Excerpted by permission of
the author from Impossible Cure: The Promise of
Homeopathy, R.L. Ranch Press, 2003. For more information about homeopathic
treatment of autism and to learn more about homeopathic treatment for your
child, please visit
A Homeopathic Cure of Autism
By Amy Lansky, Ph.D.
Amy Lansky, her husband, Steve, and their children,
Izaak and Max (born in July 1991), live south of San Francisco, California.
Amy's book, Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy, details Max's recovery
from autism and provides one of the best-selling introductions to homeopathy
for the autism community as well as for the general public.
Excerpted by permission of the
author from Impossible Cure: The Promise of
Homeopathy, R. L. Ranch Press, 2003. for more information, visit:
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a system of
medicine developed by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, M.D. in the early
1800s. Because of its successes, it quickly spread to become one of the four
most widespread forms of medical treatment in the world. The homeopathic system
is based on a simple law of therapeutics that determines which remedy will be
curative for an individual: the Law of Similars. This law states that if a
particular substance can cause a set of mental, emotional, and physical symptoms
in a healthy person, then it can also cure a sick person who is experiencing
those same symptoms; in other words, “likes cure likes". That is precisely what
the word homeopathy means—similar (homeo) suffering (pathy).
Max's Story: A Homeopathic
Cure of Autism
One of my first teachers of
homeopathy told me that a person's views about homeopathy's curative powers tend
to be colored by their first experience with it. For some, it is a cure of
intransigent warts that suddenly dry up and drop off. For others, a case of
shingles, allergies, migraine, or chronic fatigue yields and fades away, when
years of other kinds of treatment had no effect. Then there are the cases that
truly defy explanation: expulsion of a tumor; a man awakening from a coma
minutes after taking a remedy; the discharge of mercury in the menstrual blood
of a dental hygienist, after years of accumulation in her system. All of these
have occurred with the correct homeopathic prescription.
The power of the homeopathic
remedy has repeatedly had its impact on every member of my family and on many of
my friends. I have seen tics stop overnight, a bout of cramping and diarrhea
that had persisted for several days disappear in minutes, a welt from a wasp
sting suddenly fade away, and my own summer allergies disappear, after years of
growing increasingly more severe. But all of these pale in comparison with my
first and greatest homeopathic miracle. My younger son, Max, was cured of an
“incurable” condition—autism. Today, years later, I sometimes have a hard time
believing it myself. We were very lucky, you see. Our homeopath found Max's
simillimum—the perfectly matching remedy to his state—on the first try.
Within a week, his therapist, my husband, and I were witnessing subtle yet
noticeable changes in him.
The Warning Signs
It all began in the spring of
1994, when Max was 2 1/2 years old. Something wasn't right. He wasn't talking.
Although he had about 10, maybe 20, words in his vocabulary, most of the time he
didn't seem to understand language at all. And it was getting worse. On some
level, Max seemed to be slowly drifting away.
On the bright side, Max did know
all the letters of the alphabet and his numbers one to 10. He could stack blocks
with amazing dexterity and could build highly intricate and perfectly symmetric
structures. He even knew his way around the computer—pointing and clicking,
dragging the mouse, and opening games. Max also displayed some amazingly
advanced analytical skills. For instance, he could play a “Concentration”-style
game, matching pairs of overturned tiles in a four-by-five grid, better than we
could. And he could definitely hear. He enjoyed television and danced
rhythmically to music. Indeed, for the most part, Max was a happy, though
distant, toddler at home. He usually had a smile on his face and liked to play
with his older brother Izaak—a precocious and mature 5 1/2 year old.
But when we all sat around
talking and laughing in the evening and on weekends, Max would prefer to be off
on his own. He'd go off and watch TV, play a computer game, stack his blocks,
and retreat into himself. He also wasn't as affectionate as Izaak. Although, he
didn't push us away, he never reached out for affection. For a long time I
thought, “Oh, he's just late to speak. He's a more self-contained, more private
person than Izaak.” But it was more than that.
At school, problems began to
emerge. I began to sense that the teachers at his preschool were concerned. They
greeted Max each morning with a kind of hesitancy. Although he had started off
the school year exuberantly at age two, he had never fully settled in. Instead,
he would rely on his beloved “baba”—a bottle of milk—for comfort. And though he
enjoyed many of the toys in the classroom, Max never interacted with any of the
other children. He was also unable to sit through story-time unless he was in a
teacher's lap. He was antsy, as if there was a motor running inside him. It
wasn't like classic hyperactivity—he didn't run about. He just wasn't paying
attention. It was as if the story the teacher was reading was in a foreign
language. Left to his own devices, Max would just wander off and play quietly
with toys in the classroom that interested him. He wasn't disruptive; he just
wasn't really “there.” When the children were outside playing, he would wander
off to some other classroom. The teachers would find him raptly staring at some
animal in a cage or a toy.
I knew that one of the teachers
suspected autism. She told me that Max manifested self-stimulation
activities—for example, spinning in a circle—and that he didn't have good eye
contact when spoken to. But I didn't want to believe it. He did have some eye
contact with us at home. He didn't really spin around at home either; he was
generally happy and content.
But increasingly, there were
noticeable oddities. One morning while driving to school, I asked him, “Do you
know where we're going now?” No response. Max just stared into space. At night,
when I'd try to read a story to him, he could not sit quietly. He would fidget
and squirm all over the bed. He'd stand on his head, with his feet against the
wall, or run his fingers up and down things—the table, the wall. I also noticed
that he had the habit of poking his finger against people's chests or butting
his head against them—not to hurt them, but as a kind of contact. Over a year
later, I learned that these behaviors are all characteristic of autistic
What to do? I began to grasp at
straws. Perhaps it was attention deficit disorder (ADD)? I read all the books.
Perhaps it was the teachers? That they didn't “understand” him? But deep down, I
knew Max had a serious problem. And it seemed to be getting worse. He was
growing more distant, more disconnected. By the end of the school year, just
before Max turned three, the preschool called us in for a conference and advised
us to seek medical help. One teacher confided to us, “Max will never be able to
attend the private school that Izaak goes to. He will always need special
And so our family embarked upon a
quest. I knew that we would never rest easy as long as Max had a problem like
this; I knew that all of our lives would be severely affected. I felt
instinctively that Max's entire future hung in the balance and that I had to do
everything in my power, leaving no stone unturned, until I found the key.
