Sunday, November 29, 2009

An Interview

This is an interview with Dr. Navneet Bidani which got published in September 2009 issue of Health Today Magazine.

Editor: Continuing our series of interviews with stalwarts of medical world, this time we are covering a young doctor Dr. Navneet Bidani who is practicing classical homoeopathy at Hisar in North India. He has expertise in treating patients with severe chronic disorders. A respected teacher & practitioner who specializes in Homoeopathic repertorisation & case taking. His special area of interest lies in treating paediatric & depressive patients.

Q. Why did you choose Homoeopathy?
I come from a family of Homoeopaths. My grandfather was the first qualified homoeopath from Hisar. He with his great efforts made homoeopathy known to the people of Haryana and India. My father is having a vast experience of 40 yrs of practicing homoeopathy & he is still practicing. My house was thus a focal point for a lot of discussions on homoeopathy and I was exposed to it from a very young age. I used to see my father & my grandfather discussing cases & their homoeopathic treatment & from their discussions I came to know what Homoeopathy is & what are its benefits? These lively discussions and debates got me deeply interested in Homoepathy & I decided to become a Homoeopath.

Q. Where did you get your homoeopathic education?
I completed my Bachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine & Surgery (BHMS) from DS Homoeopathic Medical College, Pune University. However I believe learning is a continuous & cumulative process and still continues to read books and study my patients. I learn something new from each & every patient that I treat. The fascination just never ends! The implications, the need for a better understanding, it just goes on and on; and the odd thing is that the more you study homoeopathy, the less you're sure of your knowledge.

Q. What’s your basic approach in finding a remedy for your patients?
Homoeopathy is based on "nature's law of cure". For a classical homoeopath to take a case, it is not merely the asking of several questions that matters, it is the observations which matters more. To feel what the patient feels, to become that person, to step into their shoes and to find the "disposition" of the patient. Each case is uniquely different, so it's best to just be empty inside so that the patient has room to enter. Hahnemann says that during the case-taking we should keep silent. It took me some time to understand that he meant silent internally. So case taking is like a meditation. It is essential to finish by asking for every detail of the whole person, from head to toe. Never assume you know it all-you must ask!
Homoeopathy is about finding the right tune. Resonating in this tune is making things happen and move.
Understanding rubrics is the first step towards a successful selection of remedy. One must be thoroughly familiar with the stock of rubrics so far as their meaning is concerned. Once we decide on one of these rubrics, we must confirm its accuracy with the patient. Then we take it in a case analysis. Never assume you have a correct interpretation of the symptom without confirmation from the patient - that is, never ever interpret from your own imagination. The next step is the use of the rubrics in metaphorical way, in expanded sense. For this we must look to the surroundings, keep our eyes and ears open during our day to day conversations with people. One should proceed from meaning to expressions. Merely collecting expressions and finding their equivalent rubrics is of help but to some extent only because the expression may amount to any one of several rubrics or more than one rubric. Likewise one rubric may have a variety of expressions. So, we must have a thorough knowledge of how to differentiate the rubrics which seem to have a somewhat similar meaning. You take envy and it might be jealousy, you take selfish, it might be egotistic, you take indifference to children, it might be aversion to the family. We must know that there are rubics differing in shades of meaning and it may need all our intelligence, care & contemplation to fully realize these shades of meaning.
Once you finished up with the repertorization work comes the selection of a medicine. The analysis chart shows you number of indicating remedies but which one will be the similimum? Here your understanding of materia medica comes into play, how will you differentiate remedies? I start from the individualization of the substance. When I study a remedy I ask the following question first: ‘What is there strange, unusual, and bizarre in the substance that makes the homoeopathic remedy, which makes it different from all other remedies we know?’ Compared to the modern tendency where the question is: ‘What does this remedy have in common with one or more other remedies?’ I ask the opposing question: ‘what is characteristic in this remedy that makes it different from all other remedies?’

