April 2015

Sensation, Source, and Susceptibility

by Judyann K. McNamara

Through the observation of patient outcomes, the Montreal Institute of Classical Homeopathy (MICH) has developed an exhaustive, multi-dimensional, and practical understanding of susceptibility and its treatment that is expanding the scope and efficacy of homeopathy.

One of classical homeopathy’s main tenets is that susceptibility MUST be addressed in order for chronic disease and its acute flare-ups to be definitely addressed.[i] Susceptibility is highly individualized, different in every case, and involves internal and external factors, as well as material and nonmaterial dimensions.

We see excellent examples of material factors and external causes at our homeopathic clinic in Honduras. There, MICH homeopaths treat susceptibility that has been destabilized by physical factors such as: exposure to the elements, poor living conditions, lack of sufficient food, epidemics and invasive parasites.

This is rarely the situation back home, however, where the appearance of chronic disease is most often directly related to internal stress and immaterial causes. Internally generated stress is proving to be a key factor in disturbed susceptibility and the development of chronic disease, as demonstrated in recent research. [ii]

Chronic disease and perceived stress

We began our exploration into the effective treatment of susceptibility and the causes of chronic disease by examining stress as a dimension of susceptibility. It has been determined that 95% of chronic disease is stress-related. The ultimate cause of disease is not the stressors per se, but the individual’s susceptibility to specific internal and external stressors.[iii]

Let’s first review some facts about stress. Stress can have a positive effect if the stressor represents real physical danger and the individual can act on it: fight, run away, physically defend or attack.[iv] Under stress, the body is primed for physical action such as running very fast, or fighting for life or death: very intense movement for just a short period of time.

If however, the stressor does not represent a physical danger, but constitutes a perceived danger, there is no physical action the individual can take and therefore no way to reduce the stress. This internally induced stress is registered by the mitochondria, and is directly linked to the expression of metabolic diseases such as diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, diseases linked to the central nervous system (including depression), and other chronic disease.[v]

Thus, it is perceived stress that is the cause of most chronic disease. Over the last ten years, the MICH community of homeopaths, (now numbering close to 100) has been able to effectively treat patients’ susceptibility through the individual’s perceptions, subjective experience, and interpretations in relationship to stress.

Perceived stress and sense of self

What we have found is that the most prevalent source of stress is related to the sense of self. We all have a self-image consisting of various personality traits and attributes that constitute our sense of self, a pattern of “me”. A pattern formed by neuronal synapses that span the entire brain. This pattern involves both the frontal lobe of the neo-cortex and the mid and limbic brain. An exhaustive exploration of the numerous areas of research contributing to this understanding can be found in a book by Bruce Hood: The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity.[vi]

Of course, this knowledge is not new, it is central to Buddhist philosophy and dates back many millennia. Our over-identification with, and over-attachment to a sense of self, has wrought havoc throughout history. Modern science has now brought to light the precise survival mechanisms linked sub-consciously to this process, and their effect on our health.  

What homeopathy provides is an effective tool in releasing attachment to the “hard-wired” sense of self.  This reduction of the rigid sense of self allows greater freedom of response, improved adaptation resulting in fewer symptoms, diminished stress, and healing of chronic disease.

The three S’s of Susceptibility: Striving, Stress, and Sensation

In short, we have been able to fill out three dimensions of susceptibility: striving, stress and sensation. These three dimensions make effective use of the homeopathic “maps” provided by Rajan Sankaran[vii], Masi-Elizade, as well as Scholten, Yakir, the Joshis,  Patricia Le Roux, and many other homeopaths.

The “sensation” maps have sufficient breadth to take advantage of Hahnemann’s call to use “the many more thousands of healing potencies” available in nature.[viii] These maps provide clues to the remedies that best suit the physical and mental components of the perceived stress, often referred to as the “sensation level” and the “delusion level” respectively. 

The map provided by Alfonso Masi-Elizalde of Argentina, developed by Marie-Luc Fayeton and the AFADH[ix] in France, Per Neesgaard[x] of Denmark and others, and then repertorized by Guy Loutan[xi] of Switzerland, offers a way of translating a third dimension of susceptibility, or “striving” into homeopathic terms. Like Sankaran, Masi was a second generation medical homeopath, who proposed a more profound way of reading the results of classical provings that could provide an “integrated” interpretation of the symptoms as a whole, rather than in symptomatic pieces. He and those homeopaths who studied with him, have been able to extract the pathogenetic essence of every proving, helping us to discover the depth of the works by Hahnemann and his followers. 

