Physical modelling of dynamization

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  • British Homoeopathic Journal October 1997, Vol. 86, pp. 207-210


    Abstract A physical model of the dynamization process is proposed. It is based on some postulates and introduces the concept of saturation, the most important feature of dynamization. We discuss the ideal number of succussions, frequency and dilution ratio to produce a more effective medicine. Our model is a step towards understanding the dynamization process and, by extension, homoeopathy.

    KEYWORDS: Physics; Modelling; Medicines; Dynamization.

    Introduction The development of models to explain natural phenomena is one of the tasks of the scientific community. The first step in developing a model is to observe the phenomenon in order to understand which parameters are relevant. Sometimes, our ignorance obliges us to postu- late ideas, to continue our reasoning. 1-3

    Many approaches to explain the homoeo- pathic phenomenon have been proposed since Hahnemann's time. These evolved according to current scientific knowledge, sometimes as an inappropriate interpretation of natural laws. Among these ideas may be cited disturbances of the 'ether' , Einstein's laws, resonance effects, electromagnetic fields, the 'memory of water', chaos theory and fractals. Generally, physics is the main element of these theories. However, using classical or quantum concepts, an effect is always produced by a cause such as a particle or disturbances in field force. Physical concepts, including quantum mechanics and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle are ways of describing the dynamics of matter. If one does not have something to describe, these concepts cannot be used.

    This is the main problem in explaining the homoeopathic phenomenon. The ultra high dilutions challenge our scientific understanding. It is impossible to describe the behaviour of something which does not exist. Chemistry is based on atomic bonding; physics on field interactions; biology on chemical and physical concepts. But there is no scientific base to explain the homoeopathic phenomenon.

    Many authors have tried to answer the question as to what are the action mechanisms

    * Department of Physics and Chemistry UNESP - Guaratinguetfi.

    of homoeopath ic medicines. Try ing to answer this question, we must know what is the agent and what is the mechanism of action. This agent must be related to the basic laws of homoeopathy that establish a holistic concept of the human being. This concept cannot be described using current scientific knowledge. We are therefore trying to answer the question of how an unknown agent acts through an unknown mechanism in an unknown human being. In fact, our lim- itations leave us unable to answer these questions. This subject is so complex that what we are really looking for is not the answers but a well-formulated question. A good question can be formulated only if one is able to see homoeopathy as a breakthrough in scientific understanding. This must be guided by concrete scientific concepts, able to characterize the phenomenon without ambiguity.

    In this paper we focus on the process of dynamization used to prepare homoeopathic medicines. We analyze this point because it belongs to the basic rules of homoeopathy and can in principle be studied apart from its bio- logical effects. We are not interested in the mechanism of action and biological response of homoeopathic medicines. A physical model to analyse these points will be possible only if the dynamization procedure is properly understood in conjunction with a holistic conception of the human being.

    After presenting the basic concepts of our model we apply it to understand the dynamization mechanism. Discussion of the consequences for the production of medi- cines and the l imitations is fol lowed by general conclusions and suggestions for further studies.


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    Physical model--first considerations Experience teaches us that a substance submit- ted to dilution and dynamization is clinically different from a simple dilution. Dynamization is technically different due to the periodic dilutions, separated by a number of shakes (succussions). This is one of the most impor- tant points to be solved in finding a scientific explanation of the homoeopathic phenomenon.

    Postulates The major difficulty to understanding the dynamization process is the physics of the transfer medicinal energy transference mecha- nism from an active medium 1 to an inert one. The following points are taken as postulates:

    Postulate 1 Medicinal properties can be transferred from an active medium to an inert one.

    Postulate 2 The transfer of these properties is stimulated by succussion.

    Postulate 3 The efficiency and quality of transference depends on the degree of dynamization.

