Homeopathy for Musculoskeletal Healing

Homeopathy for Musculoskeletal Healing

  • Asa Hershoff


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This belongs on every shelf whether one is a student, practitioner or a home prescriber.
314 pp pb


Homeopathy for Musculoskeletal Healing, by Asa Hershoff, was published in 1996.

This book is an essential homeopathic reference for sports trainers, chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons, massage practitioners, and anyone treating musculoskeletal complaints. It covers basic homeopathy principles, materia medica, and musculoskeletal diseases.

A unique feature of this book is the many anatomical illustrations that show remedy affinities for different disease and tissue types.

Ostensibly a therapeutics book Hershoff does an excellent job of placing this area of treatment within the context of homeopathy as a whole. He describes the power of homeopathy to address acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions.

The entire breadth of topics including law of similars, vital force, symptoms and case taking, pharmacy, acute vs. chronic prescribing, health, disease, cure, etc, are covered with great accuracy.

From the beginning this is an "...attempt to gather and consolidate this wealth of knowledge and practical guidance and to present it in a highly accessible form."


Introduction -- 1-12
Principles of Homeopathy -- 13-75

1 - Homeopathic Principles -- 13-15
2 - Homeopathy in Context -- 16-17
3 - Health -- 18-20
4 - Vital Force -- 21-22
5 - Symptoms -- 23-26
6 - Modalities -- 27-28
7 - Disease and Causation -- 29-32
8 - Cure -- 33-35
9 - Homeopathic Remedies -- 36-38
10 - Law of Similars -- 39-41
11 - Case History -- 42-44

Musculoskeletal Questionnaire -- 45-46
12 - Constitutional Prescribing -- 47
13 - Therapeutic Prescribing -- 47-57
14 - Potency Selection -- 58-60
15 - Taking the Remedy -- 61-63

Care of Homeopathic Remedies -- 64

Care of Homeopathic Patients -- 65
16 - The Healing Process -- 66-74

General Topics -- 75-86

The Musculoskeletal System -- 76-78
Chart 1: Types of Pain -- 79-80
Chart 2: Sensations and Symptoms -- 81-82
Chart 3: Traumatic Man -- 83
Chart 4: Trauma 1 -- 84
Chart 5: Trauma 2 -- 85-86
Chart 6: Scar Tissue -- 87

The Spine -- 87-102
Chart 7: Spinal Affinity -- 87-90
Chart 8: Cervical Spine 1 -- 91
Chart 9: Cervical Spine 2 -- 92-93
Chart 10: Thoracic Spine -- 94-95
Chart 11: Low Back Pain 1 -- 96
Chart 12: Low Back Pain 2 -- 97-98
Chart 13: Sciatica 1 -- 99
Chart 14: Sciatica 2 -- 100

The Extremities -- 103-112
Chart 15: Shoulder-Arm -- 103-104
Chart 16: Wrist -- 105-106
Chart 17: Hip Joint -- 107-108
Chart 18: Knee -- 109-110
Chart 19: Ankle -- 111-112
Arthritis -- 113-122
Chart 20: Arthritis 1 -- 113
Chart 21: Arthritis 2 -- 114
Chart 22: Inflammatory Phase -- 115
Chart 23: Arthritis 3 -- 116
Chart 24: Degenerative Phase -- 117
Chart 25: Arthritis 4 -- 118
Chart 26: Arthritis - Small Joints -- 119-120
Chart 27: Fibromyalgia -- 121
Headache -- 122-126
Chart 28: Headache 1 -- 123
Chart 29: Headache 2 -- 124
Chart 30: Headache Locations 1 -- 125
Chart 31: Headache Locations 2 -- 126

Materia Medica -- 127-253
Therapeutic Guide -- 257-288
Relationship of Remedies -- 291-298
Resources -- 299-300
Bibliography -- 301-302
General Index -- 303-313
Remedy Index -- 314


Two Reviews:

Reviewed by Larry Malerba, DO

I'm always on the lookout for a good solid practical reference that will help me wade through the seemingly infinite amount of homeopathic data that is out there, and Asa Hershoff's new book seems to fit the bill nicely.

The first word that comes to mind on perusing this book is "organization." Part of the author's goal as stated on page one is to "attempt to gather and consolidate this wealth of knowledge and practical guidance and to present it in a highly accessible form." It is clear that a tremendous amount of work must have gone into simply arranging the information in this book, let alone gathering the information itself.

An obvious "information age" influence is apparent as evidenced by the numerous diagrams, flow charts, and illustrations that have a strong computer graphic feel to them. I love the nifty little graphic representation of each remedy in the materia medica section.

This all adds up to a very strong aesthetic influence that is pleasing to the eye and therefore conducive to using this book as a reference.

Unfortunately, very few people understand the true nature of homeopathy, and there is a tendency for newcomers to pick up a first-aid or "therapeutics" book and get an allopathic impression that homeopathy involves giving one remedy for this, another for that, with little sense of its power to treat the totality of the person.

Hershoff addresses this dilemma in the first 70 pages with what may be the most concise, yet thorough and clear, explanation of homeopathic principles and practice that I've ever read.

The entire gamut of topics including vital force, law of similars, pharmacy, symptoms and case taking, acute vs. chronic prescribing, health, disease, cure, etc, are covered with great precision and a minimum of excess verbiage.

In addition, this information is presented in a modernized, "scientific," information-age type of terminology that will definitely pique the interest of those so inclined. For example, on page 17 Hershoff states:

"Homeopathy excels at the level of pattern, software, or information technology - the level of biological intelligence. Though we can change the patterns of our behavior, lifestyle, or eating habits on a gross level, homeopathy can change the deepest patterns of biochemical, physiological, and even cellular function. Homeopathy frees the system from fixed, rigid patterns of function that hamper our deepest healing resources and capacities."

