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The concept of miasm
16 December 2017 (online)
I wish to comment on the article ‘The concept of miasm – evolution and present day perspective’ by Mohit Mathur.[ 1 ] Dr Mathur links the idea of preventive medicine to the germ theory of the late 1870s. However, on close examination, it is clear that Hahnemann pioneered the concept, although seemingly unrecognised at the time. Aphorism 77 of Sixth edition of The Organon states – “Those diseases are inappropriately named chronic, which persons incur who expose themselves continually to avoidable noxious influences, who are in the habit of indulging in injurious liquors or aliments, are addicted to dissipation of many kinds which undermine the health, who undergo prolonged abstinence from things that are necessary for the support of life, who reside in unhealthy localities, especially marshy districts, who are housed in cellars or other confined dwellings, who are deprived of exercise or of open air, who ruin their health by overexertion of body or mind, who live in a constant state of worry, etc. These states of ill-health, which persons bring upon themselves, disappear spontaneously, provided no chronic miasm lurks in the body, under an improved mode of living, and they cannot be called chronic diseases”.[ 1 ]
It is thus explicit that if a person can avoid noxious influences, he/she would lead a healthier life. The above paragraph also mentions worry as a noxious influence, showing Hahnemann as a pioneer in the recognition of stress as a predisposing factor to illness.
Hahneman seem to equate miasm to ‘susceptibility’, and he tried to delineate different ways in which humans can be susceptible to various diseases, and as itchy conditions and venereal diseases were widespread at the time, considering them as the source of susceptibilities for other maladies is obvious. The concept can be seen as conception of the idea of genetic/immunological disorders which make humans vulnerable to inflammatory/infectious disorders.
Apart from the above, Hahnemann gave the world the very important concept of ‘treating the whole’ and not just the part. Be it infectious disease or cancer, this need to be the priority. Hahneman's concepts were well ahead for his time, and it is now our duty to revisit the facts in today's light.
- 1 Mathur M. The concept of miasm – evolution and present day perspective. Homeopathy 2009; 98: 177-180.