Q. What else influences your case-taking?
Emotions play a prominent role in shaping up of the personality. They seem to play a crucial part in the genesis and healing of serious disease such as cancer and other illness. Any kind of unexpected shock, for instance can have a devastating effect on health and/or the immune system - until it is resolved and healed in any of a number of ways. A similar mechanism seems to be true for living in fear and panic, so one of the first tasks at hand in a successful healing journey may be working at reestablishing the greatest possible measure of inner peace and confidence. I have my patients make a timeline with all the major traumas in their life, whether mental, emotional, physical, financial, or whatever. Any event that causes lasting symptoms will need to be treated eventually. We start with the most recent trauma first and work backwards, every time treating the Never Well Since (usually a mental or emotional trauma that triggered the onset of symptoms).

Q. As you mentioned the role of emotions & psychology in your case-taking method, can you elaborate over this psychology part?
During the course of our lives, and those of our patients, we find that the past formative years, from childhood to adulthood, have played an undeniably important role both in our psychological formation and our physical well-being. When we take into accounts the mental, emotional and the physical traits of a patient, and then adds the hereditary physiological, emotional and mental characteristics, a more complete, accurate and total picture of the whole person becomes clear.
Research indicates that feelings and experiences change us even at a cellular level. Mind and body constantly interact and influences one another. Physicians therefore must be conversant with biological, psychological and sociological factors, since holistic medicine accepts that all these systems influence one another.
Many of us are carrying repressed memories of unhealed emotional wounds or traumas from childhood and sometimes from past lives. As long as these things are repressed within you, they will be activated from time to time, pulling you out of present or simply preventing you from being present. The ego will be constantly on alert to protect you against a recurrence of these painful experiences. And if the ego is on alert, it will keep you in the world of the mind. These emotions and memories need to be allowed to surface into the light of consciousness for healing and release. When this occurs, we can say that the past is released from you and you are released from the past. This allows you to deepen and settle into the present moment.”

Psychological disorders pose one of the biggest health challenges today. According to one study in India one out of five suffers from psychological disorders. The trend is rising. And the reasons are not far from us. Our society is changing fast and the demands are challenging. These demands call for in-depth acceptance and constant adjustments. Everything happening at personal, social, professional or day to day life has profound psychological impact. Job stress and poor interpersonal skills at both social and family level are beginning to show its effect. Modes of communication are rising but true communication is lacking. More and more people feel misunderstood, alone and unwanted. Emotions are unsatisfied and mind management skills are lacking. Result is obvious! Psychological complaints are rising alarmingly.
In many homoeopathic treatments, the characteristic emotional and mental traits of the patient himself give the most useful leads towards the selection of the most effective medicine, sometimes without focusing on the nature of the clinical illness.

Q. What’s changed for you in the past 3-5 yrs.? How your views on remedies have changed over the years?
I have practiced homoeopathy for the past eight years, and it never ceases to amaze me, the power of the minimal dose. At the same time, I'm often frustrated, knowing the right remedy picture will help solve a difficult case and sometimes not being able to find the right combination of clues to fit together the puzzle to attain a cure or significantly help a case. It has now been well over eight years of practice and at no time since then, has respect for Homoeopathy lessened. As practice increased, the time for individual study of each case was not available and snap diagnoses were generally the rule, but, even so, the results were such as to justify the choice of Homoeopathy as regular practice, and, when time permitted, there was no more delightful pastime than search for the indicated remedy. The joy of successful application of the correct simillimum was always greater than that of an operation completed without technical error. When such operation resulted in improved condition there was always a keen sense of success almost at hand, but this was never to be compared with the intense satisfaction that followed the exhibition of the correct remedy in an annoying symptom complex, for in the latter case the forces of nature seemed to be released and health was on a higher plane afterward, which can seldom be said of even the most successful operation.

Q. You always give advice to your patients regarding diet & eating habits. What’s the role of diet in homoeopathy?
Ans: Many people are surprised when they consult me to find out how in depth I go in my investigation of their eating habits, and food preferences. I do go in depth, because I feel that the way people eat, in addition to being important to their health, gives valuable clues as to what remedy they need. If I have to decide between two remedies, which seem to be equally indicated, I look to the food preferences to verify which way to go, because the food likes and dislikes are so characteristic of an individual, and are often very difficult to influence. I have learned that just telling people what to eat and how to make their diets healthier does not often work, unless the individual is very highly motivated to make the changes. Most people who drink soft drinks know that they are not good for them, yet they are powerless to overcome this habit. A dose of Medorrhinum can help modify this food craving. Patients who have an aversion to fruit, even though they know they should be having several servings each day, cannot make this switch until they have received their Carcinosin, Pulsatilla or Phosphorous (it can be other remedies as well). After the indicated remedy the client starts eating better, which correspondingly helps their health improve.