My resolve was also deepened by
another factor. This was one of my worst nightmares coming true. For years my
mother and I had been deeply affected by my brother's struggle with severe
mental illness. This past propelled me even harder to find a solution to Max's
problem. I felt a call to arms, and in retrospect, it served me and my family
well. I knew that there was no running away or avoiding the issue—no room for
resignation. I knew that problems like this don't just go away; they cannot be
ignored. I'd explore every nuance of our family dynamic, every food we ate, and
examine every aspect of Max's life with a fine-toothed comb, looking for clues.
This outcome for my son just didn't seem right to me. I was a mother on a
The Search—Without and Within
In the summer of 1994, when Max
had just turned three, we began to take action. On the advice of a
speech-therapist friend, my husband and I decided not to take him to the local
child-development clinic affiliated with Stanford University that had been
recommended to us. Our friend told us that they'd just label Max and create a
sense of hopelessness in us. Instead, we took him to a highly respected speech
and language therapist who runs a clinic in Palo Alto, Donna Dagenais. Donna was
(and still is) considered to be the best language therapist in our area, with
vast experience in working with children with communication and language
disorders. She didn't label Max—she merely assessed him and set to work. In
addition to his private therapy sessions, she also placed him in group sessions
with two other children, including one who had already been formally diagnosed
with PDD (mild autism). Of the three, Max was the best behaved but the least
verbal, and certainly the most “spaced-out.”
Next it was food. In my reading
about ADD, I had run across the recommendations of the Feingold diet for
improving children's behavioral problems [Feingold]. One of the most suspect
problem-foods was cow's milk. That sure rang a bell! Max was addicted to it. He
had formed a “lovie” attachment to his bottle. When he'd watch TV, when we were
in a car or plane, at all times of the day, he'd request his “baba.” Some days
he'd drink nearly eight bottles—half a gallon of milk! Perhaps this attachment
was subconsciously related to the fact that, as an infant, Max had surgery for
pyloric stenosis, a condition that closes the valve that controls the flow of
stomach contents into the intestine. The most common symptom is persistent
violent vomiting. Because of this condition, Max increasingly threw up all the
breast milk he drank during the first month of his life. Perhaps, after a month
of not getting enough milk, Max enjoyed his milk all the more now.
In any case, Max's craving for
and large intake of milk was certainly suspect. We took him off cow's milk and
cut his consumption to one cup of goat's milk per day. This step alone had a
dramatic effect. Before it seemed like Max was behind a curtain, living in a
different world. Now, the first veil lifted. He finally began to talk and build
two-to-three word sentences. And he was clearly more present, more aware of his
world. His behavior and language were still by no means normal, but it was a
start. By the end of the summer, we also began to limit his intake of artificial
food colorings, another recommendation of the Feingold diet.
Interestingly, a recent study has
linked some cases of autism to a kind of brain-reaction to milk protein. This
study will be discussed later, as well as the possibility that this reaction
might be triggered by childhood vaccinations. Certainly, cutting down on Max's
intake of milk did create a dramatic change in him. But it did not cure him.
In the fall of 1994, Max
continued his speech and language therapy with Donna and, after testing,
qualified for special education benefits. He made slow progress. Despite the
fact that he could now talk, Max still had a decidedly autistic interaction
style. For example, he could only answer questions of the most literal kind, and
only about objects directly in front of him. Thus, he could answer the question,
“What color is this block?” but he could not answer an abstract question like
“What is your favorite color?” He also had another autistic symptom, echolalia,
or speech echoing. Rather than answer a question, he would sometimes merely
repeat the last few words the other person had said. For instance, if you said
to him, “Say goodbye,” he would reply, “Say goodbye.” Sometimes this was a
remarkably effective strategy for him: “Do you want to go outside or stay
inside?” “Stay inside.” But soon we realized that he was merely parroting our
words. If we asked the same question in a different way, his answer would
change: “Do you want to stay inside or go outside?” “Go outside.”
During the fall of 1994, we
intensified our examination of our family dynamic and other social factors in
Max's life. On Donna's advice, we took him out of his play-oriented nursery
school and enrolled him in a Montessori school. The Montessori framework is
extremely structured and focused on reading, mathematical, and manipulatory
skills—things that Max was interested in. It also encourages children to do
their work completely on their own. This was perfect for Max, who could not
interact well with other children but could work fine alone. The school did not
see him as disabled but simply as quiet.
Next, we looked deeper at our
family dynamic. At the time we were using a nanny for childcare three days a
week. Steve and I each worked four-day workweeks so that one of us could stay
home with the children the other two days of the week. Our nanny was a somewhat
distant young woman with health problems of her own. Fortuitously, she left the
area at just around this time, and we were able to find a new nanny who was
extremely sweet and loving. We encouraged her to focus a bit more on Max than on
his highly verbal and engaging brother. Indeed, this was one of the challenges
confronting Steve and me as well. We realized that we had to make a concerted
effort to spend more concentrated and focused time with Max. It was often easy
to “forget” him—he was always wandering off to be by himself. So we decided to
take turns, each spending intensive time with one child or the other.
Finally, and perhaps most
importantly, we examined ourselves—our own feelings and attitudes toward Max.
Deep down, I realized that I had feelings of rejection toward him in his current
state. It can be truly difficult to be genuinely accepting and loving toward
children with challenging problems. Yet they are the ones who need the most from
us. They are also the ones who are most psychically sensitive to parental
feelings and attitudes. I instinctively knew that I had to cultivate a state of
unconditional acceptance and love toward Max, and that this acceptance was
critical for his recovery. Coupled with this attitude, I also knew that I had to
truly believe, to have true confidence, that he would recover. Steve went a long
way toward helping me in this regard. Somehow, he always knew that things would
turn out all right.
It was now January of 1995.
Curled up in bed, I was reading the latest issue of Mothering, a
progressive parenting magazine. It included an article by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman
about homeopathy for childhood behavioral problems [Reichenberg-Ullman, 1995].