And on page 29:

""Old injuries, toxic drugs, emotional trauma, past illness; all these can leave an energetic pattern or imprint that exists indefinitely, and continues to erode the health and well-being of a person. Since these imprints or patterns exist on an energetic or information level, homeopathy is the ultimate tool for neutralizing them."

This is great stuff, and the perfect book to give to your scientifically skeptical friends and colleagues, because it speaks in their language but does not compromise on principles.

The "meat" of the book is about the homeopathic treatment of acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions and is broken up into three main sections.

The Condition Charts section is an extremely well-organized sequence of therapeutic differentials relating to specific diagnoses such as trauma, sciatica, arthritis, and fibromyalgia, and also relating to conditions involving different parts of the musculoskeletal system such as cervical spine, thoracic spine, hip joint, knee, ankle, etc.

Each remedy within a differential is clearly cross referenced to the appropriate place in the "Materia Medica" section that follows. This section consists of a materia medica of the musculoskeletal symptoms and indications of 61 different remedies.

Keynotes, modalities, and psychological aspects of some remedies are also included. This may serve as a valuable study guide to the musculoskeletal aspects of both polychrests and smaller remedies such as Actea spicata, Formica rufa, Gnaphalium, Kalmia, Lachnantes, and Stellaria media. The next section entitled the "Therapeutic Guide" is a mini-repertory covering the various body parts and their associated conditions, and the following Appendix contains a nice little section on remedy relationships.

As I feel obligated to critique some aspect of this book, I would point out that since potency selection is already one of the more controversial aspects of homeopathy, Dr. Hershoff's recommendations as to specific potencies to be used for various remedies and conditions may potentially cause some confusion to the newcomer, and may add fuel to the fire of the more experienced who like to debate these issues.

North Atlantic Books has published another gem and Dr. Hershoff deserves much credit for the labor and love he must have put into this book. It is an excellent book to introduce homeopathy to orthopedic doctors, osteopathic physicians, chiropractors, massage therapists, and body workers of all types.

The explanation of principles and practice is good reading for both the novice and the experienced, and the therapeutics and materia medica sections serve as an excellent reference and study guide for all homeopaths. Two thumbs up!

Reprinted with permission from the National Center for Homeopathy

Reviewed by Gerard Hommema- The Netherlands

This book describes the homoeopathic remedies in relation to the musculoskeletal system. The layout of this book is influenced by the author's interest in graphic arts and multimedia. It is designed and illustrated as a quick guide to find the right homeopathic remedies for a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions.

It has the advantage and speed of a computer program, like clicking on a menu, but without the troublesome strain on arm and eyes (Ruta?). This book starts with an extensive introduction on how to use it. As is often the case with new programs, one might prefer to skip the 'help' key and 'read me first' section.

But because the structure itself is what makes this book different, we will deal with this first. The book consists of four main sections and an appendix.

The impressive bibliography shows that the author has done his best to forestall any reactions of 'here we have yet another one of those therapeutic guides for quick prescribing'. The first section consists of. an overview of homeopathic principles with 16 main topics.

The second section consists of thirty- one Condition Charts. They are related to specific musculoskeletal conditions or major areas of the body. A synopsis of the six to eight main remedies for the condition or location is given and these are linked numerically to a more extensive description in the third section, the Materia Medica.

The Materia Medica contains descriptions of the sixty-one important musculoskeletal remedies found in the Condition Charts. The main focus is, of course, the musculoskeletal symptoms of the remedy, with brief descriptions of other characteristic modalities and symptoms of mind and body.

The fourth section, the therapeutic guide, provides more extensive lists of conditions and locations, and the remedies that may apply. Here the usual homeopathic convention (CAPITALS, italics, plain type) is used to indicate the relative importance of remedies.

Finally, the Appendix contains a chart of the relationship and interaction of the remedies described in the book.

Homeopaths and students who like structures and diagrams, in other words people of the mineral character, will be able to get a lot of information from this book. But chiropractors, sports masseurs etc. will also be able to use this book as a first aid therapeutic guide.

As a homeopathic practitioner I tested the book on its practicality by looking up the symptoms of several patients who consulted me during the past few weeks, for instance a patient with bursitis, one with quervain disease and one with arthritis.

Taking arthritis as an example, you first get a short introduction on the symptoms, and then the book suggests several solutions for conditions ranging from acute inflammation to actual degenerative changes.

The section on body language, for instance 'The inward contraction of arthritis expresses severe repression, unresolved feeling, and suppression of the entire emotional life' gives you the opportunity to fit the symptoms in a somewhat holistic framework.

The therapeutic guide, with main sections such as: bone, connective tissue, joints, nerve etc. is quick and easy to use, but don't forget to have the repertory within reach. As I have already stated, the materia medica mainly consists of clinical musculoskeletal conditions and is somewhat brief as far as the total description of the remedy is concerned.

But it does contain not only polychrests, but also several small remedies, such as thiosinaminum for instance, for dissolving scar tissue. My conclusion is that this book is a useful tool to find the unique symptoms that are necessary to come to a good prescription.

About the author
Dr. Asa Hershoff, born in 1948, is a naturopathic physician, chiropractor and homoeopath. He was a founder of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, and was a key figure in the renaissance of natural medicine in Canada. He presently lives in Santa Monica, California.

Homoeopathic Links
Winter 1997, Vol. 10
Reprinted with permission from Homeopathic Links