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Celeste’s latest write-up of her passionate research vision, in 5 minutes

June 2024

A curious case of a reduction in suffering

One of my intentions in these ruminations is to share the joy of homeopathy research with you in plain english.

Many years ago when I was first in university-land, reading research papers on metallurgical processes and tests, I wondered a lot of the time “What does this mean?” A lot of complex, technical, sometimes incomprehensible words that mean something to a handful of people. A writing form that felt stilted and unrealistic. 

At university I learnt how to write up research results in a way relevant to universities and academics, a format that has developed and evolved over decades. When I left university and worked in industry, the written form changed. Results from any research undertaken were always written about in the context for bottom line operations or long term expected gains for the company. No finding exists without the context. Every industry has its own way of expressing itself to its peers. This includes homeopathy.

Switching it up to health and homeopathy. What matters to us when we consult a complementary medicine practitioner about our dis-ease? I suggest our first thought as a patient is “help me reduce my suffering”. In Aphorism 1 from Hahnemann’s The Organon, “The physician’s high and only mission is to restore the sick to health, to cure, as it is termed,” is the homeopath’s first call to action. It is fundamental to our practice and fundamental to our patients who are looking for relief.

So what does this have to do with homeopathy research? Research that exists that may support me reducing my suffering is something I may want to know about. It turns out research has quite a lot to do with homeopathy. We only know how to apply the homeopathy principles in our case taking activity because of the research we and others have done in their clinics. Alongside our fundamental knowledge of the remedies used in homeopathy obtained from the provings, we have a unique consultation process. These two key parts of our practice come together dynamically in the clinic with our patients.

We are at the cutting edge of applying the research and making new findings, each time we consult with a patient.

Unfortunately, the word “research” conjures up a modern day mental image of activity that seems distant to what we do in practise as homeopaths. What do you think of when the term research is used? Is it a white coat, a laboratory, test tubes, words like Randomised Controlled Trials (or RCT’s) are used and BAM off you go for a run, or listening to the latest health podcast.  “Research” doesn’t seem to have much to do with what happens in my clinic, and if I don’t get a very clear story on how it impacts my life right now in some way…. hey I’m pretty busy, I move on.

The chasm between me and research increases when words like academic, institution, faculty, are used. If we add a few statistical terms in or a model name (see I already lost you just talking about it) it can turn us away from the joy of realising we are all part of an ongoing research activity to reduce suffering. 

So how do we translate the homeopathy case reports we are writing into a language that engages with people, rather than leaving them with a sour taste in their mouths?

We can write the case report just as we would write case notes in an unfolding narrative of the patient within the consultation. We ask the patient in the consultation, what’s happening for them, in your own words, tell me what you would like my help with? And a series of other questions inviting the person into their body, feelings of thought, depending upon how they are talking to us. Where in your body does it feel, or doesn’t feel? Describe for me your experience of life? What does your typical day look like? What does a difficult day look like? What does a perfect day look like? At the start they may speak to the point, laconic, dry, ordinary, procedural, task oriented, or it might be emotional or mentally colourful and slightly magical. Whatever they say is the patient expressing themselves in their dis – ease, at this moment with you the practitioner, both seeking to find an end to their suffering.   

It is a beautiful thing to be asked “how are you?” and being given space to explore your experience of being human at this moment in time. Given to time to consider the experience of our dis – ease. We get to consider these issues when we visit a homeopath. Who else can you think of who asks you to share how you feel when you vomit? “Actually” she answered with her eyes lighting up “you know I feel much better immediately after! I feel like I’ve been exorcised of a foul beast that lurks in my throat”. Throat, foul beast, tell me more about them? A homeopath is interested in your experience.

Can you imagine a narrative that presents both the process the homeopath undertook to understand the story of the patient and what steps they took to assist the alleviation of the patient’s suffering?

