CONGRES DE L’ECH à Vienne: conférence


Empathy , as a tool in homeopathy


    Reality is sometimes far from myth. The evolution of modern farming makes observation of the animal, and its individualization sometimes difficult.
    The animals do not speak, we, as pediatricians, are an intermediary with the patient. And we must use all our senses for observation.

Homeopathic tools are « human »: We know that to treat our animals with homeopathy, we use « tools » : repertory book, medica materia, which were built from experiments conducted by humans. The symptoms reported by these men and women are transmitted with their words, their suffering, their emotions, etc … The use of this « experimental field » poses a major dual problem: firstly, the obvious risk of interpretation, anthropomorphism applied as a rule, and also its corollary: the acceptance of the idea that animals have emotions and feelings. These animals have success strategies, fighting strategies. Do they have fears? Do they suffer? In short would there be a form of animal intelligence?

First a little history:

René Descartes (1596-1650), a French philosopher, considered as the founder of modern philosophy, « I think therefore I am », is from him. But he is also, and this is why he interests us, the « inventor » of the mechanical theory, « the animal-machine »: The animals do not feel anything. They are like robots who only work according to the action-reaction mode. Descartes is also behind a vision of nature he stated: « We make as master and owner of nature ». The man must dominate nature , it is his place and role to enslave and to use animals for his service.

For Descartes and his successors, thought can not be built without language. The structuring of reasoning requires construction with words. And indeed, it is very difficult to conceptualize a thought without verbal language. And animal language remained for a very long time inaccessible to man, closed in.

If there is no thought without language, without understandable language, there could not have been any thought !

The problem is that the mechanistic theory has led to more than 3 centuries of a false vision of the animal. Descartes links the lack of speech to the absence of sensations or feelings. The problem is not that Descartes in the seventeenth century considered as mirrored in his famous « I think therefore I am »: I do not speak, so I do not think, therefore I don’t exist in the world. The problem is that today, Cartesian thought has lasted in this area until the twentieth century.

As a century of industrial development , the twentieth century could not see its productivist explosion being slowed down by romantic considerations viewing animals as sensitive beings which should be taken into account. At the end of the war, we had to rebuild, produce, feed. The industrial thought invades the agricultural world. We ask our farmers to feed the country. « The animal-object » has replaced « animal-machine. » And this conception of « object-animal » allows the industrialization of living, through so-called industrial farming. This denomination could seem paradoxal in itself and yet correspond to reality. And this reality can produce low-cost animal protein and decrease the price of the « shopping basket ». philosophical choice and choice of society are inseparable.

So what about animal intelligence? We have no time to discuss it here, but research on animal  behavior and  intelligence of the past 50 years have demonstrated much higher capacities than those imagined by Descartes: Animal communication does not use a verbal language , but  postures, facial expressions, movements: a "social anatomy", but also sounds, infra-sounds (in elephants) and above all what has long eluded us: pheromones. These chemicals emitted by an individual, will be received by a second one, triggering in him a set of specific reactions. One of the most important pheromones is apaisine: secreted by lactating females to soothe the newborn, but also by the "dominant" to calm the group. The apaisine is made of 80% oleic acid, which is found in olive oil. This pheromonal communication took second stage in humans as higher beings with a cerebral developed cortex . We might sometimes regret it, and wonder if it was by chance that the ancients chose the olive branch: as a symbol of peace.

These pheromones have a crucial role especially in hierarchical relationships.
But it would be wrong and unfair to limit animal relationships to dominant/dominated one. Today a number of experiments demonstrating sometimes very impressive affective relationships are known, and also cooperation or strategy between animals.

The real revolution in the history of animal observation was to get out of the laboratory: In the 1950s, a team of Japanese primatologists went to watch monkeys as closely as possible. Silently, without interfering, they identified them individually and followed them over long periods of time. They discovered the importance of kinship in monkeys. They observed a learner macaque washing sweet potatoes in a river to clean it, then noted how this learned behavior spread within the group. They even went to give this phenomenon the name of « pre-culture ».

The path to « live observation » of the living was open.

Lorenz would observe geese, Von Frisch discovered the dance of bees, Tinbergen, a brilliant inventor, would develop decoys to observe the social life of birds. And all three were to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work.

From Animal-object to subject animal

Today, the study of animal behavior and therefore of animal intelligence has taken a new dimension since the researchers in this field have allowed themselves to observe with feelings. These researchers, by individually identifying animals, have finally made them subjects. They saw by identifying individuals that their behavior could influence the group. They discovered the existence of subjectivity and individuality of an animal. The work of Jane Goodall on apes has upset the public and permanently change our view of them.

Some like Frans de Waal, the famous primatologist, go even further by accepting anthropomorphism not as a danger but as necessary observation: « The proximity of animals makes you want to understand, not only in part, but in full. It leads us to ask ourselves what is going on in their heads, while realizing that the answer can only be approximate. For this we use all available tools, including the extrapolation of human behavior. Anthropomorphism is not only inevitable, it represents a powerful tool. « 

I strongly believe that the next milestone after leaving the contraints of laboratories, will be for « scholars » to bring down another wall, the one that separates them from the men who live with animals, breeders. Listen to our farmers talk about their pets, talk about their animals will open an unexplored field of study to those researchers ,who will find at their doorstep , in their countryside, the answers they seek sometimes very far.

