Blog - Shilpa Bhouraskar

Boenninghausen's Unconventional Homoeopathy

When I moved from Bombay and started working in Nasik a place around 200 kms from the coast I regularly travelled every week to tiny rural places on the outskirts of Nasik. I worked with a charity group to help villages where primary health care was miles away. The headman gave us a room in the village school where we set up our temporary clinic.

I still vividly remember my first trip. As we drove in, we could see a group of 50 to 60 patients all anxiously waiting for their turn. We were requested to finish within a couple of hours so we could cover as many villages as possible in a day.

I was used to taking these elaborate cases in Bombay and had the luxury of an hour or so with each client so I knew I had my task cut out.

But I never imagined that I would be so completely out of my comfort zone. To start with my case taking experience was proving to be completely useless. Most of the patients had acute issues and I had just a couple of minutes with each patient to pick the best symptoms and make the decision.

The other problem was that although the patients gave some really good keynotes, I could not confidently come to one specific remedy that matched the case in most of the cases.

Add to the fact that some patients could not describe the symptoms in detail or in the exact language that I was used to hearing. And my therapeutic knowledge was never great so I was heavily relying on repertories. But I was struggling to find the exact translations of the language in the repertories.

I was already three years in practice then and had produced some really good results using classical homoeopathy in my Bombay clinic. But most of my cases had chronic complaints. Even in some acutes I had all the time to make a good totality and make changes within a few hours. I used single remedies in minimal doses. I had the luxury of waiting patiently for the action of the remedy to stop before I made any changes.

But here there was no way I could adopt that ideal approach especially when I was pressed for time when confronted with acute states such as pneumonia, typhoid and malaria.

For the first couple of visits I tried to prescribe constitutional remedies that matched the acute states. Hoping that the remedy will take care of the acutes phase. Not surprisingly it simply did not work. Then I tried some so called acute combinations that were known for certain conditions in frequent repetitions. But that was not as effective. I was seriously struggling. All I wanted was to give them good homoeopathic results so they did not have to travel miles to find the nearest doctor.

Finally I found a middle ground approach.

I started using an unconventional approach for remedy selection and repetition but the best part was that it gave me the results to make it all worthwhile.

I wanted to really make a difference in their lives through homeopathy. And more importantly I wanted to make sure that good basic homoeopathy indeed had a role to play in these grassroot level of practices. They couldn't have cared less how I did it. They were just happy when they could avoid expensive medicines and get back on their feet. All they wanted was to get back to their livelihood.

At much as I was aware I could not possibly follow text book homoeopathy that was drilled through my very classical training. I wanted a system that I could follow with this type of practice.

I wondered why wasn't this aspect of homeopathy ever published, discussed, systematised and taught regularly in schools.
Where were the guidelines for this approach?

And then one day I was reading Boenninghausen's lesser writings.
I was researching some cured cases by Boenninghausen and I found exactly what I was looking for.

He was following the same approach that I had found to be working in my rural practice, I was more interested in finding what exactly was this homoeopathy. But there was no explanation of the system behind it.

So I tried solving those archived cases myself and possibly find the system behind it. This was the start of an interesting learning. That led to a deeper insight for me into the homoeopathic spectrum. More importantly it helped me create a new template I could use in my rural practice. Without which I could not have helped thousands of patients in that one single year.

I have explained the different types of homoeopathy in detail in my book - When your favourite Approach Does Not Work...You can download it for free on the left side of this blog page.

But in this blog video I want to explain my take on the system behind this “unclassical” homoeopathy through one such Boenninghausen's case.

It could possibly could help you explore the potential of homoeopathy from a completely different angle...

Let me know what you think about Boenninghausen's case.

I would love to hear your take on his approach....


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Dear Shilpa,
Thank you for presenting this fascinating case from Boenninghausen. Your explanation has given me confidence to consider the use of more than one remedy at a time, at appropriate time intervals. I will share with you my own recent case in which I chose to use several remedies due to acute circumstances which occurred in a short period of time. I had to make these decisions on my own because my homeopath was unavailable.
On the day I had angioplasty for PAD I took Arnica 30c several hours before the procedure and about 2 hours afterwards, just before discharge. That night I took one dose of Arnica 200c. There was no bruising or swelling at the site of the IV (which had been in place for 8 hours) and minimal bruising, swelling and discomfort at the incision, which had healed within 48 hours. I took Arnica 200c one more time, and 30c about once a day for a couple days afterwards.
Two other events occurred around the time of my surgery. My beloved dog died at home the night before I was to travel to the city where I had my surgery. I had Ignatia 200c on hand, which I took when I was mentally capable of gathering my wits to do so after her death, and repeated that dose several times over the next few days.
The other "event" that occurred was muscle spasms in my back, which began 2 days after my surgery. I have had to deal with muscle spasms for 23 years after surgery and radiation treatment for lyposarcoma in my left thigh (which was also the site of PAD). For the muscle spasms I had only Mag phos 30c, which I took every couple of hours. I also used a variety of cell salts in water. I use a TENS unit when I get muscle spasms, and I think the alternating use of Arnica, Mag phos., Ignatia, and the TENS unit all helped me get through the physical crisis of the muscle spasms. I was able to manage this without the use of any allopathic medicines.
My surgery was a month ago today. I got immediate relief of PAD from the procedure, which has made a tremendous improvement in my quality of life. I've had a couple recurrences of muscle spasms, mostly due to overwork in trying to catch up on household matters that were neglected due to my illness, and difficult travel conditions for follow-up appointments after surgery. I still use Arnica, Mag phos and my TENS unit for my back. Ignatia is my "companion" as I move through my grief.
My experience does not seem as interesting or complex as those you present but I appreciate the opportunity to share it with you. Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom with all of us who are eager to learn more about homeopathy.
Wishing you many blessings,

