A gathering of homeopaths is always a recipe for plenty of discussion, but when 30 homeopaths from seven countries gathered in Ubud, Bali, for a 7 day homeopathic experience, the word ‘seminar’ became an inadequate description of the week at The Bali Project. Woven into the seminar were a number of facets that led to learning, experience and connections. The Bali Project took place 3rd – 9th June 2013 in Ubud, Bali.
This was the First International Indonesian Homeopathic Seminar. Our patron, Tjokorda Kerthyasa, of the Ubud Royal family, who opened the seminar, explained the appropriateness of Ubud for this seminar, as it is the cultural and healing centre of Bali. Ubud was originally important as a source of medicinal herbs and plants and gets its name from the Balinese word ‘ubad,’ meaning ‘medicine.’
The structure of the seminar was three days in the seminar room, with field trips in the alternate days between. During the seminar days, participants were able to contribute their own knowledge during the Melting Pot discussions, which were so popular, that the allocated time did not meet the level of enthusiasm. The final two days of the seminar, designed for relaxation, culminated in groups of participants in deep discussions on favourite topics and planning international lectures.
Dr Jamal Akhmadsubandi
Dr Jamal is President of the Indonesian Homeopathic Association ‘Ikatan.’ He described how homeopathy was introduced to Indonesia by a Dutch woman in the 1980’s. It gathered momentum in Indonesia, as well as Singapore and Malaysia, leading to the Indonesian Public Health Ministry recognising homeopathy in 2003. There are currently 30 practising homeopaths in Indonesia.
Didi Ananda Ruchira
1. Treatment and Prevention of Malaria
Malaria often occurs with other diseases like typhoid and tuberculosis, making diagnosis and treatment of malaria itself challenging. Abha Light, the foundation that Didi heads, has created prevention and treatment programmes using homeopathic medicine and indigenous medicines, such as Neem. Didi described treatment protocols, the clinics and training that Abha Light has created. As Kenya is a poor country, education about illness is crucial to successful treatment.
2. Treatment of HIV AIDS
Many HIV/AIDS patients also have TB, and having HIV AIDS is a social stigma, along with other sexually transmitted diseases makes it difficult to treat, as the condition is often held in secrecy. Didi gave a detailed description of a three month homeopathic, naturopathic and lifestyle approach to treatment.
3. Life in an African Clinic
Didi outlined the every-day difficulties that impact on running a clinic in poor areas with basic hygiene problems caused by poor water supplies and waste disposal. She also discussed the prescribing issues that arise when treating a highly vaccinated population and gave some case examples of recoveries from vaccinosis.
Modern Obstacles to Cure and How to Remove Them
Jon outlined the many diseases that have emerged in recent decades, such as an increase in digestive problems, chronic fatigue, allergies, neurological diseases and autistic spectrum disorders. He emphasised the need in homeopathy to understand the underlying causes in each patient, and identifying whether the cause is a toxicity, deficiency or infection, which then guides the treatment. He outlined the common obstacles to cure for each condition, such as heavy metal toxicity occurring in patients with neurological disease, and deficiencies in allergies. He also described the mental and emotional symptoms caused by toxicities.
Treatment of Dengue Fever
Tjok related his experience of treating Dengue Fever in Indonesia and furnished the group with some facts that made everyone realise the value of understanding this disease for their practices. Dengue was first noted in in Europe in 1779 and there was a marked increase in its incidence after WWII and the Vietnam War. It poses a risk to around 40% of the world’s population. The number of reported cases has nearly doubled each decade for the past forty years. Tjok described the symptom patterns and the importance of treating acutely before the disease moves into its chronic stage.
He listed the laboratory tests used, and the five main homeopathic medicines for each stage of the disease. He also identified the difference between Dengue Fever and Chikungunya. He has found the use of the Dengue nosode, invaluable along with miasmatic treatment, diet and lifestyle changes. A number of indigenous plants used to treat Dengue Fever were also described.
The morning after this presentation there was an unexpected diversion on the Herb and Spice Trail. Tjok was called to treat an acute case of Dengue fever, and three members of the group got to observe what turned out to be a successful homeopathic treatment, after a few doses of Rhus Tox 30.
Dr Neha Seth
1. Miasmatic Treatment of Allergies ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison’
After a detailed description of the allergic metabolic pathway, Dr Seth described a systematic, miasmatic treatment protocol that she uses to treat each allergic case, beginning each case with the cancer miasm. She utilises a dietary approach and also provided a long list of homeopathic remedies that apply to specific allergens, to use in order, treating the most severe allergen in turn. It was a systematised, practical approach that included many prescribing guidelines.
2. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Specific treatment for PCOS using a dilution method of dosing with the remedies Phosphorous 1M, Calc carb 10M, Apis, Oophorinum and Gossypium.
Some video cases of Vitiligo treatment were shown. Amni Visnaga is an important medicine for this condition.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD’s)
Well-known for her work on these conditions, Fran described the multi-system impacts of ASD’s. When treating homoeopathically, using PQRS symptoms becomes important. Common remedies she uses are Phosphorous, Calc carb, Sulphur, Lycopodium and Tuberculinum.