    The first postulate establishes that the medicinal properties of an active medicine are transferred in the dynamization process. It means that this transference can happen even if no material substance is transferred. This effect transforms an inert medium into an active one (induced medium). The second postulate estab- lishes that succussion promotes transference. Beyond the natural dynamics of water mole- cules, 4 macroscopic movement is an important parameter in the transference. The third postu- late establishes that the quality of the medicinal properties as well as the quantity changes according to the degree of dynamization.

    The first postulate is based on the fact that no molecule from the mother tincture can be found in higher dynamizations. The second is based on the clinical differences between simple dilu- tions and dynamizations. The third is based on clinical practice where the dynamization is changed to obtain better results or even avoid aggravations. 5

    Dynamization mechanism Technically, the dynamization procedure can

    British Homoeopathic Journal

    be defined as a sequence of dilution and shaking. Dilution can be thought of as an effec- tive decrease in concentration of a substance. Thinking this way, it could be concluded that the dynamization procedure just eliminates the active substance and, therefore, its effects from the solution. This reasoning may be modified by another apparently similar consideration: dilution is the process in which we increase the relative quantity of solvent in contact with the active substance. Seeing dilution from this point of view, and using the concept of satu- ration, it can be understood why successive dilutions are so important.

    Consider a preparation of a centesimal dynamization according to Hahnemann's law. 6 After diluting 1 drop of a cH (active medium) in 99 drops of inert solvent, a series of succus- sions results in (n+l) cH. The inert medium can receive the medicinal properties of the active one until it reaches a state of saturation. After that, transference stops. Even if we continue the succussion, no further properties can be trans- ferred. A new dilution will eliminate the saturation state and the transference continues during subsequent succussion stages until a new saturation state is reached.

    The first postulate lays down that this dynamization mechanism works even beyond Avogadro's number (~12 cH). The second postulate maintains the mechanism but the saturation condition establishes a critical suc- cussion number (CSN) necessary to saturate an inert solvent. Beyond this number, further succussions are useless. The third postulate tells us that the efficiency of the transferred properties depends on its origin, that is, its degree of dynamization.

    Our model thus establ ishes that the dynamization mechanism requires dilution to ehminate the saturation state and succussion to stimulate the transfer of medicinal properties from one dynamization to the next.

    Parameters The first consequence of our model is to define some parameters involved in the pro- duction and ef f icacy of homoeopath ic medicines. In essence, 3 parameters control the d.ynamization procedure: the critical suc- cusslon number (CSN), the succussion frequency (Fs) and the dilution rate (DR). The CSN parameter defines how many suc- cussions are necessary to saturate an inert

  • Volume 86, October 1997 209

    solvent. The Fs parameter defines how fast succussions must be performed. The DR parameter defines the inert to active medium proportion.

    A homoeopathic medicine is generally produced using Fs = 2 Hz, DR = (1 : 99) and CSN = 100. However, nobody knows why these magic numbers are used. How can we therefore develop potentizing machines? How can we discuss their efficiency? What is the best way of producing a medicine? These and other questions have remained unsolved since Hahnemann's time. If we could answer them, we would be able to produce more effective medicines.

    How can our model with its proposed parameters help in solving these questions? The second postulate concerns the importance of succussion. But the saturation concept sets a limit to the number of succussions. The suc- cussion frequency may also change the efficiency of property transference, thus alter- ing the CSN to a pre-determined DR. In short, our 3 parameters are closely related to the questions as to how to produce more efficient medicines.

    In practice, succussions range from 1 to 4 Hz (succussions per second) in both handmade and machine-made preparations. The dilution rate generally is 1 : 99 (n cH). However, what differences would there be if we used 1 : 101 or 1 : 98? Many pharmacies use only 20 suc- cussions in preparing homoeopath ic medicines. The most important aim is to reach the CSN for the used DR. These varia- tions will be reflected in the clinical results as a less efficient potency if the saturation condition was not reached and an unexpected aggravation if the dilution rate (DR) was lower than expected.

    Our model cannot define magic numbers for each proposed parameter. However, it estab- lishes that the most important aim is to reach the CSN for a specific DR, when succussions are performed with a frequency Fs.

