Sunday, January 30, 2011

Is Your Personality Making You Sick?

How many times have we complimented someone on how “well” they’re looking? You know, that “prosperous’, full-in-the-face, filled-out appearance that usually suggests good food, the comforts of life and pots of money.

Now I have nothing against living the good life but what I am trying to say, to use a cliché, is that looks can indeed be deceptive. To the lay reader, this may sound farfetched but acquiring that “prosperous look” may not be reason to bring out the champagne.

King of all he surveys?
It could be indicative of an individual burdened with the stress of “making it big” or an individual whose body has accumulated so much stress over time that it has had to add ballast or “harden” itself lest the scales tip into a dangerous state of cellular chaos and disease.

Our “prosperous” friend’s rounded and filled-out appearance betrays the face of what classical homeopathy calls the Sycotic Miasm. (Click here to read about the 3 Miasms and understand what each one means).

To recap, for first-time readers, Miasm is a state of defence whose purpose is to protect the individual against threat, both perceived and real. It is an energetic and biochemical stance or reaction adopted by mind and body whose sole and ultimate aim is self-preservation, no matter how twisted, self-defeating or debilitating it might be.

All life on earth including ourselves is powered by an innate intelligence that governs all growth and development. It’s what keeps us alive and kicking. It is this innate intelligence – or vital force – that prompts the body to sacrifice a part to save the integrity of the whole. This is the reason why we fall sick.

Psora: Mother of all Disease
Having said that, let’s talk about defences. Now, defences are not a bad thing in and of themselves. Think of defence or Miasm as a default setting of the human race, something we possess by virtue of being alive and human.

The human infant is much too vulnerable at birth. Merely adjusting to life, with or without traumatic experiences, calls upon the infant and adult alike to adopt various types of defensive reactions to the onus of living, as it were. The defences one uses necessarily belong to one’s Miasmatic repertoire and are determined by it.

Again, to recap a little, each of us belongs to one of 3 Miasms and the one that typifies you is determined by your genetic make-up, constitution and temperament. This is your basic nature, which forms the matrix that assimilates all your life experiences. It is the tendency of your body and therefore your mind and your personality to react to everyday living in a specific way as determined by your genes.

Thus, your defence system, and the diseases you develop are also determined by your Miasm.

Miasms & Disease
Sycosis: Fighting Fit
So, what is the connection between Miasms and Disease? Disease manifests itself when your vital force or life force is overwhelmed, burdened beyond its capacity and unable to absorb stress or fend off infectious agents.

All disease – and this may be of special interest to those who suffer from chronic complaints – are defences the body uses to contain, accommodate and localise a life force under continued assault. This assault could arise from a variety of sources, more often than not, mental, psychological and emotional factors like deep-seated feelings of insecurity, inferiority, guilt, fear of rejection, loss and abandonment.

It is important to note that the diseases we get are chosen by our Miasmatic state (not by pathogens and other infectious agents!). And when they surface, it indicates just one thing – that the body’s defences cannot cope and defend against stress or pathogens any more. The body then throws up a symptom or sign to signal that something is amiss.

Syphilis: The Destroyer
Since I wrote my last two posts, I have been receiving a stream of emails with questions about Miasms, how and why we “switch gears” from one Miasm to another and whether one Miasm is “better or worse” than the others.

‘Choosing’ To Self-Destruct
Before I answer these questions, I’d like to introduce the case of Richa Gosar, one of my patients who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and whose cure was as dramatic as it was quick. This, again, raises another question: Why do some people recover more quickly than others?

Richa’s arthritis was so severe it had deformed her wrists and hands and had affected her knees as well. The pain was so debilitating, it had completely confined her to bed for about a month before I consulted with her.

She said the pain sometimes drove her so crazy that she would throw things about the house and deliberately hurt her husband because she “blamed him for her predicament”. There is another angle to Richa’s situation – she had been treated by another homeopath for a decade before I met her but since she had only grown worse (watch the video), she threatened to “call the cops on him”!