This is the case report. It covers the patient’s experience, the story of their dis-ease and the treatment given. It includes medical diagnosis and tests, other treatments already tried and their outcome. About these other treatments, do they work, to what extent? Mostly our patients will have other treatment, whether it is self selected, medical or other complementary medical treatment. Quite a few patients come to a homeopath because the other treatments are incomplete or failing to alleviate their suffering, or as we hear there is no treatment for this condition. 

Then matters get a bit technical. The case report covers how and why the homeopath did what they did. This is the gold of the case report, and is where we could really develop the story of the homeopath and their process. The treatment description and reasoning is more than a line item “Sulphur 30C, 3 times a day for 3 days”. It’s a discovery about the way the homeopath worked things out and “managed the case”.

An exploration and explanation of why the path is chosen helps us all understand the way different homeopaths implement the art of homeopathy. It is where we acknowledge the homeopath is as individual as the patient, and it is the interaction between these two that is as integral to the healing path as the remedy. A well reported case helps all homeopaths no matter what stage of their practice.  A case report that has the patient story helps anyone reading it touch the spaces of suffering of another human being and the path taken to resolve their situation. Our unique expression of humanity can be expressed in the case report.

In the next instalment,  I will explore more deeply into the voice and tone we might use to report a patient’s narrative, and where we can use our well honed case taking skills as the central pillar of case reporting in the 21st century.

Invitation:

Do you have a case in your clinic that you know would be a jewel to share with others, but you feel uncertain about making it a case report for publication? If every Australian who is on the Register of Homoeopaths (ARoH) in Australia published one interesting case, there would be over 300 cases in print. If every practising homeopath published one case, there would be a lot more!!

We are hosting a Melting Pot on this very topic of Sharing our Cases on Thursday August 8 at 7pm Sydney time. Come along and start the process together in what we can do to support each other in writing up our cases. In doing so, you will be supporting our research.

AP Members will be emailed a discount code, so look out for this in your inbox.

REGISTER HERE for the Melting Pot

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May 2024

Get on my case!

Central to everything the homeopath does “in clinic” is the thing we call “taking the case”. It is where the theory of everything we are learning as practitioners is put into practice with our patients. As our learning of the art of homeopathy progresses we aim to improve how we help the patient with their dis-ease. A homeopathic preparation is often dispensed during the consultation (not always), and often there is a lot of talking and counselling, again not always. It is a kind of hard to define space, the  space where the homeopathic interview or session occurs. Every session is different as each homeopath is an individual and each patient is also an individual.

For a couple of centuries now homeopaths have been writing up their cases and sharing them with other homeopaths to learn more about this process of case taking and how a remedy worked for this patient. Homeopathy is a lot more than just giving a remedy and reporting on its effect. The actual processes of individualisation, a word you may have come across already, is a key part of the art of our practice. It is about how we take the case so to speak, the case of you, the patient, not the disease diagnosis you have. It is the process that often results in the feeling of being heard by the practitioner as they are listening to your experience of your ailments with as much seriousness and care, as you are experiencing the effects of it.

Homeopaths all over the world are taking cases daily. Case file notes are accumulating online and inside filing cabinets. Over years the history of a person may reveal and unfold within the clinic of the homeopath. My homeopath has records regarding my case for over 15 years. A deep understanding occurs between the practitioner and the patient when we visit and consult for years on our dis – ease and work towards healing. This is like an onion peeling away layers of dis – ease, allowing our creative selves to be realised, not hindered by chronic disease.  

Case reports are also the main data for the research we conduct at The Aurum Project. A well reported case helps a new homeopath understand the way an experienced homeopath has undertaken the case taking and analysis for that patient with that dis – ease. It becomes a fundamental teaching tool. The case report helps a middle career practitioner reflect and expand on their own approaches especially as more complex cases arrive at their clinic doorstep. It brings insight to the experienced practitioner on how a colleague approached the patient, and the inner reflection of nuance on how they managed the patient case. Sharing cases promotes an inner space of awareness in the practitioner, is that what I would have done?  How did they come up with that approach? Why was this or that decision made? There is learning for all homeopaths at all stages of practice from the sharing of a case report.

