Life Stories Installment 2 - Placebo Schmacebo

Our Life Stories Series installments are based on cases from our practice.  Names and geographic details have been changed for anonymity.  The purpose of this series is to share with you some of the wonderful healing we have seen take place with homeopathy and, perhaps, teach you a little about it in the process.

~ Placebo Schmacebo ~

Allison called me one early afternoon, 5 weeks after the birth of her daughter, Lila. 

“She’s got thrush” she said, “and its bad.” 

Allison was very concerned, as Lila had barely nursed in the past 3 days, and mama herself was exhausted from the inability to make her comfortable. 

“I don’t seem to have any symptoms myself,” she said, with the staccato sound of a mama vigorously bouncing an unhappy infant, “which is good, but I just don’t know what to do.  It started out slowly enough, as just a white area in the middle of her tongue, but at this point its just all over.  She seems like she’s in so much pain; its killing me.” Her voice cracked a bit and my heart went out to her.  

I could hear Lila periodically wailing a pitiful cry.  Allison explained that at this point Lila’s tongue was thickly coated white, and she had “white curds coming out the sides of her mouth.” As of that morning she had stopped even trying to nurse, as each time she did Lila would get so upset she was hard to calm.

I asked Allison a few strategic questions to gather information that may help lead me to the right remedy, and ended up with the following specifics*: In addition to the white coating in her mouth and the obvious pain it caused her to try and nurse, Lila had had diarrhea since the thrush began, and a notable waking period between 3 and 5 am (not part of her prior sleep pattern).  She also had a slight fever during this period.  When questioned further about the baby's health in general since birth, Allison explained that Lila frequently had hiccups, “and, oh, I don’t know if it matters, but her hands and feet are a little blue and they’re always cold.  Our pediatrician said it’s nothing to worry about, but it does seem interesting to me.”

*It is part of the homeopathic process to get as many unique details as possible about a patient's symptoms.  It is only with these details that we are able to find what remedy (among many thousands) is precisely the one that will help this unique individual in this particular moment in this particular expression of dis-ease.  

Using the above information, it was clear to me that homeopathic Borax should be a suitable acute remedy in this case**.  Borax is a remedy that is well known for relieving cankers and other issues in the mouth, among other things.

I recommended borax to Allison, which she thankfully found in her home kit, and we signed off with a plan to talk 4 hours after Lila’s first dose. We spoke briefly that evening, Allison said that “Lila’s definitely more eager to try and nurse again, and maybe the white stuff is like a little bit less, less curds, but it is still obviously bothering her.”  Allison gave another dose of the borax and I told her to check in in the morning.

I had an email from Allison first thing in the morning when I turned on my phone: “You’re not gonna believe this,” she said, “but it is totally gone down to a round area on her tongue about the size of my pinky nail.  She nursed a bunch last night, had no fever or issues in the early a.m. like before, and she’s sleeping a ton.”  I told Allison she could give one more dose this morning and she called that afternoon to tell me she could see no white at all in her mouth and that Lila seemed to be “making up for lost time!” with all the nursing. 

Over the course of the next few weeks, even the cyanosis (blueness) of her hands and feet and the frequent hiccuping spells dissipated.  

Beyond all that great news, my favorite part of this particular case is that Allison has been an eager and committed student of homeopathy.

I share this case and infant cases like it when I have students ask about how the placebo effect may play into curative effects from homeopathic remedies.  Now, while I am not one to knock the power of the mind in healing (and getting sick!), the placebo argument is a hard one to defend when we look that the countless cases of infants and animals being helped dramatically (and often immediately) with homeopathic remedies.  I know many vets who use homeopathy with regularity in their practices, and find that the instance of required surgeries and other expensive interventions is greatly reduced. 

**For more information on the history and efficacy of homeopathy, homeopathic philosophy, or the homeopathic process, see this post.

Life Stories Installment 1 - The Little Old Woman

Our Life Stories Series installments are based on cases from our practice.  Names and geographic details have been changed for anonymity.  The purpose of this series is to share some of the wonderful healing we have seen take place with homeopathy and, perhaps, teach a little about it in the process.