Rather than take that as a warning, I found Richa’s story heart-rending. Not only did her rheumatoid arthritis indicate that she was in the Syphillitic Miasm but her behaviour too clearly reflected this. The Syphillitic Miasm, which is characterised by a tendency towards violence, destruction and being out of control, was mirrored in Richa's violent outbursts and her need to cause pain. It was clearly mirrored in the disease she chose – an autoimmune disease, where the body attacks itself.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Homeopathy Cures In Months

I thought it would be simpler to negotiate the complex labyrinth of Miasms through a Q&A. So here goes. The general reader will thus be able to understand, not only how homeopathy works, but a Q&A will also provide a framework for individuals to corroborate their own experiences.

Why We Get Sick
What determines your Miasm?
There are essentially 3 Miasms – Psora, Sycotic and Syphillitic as explained briefly in my last post. Briefly, Psora is typified by extreme cellular and emotional sensitivity and diseases characterised by inflammation and pain. This is primarily how the cells, tissues, organs, body and mind react to stress (I use ‘stress’ as a generic term to denote physical, mental and emotional factors that burden or injure the mind and body).

The second Miasm, Sycosis, denotes a tendency towards accumulation and excess. Hence, under stress, the body produces fluids and tissues in excess of what is normal, to harden and protect the body from assault and injury. Sycotic defences and personality traits thus reflect ‘accumulation’ and ‘excess’.

The third Miasm, or the Syphillitic Miasm, is characterised by a destructive tendency – either inward or outward directed. This Miasm may also be characterised by extreme dullness, listlessness and a loss of interest in life. Diseases of the Syphilitic Miasm are clinical depression, uncontrollable anger, autoimmune diseases and the like etc.

The Miasm you belong to depends on your genetic endowment, biochemistry and inherited predispositions. Let us not forget another significant influencer of our personalities – the foetal environment and the forces that impinge on the mother during pregnancy and the birth process.

Yes, the mother’s moods, emotions, stresses, energy and intake of harmful substances all shape the developing foetus much more than we would like to imagine and they all shape the Miasm the infant is born into the world with. After all, what we elevate as ‘higher functions’ (of the pregnant mother) – thoughts, feelings, moods, etc – are nothing but complex chemical reactions within the body and these are easily passed on to the growing foetus.

All these inhertnt and inherited factors are collectively called your ‘constitution’. Thus, a homeopath prescribes a ‘constitutional remedy’.

Can one possess a combination of Miasmatic elements?
Every individual has a dominant Miasm. Although some individuals experience and exhibit a specific Miasm in its classic entirety, many of us are a combination of Miasmatic elements, despite our dominant Miasm.

Do all of us progress from Psora to the other two Miasms?
Not necessarily. One may be born into any one of the 3 Miasms. Let us take the example of a child born with the Syphillitic Miasm. An infant born with a pathological illness or disorder such as hydrocephaly, HIV or autism is typical of the third Miasm. This is evident in the physical destruction that is already present in the infant.

Does one remain in a single Miasm throughout life?
It all depends. One may remain in the same Miasm throughout one’s life or may switch Miasms. Switching gears or Miasms is very common. What is crucial is the direction of change. Psora to Sycosis to Syphilis is not healthy but the reverse is a good sign as the individual reverses from a state of mental and physical destructiveness through the ‘hardening’ stage and then into the Psoric or sensitive stage.

One’s state of health is always reflected in one’s appearance. In the following video, notice how my patients ‘look different’ on the road to recovery.

What's Your Miasm?

Why do we ‘switch’ Miasms?
This brings us to the all-important question of ‘switching’ or changing Miasmatic states. The short answer is: Of course, most of us change Miasms as we go through life, depending on life circumstances.

For instance, a cyst or benign tumour develop in individuals who are in the Sycotic Miasm. The development of the growth itself indicates a heightened disease process. But should the tumour turn destructive and cancerous, it indicates that the individual has ‘switched gears’ from the Sycotic Miasm to the Syphillitic Miasm.