Every-time we give our practitioner permission to write up our case we are helping current and future homeopaths in developing their skill as a practitioner. Published cases are always anonymous.

You can review some cases that we have published in The Aurum Project blog here.

Next time I will share with you some more ideas on what makes a good case for research and education. 

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March 2024

Time to be counted!

Homeopathy research

Systematic Review – “A systematic review determining the amount, focus and nature of homoeopathy research activity in Australia” Presented at Australian Homeopathic Medicine Conference in Brisbane

We have wonderful news to share with you about the Homeopathy Workforce Survey Project (HWFS). On 7th March 2024, the HPWS Pod received ethics approval to proceed with the project. This was obtained through the National Institute of Integrative Medicine (NIIM), with project approval NIIM HREC 0138E_2024.  
Why is ethics approval so important for the research we do? To ask people questions we need ethics approval. It is the gateway that all research in Australia involving human participation requires. It means our project has satisfied nationally determined criteria on how to conduct research safely. With ethics approval research undertaken is able to be used as fact or data, and many journals only accept papers with ethics approval.
This practically means that now we can begin the survey
In November 2023 we, Sandra Venables, Gabrielle Brodie, Michelle Hookham and I, presented a poster at the Australian Homeopathic Medicine Conference in Brisbane, on the reasons for the study, using a frog cartoon as a metaphor.  You can see the poster here
We love the frogs. They are wondering who, what and where the homeopaths are in Australia. This study is aiming to find this out!
If you are a registered homeopath with the Australian Register of Homoeopaths (ARoH) look out for information from ARoH so that you can be part of the pilot study this year.
Cheers Celeste

 

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September 2023

On 27th August 2023, Celeste gave a presentation to the NSW Branch AHA AGM with some reflection on the international research shared at the Homeopathy Research Institute Conference in London in June, where Celeste Salter and Sunny Goddard presented two posters on behalf of The Aurum Project’s research pods. They are:

  • Homeopathy treatment of recurrent urinary tract infection: a retrospective case series analysis – by Sunny Goddard, Celeste Salter, Ash Sharafi, and  Sabina Vatter
  • Determining the quantity and focus of homeopathy research activity in Australia: a systematic literature review- by Sabina Vatter, Linlee Jordan and Celeste Salter

It was a wonderful opportunity to be selected to share the research our members have been undertaking here in Australia. Here is the 30 minute video of Celeste’s presentation and reflections at the NSW AHA AGM. Our Pods will also present several posters at the upcoming AHA conference in November, we hope to see you there and share more face to face. Celeste AHA AGM 23 webinar Enjoy

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August 2023

AP goes to the Transformations Conference 2023 in Sydney

On July 13th, 2023 Linlee Jordan and Celeste Salter made a presentation at the Transformations Conference 2023. The International Transformations Community and Conference is there to increase people’s capacity to transform social – ecological systems to achieve desirable futures that are sustainable, regenerative, just and equitable by co-creating and amplifying knowledge, capacities, learning and action. It was attended by practitioners, researchers, artists and anyone involved in making a change for the better on this planet.

The conference topic: Transformative Partnerships for a Better World, was attended by over 700 people from 40 countries, in a hybrid conference held online and in person in Sydney, Prague and Portland Maine from July 11 – 14.

Linlee and I (Sunny Goddard was there in spirit) gave a short presentation on what we are doing at The Aurum Project to shift the paradigm in health care research, with our Pods initiative. We presented how we are creating a new way of undertaking health focused research. Our Pod members are practitioners passionate about their research topics and homeopathy. They work together and self-manage their activities. They are online. They apply their clinical knowledge in their research topics and apply the findings of their research directly into their practice, benefiting their patients.