She claimed that she was able to create substantial improvement in ADD cases 70%
of the time. Back then I knew nothing about homeopathy. Like most people, I
thought that it was some kind of herbal medicine. Occasionally I had taken
over-the-counter homeopathic remedies for colds, but I didn't really know
anything about homeopathy itself.
As I read Reichenberg-Ullman's
article that evening, I was filled with an increasing fascination and
excitement. I'll never forget the moment I finished reading it. A bell went off
in my head. I knew that something important had happened. Little did I know that
our lives were about to change forever. “Read this!” I said to Steve. The next
morning I called an acupuncturist friend of mine and asked her where I could
find a homeopath. She referred me to John Melnychuk, a professional homeopath
new to the Palo Alto area. We quickly got an appointment and went with high
hopes and expectations.
John is now a close family
friend. Many years later, he told me that he was a bit stumped the day Steve,
Max, and I walked out of his office in January 1995. Max was surely in an
autistic state, but what other symptoms did he have to work with, besides those
that were simply common symptoms of autism?
You see, although the nature of a
patient's chief complaint or disease can be helpful in selecting a remedy, the
symptoms that are merely typical signs of the disease aren't always that useful.
Instead, the most fruitful symptoms are those that are peculiar to the
individual. For example, nearly anyone with asthma will have difficulty
breathing coupled with some anxiety about their condition. What will be most
useful to a homeopath in choosing a remedy, however, will be that which is
unusual about the patient and their asthma. The more peculiar or characteristic
of the individual person, the more useful a symptom will be in guiding a
homeopath toward a precisely individualized remedy. Symptoms as peculiar as
“asthma, during the full moon” or “asthma, worse when listening to music” can be
found in the homeopathic literature. Such symptoms are usually associated with
only one or two very specific remedies that could be truly curative to a patient
who experiences them. In contrast, a shallow or “routine” prescription for
asthma, based only on common asthma symptoms, will most likely only palliate
asthmatic symptoms, much as allopathic medicines do. Only a remedy that truly
matches the person as an individual will actually cure them.
Given Max's youth and withdrawn
state, it was a bit difficult to find symptoms that were particularly unique to
him. However, some of the things that stood out included: his strong craving for
milk, coupled with the fact that it aggravated his condition; his love of
dancing and music; the tendency for his head to become very sweaty when
sleeping; his preferred sleep position (on his back with his hands over the top
of his head); his restlessness and intensity; a family medical history of both
cancer and diabetes on Steve's side of the family and schizophrenia on my side;
and a stubborn, perfectionistic, yet sweet personality. For example, during that
first interview, Max became very upset when he didn't successfully write “Mom”
on a piece of paper just the way he wanted to.
All of the above characteristics
are associated with the remedy that Max ultimately was given —Carcinosin. It is a
relatively unusual remedy, but it is not uncommonly used in such cases. Of
course, other remedies have been used successfully in autism cases as well. The
key is to find the remedy that best matches a child's unique symptom profile.
Ultimately, what clinched John's
recommendation for Max was a particular symptom that he found in a homeopathic
repertory—a reference book that provides a reverse index to the materia medica.
This symptom was associated with only one remedy, and it read: “Talented,
very: Carcinosin.” Apparently, I had mentioned ten times during the initial
interview that Max was talented! Perhaps I was an overly proud mother, defensive
of her “special needs” child. But I was quite certain of his innate talents. His
observational skills and memory for visual detail were (and still are) quite
extraordinary. He could watch television and perfectly imitate nuances in
various characters' behavior and mannerisms. He could memorize dance routines
and perform them for us. Even today, Max has an extraordinary memory for visual
detail. He can watch a fast-paced cartoon and remember, days later, every bit of
action that occurred. At age eight, he saw an interesting geometric figure
within a painting on the wall of a restaurant, and remembered this same figure
as the logo of another restaurant we had eaten at only once before—a month
earlier. In recent years, he has emerged as a talented artist, with a flair for
As it turns out, Max had many
other symptoms that are characteristic of Carcinosin as well. Because this
remedy turned out to be his simillimum, I went on to study it further and write
journal papers about his case for the professional homeopathic community
[Lansky]. Introduced as a remedy in the early twentieth century, Carcinosin was
relatively unknown until D.M. Foubister, M.D., a British physician, began
utilizing and writing about it in 1958 [Foubister]. Its many symptoms include
ones that Max also exhibited: bluish scleratics (i.e., the whites of the eyes
have a bluish cast); a tendency to have numerous dark brown macules (large
freckles); a hairy back and legs; a craving for salt, butter, and spicy foods;
perfectionism and tidiness; oversensitivity to reprimand or criticism; and a
love of animals. Even Max's “poking” behavior, so common among autistic
children, is described in one article about Carcinosin that appeared in the July
1963 issue of the British Homoeopathic Journal:
“I have noticed that
Carcinosin often has bizarre tics; one of my patients constantly tapped his
brothers' skulls with his fingertips; another used to gently bite the tips of
children's fingers, one after the other...” [Hoa]
Of course, my goal here is not to
go over all of Max's and Carcinosin's symptoms. It is merely to illustrate the
kinds of symptoms that play a role in homeopathic prescribing. It is not a
formulaic “take this for that” medical system. That's what makes it so hard to
Max began taking his remedy on a
Thursday morning. John had recommended a liquid dosing regimen—a kind of slow
and steady approach—where a small amount of remedy, diluted in water, is given
on a regular basis. In Max's case, we gave him a teaspoon each morning. Each
time we gave him a dose, we also tried to imbue it with our love and good
Two days later, Steve and I began
to notice some changes. Max was using some phrases he had never used before and
was somehow a bit more socially aware. It was subtle, but something had
definitely shifted. We also noticed that his speech was slightly more fluid.
Usually, he spoke in a kind of “cogwheel” fashion—as if he had to think about
each word he said. Over time, we found that noticeable and sudden improvements
in speech and social-awareness became Max's earmark for the effects of the
remedy upon him.