Masi has showed us how to uncover the essence of each symptom through an archetypal understanding of pathogenesis and thus the essence of the homeopathic substance.

The “Masi map” provides us with the homeopathic correspondence to changes in the third dimension of susceptibility caused by the individual’s striving for some form of ideal, perfection of utopia and the associated stress with that striving.

We all “strive” for some sort of ideal. Striving is an essential element of the spiritual dimension of the human being: the “spiritual” or “soul” dimension intimately connected to the vital force, health and well-being. 

The following two cases will now illustrate how these three dimensions are used to prescribe and effectively treat susceptibility.

A case of severe hay fever and allergies

The spiritual dimension corresponds to the highest functions of the human mind. This “archetypal” level of thought is representative, symbolic.

In this first case, a patient with hay fever explained that the season in which his symptoms are worst represents the time of year when he had to manually labour most intensely on the family farm. He abhorred manual work and strove to avoid it completely by getting an education. The aetiology of his hay fever corresponded to the time when he lost his white-collar job. The external, physical factors (the pollen he is allergic to) became stressors through what they represented to him: hard, physical work.

The ability to create and react to a symbolic representation, as in this example, is a dimension of consciousness not present in our animal predecessors. It permits creativity, imagination, the ability to envision and appreciate perfection, and the ability to project into the future. It is this “Archetypal” dimension linked to spirituality that is both our greatest gift and biggest challenge as humans. It is predominantly associated with the forebrain, which is able to create false perceptions based on imagined future projections: “what if’s”. These “what if’s” trigger the limbic system into reacting with a stress response to situations that do not exist, and may never come to be. However, once this loop is set in motion, it is difficult to stop its escalation. As the level of anxiety rises due to the limbic reactions, the forebrain is triggered into imagining more terrible scenarios. This process can easily escalate to frenetic anxiety and panic attacks.


This example shows how the patient had a specific idea of who he is, and what he should be doing with his life. The patient rejected manual labour, and considered having a managerial position not only as economically important, but as a condition essential to his identity. He identified with a self-image of someone who “uses his brain, not his hands.” He strove to prove his intelligence and mental acuity. He insisted strongly on how he wants to use his intelligence, not his body.

He associated intelligence with his soul, with purity. This idealization of intelligence represents his striving for something greater more “pure” than ordinary existence. This is the archetypal dimension of susceptibility we call “striving” because it involves some ideal, an idea of perfection, or a utopia. It usually involves the rejection of a human element. In this case, the patient felt his body “does not reflect who he really is”: a rejection of his body seemingly linked to his religious beliefs. His physical body is “lower” than who he really is: pollen represents the physical world he rejects.


Although he did find work after his initial layoff, he continued to be susceptible to every criticism at work, every remark by his boss. When his boss made a comment, it was “as if” he was falling into a hole, “as if” he needed to “hold on” to his job. This sensation is the third “S” related to susceptibility. It is like the sensation of being “pushed out” of his first job.

The provings of Sabadilla, of the Lilliflorae family, have exactly these sensations (See Sankaran) as well as delusions about the body. Using the Masi method and resources provided by Guy Loutan and Per Neesgaard, we discover that Sabadilla wants to be pure intelligence, a pure soul being, not having to enter into any co-operation with the body.

When the patient took his first dose of Sabadilla, he experienced a sense of relief on all levels: mentally, emotionally and physically. Not only did his hay fever never return, he reported a major shift in his relationships and his perceptions of life. He felt “freer” and more aware and in touch with the world: as if “everything is brighter, more alive.”  With homeopathy we are able to use the opportunity of disease to provide the gift of a better life.

A case of severe and generalized environment sensitivity

To differentiate with another allergy case: an opera singer suffering from debilitating nasal drips and blockage and allergic reactions despite years of medication. He was literally allergic to almost everything. He said that he was surrounded by “elements that don’t agree with me.” In further exploration, his description of his experience included words such as “battleground, protection, war, armour, attacked, boundary, threats, torture, extreme pain”. He also mentioned “pressure, resistance, being pressurized, tension”.

This sensation level experience is accompanied by a different kind of spiritual striving than our first case. This patient can talk for hours about transcendence. He solves koans, strives for a “higher vibration”, and is obviously disturbed by the lower vibration of the world around him.

A loose translation of the Guy Loutan repertory of the Masi interpretation of classical provings reveals that Sanguinaria: suffers from having to vibrate with what is external to himself; he refuses to be moved by an impulse coming from outside himself, or to adapt to the environment, or someone else’s rhythm. Thus, Sanguinaria defends himself by desiring to be fixed, held by pressure. Or as Neesgaard explains: Sanguinaria “experiences each impulse passively exposed to from the surrounding world as an injury.” What is interesting about the Masi, noumenal or soul level interpretations of the provings is that they provide the reason behind or the “why” of the sensations experienced in the provings of the remedy and the remedy family, in this case, the Papaveraceae.  The sensations are in service to the striving.

