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Healing Power of Illness

In this 1990 classic, The healing power of Illness, Ruediger Dahlke and Thorwald Dethlefsen propose that illness is not an enemy to be fought, but is rather the body’s way of communicating hidden psychological or spiritual conflicts.

Dahlke and Dethlefsen suggest that physical symptoms can only be healed once the patient becomes aware of what lies behind the problem. The patient needs to ask why something happened, why did they get the disease. Most importantly, rather than blaming germs, viruses, genes or factors, the patient needs to take responsibility for the illness.

They examine the meaning of specific symptoms, covering various systems such as respiration, digestion, allergies and even accidents. In each case, the authors explore the mindset that precipitates the symptom, and suggest new perspectives, which can induce healing.​

In practice I found this approach indispensible when dealing with stubborn illness. Usually, I’d make good progress with homeopathic medicines and then sometimes, after the second or third consultation the patient would unexpectedly get worse. Together with the patient we would reexamine the meaning of the symptoms. What exactly is this disease communicating to you?

I remember a case of a woman with severe acne. We treated her homeopathically, worked on her diet, made homemade creams for her face, and had discussions about her emotional and spiritual issues. Her condition steadily improved and then suddenly got worse.

We sat down and had a long discussion on what acne meant to her. She saw herself as essentially ugly, unworthy and not appreciated by her mother.

Interestingly, it’s often the simpler remedies that make the breakthroughs in the most complex cases. In this case flower essences did the job. We added Crab Apple for poor self-image, Larch for self-doubt and stagnation, and Pretty Face. She made good progress after that and we were able to completely eradicate her acne.

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