    Limitations The fact that this is based on hypothetical postulates is the major l imitation of our model. These are necessary because the med- icinal propert ies transfer mechanism is completely unknown. In fact, even the defini- tion of medicinal properties will remain unclear for as long as we do not understand

    the holistic concept of the human being. Dependence of the postulate cannot be seen as a fatal problem. It might be remembered that the atomic model proposed by Niels Bohr was based on the postulate of energy quantification. 7

    Our model does explain the dynamization procedure qualitatively, but it cannot establish numerical parameters. This is due to the scarcity of non-clinical results in homoeopathy. Most publications in homoeopathy deal with clinical results. These are important, but the clinical method is not adjusted to scientific research. Double-blind clinical trials can prove that homoeopathy works, but not why or how it works. This model is limited by the lack of non-clinical information about the homoeopathic phenomenon.

    The model does not deal with biological parameters or organic responses. There is thus no point in discussing the action mechanism of a homoeopathic medicine at this stage.

    Practical implications of the model The first implication relates to the production of medicines. Though standard parameters must be defined, an exact control of the number of succussions and their frequency is not neces- sary. Slight differences will not critically affect clinical results. The same can be said of the dilution ratio. Quality control of materials, tincture, solvents and glassware can never be neglected. Even though some contaminants cannot produce clinical effects this is not the general rule. On the other hand, scientific research must be done according to rigorous protocols. This kind of research can produce adequate results, capable of being fitted to a mathematical model and thus define dynamiza- tion parameters numerically, improving the efficacy of medicines. Biological experiments are important to define these numbers.

    The model cannot explain the transference process, but it does indicate directions for further academic research. The main question is: what happens to an aqueous solution after shaking? Also, is it possible to produce medicines without water and alcohol? What can saturate? These and many other questions must be analysed, using modern analytical tech- niques. We must forget most of the experiments performed more than 20 years ago. Technology has evolved very fast and it is now easier to separate signal from noise and contaminants.

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    Conclusions This model is a step towards understanding homoeopathy. Focusing on the dynamization procedure, and using some postulates, we propose a model able to stimulate scientific research in order to increase the homoeopathic medicine efficacy. In this paper we discuss only the Hahnemannian method to prepare a centesimal medicine (n cH). Further work will focus on Korsakovian, 50M, continuous flux and trituration procedure.

    Scarcity of non-clinical experiments prevents the definition of numerical parameters and mathematical models. Biological experiments must be the main source of information about the homoeopathic phenomenon, due to sim- plicity, compared to clinical trials, and reproducibility.

    In spite of some points remaining without a scientific explanation, our model covers the most important features of the dynamization procedure and can be a starting point for more complex models.

    British Hornoeopathic Journal

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    p.865. Barcelona: Ariel SA 1973. 2 Rosmarduc J. History of Physics and Chemistry

    from Tales to Einstein p. 76. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar 1988.

    3 Gordon RA. Assustadora histrria da Medicina p.223. Rio de Janeiro: Ediouro 1996.

    4 Cart P. Les proprirtrs physiques et chimiques de l'eau. Le grand livre de l'eau 183-94. Paris: La manufacture 1990.

    5 Kent JT. Filosofia Homeopatica p. 339. Buenos Aires: Albatroz 1990.

    6 Hahnemann S. Organon da Arte de Curar p. 202. Sat Paulo: Grupo de Estudos Homeopaticos 'Benoit Mure' 1984.

    7 Eisberg R, Resnick R. Ffsica Qu~ntica p. 928. Rio de Janeiro: Campus 1979.

    8 Zacharias CR. Implications of contaminants to scientific research in homoeopathy. Br Horn J 1995; 84: 3.

    9 Zacharias CR. Contaminants in commercial homoeopathic medicines. Br Horn J 1995; 84:71.

    Address for correspondence Carlos Renato Zacharias Caixa Postal 205 FAX: +55 12 5252466 12500 - 000 Guaratinguet~i SP Brasil e-mail:


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