~ The Little Old Woman ~

Ava was a bright, precocious child with big, doe eyes and an open (albeit sometimes impish little) smile.  When I first met her she was just a toddler, but even then had some enigmatic behaviors that seemed to paint her as some adorable miniature octogenarian.  I remember watching one evening while her grandfather handed her a crisp dollar bill as a gift.  Her eyes lit up as she took it in her hands and thanked him earnestly.  We all watched as she studied the bill, folded it up slowly and deliberately with her dextrous little sausage fingers, carefully took it in her right forefinger and thumb, and stuffed it down the neck of her shirt.  She patted the outside of her shirt as if satisfied with her efforts, then folded her hands in her lap before finally looking up.

Needless to say we were all in stitches.  "Where in the world did she get that from?" some wondered aloud.  Her gestures were so seamless, like folding up her money and putting it against her skin for safekeeping was just, well, old hat.  Given that she had no actual bosom, nor an undergarment to contain it, the dollar fell out of her shirt as soon as she stood up of course, but that's beside the point.

By 3 or 4 years old, that is, a whopping two-and-a-half feet tall, Ava had developed a tendency to cluck her tongue and sigh, sometimes rolling her eyes up or shaking her head, while chatting about the challenges of the day or the woes of life in general.  She would sigh and talk about the weather, she'd sigh and talk about the congestion on the highway, all the while gesturing dismissively or shaking her head as if to say, "oh, you know how it is."  She'd arrive with her family after the long drive north from home a few states away, and when asked how she was doing she'd first tell us about the "*sigh*... traffic on the I-9."  We all joked that she was her late great-grandmother, reincarnate.  The resemblance -- demeanor, mannerisms-and-all -- was uncanny.

She tended to hover around adults and adult conversations rather than play with other kids, unless she were encouraged to do so directly.  She started to develop a growing level of anxiety that often centered around the the very adult concerns of her parents.  She was overly responsible for a child her age, and by the age of 5 she was wound up pretty tight.  She became very perfectionistic and had a lot of fears, as well as a tendency to focus on what was not going well.  Her mother shared, “I usually get a rundown of playground drama, troubles in the classroom, etc. when I ask, 'How was your day?’”

One day in winter when Ava was 6 years old, her mother called in a near panic.  I could hear Ava screeching and wailing periodically in the background and her mother said she had been like this for a few days.  She had a low fever, was complaining of a "tummy ache", saying that her eyes hurt, and she was nearly hysterical with the pains.  Her anxieties about her safety and her family's well-being, particularly around bedtime, had been through the roof of late, and it was all having a negative affect on quality of sleep for everyone in the house.  Ava was obsessive about homework and "doing things right" and could become fixated on some little problem or other and unable to find any peace with it.  This could be something as small as a wrinkle in her sock or a change in plans or as global as fearing for her health or safety or the financial security of her family.  

Given that I had been studying homeopathy for several years at that point (and had become an eager scholar of the human experience in its diverse manifestations, as we homeopaths are wont to do), I was happy to have the opportunity to look into Ava's case.  Over the course of the prior few years her mother had spoken with growing frequency about "Ava's anxiety," and my heart went out to the careful, concerned little girl.  We talk a lot in the homeopathic field about how a feeling of freedom is one of the tenets (and/or signifiers) of health, and especially in the case of young children I ache for them to have it.  Ava was easily and overly concerned with doing things perfectly, and had become very fearful anytime anything was 'wrong'.  Despite all the efforts her parents made to be sure she was not informed of challenges in their lives that may arise, she always seemed to know all about them.  She had developed insomnia, as well as a few compulsive habits like lip-smacking and nail-biting, and her parents were exhausted and exasperated.

I asked Ava's mother for specifics about her abdominal and eye pains, as well as more details about what it is that concerns her at night and how she acts as a result of those fears. Her mother painted the picture of an overwrought, anxious, unsettled child with some behaviors that have been increasingly interfering with her ability to enjoy herself at school or relax at home, especially in the evening and through the night.  In addition, she currently had a fever that was higher in the evening, and she was complaining of sharp pains in her abdomen and "burning" behind her eyelids.*  

*For those unfamiliar with homeopathy, that list of symptoms may sound like its filled with some overly-specific qualifiers.  It is part of the homeopathic process, though, to get as many unique details as possible about a patient's symptoms.  It is only with these details that we are able to find what remedy (among many thousands) is precisely the one that will help this unique individual in this particular moment in this particular expression of dis-ease.**  

After doing some research**, I encouraged Ava's mother to get the remedy Arsenicum Album at her local health-food store and to give Ava one dose before bed and a second dose midday the following day.  There are a few things I tell any parent new to using homeopathy with their children, and I shared these with Ava's mother at this point: 1) It is not unusual for a child to nap easily and/or sleep deeply soon after a good remedy, 2) We sometimes see a brief "aggravation," (a slight worsening of symptoms) before things get better.  This is a sign that the immune system has been kicked into gear to work a bit more robustly than it had heretofore been able, 3) In very robust, vital children, there are times we see somewhat miraculous, immediate relief from symptoms after a remedy.  Conversely, in more delicate children, those with lower immunity or vitality, or those with more worries and anxieties in general -- that is, a lot of symptoms on the mental or behavioral plane and not just the physical -- we often see a slower, subtler course of relief.  

