By Tutti Gould DC, ND
Dr. Bernardo Merizalde is like a modern day alchemist guiding his patients through the fire to burn the dross and find the gold within them. A skillful scientist, he has been careful not to burn himself in the process, although he has had his share of purification.
Merizalde was born and raised in Colombia. His mother was a nurse, and each member of the family had their own set of drugs. "By the time I was 18, I had been exposed to all kinds of anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, psychotropic drugs, drugs for parasites. I had rheumatic fever and had shots of penicillin once a week for years," says the 51 year-old doctor.
Following his mother's lead, he entered medical school in Bogota, Colombia. By his third year, he was already seeing patients and became dissatisfied with how he was working. "I was disenchanted in having to prescribe to them the same drugs year after year; I didn't think this was the best way to practice," Merizalde says. He went with a group of students to visit a clinic in the "boondocks" of Columbia that was using alternative treatments, one of which was homeopathy. "I first considered homeopathy hogwash," he says. "How could it do anything when it was so diluted? But one day after seeing patients returning feeling better, I grabbed a Materia Medica and
starting reading the descriptions of the remedies and realized it was close to what I had studied in pharmacology. So I considered there may be something to it!" He has been using homeopathy ever since, though cautiously at first, and now as his primary treatment, both for himself as well as his patients.
In 1982 he emigrated to the United States and wanted to make some changes in his practice. "When I came to the United States I didn't want to go into conventional medicine; I didn't want to give out drugs. I thought psychiatry would be a way that I could help people without having to give drugs," he says. Merizalde then got exposed to psychoanalytic psychotherapy and was influenced by Carl Yung and his concepts of alchemy. He found that there were similarities between Hahnemann and Alchemy, and how homeopathy can help during the different stages of purification, which bring about physical transformation.
Dr. Merizalde says that the alchemical model helps him see what state his patients are in, and consequently which remedies are needed to move them through that state. "I think the idea of the alchemical process has allowed me to practice a more dynamic style of homeopathy," he says. "Rather than the traditional approach of giving one remedy and waiting two months to see what happens. Of course, it works with some people. But some people are so sick, that they need to have an intervention more often, so I may touch base with patients three or four times in one day and change the remedy accordingly."
Dr. Merizalde describes the alchemical process as successive cycles of dissolution and reintegration, with different physical or emotional manifestations, and each time leading to higher states of consciousness. The process can happen naturally, over time, or with an outside circumstance triggering it, or through cleanses by diet, sauna, massage or other therapies.
He uses homeopathic remedies to help move people along in the process. "Very often I use the remedy when they are stuck emotionally," he says. "I have seen patients who are stuck in a conflict they might have had with their mother, for example, and they can't let go, and when I give Staphysagria, it starts flowing through. I use Ignatia as a chronic remedy when they have issues of abandonment and broken heartedness in their pasts." If the patient has a personal meditation practice, he gives remedies to help the mind achieve a more harmonious state. "If the mind is rushing, and if they have vivid and scary fantasies, a good remedy could be Belladonna. Or with rapid rushing moods, with jealousy and envy, you look at Lachesis. With a persistent recurring thought or song that is playing inside the head it could be Thuja or Arg nitricum."
Merizalde says that when he first came across the alchemical model, he thought the work would be easy. "I first thought 'Great! In a few years I will be purified', and it's been almost 30 years and I'm still working on it."
He also uses hypnosis to help the patients through the storms. "One thing I do with my patients is to work with an image with them. I say: 'Listen, before you embark on this voyage of exploration, of new horizons and new lands, it is important for you to leave this port safe and to return to this port safe. To make sure that you have all the supplies in your ship, which are ego strengths and ego functions.' At first I look to see whether they can go to sea, to that exploration, in the high seas, because they can encounter scary stuff." He gives the example of a woman who recalled a suppressed memory during a session of being sexually abused and who worked through it successfully after three years. "It takes a lot of courage to go inside and face those deep waters," he says.
Dr. Merizalde is "cautiously optimistic" about the future of homeopathy. "We are battling very strong forces," he says, explaining that it is all part of the developmental model. "However, on the other hand, what we have to offer can provide a solution to the problems: to the health care crisis, the future of medicare and the care of the elderly." He says that homeopathy can become a phenomenal tool if aligned with the higher powers that be. However, he says that the homeopathic community needs to be unified for this to happen. "Homeopathic organizations need to be keeping communications open with each other, and that is what the homeopathic alliance has been trying to do, to get all the homeopathic organizations at the same table for the common goal, which is to get homeopathy validated and accepted in a greater level, and then each organization can follow it's own vision and mission to accomplish that independently, but together," says Merizalde, who is president of the American Institute of Homeopathy. If we integrate homeopathy's process to the alchemical model, there is no reason to doubt that homeopathy will continue to go through processes of dissolution and re-integration, producing purer and purer golden remedies for patients for generations to come.
Web site : Health Horizons
With thanks to Michelle Decary, copy editor.