Palliation of symptoms and suppression of disease from the surface (out of view) is probably the most common form of medical approach, not only in Orthodox medicine but amongst many Alternative medical systems as well. Practitioners often talk about Alternative medicine working in a 'Complementary' fashion alongside Pharmaceutical/Surgical medicine, however this is extremely problematic for Homoeopaths. Palliation and Suppression is the exact opposite of our medical approach.
We have several issues here, and while interconnected they all have their own considerations.
Can I first point out though, that Homoeopathy is NOT a complementary medicine. It is an alternative form of medicine, meant to be used as an alternate path to healing. It does not work well with any kind of palliative, suppressive, antipathic or allopathic medicine. While it *can* be used that way, it will always work poorly and rarely cures the patient. The goal of Homoeopathy is to remove the dependence on those other therapies completely. Homoeopathy is a lifestyle, a philosophy, and it demands a lot of us in terms of how we live and how we see the world. Dipping in and out is the choice of the patient, but the cost will be a lack of real progress towards health.
The more practitioners try to make Homoeopathy ‘complement’ therapies which work against it, the more it is distorted, diluted, and made impotent. It isn’t something we can control, because Homoeopathy works alongside the natural laws of cure, and we don’t get to decide what works and what doesn’t. Nature does that for us. It is like complaining that when jumping off a cliff, gravity keeps wanting to pull you down. We do need to balance that against the following issues though.
One issue is the safety of the client. When someone is used to palliating or suppressing an illness, and it is serious or even life threatening, we are forced to work along the palliative/suppressive treatments. This is slow work, difficult, often prolonging the time frame of treatment far beyond what we would like, and sometimes far beyond the patience of the client. Homoeopathy doesn’t complement the action of the palliative treatment, it opposes it directly, just as it is opposed. This is a conflict that can create quite a lot of tension in the health of the person, and makes good prescriptions much more difficult. It usually takes many more prescriptions than normal, as there will be a lot of one-sided presentations of a case, and many false or partial pictures.
So as long at the patient realizes that they will need to be a lot more patient with the length of time taken to get a result, AND that the ultimate goal (if possible) is to remove the palliative/suppressive treatment altogether, then a Homoeopath may be able to work successfully with them. I think that for a practitioner, this also requires patience, both client and practitioner need to discuss and make an agreement about it. We often talk about clients being impatient but it is just as frequently the practitioner and a contract needs to be clearly made about expectations on both sides.
Those clients on constant, long term palliative or suppressive treatment are most likely going to be the incurable ones. They are most likely going to be the clients we are going to have the least satisfying results with. Of course each case is different, but that has been my experience in clinic over many years. It is consistent when I look at my cured cases versus my uncured or ‘partially cured’ (not really cured) cases. Whenever symptoms are being directly countered by a treatment (which can include other ‘homoeopathic’ medicines) it becomes very difficult to create the healing aggravation necessary to start the path to cure. It certainly isn’t impossible, but I have noticed the following conditions definitely improve the prognosis.
1. Age – the younger the better. The older the more unlikely. Children are remarkable, because nature has designed them to change and grow and transform. Homoeopathy can take advantage of this and even with suppressed pathology you can see cure. Once the body has set, and especially once it has started to degenerate … it’s rare to see real cure occur. Age is always a factor in curability of a complaint, but when combined with suppression it becomes the main factor.
2. How much of the case has been suppressed – small or relatively insignificant symptoms won’t often affect the overall prognosis too badly. As long as the patient has been able to develop one or more safe vents for the internal pressure, you probably won’t see a dramatic drop in the curability of the chronic state. However, when palliation/suppression has been so extensive, and especially when it has included multiple treatments, that the disease state/s have been effectively ‘controlled’ or ‘managed’ (especially to allow the person to act almost as if they have very little problem functioning), this is always trouble. Big trouble. It is hard, it is painful, it may be impossible to solve. These cases are the ones I rarely am able to help, and the ones for whom Homoeopathy may expect too much.
However, I’ll add a caveat here. While we may not cure them, we can improve their ability to live with the illness, the mental and emotional pain, perhaps even a lot of the general suffering around things like sleep and energy. Again depending on what we are dealing with, removing the palliative treatments if possible at some future point can change that prognosis. If that isn’t done you will always see relapse, and it requires constant ongoing support from Homoeopathy to maintain that.
3. How long the palliation and suppression has occurred – the shorter the better, the longer the worse. This is also moderated by point 2. Long and extensive suppression is a really poor prognosis. Palliation with LMs or low potencies might be the best we can hope for here, and even that may not last very long.
4. How effective the suppression is – when it leaves symptoms behind, or only party moderates the intensity, we are in a better position to help. When it removes most or all of the symptoms, and the person achieves an artificial ‘normality’, it will be difficult to overcome. Partly this is because the real picture is being hidden, but also because the disease will be reestablishing its position deeper in, at a place more difficult or more dangerous to cure. Effective palliation/suppression also directly counteracts the healing aggravation, and so the curative secondary action of a remedy may never occur, or not occur with enough strength to really do anything positive.