What makes what we are doing at The Aurum Project different, is the strength that arises for the individual relationships formed within the Pods. This is the foundation of the Pod. It is a great support for us all.

Mike Cowdroy created the above image for our talk which was warmly received and resonated with many of the attendees in our session. It gives a new way of visualising and thinking about an organisational structure.  A new image and concept for a new approach. It shows the dynamic nature of the relationships between all of the parts of the system. This is what Pods are like, and the strength of the relationships between the Pod members is something that many of our AP Pod members are valuing. It is what sets our research approach apart.

I was proud to share The Aurum Project story at the conference with Linlee Jordan. Linlee is the AP Director and founder. It is her vision that we are building and co-creating. We are all  excited to see what is possible in the future.

Celeste

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July 2023

AP members go to the HRI Conference London 2023

AP members at HRI Conference

Dr Celeste Salter, Sunny Goddard, Jane Lindsay, Sharon Jones (left to right)

Dr Celeste Salter (AP Research Coordinator) and Sunny Goddard (AP Teal Relationships Coordinator) presented 2 posters at the HRI conference in London June 2023: “Determining the quantity and focus of homeopathic research activity in Australia: a systematic literature review” and “Homeopathic treatment of urinary tract infection of women in Australia: a retrospective case series analysis”. Also attending the conference from Australia were Jane Lindsay, (AP Vice President) and Sharon Jones (AP member).

Sunny and Celeste had the opportunity to meet with Rachel Roberts, Dr Alex Tournier and Dr Esther van der Werf from HRI before the conference. They learned that the international homeopathic community is looking to build grassroots engagement with practitioners. “This is exactly what The Aurum Project is already doing. It’s something we can and will build upon,” said Celeste.

Excellent questions being asked in our community.

There is a growing discussion on what kind of research might best support our discipline? There are calls for more qualitative research activity. A paraphrased question from Dr Michael Teut, Researcher at The Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics in Berlin: Should we be doing different types of research, ones that support our profession from within? Are we asking the wrong questions? What kinds of research would better suit our homeopathic community? There are sound psychological reasons why our good quality quantitative research won’t be acknowledged by the current dominant medical paradigm. Is there a better way ahead for us?

We heard engaging discussions on homoeopathy, how to help strawberries grow more productively with Dr Leonardo Faedo, how to farm fish with less disease with Dr Jesus Antonio Lopez Carvello, mixed methods studies on mental health measuring the quality of improvement as well as the qualitative assessment of narratives in consultation with Dr Hildegard Klingberg, and explorations on the patient satisfaction with homeopathy treatment in Bulgaria with Dr Dora Pachova. The increasing role and prevalence of CAM therapies including homeopathy for cancer treatment throughout Europe, and especially Italy, is encouraging.

Throughout the world homeopaths are exploring and working as well as they can, against a strong force of opposition. Despite this, basic, clinical, observational, case studies, prospective pragmatic trials, mixed method approaches in research.

Proving methodology and compliance with ethics and clinical trials regulations continue to be done producing exciting results for us all to use. Professor Ashley Ross and Dr Peter Smith have been leading this important development of our primary research tool. It makes our discipline so much stronger when we pass through these ethical requirements while maintaining the essence of our practice.

It’s clear that homeopaths all over the world are resilient!

The grass roots approach we use in The Aurum Project is exactly what our international community needs. Time and again presenters mentioned the many thousands of cases we have in our clinics all over the world that no-one hears about. We have internationally accepted guidelines on case reporting. And yet there are many interesting cases we all have in our clinics that haven’t made it to print or even shared with our peers

Maybe we can all help do something about this here in Australia.

Sunny and I would like to say thank you to everyone who helped support our attendance at the London conference. We made many beneficial connections, including with Ainsworths Pharmacy homeopaths, Boiron researchers, and also with Japanese homeopaths. We’re very grateful for your support.

