mood swings; or you are not wanting to take conventional medication if you are unwell, then having holistic treatment will benefit you (and your baby) and it is safe, natural and effective. Homeopathic remedies are also known to help babies move from breach, and assist with bringing on labour when your progress might be affected by anxiety or other emotions you are experiencing pre-birth. Some women also use homeopathy throughout their birthing process and others even have their homeopath present at the birth 🙂

For mother and baby in those very important first years post birth:
Homeopathic treatment is nourishing in all ways for a mother post-birth. Homeopathy is also a safe system of medicine to help with any health issues that might arise for your baby, straight after birth and the first few weeks and months. Rashes, colic, fevers – babies respond well to homeopathic remedies. I work with mothers closely in those first few years, to support them with their own health and their new addition to their family.

For a safe and natural way to build your child’s immunity:
Homeopathy is a very effective system of medicine to build your child’s immunity and treat acute infections. Each member of your family has their own unique picture of who they are in this world, how they feel, what they think, and how they express themselves when they are unwell. When we have homeopathic constitutional treatment, our immunity grows and is supported and we are prone to less infections. And acute infections can also be treated with acute homeopathic prescribing.

For a holistic way of treating molluscum and other viruses, rather than just waiting them out:
Homeopathy is very affective for treating molluscum and many young children have been recommended to me for treatment as it is effective, natural and there is no alternative given by GPs unfortunately, other than to wait it out.

For behavioural issues and difficult family dynamics:
It is not easy to be a member of a family!! I work with the difficulties that arise from the everyday to the more complex family dynamics with individuals and with the family as a whole.

For when you have exhausted antibiotics and are looking for other options:
Parents and doctors alike are generally not happy in giving children one course after another of antibiotics. Homeopathy offers an alternative to treat both the infections and also build immunity so that infections do not keep occurring.

For ear infections, sore throats, tummy upsets, headaches, eczema:
For all childhood infections, homeopathy offers a safe, natural and holistic alternative.

For Hayfever: With good homeopathic constitutional support over a period of months, ideally begun in the autumn or winter, your children should be less susceptible to hayfever. The allergy can also be treated more acutely during the season.

For hormonal issues for your teenager: periods (pain, frequency, heaviness, PMS), acne, mood swings:
I treat teenagers with all the typical issues that come from being a young person, including their hormones!! Many come for counselling and guidance through these challenging years as well.

For teenagers and young adults with issues with drugs and alcohol: if you suspect or even know your teenager is having issues with drugs and/or alcohol, I provide a confidential, non-judgemental and understanding approach combining counselling, family therapy and natural remedies, including for detox and withdrawal where appropriate.

For more information or to book a first consultation, please contact Rowena direct on 07795 366386 or by email at She sees patients in St Albans and at Chase Lodge Hospital in Mill Hill.

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When is Breast Cancer An Acceptable Side Effect?

When is Breast Cancer An Acceptable Side Effect? 

By Rowena J RonsonImage

I was part of a very frustrating conversation today. A friend of a friend of mine was talking about how she has been put on HRT by her gynaecologist as she was feeling depressed and had ‘gone off her husband’. Her gynaecologist had said that the benefits outweigh the risks, the one risk being breast cancer. She felt that if you are going to get cancer, then you are, and there is nothing you can do about it. I told her that I disagree and that lifestyle and choosing to take medications that are known to be carcinogenic, as the good doctor said, create avoidable risks that can make all the difference.

She asked me if I thought smoking was a risk factor for cancer too. I was taken back by her question, which was clearly her provocative intention. I replied that yes of course, smoking is a risk factor. She said that she disagreed as her grandmother died at 94 and was a smoker. She then asked if I thought eggs were a risk factor too, confusing heart disease with cancer. She was grappling for justification for her decision and I couldn’t, with the knowledge I have, just support her in her delusion. There is cancer in her family and her trusted gynaecologist had given her a biased argument for her to take HRT knowing the risk.

Somewhere along the line her education on the subject has been misguided or perhaps she has chosen exactly what she wanted to hear for the vanity that HRT promises. I decided to step out of the conversation, as I knew she was not open at all to another opinion, despite the fact that I was actually carrying in my arms a big Open University textbook, Understanding Cancers, which I happened to have with me.

Perhaps gynaecologists just know from experience that there are a proportion of women that are prepared to take HRT, despite the risks, and they are providing a service for them – fulfilling a market need – just like I am when I offer a safe and natural alternative. After all, patients have a choice even if there isn’t a one-stop informed specialist that women can go to where they will be offered all options, including referral to a homeopath like me, rather than being prescribed one drug and told despite the risks, it is worth taking.