Under sustained stress, a Psoric individual may develop simple arthritis with no structural damage to their joints. But when the immune system and the body are exhausted, the individual could turn Sycotic, exhibiting the development of osteophytes. If they were to switch to the Syphillitic Miasm, they would progress to osteoporosis.

This, of course, is a simplified explanation meant to illustrate a point. Many individuals develop different types of diseases through the course of their lives – but always according to the law of Miasms.

So what exactly makes us switch gears? Life is a complex and colourful thing full of hope, anticipation, pain, disappointments, excitement and happiness and a whole lot more. As we experience this marvellous miracle, most of us encounter experiences whose impact is sudden and powerful. It is these life experiences that often cause us to switch to a more healthy state or one ridden with disease.

Sometimes all it takes is the death of a loved one, a financial crisis or the break-up of a cherished relationship to push us into the Syphilitic Miasm. This doesn’t mean that everyone who experiences these crises switch gears. Like I said, the mind and body are a complex interplay of numerous factors and although there are definite rules, they always interface with the nuances of the individual’s constitutional make-up.

Also, it does not necessarily require a dramatic or sudden event to turn our Miasmatic gears. Often, disease results from the accumulation of stress over time. For instance, being in an abusive relationship, or a state of severe but sustained anxiety can also throw the switch. The process is subtle and is apparent only when signs and symptoms of disease show up.

And why focus only on the negative? On the flipside, positive life experiences that cleanse the self can play a crucial part in healing. Choosing homeopathy is just one such experience. Meditation, which calms the mind and body; an epiphany or a sudden awakening of the kind experienced by Eckhart Tolle as outlined in his book Power of Now; a sudden unburdening of guilt; and a change in life circumstances can all spontaneously reverse destructive processes in our minds and bodies without us making a conscious or deliberate attempt to do so. Have you ever wondered why some people ‘spontaneously recover’ from cancer and others are cured of addictions? Well, now you have the answer. This is self-healing at its best!

How fast do we switch gears?
How often have you heard of someone who has “died of grief” or perished soon after a debilitating health diagnosis? Alternatively, there are others who live long after these events take place.

The answer lies, not in any dark or sorrowful emotion but in one’s constitutional make-up. Sometimes, it takes years, even decades, for disease to develop. These individuals have a ‘slow constitution’, one which is slow to react to change of any kind. On the flipside, their road to good health is longer than those who have a 'fast constitution'.

‘Dying of grief’ or the shock of a grave diagnosis merely reflects a mind and body that has switched to Syphillitic mode very quickly because in homeopathic terms, death is the ultimate ‘destruction of life’.

Bear in mind that your constitutional make-up is decided by your genes and foetal environment and it is the basic matrix of your existence, a filter through which all experience passes and are assimilated.

How does a homeopath determine your Miasm?
There are many tools a homeopath uses to determine Miasms. The first and most obvious one is your appearance. Whenever a patient walks through my clinic door, I almost instinctively observe their facial features and body language.

In fact, Homeopathic Facial Analysis has been used as a very effective medium to assess Miasmatic states, and researchers at the Victorian College of Classical Homeopathy in Australia are conducting fascinating research into this area.

There are other ways to determine your Miasm, and often a combination of tools provides a complete and holistic picture. Arriving at the ‘right constitutional remedy’ is a nuanced process and it requires a considerable amount of information.

The Case Taking provides a wealth of information about your mental make-up, sensitivities, life circumstances, motives, attitudes and sensibilities. So, even if your Miasm is apparent from your appearance and body language, a full consultation compliments it by providing the whys and wherefores.

Thus, it is not without reason that classical homeopaths have been called ‘detectives’, divining clues to an individual’s mental and physical make-up. We have also been accused of ‘asking too many questions’ during consultation. “You have to tell them everything,” is an oft-used phrase used to describe the initial interview.
Personality & Miasms

Allow me to clarify that a homeopath does not engage in counselling and although the list of questions in the initial consultation is indeed long, the reason is precisely to procure clues to your Miasmatic state.

It’s incredible how much we give away without realising it, how much we say through our expressions and how much we slip between the lines. A skilled homeopath assimilates all the information, sews it together and then draws up a picture of your Miasmatic state.

