I have been corresponding recently with an Austrian newsletter reader, Dr Johanna Osztovics, who has kindly opened a window for me to the world of neural therapy in Europe. I was aware of course that neural therapy originated in Europe, and that it is widely practiced in the German and Spanish speaking countries. However the language barrier has prevented me from knowing much about its current status, short of the annual "Medizinische Woche" (medicine week) in Baden-Baden, which some North Americans attend.
The Austrian neural therapy association was founded in 1971. Their "congresses" are held every two years and have evolved from a small group of clinicians who knew each other well, to international meetings with lectures by anatomists and physiologists as well as clinicians. At their most recent meeting in 2011, a featured speaker was the French plastic surgeon and researcher J.C. Gimberteau who presented his marvelous video recordings of the subcutaneous space. His book called "Strolling under the skin" outlines a new theory on "the concept of multimicrovacuoles to explain human intercorporeal organs sliding systems". Dr. Osztovics observed that "though there are no immediate impacts on our NT-technique it changes the image we have in mind while sinking the needle".
The Austrian neural therapy association website has links with many other national societies including Belgium, Bulgaria, Columbia, Czech Republic, Germany (several societies), Greece, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey. (I was aware that neural therapy is being practiced in Turkey as this newsletter has several subscribers from there.) What a pity that there is not yet a single neural therapy association in the English speaking countries.
I was interested to learn about some of the topics currently preoccupying Austrian neural therapy leaders. They include questions such as "What are the core concepts of neural therapy?" and, "Are these principles being applied in too narrow or too wide a fashion?" In my opinion these are discussions well worth having, particularly among those teaching and writing about neural therapy. Educational programs must be designed, and the line between what is neural therapy and what is not, is not always clear.
I noticed this at the international conference on neural therapy in Quito last March. Some of the lectures were only very loosely linked to neural therapy, but were likely of interest to most attending because they appealed to inquiring minds. Because neural therapy is outside the standard conventional medical curriculum, only those physicians with a lively curiosity are likely to come across it and learn it.
I have to keep this in mind when writing this monthly newsletter. Often I come across something really interesting in my practice and would like to share it. However if it does not "fit", I have to discard it. My reasoning is that readers of this newsletter are searching for information about neural therapy - a rare commodity in the English speaking world.
So where does neural therapy fit in the world of medicine? It is certainly not a technique like Reike or reflexology that can be practiced independently of medicine. The Huneke brothers were mature physicians and their genius was to recognize the significance of what they had stumbled across, namely that focal disturbances in the body's regulatory mechanisms could be identified and treated. But as powerful an idea as this has proven to be, they knew full well that it was not a panacea. Already by the time Peter Dosch was writing his landmark Manual of Neural Therapy according to Huneke, neural therapy's limitations were being identified. (See pages 59 to 61 of the most recent edition.)
Pischinger (Vol. 3, No. 9, September 2008) took this further and showed that interference fields are intimately connected to the body's biochemistry and electrophysiology. My own contribution Neural Therapy: Applied Neurophysiology and Other Topics is an effort to apply some of these ideas in a practical way.
The pioneers of neural therapy recognized early an overlap with acupuncture and that acupuncture points are portals into the autonomic nervous system. I also have been teaching for many years that the osteopathic term "somatic dysfunction" is a musculoskeletal manifestation of an interference field and follows the same rules as do the better-known forms of interference fields.
The discovery by Klinghardt and Williams that applied kinesiology can be used to detect interference fields opened up energetic possibilities in neural therapy (at least for the English-speaking world. Similar discoveries were being made independently and perhaps earlier in South America by Payan and Duque.) Crosby's inventionof the Tenscam made energetic treatment of interference fields possible, obviating the need for injections. And some practitioners have found that homeopathics can be combined with procaine or used in conjunction with the Tenscam to potentiate the results of classical neural therapy.
So we see that the core concepts of neural therapy are firmly embedded in the matrix of general medicine. And these also interconnect with some concepts that are not currently "mainstream". In practical terms this means that neural therapy works best when practiced by physicians who think broadly and deeply, and are skilled in many other aspects of medicine. More than a technique, it is a "way of thinking" that not only benefits the patient, but also provides profound intellectual satisfaction to those who practice it.