The following Tuesday, five days
after starting the remedy, Max had a session with his therapist, Donna. We did
not tell her about the remedy, but she quickly noticed that something had
changed. “What did you do?” she asked. One of Max's exercises was to try to
follow a list of instructions, such as “Put the ball on the red chair and bring
the green block to me.” Usually he was able to follow only a single command,
rarely two. Suddenly he was able to perform two commands consistently.
And the trend continued. Each day
we saw just a bit more improvement. As time went by and we went through
successively increased potencies of the remedy, we began to see a definite
pattern of response. A bottle of the remedy usually took a month to finish. When
we began a new bottle, containing a slightly higher potency of the remedy, Max
would show some increased signs of hyperactivity. These aggravations were not
extreme, but were noticeable to myself and Donna. This period would usually last
three to five days. It was followed by a sudden jump in verbal, cognitive, and
social ability—a discrete and noticeable step upward. At this point, the
hyperactivity would also tone down. Max would become more contained and relaxed.
This was followed by a period of gradual improvement for about two weeks. At the
end of the month, as we neared the end of the bottle, we would begin to see a
gradual slipping backwards. Donna and I used to call this Max's
“end-of-the-bottle behavior.” This heralded the need to move on to the next
After a few months, the changes
in Max had become quite noticeable. However, being scientists, Steve and I were
naturally a bit skeptical about the whole affair. Was it the remedy that was
changing Max? Was it our own expectations and attitudes? We decided to conduct a
simple and, admittedly, not totally rigorous test. For two weeks, I would make
daily observations about Max and write them down. Steve would give Max his
morning dose, changing from one dosage level (bottle) to the next, at a time
unknown to me. The bottle would be hidden. Truthfully, I expected Steve to
change the dosage level fairly early on in the two-week period. Each day I made
my observations and jotted them down, straining to see that sudden shift, but
seeing none. However, on the second to last day of the experiment, it happened—I
noticed a sudden improvement in Max's speech. And, indeed, Steve had changed the
dose three days earlier.
As it turns out, our skepticism
about the miracle happening before our eyes was not that unusual. Over the past
few years, I have seen several striking homeopathic cures. In those cases where
the true simillimum has been found, the curative process is usually so natural
and graceful that it seems that the person is just “getting better” by
themselves. Of course, this is what happens; a remedy enables the body to heal
itself. It does not “do” something to the body in the way that allopathic
medicines do. It does not force a chemical change, so the body will not feel
forced. For this reason, a person who is accustomed to the action of allopathic
medicines will often think that a remedy did nothing; they will feel that they
just “got better.” Or they might attribute their cure to something else. But in
truth, an appropriately selected remedy in the appropriate dose should be so
gentle and effective that the person feels they just got better.
Of course, there are also
situations where an inappropriate remedy or an inappropriate dose is given. In
these cases, a person will either feel that nothing has happened at all, or, if
they are sensitive to the remedy, that something unpleasant has come over them.
For example, my mother once experienced a week of recurring mild fevers that
began an hour after ingesting a remedy given in too high a dose. On another
occasion, I found myself sitting and crying over some cooked onions that had
been thrown away by mistake. Puzzled by the way I was overreacting, I suddenly
realized, “Of course! I took a high dose of Ignatia (a grief remedy) yesterday.”
There I was, conducting my own personal proving of Ignatia, grieving over lost
Interestingly, people often do
not attribute these negative effects to a remedy either—they just don't feel
like allopathic-drug side effects. Luckily, such reactions usually disappear
soon after a remedy is discontinued or after its potency is adjusted. However,
such phenomena do underscore the importance of treatment under the guidance of a
Because Max's cure seemed so
natural and proceeded fairly gradually, it seemed to many of our friends and
family that he just grew out of his autistic state. But those of us who saw him
almost daily—Steve, Izaak, our nanny, our housekeeper, Donna, and I—saw the
direct correspondence between changes in dose and improvements in behavior.
Donna, who is extremely experienced with children like Max, repeatedly assured
me that what happened to Max was atypical. When he was clearly better, after a
year of daily dosing (at which point we discontinued the remedy altogether), she
confided to me that Max had been autistic. She said that she had seen autistic
kids improve before, but not lose their autism like Max did. In fact, our
pediatrician made the same confession. Once he was better, she admitted that he
had been autistic. She was quite surprised by the change in him. Many years
later, when I brought the boys in for a checkup, she commented that she was
still amazed at what had happened to Max.
Osteopathy, Reiki, and Prayer
Six months after starting on
Carcinosin, Max continued to improve in his ability to speak and understand
language. His social awareness improved as well. However, much of his inner
restlessness and social distance remained. When he was four, about six months
after starting homeopathic treatment, I took Max to see a traditional osteopath
on John's recommendation. While most osteopaths in the United States (with the
D.O. credential) function as allopaths, a traditional osteopath heals only
through hands-on manipulatory techniques. One of the goals of treatment is to
balance and free the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, through very gentle, sometimes
almost imperceptible, manipulations of the cranium, spine, and sacrum.
Max had a course of three
osteopathic treatments in a month, followed by an occasional treatment once
every few months. After his first examination, the osteopath felt that Max had
signs of cranial compression, which he was able to correct. And indeed, Max's
initial response to treatment was striking. While the homeopathic remedy had its
primary effect on his language production, comprehension, and social awareness,
osteopathy created the first major shift in Max's desire for physical affection.
It also seemed to create a calming effect in him, quelling that sense of
The night after his first
osteopathic treatment, Max crawled into my lap and said, “Mommy, sing me
‘Rock-A-Bye Baby!’ Although he did not usually push me away, this was the first
time he directly asked me for this kind of physical loving attention. From that
point on, Max did. Soon he began crawling into bed with me in the morning and
snuggling at bedtime. He also began to run after my husband or me when we left
the house to make sure he got that extra kiss goodbye. What a change from the
distant “self-contained” Max!
