Mirror Neurons and the Magnesium Group of Remedies
John Bowlby, the creator of the Theory of Attachment (a lasting psychological connectedness between human beings), realised that children are captivated by faces and voices and are exquisitely sensitive to facial expression, posture, tone of voice, as well as physiological changes (tempo of movement). He saw this inborn capacity as a product of evolution, essential to the survival of these helpless creatures. Mirror neurons are the brain-to-brain links between the parent/carer and the infant that create the capacity for empathy. They start functioning as soon as babies are born. In fact, babies cannot regulate their own emotional states, much less the changes in heart rate, hormone levels and nervous system activity which accompany emotions. (1)
I have observed that since the popularity of mobile phones in society generally, parents can often inadvertently focus on the screen rather than engage direct eye contact with their children. This can occur across the age spectrum right through from infancy to the teenage years and beyond. Without this vital contact, the equilibrium of the child can be compromised on many levels. After all, every level of being from the functioning of the brain structures right through to their ability to maintain their autonomic functions such as breathing and heartbeat rely on this input.
A group of remedies I have found in my practice to support the child with a background of this type of constant deprivation which could be emblematic of the type of care given is the Magnesium one. Often, different members of the same family in my experience may need one of these remedies when the message is transmitted across the board.
The Guardian newspaper published an article entitled "Swedish children upset by parents' phone use". It cites the fact that more than a third of children in Sweden's cities complain that their parents spend too much time staring at phones and tablet computers, leading doctors in the country to warn that children may be suffering emotional and cognitive damage; it says that even their language development could be affected by this phenomenon. (2)
This sense of neglect of which these children complain is a reminder of this group of remedies. It is not just children in orphanages who may need these remedies, as was thought in the past, but children in some of the most advanced countries in the western world today! (3)
It is no coincidence that milk can aggravate the child needing this group of remedies, see rubric milk aggrevates. It represents the primal food supplied by the mother and is therefore deeply connected to the bonding process. Triggers in this group of remedies on the emotional level include anger, fear, fright, and grief.
Sepia is often given after childbirth but the situation could easily call for Magnesium Muriaticum for an occasion such as this when the patient feels let down by her own female side. This could be the implicit message they received about being a woman from their mother or someone who represents this role model figure in their lives. Manic depression is a feature of the remedy and can sometimes be unleashed post-natally, which is not surprising given the possible background of past deprivation described here. This is a time when the 'uncompensated state' often reveals itself, and the woman cannot cover up her true feelings with all the turmoil in the hormones combined with the huge adjustment in care-giving demanded of her. There is a tendency to use Sepia routinely for this state but, when this rupture is rooted In emotional neglect within the mother's history, then Magnesium Muriaticum heals in a more radical way. Not only does it reconcile the presenting situation with long-term implications for both parties affected, but can also act retrospectively, reaching back to the source of distress in the mother. Interestingly, this remedy does not appear in the rubric 'depression, childbirth after' despite its strong indication for this state, whereas Sepia, naturally appears in black type, along with Sulphur.
Disruption in the bonding process has lifelong implications for the symbiosis between mother and child; it can damage their joint relationship long-term and can extend through the generations to follow. A woman with post-natal depression who needs this remedy often comes from a family background such as the one described in this blog. The missing factor of transgenerational trauma commonly plays itself out in new mothers as well as fathers. (3)
A family's story based on the Magnesium group of remedies was published in an article entitled 'The Missing Equation: Transgenerational Trauma'. (4) Could it be that the Magnesium group of remedies alongside other remedies with a history of a similar state of deprivation could activate the oxytocin receptors spread throughout the vagus nerve and, in the process, replicate the missing bonding so emblematic of such cases? This would represent a unique feature of homeopathy in its retrospective capacity to restore the often missing mirror neurons so key to development.
(1) Van der Kolk, Bessel, (2014), The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma, Allen Lane, Penguin Books.
(2) Orange, Richard, (2013), Swedish Children Complain Their Parents Spend Too Long on Phones, The Guardian.
(3) Elizabeth Adalian (2017), Touching Base with Trauma: Reaching Across the Generations - a Three-Dimensional Homeopathic Perspective, Writersworld.
(4) Elizabeth Adalian (September 2014), The Missing Equation: Transgenerational Trauma, www.hpathy.com/clinical-cases/missing-equation-transgenerational-trauma.