So even if the initial consultation lasts around 60 minutes, that’s just 60 minutes to being handed a ticket to the superhighway of god health!

This is the second and concluding part of our previous discussion on Miasms.

Re-awaken the healer in you...
- Dr Anita Salunkhe, MD

MindHeal Homeopathy is an ISO-certified clinic based in Chembur, Mumbai. To find out more about The MindHeal Way, call: 022-25230530 / +91-9930363981. Or write to Website: We’ll be happy to answer all your queries.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

When We Play The Survival Card

“Where are my shoes,” Jayesh asked the paramedics as they carried him away from a ravine into which he had tumbled. The 22-year-old lay on a stretcher, bleeding and broken after plunging more than 200 feet from a hill-top But despite multiple facial and bodily fractures, these were the youngster’s first words after he regained consciousness.

There were no tears, there was no pain. Jayesh’s first thoughts were of his shoes, which he had bought only recently. Out of context, Jayesh would seem like a callous young man, ungrateful for the gift of life and concerned only with its trappings.

But let’s not be quick to judge. Jayesh Gaykar's is a typical case of a teenager forced to grow up overnight and shoulder the financial burden of a family of six while still in his teens. His parents were not earning and his elder brother had suddenly lost his job. Thus, by doing odd jobs, 16-year-old Jayesh managed to scrape together just enough to put himself through college while also putting food on the table.

Life deals us some pretty heavy blows. But for Jayesh, destiny had robbed him of life itself, and the only way he could carry his cross was to anesthetise himself – mentally, emotionally and physically. The young man seated across the table from me was 24 now and he showed me pictures of himself when ‘life was still beautiful’. He was a sensitive and vulnerable teenager then and the future beckoned, albeit with a few difficulties strewn his way.

When circumstances changed abruptly, Jayesh was forced to ‘switch gears’. (See discussion below for interpretation of the 3 Miasms in homeopathy – Psora, Sycosis, Syphillis). He braced himself by adopting a defensive posture towards life, the only way he could discharge his responsibilities. Jayesh built a wall that didn’t allow any feelings in. He had insulated himself so completely, which is why he felt no physical pain even after tumbling 200 feet into a ravine. He had hardened himself to life's blows so completely that he began to look old and haggard.

Somewhere down the line, Jayesh’s vital force – the dynamic, positive energy within each one of us that keeps us alive & kicking, growing & actualising, healthy & happy – began to get further twisted and contorted. That’s when this once happy teenager switched gears once again and slid into a physically and mentally destructive phase.

Now well and truly anesthetised and almost completely devoid of all emotion, Jayesh’s robotic existence was fast – and silently – taking a toll on him. He was sick but he didn’t even know it.

Eight years after his descent into destructive mode began, the young man I met had come to help regain sensation on the right side of his face as the multiple fractures he had sustained during the accident had affected his facial nerves two years ago.

Even if I had not known his case history, it was evident from Jayesh’s pictures that he had switched from the Psoric to Sycotic to Syphillic Miasm quite quickly and dramatically. His facial injuries, which he sustained later, had only further impacted his already Syphillitic appearance. Watch this video of Jayesh Gaykar ‘becoming human again’.

The 3 Faces of Miasms 

For subtitles, view in full-screen mode or in YouTube

Origin Of Misams
So how is Jayesh Gaykar’s case linked to the 3 Miasms of homeopathy? For my readers who are not homeopaths, we had discussed the Miasms of classical homeopathy in an earlier post. But just to recap… Miasm is essentially a pattern of reaction adopted by the mind and body to defend against, and even accommodate, the disease process. And although each one of us reacts in a highly individualised way, all human beings fall into one of these 3 basic Miasmatic states.

But before I discuss the classic personality types and traits associated with each Miasm, let’s look at the origin of these classic states of being. What if I said that the root of your mind, body, personality, thoughts and feelings lies in the nucleus of every cell in your body and its genetic code? Am I saying that we inherit what we are and that we are controlled by our genes? That the nature vs nurture conundrum is a foregone conclusion?