Throughout the healing process, I
also prayed for Max on a regular basis. When times were particularly rough, I
would go into his room while he was sleeping and use a form of therapeutic touch
called Reiki [Stein]. I truly believe that the effects of prayer and hands-on
healing are not to be underestimated. In fact, an increasing number of studies
have proven the beneficial effects of both on cases ranging from open-heart
surgery to AIDS [Targ]. Many nurses are training in the use of such techniques
and are beginning to use them in hospital settings. In my own experience,
osteopathy, hands-on energy work, and prayer all work marvelously with
homeopathic treatment. They seem to be complementary, boosting each other's
Joining the Crowd
In the fall of 1995, after nine
months of homeopathic treatment, Max began his second year at the Montessori
preschool. At this point, his speech had definitely become more complex,
spontaneous, and fluid. Donna tested him again and found that he was approaching
age level. She decided to discontinue therapy, but kept him “on the books” as
far as eligibility for special education.
Now that Max was talking, he was
also trying to join in with the other children socially. But he was behind.
Having started so late, he was awkward in his initial attempts at social
interaction. He was stubborn and cried too easily when he didn't get his way. To
get attention and acceptance, he often resorted to excessive silly “toilet
talk.” Of course, as a parent, I was thrilled that he was beginning to reach out
to other children. But the school was not as supportive. They had pegged Max as
a quiet child and did not like the new changes they saw in him. They gave him no
support in his awkward transition from social withdrawal to social acceptance
and savvy. One of his teachers said to me, “Max was such a nice boy before. Can
you put him back the way he was?”
Although it was awkward to change
schools in the middle of the school year and cope with this teacher's attitude,
I had learned by this point that not changing to meet Max's needs would stall
his progress. It was clearly time for some changes on the school front. So, when
Max was 4 1/2, we found a new school for him—a more socially oriented school
that followed the Montessori style, but not as strictly. His new teachers had no
preconceptions or biases toward him, and they easily helped Max adjust. Within a
few months he knew everyone at school, was interested in what was going on
around him, had a couple of friends, and was having playdates.
During that school year we also
made some more changes on the home front. When our nanny decided to leave her
position to follow her dream to become a beautician, Steve and I decided to stop
using nannies altogether, opting instead for after-school childcare three days
per week. This change had many beneficial side effects for our family. For one
thing, we finally began to eat dinner together every night as a family. Given
the hectic schedule of families with two working parents, the institution of the
family meal has gone by the wayside in many American homes. Returning to it
created a feeling of greater coherence and stability in our lives. It also
assured a better diet for our kids.
Remedy Adjustments, and a Hint
of Vaccination Damage
By the end of 1995, it became
increasingly clear that Max was being aggravated more than helped by his remedy.
He was consistently more hyper and revved up. We began to decrease the frequency
of his dose, but the aggravation remained. Finally, in January 1996, a year
after Max began homeopathic treatment, we stopped it completely.
Sure enough, just like Max's
marked improvement with each monthly change of dose, going off the remedy now
led to a huge leap in language and social ability. This leap continued for about
four months until it evened out. Max calmed down and his true personality began
to emerge full force. He is an entertainer. He is sociable and sensitive.
Although he was still immature at this point, he was ahead of his peers
academically. He was respected and liked by both his teachers and classmates. In
May 1996, Donna tested Max once more. He was testing above age level! On the day
that Steve and I joyfully signed papers releasing Max from eligibility for
special education, Donna told the county social services representative that it
was not her therapy that had done the trick for him; it was homeopathy. She also
invited John and me to present Max's case to her clinic, which we did that
Max was now almost five years
old, and it was tempting for Steve and me to believe that he was fully cured.
However, John was less sure, and he turned out to be right. There were still
vestigial signs of his former autism, though they were not readily apparent. For
example, his language production continued to be awkward at times. In times of
stress (for instance, if he was sick), he would retreat into himself and use
echolalia as a speech strategy.
But overall, Max was functioning
extremely well. He engaged in real discussions with family and friends. He asked
for explanations about his body and his environment. He related stories about
his day at school and about TV shows. He was also fascinated with fantasy play
and dress up. Max was even becoming popular at school, with children running up
to him and greeting him. He was able to adjust easily to new social situations
the summer of 1996, readily adapting to two new summer camps. Max had also
become an avid reader—another Carcinosin quality. Before he began kindergarten
he could already read simple Dr. Seuss books.
However, by the end of the summer
of 1996, I began to notice a slight decline in Max's speech and social
awareness. It also happened to be time for his five-year-old checkup at the
pediatrician. And for the first time, I declined the routine vaccinations. At
age five, it is customary to give the full battery—measles, mumps, and rubella
(MMR), diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT), and polio. Having read about a
possible link between autism and vaccination damage, I didn't want to rock the
boat. Our pediatrician did not argue with my decision either. But she did
convince me to give Max the tuberculosis (TB) test that is required for
kindergarten entry in California—now administered as an injection rather than
the old tine test.
Unfortunately, this injection led
to a marked aggravation and deterioration in Max's state. For the next week, he
became increasingly sensitive, crying for no reason. The teachers at his camp
and at school remarked about the change in him. He had become more withdrawn and
fearful. He was not his usual self. This reaction made us wonder if, indeed,
vaccination was the root cause of Max's problems in the first place. Years
later, I discovered another hint of this. After going through his medical
records, I realized that at age 18 months, Max had been given a dose of the MMR
vaccine only one week after recovering from roseola—an ailment related to
measles. Perhaps he had been in a compromised state. Indeed, the MMR vaccine has
been highly implicated in triggering autism [Wakefield].
Luckily, after a couple of tries
with other remedies, our homeopath suggested that we simply return to Carcinosin.
After a single dose, Max was back to his normal self within hours. We breathed a
sigh of relief. Max started back on the remedy and remained on it for another
eight months, once again changing dosage level about once a month. Again we saw
the same characteristic monthly pattern of response. After eight months, in
March of 1997, I readily recognized the consistent aggravation and stopped the
remedy. And once again, this was followed by a long period of noticeable
An Ongoing Process
Since that time, Max has no
longer needed daily doses of Carcinosin. Just like the rest of our family, he
visits our homeopath and osteopath about two times a year, or when the need
arises. Sometimes he receives a remedy to deal with minor behavioral or
emotional problems that crop up. Sometimes he receives a remedy when he gets an
infection or virus and needs a bit of extra help getting over it. The same is
true for me, Steve, and our other son Izaak. We are all part of an ongoing
process of healing and growth.
