The Importance of Regimen

This first post in Regimen/Lifestyle is on the importance of Regimen in a wholistic approach to maintaining or reclaiming a state of vital health using the principles of Heilkunst. Regimen is one of the three branches of Heilkunst medicine, and it plays a very important role. It includes the healing/sustaining applications of nutrition, dormition (sleep), recreation, hydration, and coition (sex). Without resonant Regimen, our being cannot properly function and carry out necessary healing. It is especially important to address regimen during Heilkunst treatment, as it serves to support the natural healing capacity of the sustentive aspect of our Life Force. This side of our life force is what maintains homeostasis in our organism. Different from our generative aspect, which is the side of our creative energy that gives us actual life, the sustentive aspect works to support us in both a state of health and disease. It shifts and balances its functioning to defend against and compensate for impingements on the generative aspect from “intruders” (disease energies), supports proper assimilation of nutrients, detoxification of toxins and pathogens, and works to restore a state of health in our being (heal us) when disease has been cured. Without healthy regimen, we aren’t giving our bodies the tools it needs to carry out these functions and maintain health.

Regimen also serves to help with the proper diagnosis of disease. Regimen and Medicine are two distinct branches in Heilkunst for a very good reason: they address two different things. The Heilkunst model differs from classical homeopathy in that we recognize the dual nature of the Living Power, with two sides: generative and sustentive. Regimen addresses imbalances which hinder the body’s natural capacity to sustain and heal (in the sustentive aspect of Living Power), while Medicine addresses disease impingements (in the generative aspect of the Living Power). Both disease and improper regimen can result in symptoms of pathology, so good regimen is important in that it helps one to see whether symptoms are due to an imbalance or a disease. Without these jurisdictions for treatment, based upon natural laws, even “natural” treatments can result in a never-ending process of shooting in the dark at symptoms, leading one down a road of being steeped in confusion at the myriad of information, protocols, and treatments, while still aiming to figure out what’s truly causing the problem.

This has only become more clear as I look back at some of the other approaches I tried when my health was deteriorating. A highly esteemed Functional Medicine doctor who put me on a gluten-free and dairy-free diet tried to explain to me that my fatigue was due to the fact that I wasn’t methylating B vitamins properly (and a whole host of other things that I have since forgotten), so therefore I needed to go on a very expensive vitamin regimen to “fill in the gaps” of my faulty functioning. I sat in her office while she explained the minute details of all the science behind the enzymatic processes and faulty gene sequences that were causing my problem. I glazed over, because I was still searching for the answer to why my body and entire being, which was apparently a robotic machine made solely of enzymes and gene proteins, hadn’t always been this way. Her endless material scientific explanations couldn’t touch upon that. This was the very beginning of me letting go of an authoritarian mind-set (what an amazing journey, which will have to wait for another post), so it was slightly scary to look at her squarely in the face, with her multiple medical degrees on the wall behind her, and say “no thanks.”

I think I now have a richer understanding of the saying “the devil is in the details”, because 5 years later I actually have much “worse” regimen than I did back then when I had to desperately cling to the Paleo and GAPS diets just to stay awake all day. More scientific details would have rendered me into a machine for a mechanic to patch together with some new parts and gadgets. I shared this story because it is a great example of the distinction between symptoms caused by faulty regimen and symptoms caused by disease. My regimen was impeccable, and I still felt awful. Samuel Hahnemann saw this phenomenon happening in his patients as well, which is why he required them to “qualify” for the treatment of disease by first addressing regimen. Here is an excerpt from The Dynamic Legacy: Hahnemann, From Homeopathy to Heilkunst, Book II that describes this nicely:

“When Dr. Hahnemann left the confines of false Western medicine, he first took refuge in the use of regimen. While he later realized that he needed to go further, into medicine proper, in order fully to cure actual disease, he continued to rely on regimen as an integral part of his new system of medicine, Heilkunst. Each patient received advice on diet and lifestyle.

What we see interwoven in Hahnemann’s writings is the concept of producing a pure image of disease on which to prescribe. This implies that the patient needs first to be qualified to receive medicine by means of regimen. Thus, we have the idea in Heilkunst of preparing the patient for medicine, much as the nurses “prep” a person for surgery.

Just as the physician must be qualified to give medicines, so we can equally say the patient must be qualified to receive medicines.

If we imagine a patient who comes in with, say, 100 symptoms and then proceed to address different aspects of his or her regimen, we will find that certain symptoms fall away at each stage.

The patient is now ready to receive medicines. We could then commence to address these with medicines in the proper order according to the principles and jurisdictions of disease and remediation laid down by Dr. Hahnemann and discussed elsewhere in this work.”

When this principled approach was explained to me by my Heilkunst practitioner, I all but burst inside, with a “FINALLY!” This made sense. While regimen is extremely important, it can only go so far, which is what I was slowly beginning to see when I looked at myself and the world around me. There are many different factors or “streams” that contribute to a person’s state of being, and it is possible to approach all of them in a systematic, principled way. We needn’t aimlessly try one thing after another, not knowing exactly what we are addressing. The simplicity found in natural law principles can often solve the most complex of problems, which reminds me of one of my favorite passages from Wilhelm Reich’s Ether, God and Devil:

“We see that the functional interrelation of facts from indifferent, widely separated areas, achieved by different investigative methods but subordinated to one theoretical principle, is no witchcraft or magic but a technique of thinking that can be learned. Helped by this conceptual technique, we can bridge wide gulfs that up to now have gravely impeded biological and medical research. It is primary biological movement, i.e., the primary emotion, which in a simple manner combines living substance of various organizational strata into one. In principle, we have become independent from nerve paths and specific glands because we have put the problem where it belongs: in the foundation of living functioning. Not matter or structure, but motion and energy processes are the guidelines of our conceptual technique. Since substances and structural forms are endlessly complicated, while primitive movements and energy processes of life are extremely simple and accessible to observation, we have gained a new and hopeful perspective. At this point, it is the very simplicity of our clinical and experimental perspective that separates us from our colleagues working with chemical substances and structures in mechanistic pathology. Today, simplicity lacks credibility, even if it no longer seems ‘unscientific,’ as it did several years ago…”

Reich hits the nail on the head (as he usually does) when he says that the “problem” (disease in the generative aspect, or an imbalance in the sustentive aspect) is “in the foundation of living functioning.” Life itself is not material, nor is it created by the food we eat, how much sleep we get, the quality of our sex life, our exercise, or our level of hydration. It is created by God (Universe, Primordial Energy, Highest Creative Power, whatever resonates with you). These things which comprise Regimen (Nutrition, Dormition, Recreation, Coition, Hydration), serve to sustain life. By utilizing functional thinking (as opposed to mechanistic or mystical thinking), we can peer “beyond the veil”, witness Life energy in the dual nature of the Living Power, and properly discern whether a problem needs to be addressed with Regimen, Medicine, or both. Suddenly, both problems, solutions and the Natural Laws that govern them, become much more simple, and easier to see.