Let’s start, quite literally, at the very beginning. All life on earth evolved from single-celled organisms, growing in complexity and diversity to make the earth the wonderful planet it is. The living cell is programmed by its DNA and RNA to perform 3 basic functions: to nourish itself and grow; to reproduce and propagate; and to protect itself via the immune system.

At the cellular level, the world is an inherently hostile place and the cell needs to adjust and adapt to hostile agents, defend against them and sometimes even sacrifice its own functions or parts of itself to preserve itself. On an evolutionary level, this is the very purpose of life – self-preservation. And driven by its vital force, the cell will go to any lengths to achieve this goal.

Since the cell performs only 3 basic functions, there are only three ways it can defend against hostile forces or agents. When the first function is under threat, the cell increases its sensitivity and becomes literally hypersensitive so that it can better acquire the oxygen and nourishment it requires (Psora or the ‘Sensitive Miasm’).

When the threat or attack is prolonged or severe, this physiological or biochemical adaptation may fail and the cell is compelled to switch gears to use a stronger defence. It uses its second function to produce excesses or deficiencies to change itself structurally or morphologically. For instance, the cell wall hardens or shrinks in surface area to minimise the impact of the attack or it produces profusions and excesses to buttress itself (Sycosis or ‘Think-Skinned Miasm’). Finally, if its immune system also fails to fend off disease or harmful agents, the cell sacrifices a part of itself (the diseased portion) to save the whole (Syphillis or ‘Destructive Miasm’).

The 3 Miasms
This may sound rather primitive but then, despite our infinite complexity, our biology and genes boil down to a handful of simple rules. Thus, the way the human individual reacts to disease is nothing but an extension of the way the living cell reacts to harm or injury. As the human species evolved, we developed a mental make-up or ‘personality’. Each one’s mental make-up is a cluster of traits that is essentially an extension of the cell’s 3 basic functions – the 3 Miasms viz Psora, Sycocis and Syphillis.

In homeopathic terms, each human being exists primarily in one of the 3 Miasms – together at the physical level and psychological or mental level. Therefore, human behaviour is but a reflection of the mind mirroring biology.

It is important to remember that mind and body are but polar ends of the same axis, and that every human being is a single mind-body entity that functions as a whole. Thus, when we speak of Miasms, we refer to not only a physical defence against disease but also to a mental make-up that mirrors it.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, disease is a process that sets in and continues to pervade the body if the immune system is unable to repair or cleanse the body of disease agents. At this point, I would like to add that these ‘disease agents’ could either be purely physical as in invading pathogens, injury, harmful chemicals or a mental state as in prolonged stress or unhealthy thought processes that block or disturb the individual’s vibrational energy.

No matter what conventional medicine would have us believe, the mind CANNOT be separated from the body. They always work in tandem, in beautiful synchrony, in sickness and in health, for better or worse.

Miasmatic Personality
The Psoric Personality: The Psoric personality derives from the cell’s innate tendency to react to threat or injury with inflammation and pain. The cell heightens its sensitivity when any of its needs are under threat of deprivation so that it can maximise its ability to seek out and fulfil its basic requirements. This is the first line of defence adopted by all living cells and is a physiological or biochemical adaptive response.

This is one of my patients exhibiting the transition through the 3 classic Miasms while under treatment - a reversal from the Syphillitic to Sycotic to Psoric Miasm. Naturally, I have used the images in reverse order.

The Psoric individual is thus typically hypersensitive; vulnerable; anxious; gets emotionally injured easily; internalises rather than acts out; is emotional and expressive; temperamental, sentimental and perhaps even artistic. The Psoric personality experiences flash-in-the-pan anger. He / she is quick-tempered but does not harbour anger and resentment.

Psoric Diseases: The Psoric Miasm gives rise to diseases that have inflammation as their root cause. These include all the ‘itises’ such as bronchitis, arthritis, phelebitis, colitis, fever and diarrhoea etc and can affect a range of bodily functions and organs. There are also constant (chronic) or transient aches and pains caused by inflammation but no tissue destruction.