In the fall of 1997 I felt that
Max was ready to leave his Montessori school. At age 6, he entered first grade
at the private school that Izaak attended. Since then he has done well both
academically and socially. He is an openhearted, sensitive, and somewhat comedic
fellow who loves drawing and art (he is especially fond of the quirky and
enigmatic paintings of M.C. Escher), playing computer games, reading fantasy and
science fiction books, and writing and illustrating his own works of
But like all children, Max is
growing and changing and occasionally needs homeopathic and social supports.
When he was in second grade, input from his teachers alerted us to the fact that
he was still having some difficulty processing auditory input. For example, he
sometimes missed parts of oral instructions or key points in stories, especially
when they were read out loud to the class. Being quite sensitive to disapproval,
Max tended to cover up for these deficits and did not ask for help or
clarification from the teacher. The result was sometimes an excellently executed
assignment or essay, but written about the wrong topic. The teachers were
puzzled. Max's behavioral affect was quite normal and his execution of
assignments was always excellent if he understood what was expected from him.
There seemed to be something askew to them.
You see, up to that point, I had
not told Max's teachers about his former autism. I didn't want to bias them in
any way. And perhaps I wanted to forget about these problems myself. When these
new issues arose, I told the teachers about Max's history. As a result, they
tried to provide visual or written instructions for him when necessary, and
occasionally would check up on him to make sure he had understood class
assignments. The net effect was excellent.
Max is now doing quite well in
life. After third grade, his auditory processing problems seemed to disappear,
thanks to ongoing homeopathic treatment. His teachers no longer report any
problems at all. Today his behavior, demeanor, and day-to-day interactions with
friends and family are not in any way autistic. He's a sociable fellow with many
friends, and an excellent student working at his age and grade level. He takes
piano and tennis lessons. He attends summer camps, including a month-long
sleepaway camp. He is resilient within his peer group, always able to defend
himself with a kind of entertaining humor and charm. He is also a gentle soul,
loved by his teachers. Of course, he still has his issues, like any other child.
But we continue to work on them and Max continues to improve. Invariably, his
spirit and talents outshine any limitations. Max is no longer autistic, but he
is still a “talented, very” child.
According to the Autism Society
of America, between 500,000 and 1,500,000 Americans now have some form of
autism. And the number is rising. Check around your community—autism cases are
popping up everywhere. Every day I hear about more cases of this once incredibly
rare and heartbreaking condition. In a statement to Congress in 1999 supported
by the Central Missouri District School Nurse Association, Patti White, R.N.
estimated that the rate of autism-related disorders had risen in her district
from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 150 [White]. A 1999 California government report also
found an alarming increase in the number of autism cases in that state [AutismCalifornia].
In fact, in 2001, the U.S. Department of Health reported that the incidence of
autism is rising at a rate of more than 20% a year [Herald].
Where did this alarming trend
come from? As mentioned earlier, one proposed physiological explanation is a
wayward reaction to milk protein. Two studies conducted at the University of
Florida [Ross, Sun1, Sun2] have found that some autistic and schizophrenic
individuals may lack the ability to break down proteins found in milk, possibly
due to a malfunctioning enzyme.
Now obviously, the recent
dramatic rise in autism cannot simply be attributed to milk —something that
children have always been consuming. What has changed is these children's
ability to assimilate milk. Indeed, autistic children are known to be sensitive
to many other foods as well—for example, wheat, gluten, corn, and food
colorings—and their autism sometimes improves when these foods are eliminated
from their diet.
But why have these food
intolerances developed? One very compelling theory is that the ever-increasing
use of vaccinations is to blame. Indeed, several studies and books have directly
correlated the rise in autism—indeed, the very phenomenon of autism itself—with
the introduction of the American vaccine program. The earliest reported cases of
autism in the United States were in 1943, among affluent families—the families
who were the first to give their children all the benefits of modern medicine,
including vaccinations [Coulter90].
Since then, the situation has
only gotten worse. It is now an incontrovertible fact that the incidence of
autism, ADD, and other learning and behavioral disorders has risen precipitously
over the past twenty years, along with a sharp increase in severe allergies and
various other kinds of autoimmune disorders. This rise has occurred at the same
time as the increased and mandated use of vaccinations for just about every
childhood illness. Indeed, the number of different disease antigens (the vaccine
constituents that trigger an immune response) that are recommended for children
by the time they are five years old has more than tripled in the last two
Can this correlation between an
increase in vaccination and an increase in behavioral and autoimmune disorders
be explained scientifically? Some scientists are starting to believe the
phenomenon can be explained by the fact that vaccines stimulate a different
branch of the immune system (the humoral or Th2 function) than is stimulated by
actually experiencing a disease (the cell-mediated or Th1 function). As a
result, it may be over-stimulation of the body's Th2 function (by an
ever-increasing number of vaccines) that may be causing wayward autoimmune
responses [Incao]. Another popular theory is that various vaccine
ingredients—mercury, in particular—are to blame.
Whatever the explanation, people
are beginning to take notice. Missouri nurse Patti White's statement to Congress
asserts her suspicions about the now-popular hepatitis B vaccine. Once a staunch
advocate of vaccination, White has seen a dramatic rise in childhood behavioral
problems in her school district, as well as asthma, diabetes, and other chronic
diseases, ever since the hepatitis B vaccination was mandated for infants in
1991 [White]. Autism and other behavioral problems have also been linked to the
DPT vaccine, because of convulsions or cerebral inflammation that occurred hours
or days after administration of the vaccine [Coulter90]. More recently, the MMR
vaccine has been implicated in an English study by Andrew Wakefield, M.D.
[Wakefield]. This vaccine is suspected to cause abnormal intestinal problems in
autistic children, and is also suspected as a trigger for Crohn's disease.
Although Wakefield's work has met with the criticism one would expect for such
an unpopular scientific result, his suspicions about the MMR vaccine have been
buttressed by other studies. For example, American researcher V.K. Singh has
found evidence that autism may be an autoimmune disorder of the brain that is
triggered by the MMR vaccine [Singh]. Today, many parents within the American
and British autism communities feel that this vaccine, in particular, is the
culprit for their children's condition. I have come to believe that this was the
case for Max as well.