Q. Dr. Bidani you have studied extensively temperaments of children & number of your articles had even got published in international journals, how do you judge a temperament of a child in your clinic?
Children are born with unique behavioural styles that influence their development from the womb until death. Each child is unique, and has a different way of looking at and interacting with the world. A child’s personality is determined by the interaction of temperament traits with the environment. By understanding temperament, we homoeopaths can very easily get to know the personality of the child which thereby helps us in selecting the exact constitutional medicine & then a Homoeopath can work along with the parent in improving the personality of a child rather than trying to change his or her inborn traits. If I had to describe YOUR temperament, I would take into consideration all aspects of your personality, including your physical appearance, your social habits, your psychological reactions and other people’s perception of your strengths.

Q. Are the patients you see in your clinic the patients you study in the homoeopathic literature?
As a practitioner you expand with the expansion of knowledge. 60% of cases fit the appropriate keynotes, but there is so much suppression that 40% of your cases leave nothing but confusion for the homoeopath and he or she must go on the essence alone. They have no 4pm to 8pm aggravation; they like eggs or don't like eggs, or don't know what they like. It's strictly essence. They'll offer you no physical keynotes to help you. You must completely understand the essence of the remedy to prescribe. People are so suppressed that their vital force can't display an intelligent group of symptoms. You take a case and they look like five polycrests. There are no formulas. You're challenged constantly.

Q. How would you react to the continuous attack on Homoeopathy be it by Lancet or Media?
Homoeopathy is never more nor less than demonstrable truth and the truth never be wholly lost, even though it may be neglected or misunderstood or misapplied, but always, sometime, somewhere, it will raise its head and demand recognition. The persistence of the philosophy of Samuel Hahnemann throughout the many years of ridicule by the older school is evidence that the truth is here embraced.

Q. Who have been your homoeopathic mentors?
James Tyler Kent & Vithoulkas. They are the one who changed entirely my way of thinking & prescribing. I really recommend Paul Herscu if you want to work with children.

Q. What are the most important books in your practice?
Materia Medica & Repertory by James Tyler Kent, Materia Medica Viva & Essence of Homoeopathic Remedies by George Vithoulkas, Portraits of Homoeopathic Materia Medica by Catherine Coulter & last but not the least Children’s Types by Borland.

Q. Are you going to write a book one of these days?
Well, there are two projects in the pipeline. Firstly I am writing on the body language & Homoeopathy & the other one is on Emotions & Homoeopathy. But I am not in any hurry as I want to give the best not only from theoretical point of view but also a practical approach based on experience.

Q. How has homoeopathy helped you on a personal level?
From my own experience of taking remedies I can say that they have expanded my consciousness and accelerated my growth. But the interesting thing is that interacting with patients also expands a physicians own growth.

Q. What advice do you have for new homoeopaths?
Our responsibility is to continually evolve intellectually, experientially, and spiritually. I don't think we can be successful homoeopaths if we don't have real compassion and insight. My recommendations are to keep the constitutional remedy as a constant goal. Look for key emotional and characteristic general symptoms that point directly to remedies. Then apply a comparative materia medica approach to the remedy possibilities. Give the constitutional remedy and then maintain caution around too much extraneous prescribing. Observe how well a patient under the action of the right constitutional can resolve acute flare-ups of symptoms with minimal intervention. Approach constitutional prescribing with a sense of adventure and watch the amazing responses and rewards of this fascinating homoeopathic realm.

Dr. Bidani thank you for your thoughts and time, we hope to hear more and more about you and your work.

Dr. Navneet Bidani can be contacted at:

Dr. Bidani’s
Centre for Homoeopathy,
DSB-199, Red Square Market,
Hisar-125001. Haryana.
Mobile No. +91-9416336371