Her mother said she understood, and said she really hoped this would help.  She said that though she was worried about the fever and the stomach pains, etc, it was Ava's anxiety that was putting her at her wit's end. She seemed to carry a backpack full of concern around so many things, and it had come to affect planning, daily movements, and sleep for the whole family.

I'll let the words of her mother explain what happened next:

Evening; Later that same day (Dec 18) 
[Email]: [Ava] got this majorly stuffy nose just before bedtime, it was driving her crazy (frankly me too), then when she got into bed she was picking at her eyes, and seemed a little bit warmer, her fever.  I gave her the dose of Arsenicum.  I went to sit in the hallway (my bedtime post :) and got out something to do, and all of a sudden I heard her snoring, she was totally asleep!  Usually she get's somewhat upset, is checking the clock, asking for me, missing Daddy, needing him to come in, list goes on and on, its such an ordeal.  So I went in to look and she's totally out, I'm amazed.  Let the healing begin!!

Dec 19, evening
[Email]: Wanted to let you know [Ava] was doing better this afternoon/evening.  Actually 1 hr. after I repeated the remedy at noon (before which she wouldn't get off the couch, had a fever, lethargic, etc.), she was playing bowling in the kitchen with [little brother]!  Fever seemed to stay down rest of the day, just a super stuffy nose but hopefully she'll be even better in the morning.

Dec 20, evening
[Email]: [Ava] was WAY better today.  Even went sledding, which would have been way too much for her yesterday.  No stuffy nose or fever.  So happy...thank you Jane!! 

Over the course of the next month, Ava had almost no anxiety around bedtime, she seemed to relax to some degree about her schoolwork, and in general she seemed to be happier and more easygoing. On January 25th her mother called and said for the past few days they were seeing a bit of a return of the anxieties and bedtime "dramatics", so I told her she could give another dose of the remedy. A few weeks later I received the following email:

Feb 12, 2014
[Email:] Been meaning to tell you, I gave [Ava] the other dose of Arsenicum and all of those difficulties I was telling you about when she would go to bed went totally away!  She went from crying most every night and really working herself up to getting in to bed and saying happily, "Good-night mom."  Then falling to sleep pretty quickly...THANK YOU!!

This new, easy-going version of Ava was the norm for the next year entirely.  She was loving and excelling at her violin and piano lessons, she seemed age-appropriately aloof to troubles that might arise for her parents or other adults in her world, and she played goofily with her younger brother in imaginative ways that involved more than just her being 'teacher' or 'mom' and telling him what to do and how to do it.  I felt she had lost most of the 'little old lady' qualities I had originally seen; she seemed more... like a kid.  She was more likely to talk about positives than problems, and would skip around lightly while she talked of the things that excite her.  

More than year after that 3rd dose, I received the following email from her mother:

March 18, 2015
[Email]: A few weeks ago Ava got a stomach bug turned fever.  I know it felt awful because I got it a few days later, but it was over the top for her, rolling around on the floor, moaning, etc. (in comparison to [little brother] who also got it, and just slept it all off and was fine).  Then the past week I think she may have tweaked muscle or something, or maybe growing pains but I had the hardest time getting her to school for the dramatics, leg pains, stomach aches, crying, etc., and then when she came home, all would be fine. She's also had a hard time getting to sleep the past few days since St. Patrick's Day.  The school has been having "leprechauns" visit and they leave little things, turn the toilet water green, things like that… she had a lot of anxiety around one coming near her even though I assured her it wouldn't be happening. She has just obsessing about it, especially before bed and before school, talking about it constantly and asking quesitons.