A nice story Barbara. I often have a reason to use more than one remedy because families have my home remedy kit. They ring and say they have begun with a remedy - I don't 'trample' on their decision unless I am certain, so I introduce a remedy that might be a bit closer, and one that complements the remedy the family has chosen. This is alternated with the first remedy. After a couple of days we might introduce a deeper, 'constitutional' type of remedy that history has told us suits the family patient. At that point one of the two first remedies is deleted, with a view to re-instating it if the patient relapses (in which case perhaps deleting the other of the two first remedies). This method has evolved partly because families have limited remedies in their kit. But I have often found that the repertory chart will totally cover all symptoms with complementary remedies such as Acon and Sulphur (for instance), even in quite chronic cases.

I really appreciate you sharing how you used pre and post surgical Arnica Barbara. There seems to be a lot of confusion about this aspect so every experience is valuable.

Shilpa, I had some reservations about using Arnica before my surgery because I have been taught to prescribe according to presenting symptoms rather than in anticipation of symptoms. Because my own homeopath recommended using Arnica pre-surgery I trusted her advice. Since then I have read an article by a veterinary homeopath who strongly cautions against the use of Arnica pre-surgically due to potentially dangerous complications involving anesthesia. In my case the anesthetic was local, so it cannot be compared with what an animal would undergo! However, all this is further confirmation, for me, that every case must be considered individually.

Thanks again so much Shilpa. Another great piece of teaching. Living in a part of the U.S. which does not have a strong homeopathic foundation. I have struggled much with competing theories of methodology. I have come to the same conclusion through my own limited experience with homeopathy and one that has been said by some homeopaths--you must give precedence to the presenting symptoms. Recently, I read this article,, it is helpful too. About Hering's so called law. I had much confusion because of my contradictory experiences which is articulated by the author. A real healer trusts themselves when things are working to look for alternative methods to solve problems. That is what you did, what the author did and what we all need to do. Not give up when what we have tried doesn't work. You must have faith and inspire it in your clients.

Thanks Deborah, you have expressed this really well. It is wonderful to learn from other's experiences. But finally it is about trusting oneself and looking outside the box if need be...

If we look at remedy relationships, we see Nux.vom to be the remedy that is common to all those prescribed, and covers many of the presenting symptoms. We wonder if it was the veal having a negative effect or simply the imbibing in the stimulants viz; the coffee and tea that were setting him backwards? The resulting insomnia, chilliness, constipation and restlessness (irritability?) is very typical of a Nux response to stimulants. We can only wonder if this may have been a good remedy to start with or at least been complimentary to the process.

The correct spelling is 'repetition'.

Dear Shilpa,
At the time I am not practicing much, but just for family and situations like that, I find your understanding of Boenninghausen´s method most interesting. We sometimes are dealing with acutes which don´t respond to what we think are mental matches. The emphasis on the physicals, with due consideration of very strong symptoms like anxiety and restlessness might be the way to go.
The flexibility could be a nice way out of the impasse.
I really appreciate your lessons. I plan to give more time to intensive work in the future. Meanwhile, you keep my love of homeopathy strong and my mental muscles flexing.

Thank you again,

Maria R. Zamacona

Thakyou all for your coments and Shilpa's post. It is most timely. I would like to share an acute. Day 1 felt a bit odd, just odd. while out with girlfriends we went into a coffee shop and my head began to spin and I felt anxiious. so we sat outside and I ws fine. About 3 hours later while waling back to the car the same thing happened. the turn lasting a few minutes. My friend was driving and we headed home. by the time she got me home I was pale and neaueas. thinking this was the car trip I lay down for about 30 min. the neausea didn't go away. Nux vomica 30c. another 30 min and I was up and fiddling in the kitchen and sorting things in the house, I was sooo exausted but couldn't stay lying down. The nausea had gone or at least abaited. I cought my reflection and I was so pale. Ars 30c. 5 min later I was vomiting and passed a stool. Usually in the past I would now have a lovely shower and feel better and sleep. This time I had a lovely shower and went to bed and although I could stay there the feeling in my stomach didn't go away and I couldn't sleep. Not better for vomiting. Ipec 30c. Ahhh 10 min later something shifted and I slept for 2 blissful hours. When I woke I eat some steamed veges and slept all night.
Day 2 Waking in the morning a bit washed out but no digestive issues. Although this is not 2 remedies at a time it is changing the remedy quickly and expecting results quickly as it was an acute.

I have just had another look at Ipec and guess what I had the night before for dinner. Roast lamb, it was soo good I eat too much I think now. I think I will remember this key note now.

Good job Sally. Yes the key is changing the remedy as required.

Hello Dr.Shilpa, wonderful articles I must say! I was looking out for approaches in situations similar to your rural camps and stumbled upon boeninghaussen method. Im so happy i read this article and went on read the other articles also (esp children and homeopathy) and I can tell you, at this point, it is an inspiration. For all this while, I was practising under a brand name and had all the time and back-up to prescribe after in-depth analysis. But when I am to start a solo practice, I dread thinking of an acute situation. I hope to find more articles in the concept here. Thanks again!

Dear Shilpa,
In your practice do you confine this type of approach only to acutes or use in some cases for chronic situations?

It is not about acute or chronic but an approach for any case that is at Stage 1 or 2.

I understand that Boenninghausen approach is for Stage 1 or 2, as you define them. Was wondering specifically if you ever alternate 2 remedies at a time in chronic cases.

I have used it mostly in acute exacerbations of chronic diseases.

Thank you Shilpa.