The Sycotic Personality: When the first line of defence is inadequate, the cell uses its second line of defence. It creates excesses or deficiencies in its structure and undergoes morphological changes to defend against disease. It basically hardens itself. Thus the Sycotic personality erects a wall between himself / herself and the world. He builds a façade and hides behind it.

Typically, the Sycotic personality is one who is predisposed towards ‘excesses’ and thus exaggeration, flamboyance, showing off and extravagance. These individuals are attention-seeking, the centre of attention, loquacious and the ‘life of the party’. In stark contrast to the Psoric personality, Sycotic individuals act out their feelings and are outward-oriented.

The Sycotic individual always wants to ‘accumulate’. These individuals are thus achievers; avaricious; and money, success, name and fame mean the world to them.

They are also terribly secretive, evasive and never reveal their true thoughts, feelings or motives. They are masters of deception, crafty and master-manipulators.

The Sycotic personality is retentive. They are not “giving people” and tend to be stingy both materially as well as emotionally. They give to get, are thick-skinned and ‘hard-hearted’ and appear emotionally shallow.

The Sycotic personality is also characterised by ‘lack’ rather than ‘excess’. Such individuals typically harbour deep-seated feelings of inferiority, inadequacy and lack confidence. They are inhibited individuals.

Sycotic Diseases: Sycotic diseases characterised by ‘excesses’ involve discharges, secretions, fluids and tissue eruptions. This gives rise to aliments such as polyps, warts, cysts, tumours; hyperplasies and hypertrophies, gonorrhoea, eczema with profuse effusion of fluids, cysts, fibrosis, gout, gall stones, stenosis and haemorrhoids.

‘Lack’ is characterised by a wide range of deficiencies viz calcium deficiency linked to osteomalacia; potassium deficiency linked to disorders of the acid-base equilibrium; sodium deficiency linked to withholding or loss of water; iodine deficiency linked to goitre; magnesium deficiency linked to neuromuscular disorders; and ferrum deficiency linked to anemia.

The Syphillitic Personality: When the immune system is so weakened that it fails to protect the cell and restore it to equilibrium, the cell adopts it third and final line of defence. It goes into Syphillitic mode, which is characterised by destruction. That’s when its processes and functions are ‘out of its own control’. This results in cell destruction and / or havoc to other cells and tissues.

The Syphillitic personality radiates negative energy. They are pessimistic and ‘dark’, even suicidal. They are either self-destructive or a hazard to people around them. When directed outward, they may experience a murderous rage. Also, serious psychological disorders such as psychoses, characterised by loss of contact with reality, are rooted in a Syphillitic predisposition.

When less extreme, Syphillitic individuals have a tendency to conquer and tilt at windmills. They are iconoclasts; rebellious; they have no respect for rules; and their anger is explosive and violent. Syphillitic individuals are infantile and cave in easily under stress and become chaotic and disorganised. They are also rigid and inflexible and would rather be destructive than try to change.

Another typical Syphillitic trait is mental paralysis, dullness and a complete disinterest in life. These individuals are indifferent to everything around them.

Syphillitic Disease: Diseases typical of this destructive Miasm are ulcers, gangrene, cirrhosis, autism, autoimmune disorders (systemic lupus erythmatosus, rheumatoid arthritis, AIDS) paralysis and cancer.

Misam is not merely a hypothesis or hypothetical construct to help us understand disease. It is real and it is rooted in our genes. It is a basic tenet of classical homeopathy… the beginning and the end of an individual’s battle for survival and the beginning and end of the treatment process.

Next: How and why does an individual switch Miasms? And is the human individual tethered to his / her genes? Is any one Miasm ‘better’ than the others? We’ll explore these issues in detail in my next post. Till then, happy reading!

Re-awaken the healer in you...
- Dr Anita Salunkhe, MD

MindHeal Homeopathy is an ISO-certified clinic based in Chembur, Mumbai. To find out more about The MindHeal Way, call: 022-25230530 / +91-9930363981. Or write to Website: We’ll be happy to answer all your queries.