I told Ava's mother that it sounds like its time for another dose.  I got this email a few weeks later:

Apr 8, 2015
[Email]: I ended up giving her the first dose 2 Monday evenings ago b.c. I was at a training all weekend before that.  That first night she was up until 10pm, rough day the next day, tough going to bed again, then each day a little better, then a little better.  Thursday she got off the bus full of good news (her drawing had gotten picked as the winner out the of the first grade and she was the helper for a special concert).  So I thought, maybe it could have been from a day of positive things, but each day after that has been all positive after school. Each morning she bops downstairs all dressed and ready to go early.  This past Monday morning (granted she was also starting Day 1 of being "Student of the Week") but she was literally dancing around the house singing "Celebrate good times, come on!" This morning she was up early and she and [little brother] made egg shakers the entire morning before school.  Bedtime has been a breeze, she gets right into bed when asked (we had gotten back to a lot of stalling and perseverating), relaxes (usually there was tons of chatter or questions, worries) and goes off to sleep pretty easily.  

Ava has continued to do well since, and is undeniably more free and child-like (albeit still precocious and talented).  She no longer seems to care or worry about the traffic, she no longer reports on the woes of the playground or the family or the home, and there is a welcome ease to the family's bedtime and morning routines.  


We read and talk a lot in this field about how real healing is like a "grand forgetting" (of layer after layer of trauma and disease and suppression) and, in turn, a "remembering" of something (joy, purpose, creativity, total-awesome-weirdness-in-the-particular-flavor-that-is-uniquely-yours) that, after all, is the birth-right of every human.  

**For more information on the history and efficacy of homeopathy, homeopathic philosophy, or the homeopathic process, see this post.




Now Accepting New Clients

Jane Frederick.jpg

Homeopathic Care for the Whole Family

Jane Frederick, our Director of Advancement, is a homeopathic consultant and leadership facilitator with a focus on helping clients recognize and foster the complimentary connections between health + purpose, vitality + presence. Jane has worked with individuals and groups considering the role of self awareness and internal leadership in healing, and is honored by the opportunity to share this work with others.

From a young age Jane has watched the incredible relief homeopathy can bring to those suffering from acute and chronic conditions, and the healthful, dynamic changes in families when one member is freed from what deeply ails them.  These dynamic changes are particularly evident in families with children suffering from behavioral or developmental issues or trauma.  For many parents, the health and well-being of their children is an all-consuming occupation, and a great deal of stress can be caused in the family when a young one is suffering.

Children tend to transform through homeopathic care even more quickly than their adult counterparts.  Like many holistic practitioners, Jane understands that the earlier we can begin to rework unhealthful patterns and release trauma, the more likely we are to grow into the happy, effective, unencumbered beings we were born to be.

What her clients are saying:

"I feel so grateful to have Jane Frederick as our family homeopath.  Jane is our go-to when issues (physical or emotional) arise with our children.  She is keenly perceptive and innately intuitive.  As a mother, she can empathize with the situations I describe about my children with care and compassion.  With Jane's guidance, wisdom and healing, I have seen very positive results in both my children using homeopathy." ~Ingrid, Holliston, MA

I saw Jane for a chronic UTI. Little did I know she would help me uncover its root emotional cause and support me in facing it! Jane’s gentle probing and non-judgmental energy created the safe space I needed for my “Aha” moment.  Her intellectual ability to piece together the huge amount of information I provided and her strong command of homeopathy allowed her to select the right remedy to facilitate my healing. She’s definitely my go-to girl in times of physical and psychological “dis - ease!” Thank you, Jane!  ~D. Harrington, Los Angelas, CA

Feel free to contact us with any questions, or book appointments here.


Cold, Wet WHAT?

Last night I headed to bed and lay down beside my partner.  He was asking if I needed anything - this cold I have is obvious now, complete with the kind of sad speech that comes from being unable to say your M's and N's (your EB's and ED's!).  We were laughing about how pitiful I sounded: so thoroughly congested, purely stopped-up. 

I have been burning the candle at both ends for weeks, and I could feel this coming on the moment I noticed a little break approaching in my schedule.  What I SHOULD have done -- other than find time to rest, of course -- is take a few doses of Oscillococcinum or Immuplex (my go-to saviors when I feel run-down enough that something might get me; and they work like magic), vitamin c, zinc, elderberry, etc.  But alas, I didn't.  And sure enough, as soon as my single day off came around -- a day with only easy, enjoyable plans, if any -- I had the beginning inklings of a cold.  Fast-forward to last night, lying there considering how I'm going to fall asleep while mouth-breathing great gulps of dry air, pressure building in my sinuses, and the niggling start of a cough... and realizing: I'm not.  Not in this state. 