From Celeste and Sunny

 

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April 2023

The last few weeks at The Aurum Project have been buzzing along with Pod members creating  posters and compiling research ready to share with the world.

Did you know that community acquired antibiotic resistant infections are on the rise?

What does this even mean to us? It means our community is becoming immune to a range of antibiotics AND this resistance in people is occurring OUTSIDE the hospital. You may have heard of MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus), a hospital acquired antibiotic resistant strain of staphylococcus aureus. It is a pretty serious situation and results in a lot of people dying when they get say an infection because the antibiotics just don’t work for them. On the rise are UTI infections and they are increasingly becoming antibiotic resistant. This is of significant concern, given the common accepted treatment for UTI is antibiotic therapy. The UTI Pod has been exploring this and other factors, and this leads them to want to show how homeopathy could be a suitable treatment for UTI. 

To support our efforts to present our research at HRI London 2023, please do so HERE.

The Molluscum Contagiosum (MCV) Pod

This Pod is well progressed with their retrospective review exploring MCV cases in two clinics. Dr Sujata Naik’s clinic in Mumbai, India and Harbord Homeopathy Clinic in Brookvale, NSW Australia are examining their past cases to see how MCV presents for homoeopathy treatment. One interesting observation so far is that in the Mumbai clinic of Dr Sujata’s, MCV is often seen on the face of children, while in the Brookvale clinic of Linlee Jordan’s there are no reported cases of MCV on the face of children. One thing that is being seen in both clinics is quick resolution of the condition with homeopathy treatment, far quicker than the self limiting nature of the disease would indicate. It is exciting to actually see how homeopathy treatment has helped children and their parents with MCV, and even more exciting to be able to share it with everyone.

If you’re interested to find out more, why not consider coming along to an AP Cluster Session. We hold an informal gathering once every 2 months where the Pods give an update and share interesting and notable findings of their research. As many Pods are gearing up for the Australian  Homeopathic Medicine Conference in November in Brisbane, there are always interesting findings to hear about. The cluster session goes for an hour and includes an open discussion for all who attend. It is FREE for all AP members to attend, and $10AUD for non members to come along. 

Please reach out to me via email if you have any questions.

Cheers, Celeste

 

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March 2023

The Pods have been meeting every two weeks furthering their projects. Here are a few insights on what’s happening: The Solomon Island Water Medicine Project has been accepted to present a poster at the Australian Homeopathic Medicine Conference in November in Brisbane. This will be a great way to connect with the project and hear how homeopathy has been used in the Islands for over 100 years. If you’d like to stay in touch with this project use this LINK.   The Urinary Tract Infection Pod is moving ahead with preparations for their poster presentation at the June Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI) London conference, to be presented by Sunny Goddard.  The Pod is refining their research methodology so that when they select the case studies to be included in their study, the criteria they use is clear and predetermined. This will help minimise the biases of the Pod members in case selection.  “Irritation on all levels” and how homeopathy treatment can assist will be presented. Also in June, I will be presenting at HRI, about the Pod research on conducting a systematic review on Australian homeopathic research published since 1990. This review is registered with Prospero, an international registry for systematic review research.  Two independent reviewers assess all of the included papers, and a third reviewer is dealing with differences in rating that arise. We have almost completed the review stage. This is the first time the homeopathic literature published in Australia has been assessed. An interesting finding from our literature is that homeopaths often meld different types of writing into one piece. It is not uncommon to find a paper that has materia medica, philosophy, and case studies all together, moving from one category of information into another with an ease. Standard quantitative research assessment techniques don’t allow for our type of research to be assessed with any ease whatsoever. It’s like trying to fit a multi faceted diamond shape into a small flat square. Maybe one face fits, at any given time, while many others don’t fit at all. This aspect of our discipline we could understand more deeply and begin to include the rich base of our narrative tradition on an equal footing with the quantitative aspects. If you can support The Aurum Project to go to HRI this year and present in person we’d appreciate your support. At any time if you’d like to know more or would like to connect, please reach out and email me.