Sanguinaria 200K provoked an immediate reduction of all the sensations he described, of all the reactions he had, and even a change in the timber of his voice. His sense of smell, which he had totally lost, was now fully back. He talked about “much greater energy, a feeling of completeness, wholeness, in great contrast to the sickliness that he had experienced since he was a child,”; “greater clarity, more groundedness”. He felt less of a need to “transcend” the physical world. In a later follow-up appointment to ensure that all physical symptoms continued to diminish, he voiced a pre-occupation with losing his ability to transcend. So, we upped the potency to 1MK so that he could live naturally and in harmony with his environment.

The three dimensions of Susceptibility

These cases illustrate how the “striving”, the “sensation” and the stressors come together in one movement which describes all dimensions of the patient’s susceptibility: we refer to them as the three Ss.

This multi-dimensional understanding provides a complete picture of the patient and his disease and allows us to prescribe very deeply and accurately. It accurately reflects the beauty and the complexity of the human being.

Such prescriptions not only address the physical ailments, they change the patient’s fixed idea of themselves, their perceptions, their interpretations and their defensiveness, inspiring much healthier and richer relationships. These prescriptions provoke greater freedom and optimism in the patients, and increase vital energy and awareness of life.

When prescriptions result in such profound global changes in the individual’s life, we refer to them as “Noumedynamic”[xii] prescriptions. Noume- is related to the word “noumenon”, derived from the Latin “numen” which means deity, divine will or divine presence. "A 'noumenal' force, such as the soul or vital force, is the fundamental organizing principle of the organism, maintaining its integrity and wholeness in a dynamic, adaptive, and evolutionary process."

We stand in a place of immense potential with the immaterial medicine that is homeopathy, and its power to address the immaterial cause of disease, the many dimensions of consciousness and existence, that underlie the material manifestations of disease.

[i] Roberts, Herbert A. The Principles and Art of Cure by Homeopathy. Reprint edition 2003-2004. Chapter XVII, page 156. Samuel Hahnemann, Organon of the Medical Art, sixth edition, aphorism 29-34, 194-5.

[ii] McEwen, Bruce S. et al.  Stress and the Individual Mechanisms Leading to, Arch Intern Med. 1993;153(18):2093-2101. doi:10.1001/archinte.1993.00410180039004.

[iii] Bierhaus,  Angelika. A mechanism converting psychosocial stress into mononuclear cell activation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science,  vol. 100 no. 4, 1920–1925, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0438019100

[iv] McEwen et al. Central effects of stress hormones in health and disease: Understanding the protective and damaging effects of stress and stress mediators, European Journal of Pharmacology, Volume 583, Issues 2–3, 7 April 2008, Pages 174–185.

[v] Picard, Juster, & McEwen. Mitochondrial allostatic load, Nature Reviews Endocrinology 10, 303–310 (2014) doi:10.1038/nrendo.2014.22. Published online 25 March 2014

[vi] Hood, Bruce. The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity ISBN-13: 978-0199988785

[vii] Sankaran, Rajan. An Insight into Plants. Vol. 1 Mumbai: Homeopathic Medical Publishers, 2002. and The Sensation in Homeopathy. 2004

[viii] Hahnemann, Samuel, Organon of the Medical Art, Aphorism 51, translated by Wenda, Brewster O’Reilly, Birdcage books, 1996.

[ix]AFADH: Association Française pour l’Approfondissement de la Doctrine Homéopathique.

[x] Neesgaard, Per. Hypothesis Collection Primary Psora and Miasmatic Dynamic, Radar Opus, 2012

[xi] Loutan, Guy. Répertoire de Thèmes et de Matière Medicale Dynamique, Editions Loutan, dix-huitième edition, 2011. Soon to be available in Spanish and English.

[xii] McNamara, Judyann. The Noumedynamic Human and other articles, free webinars on mitochondria, stress and susceptibility are available for free on our website www.michmontreal.com under the tabs: “Resources”. Such results are possible with the multi-dimensional “Holographic Case Taking method” developed by MICH. Please refer to the section on the MICH Method on our website.

Photos: Shutterstock
Stressed woman; Diego Cervo
Failure of a business man; alphaspirit

Keywords: striving, stress, susceptibility, noumedynamic
Remedies: Sabadilla, Sanguinaria


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