‘Miasma’ means pollution or stain; it comes from the Greek word ‘mainein’ to pollute.
Miasms in homeopathy are about continual recurrence of illness so are used to explain the problems associated with chronic disease. Miasms were believed by Hahnemann to have come about because of the suppression of original symptoms by allopathic treatment, much like TB being suppressed by drugs; but by allopathic treatment Hahnemann is including all treatments that suppress the manifestation.
For Hahnemann, psora was the initial miasm from which all others stemmed. He mentions that the external horrors of psora were modulated by “more exquisite diet and refinement in the mode of living introduced by increased cultivation”. He felt that alleviating symptoms through baths, washes and ointments of sulphur and lead, and by preparations of copper, zinc and mercury had moderated the external horrors of psora to such an extent that suppression occurred.
Hahnemann reveals his evolutionary feelings in that the population had not allowed their bodies to work independently to overcome psora. Psora presented as an unsightly problem with nasty manifestations which were suppressed, concealed in the population through the modifications of the day leaving individuals weakened. Left to evolution the concept of survival of the fittest would allow the vital force to recover through full expression of symptoms which are treated with appropriate homeopathic remedies. Hahnemann believed that the knock on effects of suppressing psora led to a more weakened population who became susceptible to other miasmatic states, such as sycotic, and syphilitic and later expanded to include tubercular, cancerous and aids miasmatic states.
The body naturally carries miasmatic states which have the potential to pollute but which may lay dormant without showing outward symptoms; much like having bacteria in our guts and cancerous cells in our bodies. These miasmatic states may be inherited from a parent or may have been acquired through suppression of initial symptoms. Kent says that as miasms pile up generation upon generation a person’s susceptibility to them increases. Indicating that homeopathy is not only dealing with the miasms of the individual but the manifestation of miasms of their ancestors from generations before. The strength of the individual’s vital force dictates if these miasms become active where something overcomes the vital force and triggers chronic destructive activity. Different individuals will respond to stress and disorder in different ways and the effects of the level of stress is dependant on how depleted their vital force becomes. All people have the possibility of contracting disease however it is the state of the vital force which dictates if a disorder will continue in an acute or chronic manner
Watson believes that within miasmatic patients there are three levels of activity.
- Dormant miasms are those that are not presently active
- Active miasms, which produce a tendency towards problems that reoccur regardless of treatment
- Exposed miasms, which present a clear picture indicating an appropriate miasmatic remedy.
Case BB – D aged 4
Presents as the activation of a dormant tubercular miasm.
BB presented with a cough which she had had for three weeks; initially the cough had been noticeable at night and came on with an acute cold which cleared after 1 week. The cough remained however and over its duration it has become more pronounced during the day leaving BB out of breath and tired.
BB gave the feeling of a robust and happy little girl without fear. She had a great deal of energy which appeared to escalate as the consultation went on and she revelled in the attention that was being paid to her.
A detailed timeline revealed that BB’s symptoms came on with changes to the structure of her day. She usually goes to see her grandma and granddad after school however their three week holiday meant that this was not possible. The timeline also revealed that starting reception class at school had presented a problem for BB resulting in disturbed sleep; giving further indication of her sensitivity to changes in structure.
Change, structure and the dry barking cough indicate activation of the tubercular miasm in this case. BB remains fit and well until there are changes to the structure around her; mum informs that she is a healthy child usually who rarely suffers with any physical complaints. Her picture is not confused by any vaccinations as mum chose not to vaccinate however a dormant miasm presents as exposed aged 3 when BB starts reception class. The disturbance of this event manifests in what is described by mum as a very difficult time at night, indicating a psychological response. Measures taken to lower her bed helped BB but the miasm was left untreated homeopathically resulting in active miasmatic expression through physical disorder when her routine is disturbed again.
The core of the case is internal disorder resulting from external disturbance of daily structure. This disturbance is seen initially at a psychological level and progressing to a physiological level when left untreated. The tubercular miasm in this case may have been an inherited trait and further consideration of parental predisposition to disease would identify if this is the case. Causticum 30c was administered as it presented the best simillimum in the case while also appearing as part of the psoric and syphilitic remedies which it is believed come together to form the tubercular miasm.
It is expected that the remedy will clear up the suppressions relating to the past; the presenting symptoms from their root in relation to the present cough, and clear any susceptibility to problems in the future by aiding the vital force towards balance.
Within 1 month there was marked improvement in cough and temperament needing no further return.