A classical musician concerned about a solo singing performance the next day came to see me for a last minute acute case. He had been sick the past five days with a cold and the symptoms of serious congestion, coughing, difficulty sleeping and fatigue. He had been taking several homeopath remedies on his own to get through the phases of the cold quicker but was getting nervous about how his throat and vocal cords would be by the next day. For a choral gig he would not be so worried, however since this was an important concert for his advancing solo career he was worried about his voice!
He had a long history of congestion and ENT issues as well as taking cortical steroids and Benadryl for about ten years during school and the early part of his career to manage his mucus and inflammation. This approach actually made things worse over time as well as creating a dependency to using them. A colleague recommended that he try homeopathy and he was amazed at the quick action of Sinusalia for sinus relief. Wanting to try a more gentle and natural approach to his health issues rather than pharmaceuticals and drug dependency, he saw a MICH method trained Homeopath and was able to get off these medications within a very short time. Over the next couple of years he has been steadily been improving the ENT issues as well as food sensitivities and allergies and related digestive system issues. Most of the digestion and food related issues have cleared up and the ENT was also improving.
He noticed that this acute situation was a return to earlier symptoms and feelings and due to the importance of this performance he decided to get my opinion rather than to continue to self subscribe for the acute cold. We did a session, which included the physical symptoms, and some imagination and sensation based exploration. Once I was able to see some repeated themes and sensations I was able to start to move to the next phase of focusing him on filling them out more.
Some of the themes that repeated were:
Royalty & castle: To him the community of singers has sensations of royalty, it glows, glitters, there is colourful light, honour and stability, magic. It is a glittering kingdom of which he feels honoured to be part of. When he has a performance it is as if he is rejoining royalty. And he was concerned about not causing a riot, mucking things up, disturbing the people who live in the castle, the townsfolk. He saw the castle as self contained, high above, in the heavens, shining, beside the sea on a large pile of rocks. He also felt that the community was whole, it had no holes in it, was viscous and dense, the wholeness was nurturing the kingdom versus how he saw that outside the kingdom was like a patchwork quilt, full of holes as if eaten by moths, without communication and not taken care of.
When I asked about his Performance he responded that it was sad when things are cut down from their full potential, the light dimmed, it needs to be fully lit, like a sea creature of some kind, the light goes on for miles. Communication was important to him in this way: I would prefer to be heard, that they accept what I say rather than be understood. To fail is for momentum to end, illusion to be revealed, as if I am deceiving others, about who I am. This linked to betrayal, if I am in the less than ideal practice room, it will be exposing parts of my voice that don't need to be shown. Instead of being generous, loving and alive, it is static and dead.
Sharp or dull: Clarity sharpens, like a blade, so things are less dull. He did not like when the connection is dulled, as above in not being heard, and when phlegm dampens/constricts the sound of his voice. There are these fine, bright edges that create the shimmer. Lost shimmer equals a dullness in his voice.
Sea creatures: He explored the image of a sticky worm constricting his voice, with stringy bits. Then it was as if he was missing the meat/substance (that he equated with humanity), and there was the light only (that corresponded to purity and warmth). He had an interesting way of seeing his phlegm as he cleared it out. For him it was like giving it a chance to leave the nest, it was done with care, as if they were tadpoles or young fish. He realized that if it is in the way he no longer has as much love for it, yet he has to be respectful towards it. Once it is immobile, he no longer favours it. "If I can show it the path to go, great beautiful, if it is dead, I can't do this. I can't reason, reassure, take care of it, or work to keep it alive." He had the image of barnacles that can get in the way of painting a boat. He also had the image that his phlegm was as if he could shuck open his nose and leave just the shell, that would be great. The nose felt alive yet the chest felt like it was drying out, as if it was sediment or dry sand.
Small separate vs large whole: The image of looking for seashells on a beach, which were valuable and beautiful, and the beach he related to freedom. Or the image of caviar eggs stuck together, one comes out in each chunk of phlegm. Also the patchwork or the wholeness of the kingdom mentioned above.
Water: His mental images were in sea colours, and the sensation was that what he was looking at spends time on the beach but also deep underwater.
I could start to see these themes emerging as we spoke. I was totally lost however, and I had to just sit in the discomfort of knowing that I would not know what he was talking about right away. I looked over the notes and picked out some key themes and asked him to fill them out further. I was curious about the shells and sand realizing as we talked that castles are made out of sand and that water has blinding light when reflecting the sun. I was hoping to find a link with the sea creatures and physical matter with this need for shiny, shimmering light. He continued to describe images related to the sea and maybe a sea creature like an oyster or clam. I looked at my Material Medica as I was starting to feel a Calcarea Carbonica remedy, yet it did not cover the light or castles. I found that by adding phosphorus it would include the shimmering light and the need for the social connection he got from the kingdom/community of singers and that it also covered many of his physical symptoms.
