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Impossible Cure: The promise of Homeopathy

"Impossible Cure: The promise of Homeopathy " -
by Amy Lansky, PhD
R.L. Ranch Press: Portola Valley, CA, 2003, paperback, 302 pages, $18.95. ISBN

Reviewed by Lia Bello, RN, FNP, CCH
This new
book is one of the clearest and most comprehensive introductions to homeopathy
in recent times. In Impossible Cure, Amy Lansky, PhD, explains in a remarkably
reader-friendly way the science and art of homeopathy. By including dozens of
patients' stories as well as interviews with practitioners, she weaves a well-crafted
overview. Her language is not complex, making it accessible to the non-technical
reader. This book may very well contribute to the transformation of homeopathy
from the ugly duckling of medicine to the swan that it deserves to be.
     The book is written from two vantage points: that
of a loving mother sharing the heart-wrenching story of her son's struggle with
autism and how homeopathy cured him—and that of a skeptic delving into
the mysteries of healing. Amy Lansky was a computer scientist working for NASA
when the journey of her son's healing with homeopathy began. In her words, "It
did not take long for me to realize that my son's miraculous cure from autism
was far more revolutionary than any computer program or technological gadgetry." She
also soon decided that she had to write a book to let others know about homeopathy. 
     Lansky shares the story of how her son, Max, recovered
fully from moderate autism. The fact that her son's homeopath found the simillimum
on the first try makes it all the more amazing and gives hope to us all. At first
I thought that the title, Impossible Cure, was too dramatic for an introductory
book on homeopathy, but after reading about Max and the other vignettes of healing,
I have decided that it is appropriate.
     The story of Max's cure is followed by chapters
that delve into deep issues, such as, "What is Disease? What is Cure?" Lansky
acquaints the reader with the relationship between the symptom pattern and the
simillimum. In order to do this, she presents a historical picture of the development
of the varied strategies homeopaths may use when they choose a remedy and its
potency. LM potency use is included, so the book joins just a handful of others
modern enough to speak of this relatively new phenomenon.
     Lansky gives a short explanation of related applications
of homeopathy outside the classical homeopathic paradigm, including combination
remedies, isopathy, anthroposophic medicines, homeopathic prophylaxis, homeopathic "specifics," cell
salts, intuitive and machine-generated prescribing, Flower Essences, herbalism,
and energy healing. Lansky states here that it is "important for patients to
understand which treatment methods are actually 'homeopathy' and which are not."
Impossible Cure also includes up-to-date information on homeopathic research
and its significance in relation to modern medicine. The author's skill at word
crafting is noticeable here—whereas other books' descriptions of chaos
theory, ultradilutions, and cluster physics had lost me, this book has actually
made these complex theories understandable to my brain—no small feat! 
     Lansky guides fledgling consumers through finding
a practitioner, experiencing an initial interview, taking a remedy, and responding
to it. This is a great help to someone who has no idea what to expect when stepping
into homeopathy. The chapter, "Cure is Possible," relates many success stories
drawn from an impressive, international list of practitioners, patients, and
their family members—including dramatic reversals of Alzheimer's disease,
cancer, fibromyalgia, and mental illness. These are instructive cases illustrating
the efficacy of homeopathy. 
     Impossible Cure sticks to principles and
philosophy, completely foregoing any discussion of materia medica and how-to
information. It reminds me of George Vithoulkas' little book, Homeopathy:
Medicine of the New Man
, which I used to recommend to new patients back in
the '80s. Since then there have been many good books that have tried to tell
the whole story of homeopathy, like Ullman's Discovering Homeopathy, Koehler's Handbook
of Homeopathy
, and Ullman and Reichenberg-Ullman's The Patient's Guide
to Homeopathic Medicine
. But it is refreshing and somehow even more legitimate
to hear it from Lansky, a cured consumer. My only criticism of her book is that
it is lacking perspective on how difficult it can be and how long it takes to
become an accurate and effective classical homeopathic prescriber. Though we
proponents of homeopathy tend to remain optimistic about the potential for cure,
the many complicated cases that go uncured with homeopathic treatment should
also be factored into the equation.
     Modern issues surrounding the tenuous position
of homeopathic practice in the U.S. are discussed in the chapter, "The Road Ahead." Issues
of licensure, certification, legal practice, access to remedies, homeopathic
training, and health freedom legislation are covered. Few other books address
these timely issues.
     Since most people, even in enlightened circles,
still do not understand homeopathy and its potential, the homeopathic community
is faced with the challenge of getting the word out—and the even larger
challenge of providing accessible, affordable, professional, homeopathic healthcare—thereby
liberating society from the monopoly of conventional medical care. Homeopathy
must grow into a viable healthcare choice for the many—not just for an
elite few—and this will take massive education at the grassroots and a
shift in how homeopathy is now accessed. 
     Impossible Cure succeeds in demystifying
homeopathy's approach to healing and will help people understand what embarking
on homeopathic treatment is all about. The facts and history are accurate and
well-documented. Everyone interested in homeopathy can enjoy this book, from
the rank beginner to the seasoned homeopath. The book speaks of the promise that
homeopathy holds for those who step forward to use it and for practitioners who
work with it daily to cure their patients.

About the author:
Lia Bello, RN, FNP, CCH, is the current leader of the Homeopathic Nurses Association.
She has been in practice for 28 years and splits 
her time between her home/practice in Taos, NM, and in Great Falls, VA. Her non-profit
healthcare organization, HomeopathiCare, provides affordable homeopathic consultations
by phone and in person for acute and chronic ailments. Lia teaches introductory
homeopathic seminars 
to consumers and nurses. 800-530-8800

Reviewed by Julian Winston
I have been through Amy Lansky's book four times since I got it two weeks ago.
It is the finest general introduction to homeopathy I've yet read. I looked for
errors—both in type and in thought—and have found none. Her writing
is magnificently crafted, and all her facts and figures are as straight as can
be. She weaves together a seamless exposition about homeopathy—what it
is, how it developed, what research exists—and with it gives us her personal
journey of discovery. The work is extremely well documented and also presents
a number of interviews with people from the homeopathy e-mail list. Although
the last chapter would be of most interest to those in the U.S. who have questions
about legality of practice and training, the rest of the book has a decidedly
international flavor with commentaries from homeopaths in the U.S., Canada, India,
Australia, France, Germany, and Malaysia.
     I have a goodly number of "homeopathic introductions" in
my library. Many are just rehashes of the same old stuff. A few really do "step
out" and present the material in a new way. This book takes the furthest step—in
part because it is the most recent and can draw upon the latest thinking and
research—but also because the author drew on the experiences of many people
to help her and coupled that with her excellence as a word crafter. This book
should be read by everyone interested in homeopathy, from the rank beginner to
the seasoned professional. It has something new in it for everyone—no matter
what their level. And I'm sure that my fifth reading of it is not far off!
     Bravo for Amy Lansky for having the vision and
the skill to make it happen.

About the author:
Julian Winston has been Editor of Homeopathy Today since 1984. He is currently
a Board Member Emeritus of the NCH, having been on the NCH Board since 1982.
He is the past-Dean of the NCH Summer School(1988--1992), as well as author of The
Faces of Homeopathy 
(the book and the video) a homeopathic bibliography, The
Heritage of Homeopathic Literature
, and two instruction books concerning
pedal steel guitar. He moved to New Zealand in 1995 where he lives with his 2000+
volume homeopathic library and co directs the Wellington College of Homœopathy
with his wife, Gwyneth Evans. He can be reached at

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