Recently I had the privilege of attending the annual conference of the American Medical College of Homeopathy in Redondo Beach, California. The trip was a chance to go home and remember how sunshine feels. My primary reason for attending, however, was to see Rajan Sankaran, a contemporary visionary who has written more than a dozen books on homeopathy.
Sankaran runs an academy named The Other Song – International Academy of Advanced Homeopathy in Mumbai (India), which is dedicated to the education and training of homeopaths worldwide. His approach using the Sensation Method considers symptoms alongside the sensations that patients experience as guides to (homeopathic) remedies. His belief is that by understanding the sensations the patient experiences, the homeopath can prescribe remedies which get to the core of the patient’s dis-ease, leading to deep, lasting healing.
For example, consider a patient with a headache that is worse on the right side who has flushed cheeks and thirst, accompanied by the sensations of radiating heat and throbbing, pulsating pain. Combined with the physical symptoms, these sensations lead to remedies also found in clinical studies on the remedy Belladonna.
Sankaran, who I was inspired to meet both personally and professionally, proved to be funny, humble, and deeply concerned with the future of homeopathy. His Academy stresses the importance of clinical experience with extensive demands on his pupils to treat hundreds of patients under supervision before they enter private practise. He pointed out the lack of younger homeopaths entering the profession and the numbers of students who train but don’t practise or stay in the field as fundamental issues that are preventing the growth of homeopathy. Sankaran’s Academy also videotapes and then broadcasts live patient consultations (for clinical training) which are viewed at centres worldwide.
During the conference Sankaran showed several of these videotaped consultations. As a homeopath, I found it fascinating to see how he drew symptoms and sensations from patients with diverse personalities, ages and cultures. For example, in one case he took the words of a patient describing his headache as crushing pain that made him want to hide, which revealed a deeper association and connection to other memories that were relevant in detecting the remedy he needed. What equally impressed me was his declaration that his method is a tool but not appropriate in all cases. One memorable case was of a patient who had no intention of cooperating, about which Sankaran then commented that ‘to continue would have been torture for me…and the patient.’
There were about 150 homeopaths and GP homeopaths at the three-day conference, which also included Frans Vermeulen, Roger Morrison, Linda Johnson, and other leading homeopaths. In addition to the main presentations, there were panel discussions, a charity dinner and auction in aid of the AMCH, a cocktail reception, and numerous stalls selling books, software, and remedies.
I came away from the three days feeling inspired to continue my own training and further my competence as a practitioner. I see the Sensation Method for what it is: another tool for gathering information, remedy selection, and another way of understanding the expression of dis-ease.