It will be a shocking and sad day
when we as a society admit to ourselves that, in our effort to avoid the
childhood illnesses (many of which are usually benign) or to needlessly protect
newborn infants from diseases primarily found among intravenous drug users
(hepatitis B), we may be inadvertently crippling many of our children, both
mentally and physically, for life.
Luckily, homeopathy has a
longstanding and successful track record in repairing vaccination damage. It
also has been successful in curing (not just palliating) the allergies, asthma,
and behavioral problems that may result from this damage. Max's story is a case
in point. Homeopathic remedies are also available for treating and preventing
the very same childhood diseases that vaccinations are trying to prevent. Thus,
homeopathy provides not only a remedial tool, but also an alternative way to
deal with the diseases vaccines are designed to prevent.
The Path of Healing
Max's cure was a miracle. There
is still not a day that goes by without my thanking God for delivering Max and
the rest of our family from what could have been a tragic outcome. But Max's
healing was not without its ups and downs. Invariably, overcoming a serious
problem like autism is a process that takes time.
In retrospect, I realize that we
were amazingly lucky to find a perfect remedy for Max right away. Because we
were able to see at least some form of progress throughout Max's healing, it was
easy to stick with the process. More often than not, however, it takes time for
a homeopath to find a good remedy for a patient. This is especially true in
complex, chronic cases. The net effect can be a sort of zigzag path to cure, a
gradual and more circuitous return to health. After all, a homeopath can do
nothing more than try to match a patient's current symptoms to the best fitting
remedy they can find.
Of course, there are times when a
quick miraculous cure does happen. I've seen it myself. But usually, the path to
the cure of chronic disease is not so smooth. There may be periods of
aggravation to deal with and modifications of dose and remedy to be tried. It
takes patience, perseverance, and enough education about homeopathy to cooperate
effectively with the treating homeopath and to cope with the bumps along the
Don't forget, a homeopath needs
to know lots of symptoms—including some very personal ones—to make a good
prescription. Without fully understanding a person's physical, mental, and
emotional state, a homeopath can work only on the surface and can have only a
superficial impact on a patient's health. Even when all of the relevant symptoms
are known, it is often difficult to interpret a case correctly and find the
simillimum. Because of this, the practice of homeopathy, like that of many other
holistic healing therapies, is an art that requires years to master. In
difficult cases, even the most experienced homeopath may need some time to
understand a patient well enough to find a path to cure.
Since I first published my
original paper about Max's cure in 1998 [Lansky], I have been contacted by many
parents of autistic children from around the world. Recently, one parent called
to tell me that because of this paper, he had sought out homeopathic treatment
for his autistic son—and that his boy was now recovering. That one phone call
made all of my efforts to spread the word about Max's case worthwhile.
However, in most of my
conversations with these beleaguered parents, I have discovered a great deal of
resignation and fatalism about their child's condition. Despite my spending
hours on the phone or email with them, assuring them that autism had been cured
in Max's case and had been treated successfully in other cases as well [Herscu-Aut],
most of these parents have not given homeopathy a thorough trial. In one case, a
mother sought out a homeopath and got a remedy for her child, but was too afraid
to give it to her. In other cases, parents discontinued treatment after only a
month, either because they didn't see enough effects from the remedy, or because
they were scared by aggravations.
From these experiences I have
learned the proverbial lesson—“You can lead a horse to water but you can't make
him drink.” It is my hope that, in the case of humans at least, further
education can lead to an awareness of the need to take that first sip and keep
drinking. That is why I kept sharing my story about Max's cure and why I
ultimately wrote a book about it and this astounding medical system [LanskyBook].
If someone comes to a homeopath
because they are suffering from a longstanding chronic illness, they must give
the homeopath time—at least six months—to find a good remedy and dosing regimen.
Indeed, if an allopathic doctor has said that a condition is incurable, why are
people surprised or discouraged when they are not cured quickly and easily by a
homeopath? So often people turn to alternatives like homeopathy when all hope is
lost, and they expect a miraculous cure to happen overnight. But cure usually
It also takes confidence. In the
case of autism and other severe childhood diseases, parents often become afraid
and despondent, and understandably so. It is hard enough for them to truly
accept their child's illness. It is even harder for them to cultivate an
attitude of confidence and trust that their child will be cured. In many cases,
it is also difficult for them to face the potential disappointment of failed
treatment. But what is worse? Disappointment, or a lifetime of handling a child
with a crippling disability?
I believe that it is an attitude
of loving acceptance coupled with confidence in cure that is the key to recovery
for anyone. I have read that it is not the fighters who recover from cancer.
Rather, it is those individuals who are able to embrace their illness and its
gifts, while still maintaining confidence that they will get to the other side
of it. A very difficult state of mind to achieve—no doubt about it! While
acceptance of disease may be achieved by some, if it is not coupled with
confidence in cure, it can sometimes lead to psychological investment in
disease. When this happens, the positive intentionality that fosters the
curative process becomes derailed.
For example, I have met parents
who have convinced themselves that their children are just fine being autistic.
While this attitude may help a parent feel better about their situation, it does
nothing to help a child recover. Certainly, their child would be better off if
they weren't autistic! If we want our children (or ourselves) to recover, it is
imperative that our love and acceptance be coupled with an inner vision of
recovery. I believe this coupling of attitudes can be the single most powerful
force in achieving a cure—the second most powerful, of course, being an
accurately prescribed homeopathic remedy.
Being a homeopathic patient is
invariably a journey of growth. It is a transformation, not a bandaid; a
fulfillment of potential and a return to proper function, not a cut-and-paste
operation. It may take effort, but cure (rather than unending palliation or
suppression) is worth that effort. It takes awareness of one's symptoms and a
willingness to divulge all aspects of oneself to a homeopath. It takes a “stick
with it” attitude.
I hope that Max's story has also
illustrated another point—the need to accommodate to improvement and growth as
it occurs. Because a person undergoing homeopathic treatment may actually change
in fundamental ways, it is important to make lifestyle modifications that
accommodate that change. In a child's case, this may require changes in
schooling or childcare arrangements. In an adult, the movement toward health may
cause changes in work or relationships. After all, in order to really heal, a
person must often repair those circumstances that contribute to their illness.
