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Homeopathic Facial Analysis – Methodology (this article was published in Homeopathic Heritage July 2013)
By Louise Barton (Training Manager Victorian College of Classical Homoeopathy)
Homeopathic Facial Analysis (HFA) is a contemporary homeopathic methodology based on Hahnemannian concepts which place full emphasis on totality and miasm when choosing remedies for chronic disease. It is a methodology created by Grant Bentley (principal of the Victorian College of Classical Homeopathy in Australia). HFA has been tested for more than twelve years and has been taught to students and practitioners in 25 countries worldwide. HFA is reproducible, based on sound principles and meets the guidelines as laid out by Samuel Hahnemann.
It is important to firstly classify what we are treating. There are three main categories for treatment in homeopathy: first aid, acute and chronic. But more importantly there are two subcategories within the acute and the chronic categories that must be clearly recognised before using a miasmatic method.
- Non –contagious
Non contagious disease can also be described as energy based disease. This type of illness has developed not because of a germ or virus (as in contagious disease) but because the patient has an imbalance in their energy. This imbalance can display as either erratic hyper energy or low sluggish energy. The causative factors are always stress related. Stress can be defined as any energetic or physical impact on the body that results in energy drain or energy change. Many of our patients with chronic disease don’t have a contagious origin to their illness – stress is the cause and often the ongoing maintaining factor for the chronic illness.
Hahnemann laid out clear rules for using a miasmatic model with contagious disease – psora, sycosis and syphilis being the primary miasms. These same principles can be applied to non-contagious chronic disease using facial structure as a sound indicator. In the case of non-contagious chronic disease we can use the principles of the disease based model (psora, sycosis, syphilis) and translate them into an energy based model. There is a relationship between energy and matter – condensed energy becomes matter – broken down matter becomes energy. Our remedies are broken down matter – we are energetic but also physical. This relationship between energy and matter is what we are seeking when we are looking for the simillimum. Which remedy has the same energetic resonance as our patient and how we can find it.
Homeopathy is an expansive medical model; it is not specific or reductionist. For this reason most of science (which is highly detailed and reductionist in nature) cannot comprehend that the use of energy (which is unseen and expansive) can be contained and used directly for a patient who is suffering an energy based chronic illness. Sometimes homeopaths continue to look for exact models to find remedies – such as remedies specifically matching diseases or remedies matching personality types or remedies matching specific keynote symptoms. Once we leave these concepts behind we find that homeopathy is more forgiving, more healing and more accurate than we can even believe possible - but only where we drop specifics as a base to our methodology.
So if we can’t use specifics what is left? The answer is found in configurations; patterns that are found in every remedy and in every patient and within each miasm. The patterns found in remedies are found via the sound principles of provings. Hahnemann warned against using the doctrine of signatures. He advised the use of totality based on provings to know a remedy. Of course we can never know the thousands of symptoms found in the provings of our polychrests and we are fortunate to have technology which allows us to scan through thousands of symptoms easily via repertorisation. He founded an excellent miasmatic model based on contagious disease and this same model can be converted easily into a model for non-contagious disease (energy based disease).
Hahnemann’s miasmatic model - although developed for the use of chronic disease - can be applied equally successfully to non-contagious chronic disease using facial structure as the identifying diagnostic for each miasm. HFA incorporates concepts familiar to homeopaths -
- The stronger repels the weaker
- Two forces of equal strength join to form a new force
Patterns that relate to Hahnemann’s miasms
Psora – outward motion
Sycosis – circular motion
Syphilis – inward motion
These three motions form all matter in a three dimensional world. The same three forces show themselves throughn our facial structure. When the dominant structure of a face is known, the internal response of the patient is also known. We can only see this force or motion via external structure but like the vital force itself this force is part of us and impacts on our defence mechanism from our immune system through to our emotional responses.
Some examples of these forces impacting on facial structure are –
Outward motion – sloped angles and small features (foreheads, hairlines, noses, chins, ears)
Circular motion – round and straight shapes (foreheads, chins, lines, hairlines, teeth)
Inward motion – curved or inward shapes (foreheads, hairlines, chins, lines, teeth)
The HFA method has designated more than 75 features and their corresponding angles, sizes and placement on the face to one of the three primary miasms. Using the concept of dominance, seven miasms have been determined (psora, sycosis, syphilis, syco-psora, syco-syphilis, tubercular, cancer). All remedies (the same as all patients) are dominant in one of these seven miasms. In clinic about 50 polychrests are used most often with another 50 smaller remedies allocated to the method. Because the accuracy rate is increased by using a miasmatic method for choice less remedies are required for success.
How the method works in practice
The case is taken with focus on the totality of symptoms – the main emphasis is on general symptoms
Symptoms are repertorised using homeopathic software – choosing larger rubrics (20+ remedies). The purpose of using larger rubrics is to draw in all polychrests that have that particular general. Further repertorisation and miasmatic filtering will reduce the number of remedies.
Facial photos are taken. Up to 9 photos showing front on, profiles (both sides), teeth, smile and lines. After the repertorisation these photos are examined and the features collated against the three primary miasms.