A patient of mine who died last year from secondary breast cancer also trusted her doctors. She was given three rounds of IVF having been told it was completely safe with her history of breast cancer. While she was pregnant. the cancer spread to her liver, bones and lungs. Miraculously she survived until her son was four years old.

How do you balance benefits and risks of medications and make important decisions about your health? Whose opinion do you trust? Let’s discuss this topic and see where it takes us….

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Insects – And Gender Balance

Published in the Society of Homeopaths Journal, Spring 2004
Double Take by Rowena J Ronson and Nigel Summerley

In the world of insects it is common for the female to be dominant. Bees, wasps and ants have societies and hierarchies that function on the basis of females being on top and males being subordinate. Why is it the opposite way round in homeopathy? And what can we learn from it?

In this age of supposed equality, there are still some jobs largely done by males (presidents and plumbers) and some largely done by females (supermodels and secretaries). The job of homeopath tends to fit the latter category. Sit in any homeopathic conference, seminar or classroom and the majority of those present are almost certain to be women.

Most of us struggle to make a living, so we have to have a second job – or a partner who will support us. Women who will support men financially are a rarity. We live in a culture where it is still – despite the rise of feminism – acceptable for women to rely on the support of men.

Many homeopaths are wives and mothers – and part-time practitioners; for some, homeopathy is a cottage industry rather than a full-time profession. For some first-year students, many of whom drop out, homeopathy can be not so much an alternative to allopathy as an alternative to doing a pottery class.

This ‘part-timer’ approach may be one of the reasons why the medical orthodoxy looks down from its frantically busy NHS ant-hills and sees us as ‘amateurish’.

Women, of course, are also drawn to homeopathy not as a hobby or a bit of self-improvement, but because they readily resonate with its fundamental principles. The homeopathic approach to health and disease is deep and caring – more ‘female’ than ‘male’ – even though it was set in motion by a cantankerous and arrogant old man.

So why do most homeopathic ‘gurus’ tend to be men? Is it because women aren’t bright enough? Surely not. Is it because they don’t have the male hang-ups with ego and power and money? Possibly. Or is it because at the end of the day – literally – they are often the ones having to think about cooking supper and getting the kids to bed?

Many women become homeopaths because they have a personal experience of homeopathy, either through resolving their own health problems or those of their children.

I had my own healing revelation with homeopathy when it literally saved my life and eventually this led me to go on and study it. I also saw it as an extension of what I was already doing in the fields of psychotherapy and teaching interpersonal skills.

As with my existing work, I felt I could fit in the role of a practitioner with being a parent of young children, since it would be possible to organise my working life within school hours. But after qualifying, I found that a successful homeopathic practice is not just about seeing patients; it also demands a greater degree than I realised of marketing, motivation, raising awareness and contending with an establishment and media that are so often negative. With all that to do, it’s no wonder that ‘mother’ homeopaths struggling to establish and sustain a successful practice can only see patients during limited hours.

Homeopathy has a reputation for not being a lucrative occupation – is that a major reason why it is not so attractive to men? The profession’s big names tend to be men. Is this because they have more freedom to devote their working lives to homeopathy if, in the main, they are not the ones at home looking after the family? Whether we like it or not, is there a divide between the roles of men and women even now in the 21st century? And do women still want that?

In a profession dominated by women, the men stand out from the crowd and even the most average male homeopath seems to get more than their fair share of attention. Female students flutter around male teachers like bees to honey – an example sometimes, one might think, of the symbiotic relationship between a Pulsatilla female and a Lycopodium man. I was told recently how one male lecturer was welcomed to teach at a college as he would provide ‘something for the women to look at’.

Is this a case of positive discrimination and is that a good thing? And do we need sex involved to make our studies more exciting?

As a mother, I am less free to go and study internationally with the likes of Vithoulkas, Mangialavori and Sankaran or even closer to home with Jeremy Sherr. Of course, women without family responsibilities frequent these extended postgraduate courses, as do those fathers with partners who are full-time family carers.

Our discussions have led us to the following conclusions:

* Our profession is out of balance in terms of gender: we have a swarm of women and a dearth of men. There is no immediate prospect of this changing, but surely we could see more of a focus on the many talented and experienced women practitioner/teachers rather than on the predominant male ‘gurus’.

* Women are generally not attracted to homeopathy as some sort of hobby but are drawn to it because they have a genuine belief in its healing powers and from a desire to help others. Some, especially the mothers among us, practise it within the often tight constraints of busy and demanding lives.

* We accept that there is a big dropout rate of female students, but even those women who finish their studies after the first year, return home equipped to be able to prescribe for friends and family needing first-aid or acute treatment.

* It needs to be made clearer to men and women that studying homeopathy – whether during initial training or on postgraduate courses – is relatively expensive in comparison with our current earning power as homeopaths.