Finally, homeopathy is ideally a
family affair. For one thing, the healing of a child may actually depend on a
parent's ability to change and become well too. Likewise, the healing of a child
may free up family energy so that other family members can fulfill their own
potential. In the end, homeopathy can improve the whole dynamic of a family, as
a cycle of change and growth is set into motion. In our family, once Max was
better, Steve and I were able to work on ourselves and our marriage. Eventually,
Izaak was enabled to express his needs and have them addressed too. And the
cycle still continues. I hope that my telling you about our experiences will
help you, your family, and our society and world at large to find true healing.
Because cure is possible.
[AutismCalifornia] “Changes in
the Population of Persons with Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders in
California's Developmental Services System: 1987-1998,” Report to the
Legislature, Department of Developmental Services, California Health and Human
Services Agency, 1600 Ninth Street, Room 240, Sacramento, CA 95814 (March 1,
[Coulter90] Coulter, Harris L.
Vaccination, Social Violence, and Criminality: The Medical Assault on the
American Brain, North Atlantic Books and Homeopathic Educational Services,
Berkeley, California (1990).
[Feingold] Feingold, Ben F.
Why Your Child Is Hyperactive, Random House (1985). Also see the extensive
site of the Feingold Program, www.feingold.org.
[Foubister] Foubister, D.M. “The
Carcinosin Drug Picture,” British Homeopathic Journal, 47, 201 (July
[Herald] Reported in The
Sunday Herald, “Autism Figures Soar in America,” www.SundayHerald.com/21347
(Sunday, January 6, 2002).
[Herscu-Aut] Latchis, Spero.
“Homeopathy and Autism: Report on a Presentation by Paul Herscu, N.D., DHANP,”
in Homeopathy Today, Volume 21, Number 10, pp. 20-21 (November 2001).
[Hoa] Hoa, J. Hui Bon.
“Carcinosin: A Clinical and Pathogenetic Study,” The British Homoeopathic
Journal (July 1963).
[Incao] Incao, Philip, F. “How
Vaccinations Work,” www.garynull.com/Documents/niin/how_vaccinations_work.htm
[Lansky] Lansky, Amy. “Max's
Story: A Carcinosin Cure,” Homeopathy Online, Issue 5, http://www.LyghtForce.com/HomeopathyOnline/Issue5
(January1998). A condensed version of this article appeared in Similia,
Publication of the Australian Homoeopathic Association, Volume 11, Number 2
(July 1998). Also see: www.RenResearch.com/autism.html.
[LanskyBook] Lansky, Amy L.
Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy, R.L.Ranch Press, Portola Valley,
California (2003). For more information and ordering, visit
[MercolaVaccine] Mercola, Joseph
M., “Vaccine Insanity,” The Mercola Newsletter, www.mercola.com/2002/feb/2/vaccine_insanity.htm
(February 2, 2000).
Reichenberg-Ullman, Judyth, “A Homeopathic Approach to Behavioral Problems,”
Mothering, Number 74, pp.97-101 (Spring 1995).
[Ross] Ross, Melanie F., “Milk in
Diet May Be Linked to Autism and Schizophrenia,” University of Florida Press
Release, Science Daily, www.ScienceDaily.com/releases/1999/03/990316103010.htm
(March 17, 1999).
[Singh] Singh, V.K., Lin, S.X.,
and V.C. Yang, “Serological Association of Measles Virus and Human Herpes
Virus-6 with Brain Autoantibodies in Autism,” Clinical Immunological
Immunopathology, 89:105-8 (1998).
[Stein] Stein, Diane.
Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to an Ancient Healing Art, The Crossing
Press, Santa Cruz, CA (1995).
[Sun1] Sun, Zhongjie, J. Robert
Cade, Melvin J. Fregly, and R. Malcolm Privette, “Beta-casomorphin Induces Fos-like
Immunoreactivity in Discrete Brain Regions Relevant to Schizophrenia and
Autism,” in Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice,
Volume 3, Number 1, pp. 67-83 (March 1999).
[Sun2] Sun, Zhongjie and J.
Robert Cade, “A Peptide Found in Schizophrenia and Autism Causes Behavioral
Changes in Rats,” in Autism: The International Journal of Research and
Practice, Volume 3, Number 1, pp. 85-95 (March 1999).
[Targ] Targ, Elizabeth. “Distant
Healing,” IONS Noetic Sciences Review, Number 49, pp. 24-29
[Wakefield] Wakefield, Andrew, et
al. “Ileal-lymphoid-nodular Hyperplasia, Non-specific Colitis, and Pervasive
Developmental Disorder in Children,” Lancet, 351, pp. 637-641 (1998).
[White] White, Patti. “Hepatitis
B Vaccine: A school nursing perspective for the congressional hearings on May
18, 1999 regarding the safety of the hepatitis B vaccine that is being mandated
for newborns and now older children in America,” Statement to the Subcommittee
on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources of the Committee on
Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives.
Update for Second Edition
Max is now 14 years old and a
freshman in high school. He remains completely autism-free—no teacher or friend
suspects his past. I still try to keep him away from cow's milk, corn, and food
colorings. But when he goes to sleep-away camp in the summer, he eats all of
these things with no problems. (Given the opportunity, he will eat a whole pile
of tortilla chips before I can stop him!)
Max, like the rest of our family,
still sees our homeopath about once or twice a year. He gets remedies to help
with acute ailments or with the stresses of being a teenager. I would still
classify him as a bit more on the spacey or forgetful side—especially in
comparison to my older son, who is much more Type-A. Max can tune out
conversations easily if he wants to, gets a bit lost in his thoughts, and
sometimes does miss social cues. But by and large, he is a more resilient
teenager than his brother. He is loving high school, has many new friends there,
is doing well with his studies, has grown his hair out long now (he likes the
artistic counterculture image), and is most interested these days in girls (he
has already had a girlfriend or two), music, and his passion: computer
animation. So Max remains the talented fellow—the sensitive artist type!
Readers might be interested in
hearing more about homeopathic treatment of autism by tuning into my monthly
radio show at: www.AutismOne.org/radio,
or checking out the information and referral lists at my book website,