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February 2023

It’s 5 years since Dr Celeste Salter took over the role of Research Co-ordinator, and she has achieved a lot in that time. Here is her February latest write-up. 2023 is shaping up to be a big year for The Aurum Project and our research Pods. We’ve had 5 abstracts accepted by the 13th Australian Homoeopathic Medicine Conference in Brisbane for November. Sunny Goddard and I recently posted a blog on Pods, you can read it here. I welcome your feedback on what you think about this approach we are taking in The Aurum Project. Drop me an email at celeste@aurumproject.org.au What are Pods and what is Teal? Teal is an organisational theory with three pillars: wholeness, evolutionary purposefulness and self organising. Sunny gave a short presentation on Wholeness and Evolutionary Purpose in our cluster sessions last year.  You can watch these short videos to give you more of an idea about what the pillars are and how they work in practice. Pods use these three pillars, of wholeness, evolutionary purpose and self organising, as the focus on how they operate. They are dynamic and focused on the relational aspects of being together while doing, rather than doing alone. It may appear a bit “out of the box” to consider we could use this approach. It is very aligned to how we practice as homeopaths, and it is working. Cluster sessions give you the chance to tap into the breadth of activity that our members are engaged in. Topics being researched right now include UTI, Molluscum Contagiosum, The Solomon Islands Water Project. We’re also asking questions like “What research have Australian homeopaths done for the last 2 decades?” and “What does our profession look like now and what is needed for our longevity?” On Feb 23, 7pm EDST Sunny will present the final pillar of Teal – Self Organising. The cluster sessions are free for members and here to help you connect to our research activities. Clusters run for an hour, and include a dedicated discussion section. This is proving to be very helpful for all who attend.  Everyone is welcome. Members can attend for free, non members the cost is $10. To attend please register (and use the discount code from Erica) We host a cluster once every 2 months. You can check our events calendar for the next one in April.  Want to connect but not sure how? Reach out by email and ask me.

 

Back in March 2018

5 minutes with Dr Celeste Salter, The Aurum Project Research Co-ordinator

Celeste SalterWe are delighted to announce that Celeste Salter has recently taken over the role of Research Co-ordinator for the Aurum Project.  We sat down with her to find out a little bit more about Celeste and why she decided to accept the role.

Celeste is a practicing Homeopath, living and working in the glorious Blue Mountains, just outside of Sydney.  She found out about the opening of the role and it spoke to her so much, she felt wonderfully compelled to apply for it.  With her scientific background and her current homeopathic focus, it looked like the perfect opportunity to integrate her extensive experience and knowledge base from past and present roles.

Celeste sees the current position of homeopathy in Australia as an exciting opportunity for homeopathy.  She said: “Homeopathy in Australia is in the middle of the ocean at the moment; it can go in many different directions – and in the middle of this is the Aurum Project.”

We will be working with Celeste to develop relationships with organisations within and outside Australia to build the momentum we need to further develop our research program.  She is excited to look for strategic connections and collaboration opportunities.

Celeste is incredibly focused on what needs to be done and where best to spend her time.  She is a keen communicator and has made a commitment to keep everyone up to date about our research projects and all the stages we will be going through to get results.

Since you’re here…

More people than ever before are reading The Aurum Project blog. There is a surge of interest in natural therapies research. But grants or support from funding bodies is hard to come by. So you can see why we would like to ask for your help. The Aurum Project is an Australian independent research group with charity status. Our research takes a lot of time, money and hard work to keep pushing forward. But we love it because we believe our work is important and we’ve been told by parents over and over again that they believe what we do is important too. For a donation of for example, $50 per month you can help support us to produce top quality peer reviewed scientific data for the community.

All donations are tax deductible. It will only take a minute. Thank you. Click here to donate today.

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