So, I decided to call on old friend (well... he's more like family.  You know, I don't necessarily LIKE him all the time, but I love him, I know he'll always be around, and I can count on him in times of need).  His name?  "Cold, Wet Socks."

This is going to sound ridiculous, or at least REALLY uncomfortable, but you can create a LYMPHATIC PUMP, pulling uncomfortable congestion and heat out of your head by wearing cold, wet socks on your feet.  BUT HOLD UP!  Please don't go walkin around with wet socks on and expect to feel better.  You won't. 

What you'll need:
1 pair cotton socks
1 pair thick wool socks

1) Wet the sole of the cotton socks with cold water, being sure to keep the ankle + sock top dry
2) Wring them out gently (not completely)
3) Once you're in bed*, put on the painfully cold, wet, cotton socks
4) Whine. Curse a bit. Start to question your judgment. And mine.
5) Pull the wool socks on over the top of that miserable mess.
6) Lie down and Relax

 *Use this protocol only when you're going to be lying down.  If you're going to be up and about, (even if only on-and-off) throughout your rest, avoid doing this whole cold wet socks thing.  It is very effective when your body is relaxed and horizontal, but not otherwise.

Within a minute or two I was breathing fully and comfortably through my nose, which I noted, gratefully, and then... well I don't remember anything else.  I slept well, and woke with warm, bone-dry feet and socks. 

I won't sugercoat: the first few moments are very uncomfortable.  Especially when you're actually putting the darn things on.  But pretty quickly your body should warm that thin layer of water on those socks, and then the process has begun.  My son, now 8, actually ASKS for "cold wet socks" when he's sick.  It has always worked like a charm helping him fall asleep, breathe through a previously stopped-up nose, and has shown to be a reliable fever-reducer in his case as well. 

Jan Scholten Seminar, Toronto!

We are in Toronto this weekend for a deeper dive into the complex, effective plant theory approach from Dutch homeopath Jan Scholten.  We were surprised and delighted to see so many students and alumi, as well as all our guest faculty present during this wonderful weekend. A very strong representation from the Baylight community!

Among several Year 3 students and many alum, you can find, from Great Lakes Provings: Pat Maher, HMC, MSW from Ohio; Sally Williams, CCH, RSHom, HMC, from NY; Carol Jones, HMC from here in Toronto, and Lou Klein, FSHom who hosts this fabulous Luminos seminar.


Jan Scholten

Jan Scholten

Photo Front L to R: Hilary Budet ('15), Erica Whiting ('18), Lisa Lichterfeld ('16), NancyJane Clark ('16), Pat Maher, HMC, Jane Frederick (Baylight Director), Brooke Latchford ('17), Kathy Schermerhorn ('15), Lori Francisco ('15).  Back(ish) L to R: Sally Williams, HMC, Denise Fogg ('17), Katie Miazga ('17), Dea-Sue Pelletier ('13), Carol Jones, HMC, Karen Alfano ('13), Kirsti Marella ('17), Karen MacGeorge ('16), Anne Marie O'Rourke ('16), Molly Edelstein ('16), Jan Scholten, Louis Klein, FSHom, Nancy Frederick, HMC (Baylight Founder), Deb Fox ('15), Kathy Miller ('15)

Open House September 28th

Annual Open House
Wednesday, September 28th, 5:30-7pm
222 Saint John Street, Suite 238
Portland, ME

Join us for wine and cheese at our annual open house. Our faculty and staff, as well as a few students and alumni, will be on hand to answer your questions about homeopathy and our educational programs. 

We look forward to seeing you in the classroom!

Our courses serve as an opportunity for each student to develop a deeper understanding of his or her own health and purpose, as well as the true mechanisms at work in health and disease in the human organism.  Time again our students and alumni describe their homeopathic education as "life-changing."  For those of us who have a pull to serve people or change the world, the study and practice of homeopathy is immensely fulfilling.


Thoughts on Constitutional Care

Thoughts on Constitutional Care

There are many people who have a strong draw to a certain kind of work or have a clear sense of their "purpose" -- a unique strength they have to offer to their loved ones, their larger communities, and the world. And there are others whose only experience is in doing the things that they believe they should. In either case, most of us often find that the state we're in or the circumstances in which we find ourselves are very different from the where we wish we were, the what we'd like to be doing, or the "who" we have an inkling we're meant to be.