Less commonly used remedies were Abrotanum, Calc arsenicum, Helleborus and Vinca minor. Fran described the features of each of these remedies. Knowing the common and uncommon symptoms of ASD’s is important. She uses frequent diluted doses to bring a more rapid improvement. Good case management, parent involvement and accurate interpretation of symptoms are crucial for a positive outcome. Fran’s work on this topic has been published in two earlier editions of Similia: December 2007 AND June 2008.
A Dynamic Learning Experience
Each of the three days in the seminar room included discussion groups called Melting Pots where specific topics were selected according to individual choice, much like a ‘speed knowledge-gathering’ session. Groups discussed their topics of choice, then reported back to the larger group. These sessions were a such a success that the Aurum Project is set to demonstrate them at the upcoming National AHA Conference in Hobart next year.
After emerging from a Melting Pot, participants had much greater knowledge of a topic, along with the prescribing experience of other homeopaths, all in 90 minutes. It was a dynamic way to learn and the organisers got the clear message that more time was needed for these sessions at the next Bali Project.
Melting Pots topics
• HIV Aids
• Interface between Homoeopathy and Psychology
• Lyme Disease
Show and Tell
The inclusive nature of the Bali Project approach led to a spontaneous session of ‘Show and Tell’ where participants volunteered to describe an aspect of their practice to the group.
This led to:
• Ilma Hynson describing her positive experience with the Therapeutic Goods Administration in developing her insect bite remedy business.
• Alain Picard explaining essential information on remedy manufacture.
• Dr Suriya Osman offering her experience of recognising and treating the rabies miasm.
• Rose Coelho sharing a successful case of paraplegia using Bambusa on a field trip
Three field trips were included in the seminar programme. The first was a Herb and Spice Trail field trip, which saw the group walking amongst paddy fields, where bamboo, coffee and cacao plants grew. During a walk in the Ubud countryside the group saw a range of plants from the homeopathic Materia Medica along the track, plus some indigenous medicinal plants.
Incorporated in the Herb and Spice Trail field trip was a visit to a traditional Balinese family home, where everyone was treated to Balinese sweets and organic coffee grown and ground by the family, then made into a delicious cuppa. A grateful village priest was present, due, a year or two earlier, to his snake-bitten finger being saved by a dash of Lachesis prescribed by Tjok.
The second field trip, undoubtedly the highlight of the whole week, was a trek up the volcanic Mt Batur to view some Sulphur in situ. It was a Holy Grail thing. Before ascending Mt Batur, the group was guided through a prayer session in a Balinese temple at the base of the mountain. Most of the group managed the trek, to an area of yellow rock in the side of the mountain, complete with gushes of steam emanating from it. A sample was taken, potentially to add to the volcanic remedies in the Materia Medica, for a proving of ‘Batur Lava.’ Sharing the challenges of this trip united the whole group and let’s just say that ‘lasting bonds were formed.’
The third, optional Marine field trip was a journey to Amed, on the north eastern coast of Bali, for post-seminar relaxation and snorkelling at a coral reef. After spending five days together already, rather than ‘winding down’, the conversations between participants continued to gather momentum and it was just plain exciting to be there. After seven days, getting to the nitty-gritty of life as a homeopath and the profession in general, saw many in-depth, passionate discussions which would otherwise never have been possible.
The Bali Project was a constructive, positive experience. Everyone came away boosted and supported in the challenges of being a homeopath after being in an atmosphere of learning and camaraderie. Many connections developed – invitations between Kenya, India and Australia were made!
Some general comments from participants:
“If the aim was to ply participants with clinical skills, it was met.”
“The right balance of speakers and the topics that are relevant to practice today.”
“I discovered herbs I thought were weeds.”
“The Melting pot sessions were just what we need to advance ourselves as homeopaths.”
“I felt able to communicate with others from the group and didn’t feel like a ‘stupid’ homeopath anymore.”
“I met some old friends and some online friends that I finally met physically for the first time in over a decade. Others were new friends that I had not met, yet I felt that I knew already.”
“I enjoyed the fun, the laughter, the sharing of common problems and difficulties that never seemed so bad once they had been shared.”
“Balancing the field trips between days in the classroom worked really well.”
“Including the families of the attendees on the field trips and outings was a brilliant way of melding us all together as an even larger family group.”
“I learned more of the homoeopathic principles of like cures like, smallest dose and potency from my colleagues. When a group of homoeopaths as knowledgeable as this group gathered together in the upstairs room of the college in Ubud, the energy was almost palpable, the respect so clearly visible.”
Contributions from Catherine Angel, Rose Coelho, Bernadette English, Nyema Hermiston, Ilma Hynson, Ruth Marr, Kerry Schweigert and Shabina Yakub.
This article was published in Similia, the journal of The Australian Homeopathic Association. Reference: Seminar Reviews: The Bali Project. 2013. Similia. Vol.25(2) p.5-7.