How much time does this take?
A case taking with focus on the generals takes about 20 minutes. Where the case is being examined for past causative factors another 20 minutes will be required. This is not always necessary but can help the patient to understand their own case and give the practitioner one extra rubric. Where lifestyle factors are to be examined another 20 minutes is required to look at diet, exercise and ongoing stress factors. These three areas are important for understanding the management of the case. So an all-round case taking requires about an hour,
Repertorising – 5 minutes (choosing general rubrics is much faster than looking for smaller rubrics which can be very time consuming. Also smaller specific rubrics are often not found at all).
Photos – 5 minutes
Analysis of features – 5 minutes (once they are all learned and recognised)
Repertorisation graph is checked for remedies that show highly and also belong to the miasm.
The remedies allocated to the HFA miasm method are based on clinical information. Many homeopathic books show the same remedy allocated to different miasms. The HFA methodology developed around Sulphur allocated to psora, Thuja allocated to sycosis and Mercury allocated to syphilis. All other remedies were tested against the matching miasm as determined by facial analysis. Main polychrests are to be found in Facial Analysis and Homeopathy (BJain 2011). Smaller remedies are listed on the college website www.vcch.org.
In summary a complete case with repertorisation and facial analysis can be completed in 1.25 hours. Many homeopaths spend 3 or more hours on a full chronic case giving many remedies before the correct one is found. HFA gives an 80% success rate within 4 remedies. The face is an accurate way of diagnosing the miasm.
25 year old woman –suffering with digestive issues, frequent urination and poor sleep
The case is taken and it is discovered that she is stressed due to difficulties with her work. Her appetite has decreased and she suffers with nausea a few times a week. She has noticed she needs to urinate more frequently and even though she gets to sleep by 10 pm she often wakes an hour or an hour and half later. Her food cravings and aversions are checked and it is found the main food that upsets her is onions.
Repertorisation (Complete Dynamics – professional version with HFA remedy filter)
- Stomach; appetite; wanting (83)
- Stomach; nausea (931)
- Bladder; urination; frequent (452)
- Sleep; waking; might; before (22)
- Generalities; food and drinks; onions; agg (33)
Remedies – Puls, Alum, Nat M, Lyc, Rhus T, Thuj, Phos, Ign, Mag M, Lach, Nux V, Chin, Sulph, Bry
The patient’s facial analysis is examined and her features indicate she is dominant is equal amounts of psora and sycosis. The graph is then examined for remedies that are syco-psoric in dominance too. Nat Mur, Nux Vom and Ignatia are all possible choices. The patient has previously taken Nat Mur for a different symptom picture which worked for more than a year then was changed to Nux Vomica which also worked for nearly two years. So Ignatia is chosen in repeated low dose*. On her return visit 4 weeks later all symptoms are markedly improved. By her second visit (another 4 weeks) her stomach is settled, her urination is normal and her sleep is normal.
*Dose is a contentious issue and many homeopaths are afraid to repeat doses in case a proving occurs. HFA methodology allows for such a close simillimum (totality and miasm together) that it is rare that patients experience any aggravations on the remedy –even with repeated doses over long periods. We have found that with chronic non-contagious disease low repeated doses are more effective than single higher doses.
Louise Barton has worked with Grant Bentley since 1999 developing the HFA method. She is the training manager of the Victorian College of Classical Homeopathy and manages the online training program in HFA. She has edited and produced all four books written about HFA.
Appearance and Circumstance (2003) details the nature of miasms (inherited stress and health responses) and how facial analysis can be used to determine a patient’s stress response using classical homeopathy.
Homœopathic Facial Analysis (2006) continues this work with detailed descriptions and examples of facial analysis. These two books have been combined and published for Asia renamed Facial Analysis and Homeopathy (BJain 2011).
Soul & Survival (2008) explains how these inherited stress responses (the survival instinct or miasm) influence our instinctive memories and define our behaviors when we are stressed. Grant discusses the importance of competition and co-operation in regard to personal survival. He outlines the universal forces that influence each of us and how these forces can be read from our facial features. These forces are also responsible for changing social ethics over historical time periods.
How Aphorism 27 Changed The World (2012). The Organon of Medicine by Samuel Hahnemann contains a treasure of information about every aspect of homeopathy, including Hahnemann’s views on best practice and how homeopathy works. Grant Bentley examines aspects of The Organon in reference to contemporary practice, with focus on its place in relation to scientific thought and universal principles. Through examining natural laws, the author highlights the important strengths of the foundations of homeopathy, while also indicating some aspects of Hahnemannian thinking that are open to new interpretation, in the light of a further 200 years of practice.
Appearance and Circumstance, Homœopathic Facial Analysis and Soul & Survival have been translated into Russian and German and will be available in Spanish (2013).
Further information about HFA
- What is Homeopathic Facial Analysis? www.vcch.org (homeopathic facial analysis)
- Victorian College of Classical Homeopathy website www.vcch.org (miasm research)
- HFA training www.soulandsurvival.org