Our role is to help farmers to « rediscover » the empathy they have for their animals.


A-A cow mastitis on:

The case study of this cow is very interesting: For 2 days I’ve been looking after a cow for a colibacillosis mastitis . These mastitis, sometimes called paralyzing mastitis, are indeed very serious. The toxin secreted by E. coli, « blocks » blood calcium, causing hypocalcemia with the inherent consequences: hypothermia, weakness, anorexia, paralysis. The cow lying still, the outcome can be fatal.

Its condition is getting worse despite antibiotic therapy implementation (ampicillin + colistin), injection of anti-inflammatory (FINADYNE ND), the calcitherapy (Calcium infusion) and a saline solution (NaCl).

Today, the cow is lying down, it tries to get up but does not have the strength and falls. It quickly gets dehydrated despite the infusion. It must be said that it refuses to drink for 2 days. The mastitis concerns the two hindquarters and milk is turned into dirty water.

When I ask the breeder if he noticed anything else, his wife replies: « I think it wants us to stay with her. » That is to say, « it moans as if to ask us to stay. « 

Milk turned into water, paralytic weakness, lack of thirst, dehydration, these symptoms are interesting but they are quite common in this type of situation.

However, it is the breeder’s wife who will enable me to choose the right remedy: the desire for companionship and groans during fever.

Of course i choose Pulsatilla. It will be given 9 ch every three hours by the breeder. The next day, the cow stood up and began to eat, but more surprisingly, two days later the milk was normal again.

It is certain that without this woman’s observation skills and her simple way of saying (always ask women for their opinion, they are less hesitant to indulge in their feelings), without the ability to feel its need of companionship at that time, I would not have been able to choose the remedy.

Then yes, the cow felt the need of a presence nearby, so it expressed itself by moans, and this woman was able to hear that desire for attention.

To work with animals, we must let resound in us, this kind of feeling, these impressions, without any psychological barriers.

Let’s reason less and resonate better!

B- Milk, the dog in love

The ability we’ll have to empathize with an animal can lead to very emotional meetings. I met a young woman who came from afar to try homeopathy for her dog, Milk. He was suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease, the cortisone treatment did not satisfy his owner.

She had no experience of homeopathy and did not know how to tell me about her dog. I ask her to tell me how their meeting occured.

She: « Well, I went to get him at the seller’s.

Me: and ?

She: I left with him, it was in Grenoble – Downtown.

Me: and ?

She: And I walked in Grenoble.

Me: And then?

She (laughing): Oh, I stopped to buy a chocolate croissant.

Me: Oh, and what did you do with the dog?

She: Well, I told him to wait for me!

Me: You tied him outside?

She: No, I did not have a leash!

Me: What?

She (more surprised by my misunderstanding): I said: you sit there, you wait for me.

Me (incredulous): And did he ?

She: Well obviously.

Me: He was 2 months old, no collar or leash, he sat in front of the bakery and waited for you, that’s it?

Her: Yeah.  »

It was the first dog of this young woman. For her, nothing in what she told me was of any particular interest.

In the conversation that followed, she realized how Milk was amazingly attached to her.

Half an hour later, she told me in tears, that if she asked him to jump off a cliff (it was great hiking with him in the mountains), he would immediately do it . Without a doubt.

By listing a few physical symptoms: she had particularly noticed that his pain seemed to be located in very specific places, but that changed. Also, the inside of his pads looked like if it was burned by eruptions.

A small remedy , I did not know, got my attention. I opened the directory themes and Materia Medica of Guy Loutan, and I read: « Every word or principle becomes rule with which he wants to prove his love.  »

I close the book and I prescribe without further thought. Fortunately,though, because for having studied the cure later, I’m not sure that I would have otherwise prescribed it, because it is essentially described as useful in gynecological problems …

The result was excellent, anti-nuclear antibodies charactarising the disease on blood level became undetectable after a few weeks. The owner renewed the prescription when she had to go away and leave her dog to her parents, because she understood that he had a crisis everytime she left him.

Before I give you the name of the remedy , here is the case of a 17-month bull treated with
this same remedy: It grows up but does not put on weight.
« He is lanky, skinny, floppy
It is a dominant: he hits others with his horns if they approach.
Often in erection: as soon as he sees the cows. He yells when you give him food,
He has erection and does not let anyone near
It is sometimes breathless,sometimes breathing heavily.
It does not want to go to head gate: it could not be beaten by others , that’s impossible. But since, it is weak. it gets closer, alltired, but does not get his head in.
Sometimes a little diarrhea.
It is weak since it is separated from cows.”
-Since the weaning?
“No, he was weaned 3 months ago, we moved them, he saw the cows passing by, he wanted
to join them to have coïtus. He yelled for 3 days and since it’s over!
It weakens !!  »

Repression of sexual desire, worse through sexual arousal, weight loss,
Authoritarianism: The bull received LiliumT. 30ch once.

