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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Adalian MCH

The Vision of Hahnemann - In Light of the Polyvagal Theory

Hahnemann, in his discovery of homeopathy all those years ago, coined the term 'the vital force'. This, in his view, represented a dynamic healing energy pervading the organism with its own intelligence. (1) This operated, he believed, in direct correlation with the mental/emotional state of the individual.

To comprehend the full meaning of 'the vital force', I concluded after learning of 'the polyvagal theory' of Stephen Porges (2), that there were so many uncanny connections and on so many levels between the two. I then questioned how it could have been possible for Hahnemann to be so visionary in his full conceptualisation of health long before any such realisations came to the fore. The word 'polyvagal' emanates from the Greek and Latin language and indicates 'wandering in multiple directions'. It is understood 'the polyvagal nerve' links all the major organs and sends most of the messages from the gut microbiome (3) to the brain rather than from the brain to the gut. It is now established the gut represents 'the second brain' (4) as most of the happy neurotransmitters - i.e. notably serotonin - originate there rather than in the mind.

Hahnemann acknowledged the importance of the digestive sphere in his provings of remedies - especially those with marked mental/emotional pictures. However, of course, he would have been completely unaware of the relevance of these symptoms in light of the newly discovered polyvagal theory. The vagus nerve carries oxytocin receptors which release their influence through the applications of specific homeopathic remedies, e.g.:

  • Lac Humanum,

  • Magnesium Carbonicum,

  • Magnesium Muriaticum,

  • Saccharum Album,

  • Sepia.

Such remedies are observed to connect the individual with their authentic self. This is beyond the constraint which has till such time burdened them. In one case, a female suffering long-term post-natal depression reported her eighteen month old son reached out to her after her treatment and wanted to be held by her for the first time since birth. This vicarious effect heralded some resolution within the sufferer. This also indicates how homeopathy can reach

into the past as well as into the future. In fact, the regulation of many of the bodily functions is orchestrated by the vagus nerve, such as:

  • abdominal functions

  • balance

  • breath*

  • eye and face movement

  • hearing

  • swallowing

  • taste

  • vision

*Note that it is the breath which ignites the vagus nerve to de-activate the fight or flight response of the sympathetic nervous system and is often the first aspect which normalises after a favourable response to homeopathic treatment. This occurs as the adrenals are released from their previously tightly-held stranglehold. This then creates a domino effect of positive responses in the organism. I should point out it is the autonomic nervous system which is directly impacted by the integrity of the vagus nerve, acting on both the sympathetic (a) and the parasympathetic (b) branches of the nervous system.

(a) represents 'fight or flight' - manifested in victims of trauma by cutting off - in extreme cases involving disassociation.

(b) rest and digest - this acts directly on cortisol levels in the organism. When they are over-expended, they impact messages from the gut (the second brain) (4) to the brain itself.

In conclusion, the polyvagal theory, gives us a narrative for our life story (5). This is often distorted through the early impressions of trauma in the case. This is because at that time the rational part of the brain has not yet fully formed. If resilience did not pre-exist due to this factor, it certainly can be instituted through the homeopathic process of recallbrating the mindset in this regard and raising the consciousness of the individual.

  1. The Organon of Medicine, 23.1.23, update (aphorisms 9-16)

  2. Porges, Stephen, 2011, The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, Self-Regulation, W.W. Norton.

  3. Bull, Matthew, al, 2014, December 13th, The Human Gut Microbiome in Health and Disease, ncbi.nim. nih. gov.

  4. Gershon, Michael, 1999, The Second Brain: Your Gut has a Mind of its Own, Harper Perennial.

  5. A study of the Polyvagal Theory formed the backdrop of Elizabeth's week's teaching of homeopathy in Italy in April 2023. This was by the invitation of Walter Ruta of the Pramiti Yoga School at the retreat centre in San Giovanni.

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