Calcium as a remedy has a need for structure, protection, security and this equates in their being responsible, grounded, steady minded, etc. Anything that stresses them will stress their structure. They often feel feeble and not up to a task. In remedy making it is sourced from Calcarea, the snow white portion of the inner oyster shell. Phosphorus on the other hand enjoys activity, energy transfer of relationships, is sensitive, has a high need for attention, love, consolation, support and they are highly social. Here anything that stresses them will stress their social situation and social connections. Phosphorus is about bringing light, spreading the word, communication. On the physical level it helps irritated, inflamed degenerated mucous membranes, irritated and inflamed serous membranes, destroyed bone, especially in the lower jaw. In the chest the combination of these two minerals as the remedy Calc-phos helps with recurring infections, nose colds that go to the chest, lingering tickling coughs, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, and asthma. It also helps with inflammation and degeneration of the mucous membranes, the stomach and bowels. For a clinical use it is good for convalescence from severe acute diseases, lungs, and regenerative function of nervous tissue. It is also helpful for emotional states of feeling rejected or feeling unloved and for the fears of illness that can cause anxiety.
Sand is basically Silicea minus the crushed up sea shells and he had been taking a low potency regularly for the past months to help clear out lingering mucus from his ongoing mucus in his chest. I decided to give him the Calc-phos at 30c and Silicea at 30c instead of the lower potency to take alternately that night and if needed in the morning. Both were for the first aid acute situation to get him congestion free as fast as was possible for his body to do overnight.
Things can change quickly in an acute situation. He contacted me the next morning in a panic. Now he was definitely not sure of his ability to sing and was considering cancelling last minute, a choice that he felt could jeopardize his future opportunities with this particular music organization. I had found the right remedy for his particular experience of his main complaint, the congested phlegm. I was considering after the last session that after this busy week of a concert and auditions he could try the Calc-phos cell salt as a constitutional to take daily for a few months to see if he could rebuild the inner structures of his nose and throat after having chronic issues in his ENT region for so long! However, because the congestion had been relieved overnight, that also changed the inner shape of his throat and cords and he was panicking about not being able to adjust to the related vocal changes at such last minute. There was also a sticky mucus now on his vocal cords so he was cracking on the high notes as he was practicing. I did another acute emergency case taking adding in whatever new symptoms he was experiencing.
He expressed how he felt about making this cancellation phone call. The Calc has the feeling about not being up to the task, but this was more, it was a much heavier sense than just a duty to perform. It was also about his mentor that he looks up to and the importance he places on his blossoming solo career. I have worked with singers and remembered reading that Aurum is good for classical musicians and leaders of orchestras (according to Peter Chappel in his book Emotional Healing with Homeopathy, Treating the Effects of Trauma). I decided to look at the Materia Medica for Aurum and there was the need to take responsibility and withstand very high pressure, to perform even in adverse conditions, even the need to be highly responsible in every circumstance. There was the strong need to maintain his career, to hold on to achievement and praise, to keep up social and others' expectations of him. He imagines he has lost the affection of his friends and this makes him sad, even unto tears. This singer had mentioned before that he was able to perform great feats when he sang that were impossible. This was also in there, one must perform tasks which are impossible or much beyond his capacity. I had not remembered that Aurum addresses the nose and congestion. There can be a boring at the root of the nose, severe sinusitis, headaches at the inner angle of the right eye and at the root of the nose, and nasal obstruction. Clinically it can help with sinuses, anxiety, headache, and sinusitis.
Aurum is made from gold, and is not usually a first aid remedy for something like a cold. However, in this intense live or die moment, it did the job. Thinking back to the description of castles and royalty and how much importance he placed on the ability to perform at such a high caliber and the remark that he is usually sick when working with this music organization, it was also there in his first case taking, and neither of us saw such intensity of the situation until the following morning. He was very emotional and anxious when he took the Aurum and immediately calmed down. He was able to focus and he continued to warm up and steadily his voice improved. He let me know that within an hour he regained his confidence and was singing they way he had in rehearsals for the upcoming performance. And that he was able to continue to explore a new level of singing that was freer and more passionate than ever before.
He did not have to make that terrible call and two days later he let me know that he performed magnificently and was given high praise. Homeopathy had saved the day, and without it he was sure he would have been in agony with a sinus infection for several weeks. He was also going to take the cell salts to see how that changes his ENT region over the coming months. With the hep of homeopathy he could enjoy the golden glow of success.
How does homeopathy support healthy living? Why try homeopathy? The art of retuning the body’s natural healing capacity in a compassionate and gentle way is the gift that homeopathy brings to Lauren Trimble's natural and holistic method. If you enjoyed this article find out more at Birdsong.
Homeopath and Holistic Practitioner.