Three weeks later, the farmer comes to my veterinary office and says: « It has restarted, it took 80 kg, it eats well again and comes to the headlock. I do not understand, you gave 3 tiny granules to such a beast, and it works! It’s still weird stuff!  »

The Tiger Lily (Lilium tigrinum) is an ornamental flower. Therefore grown to seduce.

In the « language of flowers », the lily symbolizes purity of feelings. According to mythology,
« The vision of the whiteness of the lily put Aphrodite in such a state of jealousy, her, who was
born from the whiteness of the sea foam, that, out of spite, she placed at the center of the flower
a huge pistil .  » To this, Wood adds: « The pure spiritual love is tarnished, as it were by
dark spots on its petals.  » Indeed, tiger lily is not white, it is orange.
All symptoms of the pathogenesis of Lilium tigrinum revolve around a conflict between spiritual ideals, or even religious, and sexuality. Full of sexual obsession, man or woman, Lilium T escapes into frenetic activity, with no other purpose than to escape his obsessions, full of haste, as a duty. Keeping him busy to repress his sexual desire is a key symptom of Lilium T.

Let’s represent the flower: a vase formed by the petals from which the stamens rise (the male part of the flower), and rising further above: the pistil (the female part). Pollen (male gametes) can not fertilize the pistil of the same flower. This « mechanism » prevents inbreeding and therefore promotes genetic mixing, diversity, guarantee of success in evolution.
Let us imagine a sort of Woody Allen image: all these « plant sperm » (botanists will excuse the expression …) ready to pounce on the giant pistil never able to reach it!

Is this not a situation of sexual frustration ?

Then Lilium represses and sublimes the relationship in an almost spiritual adoration.
And the busy frenzy you might say, Where do you see in your flower?
This is where it gets funny: the lily has the particularity of producing bulblets that are found along the stems. These bulblets, just like the bulbs that divide, once replanted, will produce new flowers. The lily products without reproducing.
I asked a friend professional gardener, how we multiplied the lily? he confirmed that the proliferation of bulblets was much faster and efficient. The seeds (from sexual reproduction) are only used to produce new varieties.

If we return to our dog, Milk: it can be said that he lived a real internal conflict: an autoimmune disease, in which the individual produces antibodies against his own cells, is a strong symbol. He loved his owner and could not do otherwise but sublimate his love by his behavior. The sentence of Guy Loutand directory takes its full meaning: « Every word or principle becomes rule with which he wants to prove his love. »


The relationship that the breeder or breeders has with a herd is not neutral. It is marked, or permeated, by the breeder’s experience, and by the experiences of the breeder’s relationship with his environment.

To observe our animals, to really watch them while trying to understand them, means that we need to break down a number of our psychological barriers. To accept that animals can learn, feel emotions, has been long and laborious. Probably first because we only see what we can conceive. If higher intelligences such as Descartes or other current scientists have not seen what is obvious to anyone who accepts that his dog loves him, it’s probably because they needed to conceive the idea that a dog may love, to actually see it.

The reason outweighing intuition. Reason this powerful weapon that can build, analyze, produce, becomes a handicap to see, feel, love.

This opposition reasoning / resonance is not just a word game. It summarizes, I think, pretty much the difficulty we face to go further in what we feel with our animals.

This opposition, on one side rational intelligence, and on the other an intelligence which might be called « resonant » refers, I believe, to the old debate Nature / culture. We need to accept our state of nature, our animal state, to enter into real communication, to resonate with animals. But this debate has been extracting us constantly from the animal state. It often reduces it to a kind of conflict between nature and culture. Philosophers have sought to define the human over the animal and especially against the animal. To find man’s essence in culture and many explanations have come up : Production of livelihood for Marx, use of tool, laughter for Rabelais. All these definitions have fallen one after the other over time and behavioral findings.
To end, Derrida, I think, closes the debate:

« This is not just whether we have the right to deny this or that power to the animal (speech, reason, experience of death, mourning, culture, institutions, art, clothing, lying, erasing traces, gift, laugh, tears, respect, etc …) the list is obviously infinite and the most powerful philosophical tradition in which we live has denied all this to the « animal », we must also ask ourselves whether what is called man has the right to award himself what he denies to animals and if he has never the pure concept of it, rigorous, indivisible as such.  »
The animal that therefore I am, page 185. Derrida

Finally, the recent discovery of mirror neurons is worth talking about.

Neuroscience researchers have found in an area in the prefrontal lobe of the brain, a complex network which is able to represent another person’s actions.

More precisely, they found that when an individual watches another individual making an action, such as « eat », in an area corresponding to this action is stimulated in the brain of the observer. As if he himself was eating. So they called these neurons: mirror neurons and consider this area as the neuronal region for empathy. Which allows oneself to feel what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. There is an area of empathy of the action, essential in learning especially in children. We learn by imitation, by observing and imitating.

And there is a zone of empathy of senses. One that allows you to feel the suffering of others. Some make it the neural seat of what we call moral (!).

It is important to note that these mirror neurons were first discovered in animals …! macaques.

The neural seat of empathy found in animals.

So it would be a just reward to let our own mirror neurons « resonate » when we observe our animals.