– An interview with Massimo Mangialavori, M.D.  (Heather Knox)

My third suggestion concerns our homeopathic materia medica itself. When studying remedies, we have two problems. Very often, when remedies are well known, we have too much information. On the other hand, when remedies are not well known we have too little information. The challenge is to gather the information in such a way that you either enrich or reduce it by grouping it as “themes.” By themes I mean collecting a group of symptoms that have something in common, in which there is a connection, which can help you to understand the remedy. The most important reason for using themes is to arrive at a level of information that is very characteristic for this substance. Here you have two classes of symptoms in a remedy: those symptoms, belonging to the central “themes” and the others that don’t. A symptom which can be connected to a central theme is more likely to be of value in prescribing that remedy than any other symptom because it is closer to the core of that remedy.
 My approach to studying remedies-and to make these studies more vivid-is therefore a threefold one: to use both homeopathic and non- homeopathic material and to study wellcured cases. I think our model of thinking is a very complex one and if you focus only on the proving- symptoms and nothing else it becomes one-sided and much less efficient.
 AH: I think you have made studying the remedies very fun.
 Mangialavori: [laughing] Yes. If I don’t have fun I can’t practice anything; it is an essential part of life. If you don’t have pleasure in what you are doing it becomes senseless.
 AH: What do you think is the biggest weakness in the way homeopathy is practiced today?
 Mangialavori: I think there are many. First, I have the general impression that the difficulty of practicing homeopathy is widely underestimated and many in the field are mere amateurs and poorly prepared to do the job. This is mainly due to inappropriate teaching.
 Secondly, many focus on psychological analyses of cases, patients and remedy-pictures with very little professional experience. We are flooded with ready-made, self-created, homeo-psychological interpretations. Psychology, like medicine, is a science that has to be studied. The psychological and medical handling of a patient is a very difficult matter for which you have to be thoroughly trained. This is even more true if you do it in a homeopathic way.
 Another big threat to our profession is the carelessness and irresponsible attitude with which quite a few publications present remedy-pictures or provings. Without presenting their sources, without any sufficiently observed and documented cases, the authors claim to detect cores, essences and whatsoever of the newest and latest remedies as if they were partaking in a race. In these discussions I am missing the patience as well as the patients.
 AH: Do you think homeopathy is in a transition right now?
 Mangialavori: Homeopathy has been developing for more than 200 years and has always been in transition. Now we have to consider how to practice it in a contemporary and very professional way, using the tremendous knowledge coming out of other scientific fields and finally realizing our possibilities of individualizing have been used far beyond the method’s borders.
 A good step forward has been that most of us no longer believe it is possible to cure 80% of the diseases with a dozen remedies, as some homeopaths once taught. But instead of proving one new remedy after the other, I would prefer to increase and concentrate our work on elaborating information about the 1500 “known” remedies, most of which, in my view, are more unknown than known.
 AH: Do you think we are doing too many provings?
 Mangialavori: I don’t think we should stop doing provings as they are very interesting and are the basis of our work. But instead of constantly inventing new remedies we also need to discover more things about those we already have. This feeling that we don’t have enough, that we have to have more all the time is a disease, the real pathology, of our era. The results, at this moment, don’t show a better quality of understanding of our cases. I would prefer to go deeper with what we have.
 AH: How does a student make studying the plants as interesting as studying the animals?
 Mangialavori: There is no principal difference between the study of a plant or the study of an animal if you know how to find material. There is certainly more material about snakes or spiders than about some rare plants; but on the other hand we have such wonderful plants as the Solanaceae which deliver a huge amount of detailed anthropological and historical and pharmacological (toxicological) information. Read the book Plants of the Gods and you will be cured of your doubts that the study of plants might be boring.
 AH: Recently people have been concerned about a school of thought that is teaching that there is not only one simillimum. How do you feel about that?
 Mangialavori: This discussion has been going on since the time of Hahnemann. It is a typically senseless theoretical dispute. Similarity means similarity and not identity. Life is an individual phenomenon unless you clone an organism. Therefore, it is very clear that similarity can be something more or less, from this view or that view, and there is no precise method to judge similarity in homeopathic terms in any other way than to give a remedy to the suffering organism and see how the vital force reacts. The law of similars is a law that exists not in reality but as simile (a possible remedy in terms of similarity) as well as the simillimum (the best possible remedy in terms of similarity); both are theoretical constructs or hypotheses referring to a diseased state and not existing in reality until you can demonstrate a cure. The quality of the cure can be judged best by the patient who will say “I am better” or “I feel cured.” This is the difference between the simile and the simillimum.
 AH: So you think there is one simillimum and that the other remedies are on the way to it?
 Mangialavori: Again, nobody can say, how many similes and how many simillimums a disturbed vital force can theoretically respond to in nature. This idea of the simillimum is a theoretical concept; it is something you fix your attention on. You look where the arrow is pointed. The simillimum is both the center of your target and your arrow. But there are other targets and other arrows. The simillimum happens when you are able to shoot your arrow close to the center. Sometimes it happens but not in the majority of our prescriptions. 

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Dr.Devendra Kumar MD(Homeo)
International Homeopathic Consultant at Ushahomeopathy
I am a Homeopathic Physician. I am practicing Homeopathy since 20 years. I treat all kinds of Chronic and Acute complaints with Homeopathic Medicines. Even Emergency conditions can be treated with Homeopathy if case is properly managed. know more about me and my research on my blog https://www.homeoresearch.com/about-me/
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