-two exciting new remedies profiled by Jonathan Hardy with case studies of Ozonum
Oxygen is the most common element on earth. Half of all matter consists of oxygen. Of the air we breathe 16 per cent consists of oxygen gas. It is surprising then that, until recently, Oxygen has been very little understood homeopathically and prescribed seldom. However in recent years we have been given many interesting insights into the homeopathic application of this gas.
Oxygen is described chemically as O2 (two oxygen atoms combined) and Ozone is O3 (three oxygen atoms combined). Oxygen is essential for life. Ozone is formed in the Earth’s atmosphere at altitudes of 20 to 50 kilometres (in the stratosphere) through the action of the sun’s short-wave ultraviolet radiation. The layer of ozone was an absolute necessity for the development of life on our planet and still is essential to life. Earth’s existing life forms need protection from the sun’s lethal UV rays. This is why the decrease in the ozone layer and the occurrence of holes in it are cause for serious concern. Ozone is destroyed by a number of man’s activities and man-made products, including CFCs in aerosol sprays, which is why they have been banned. Air traffic and nitrogen oxides from fertilisers also decrease the ozone layer. It is fascinating then that the concept of a protective layer is the major theme in homeopathic Ozonum cases.
Oxygen is essential for life because it is part of the burning process. In metabolic processes in the body oxygen combines with a variety of substances and this burning process frees the energy which is stored there. This “oxidation” is a key process in all forms of life. It is a slow internal process; there is no actual fire to be seen of course. It is a necessary process for remaining alive but at the same time it means the end of something, a sort of death and the idea of being “used up” is a key theme in Oxygen cases.
Homeopathic themes There are other fascinating themes in relation to these remedies. Oxygen lies in the second row of the Periodic Table of elements. Row 2 has a number of themes homeopathically. The major one is to do with feelings of self-worth, value and meaning. Often people needing these remedies have very low self-esteem. Sometimes this feeling can be so extreme that the person feels simply not noticed and even invisible to others.
Another key theme in row 2 cases is that of separation. There are eight elements in row 2, starting with the metal Lithium and finishing with the gas Neon. The row of eight remedies can be seen as representing the process of separation from the mother: starting with Lithium where separation is considered a complete impossibility and ending with Neon where separation is so complete as to feel as if one is in a cocoon.
The elements in between represent the progressive stages in this process.
Row 2 has also been seen in terms of the birth process: the elements on the left hand side of the row (Lithium, Beryllium and Boron) are still feeling psychologically as if they are in the womb and want that protective covering of the mother’s womb, its warmth and security. The elements on the right side of the row (Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine) feel bound and constricted by the attachment to the mother and want freedom and release. It is interesting that homeopathic Nitrogen and nitrates have very strong feelings of claustrophobia and are pictured as if in the birth canal and experiencing constriction and suffocation. Oxygen, the next element, is of course related to the first thing we do after birth – we take a breath, and breathe in oxygen.
Knowledge of these themes aids homeopathic practitioners in understanding our patients and the following cases illustrate how helpful this can be. Ozone appears to be an important remedy for teenagers. A number of my teenage cases of this remedy talk about being “zoned out” or “in the zone”. It is interesting they use a word which actually has the same root as the remedy they need! In all these cases personal details have been changed for complete confidentiality.
David came to see me a year ago when he was 18. His chief complaint was insomnia. He was unable to sleep and could not wake up in the morning and consequently was suffering with extreme tiredness. I asked him to describe how he felt.
“I don’t want to do anything. If I sit down I fall asleep. It makes me depressed. It’s like a deep sleep, like you are walking around and your eyes are closed, you are not with it, you are not noticing things. It is like you are somewhere else. I’m in my own little world. It is black, there is nothing there, everything is slower. People are talking to you but you don’t take it in – like you are walking in a bubble, outside noises don’t get in.”
I asked him to elaborate.
“It is like you are in a different space to everyone else. Only really loud stuff comes in. Like you are in a balloon. Something massive could be happening but you don’t take it in.”
What is it like in the bubble? I asked.
“It is a lot quieter and a lot slower. This sounds silly but it seems warmer. It could be raining but I would not feel wet. It is like you’re daydreaming. If you were cold you would not notice. You are not really there physically or mentally.”
What would be the opposite of the bubble?
“Very aware, you would hear a pin drop. You are aware of everyone who is there, where you are; you have got eyes in the back of your head. You are aware of everything going on.”
What David is describing is the typical Ozone state. It is as if they are in a bubble, shut off from the outside world. Doesn’t it sound like he is describing being in the womb? Warm, safe and cut off from other people. That is exactly what the womb is like: a warm and safe environment. We also know that the foetus is extremely sensitive to any stimuli and that sounds like the “opposite” state which I asked him to describe: hyper-alert.
I spoke privately to his father who commented, “He has very low self-esteem. He says, ‘I am not any good at anything’, ‘I am not clever’, ‘I am not good looking’, ‘I’ve got spots and a big nose’. When he gets depressed he is dreadful, he is whingeing, moaning and negative and can’t see anything good about himself or anyone else. He is just constantly moaning.”
So we see the row 2 theme of lack of self-esteem: feeling awful about oneself, in particular about one’s body which is another theme of row 2. Also the Oxygen theme of “used up”: it can be a feeling of just being used up as a person, a feeling of being abused and complete loss of self-worth – being a victim. This leads to the moaning and complaining.
So I prescribed Ozonum and one month later David reported that he was “really well. I am not tired. I have much more energy. Also that bubble feeling has gone.”
His father told me: “He is much more positive, my wife has noticed it too. He’s sleeping much better and thank goodness he is not complaining anymore! Mealtimes are much more positive and pleasant.”
Another 18 year-old, Michael, came to see me because of depression. “I never wake up fresh, I can’t concentrate,” he said. “I never seem to be ‘in the zone’. I am always half-drifting along. At its worst I am just ‘zoning out’ – I can see my teacher talking but nothing said is being absorbed, I just sit there blank and everything washes over me – I am not there mentally.”
On asking him to describe these feelings more fully, Michael commented, “I am drifting off into another place, nothingness. A place where there is nothing else but me. It is white. It’s nothing, I am just there, I am not sat on anything, I am not standing on anything, it’s kind of floating. It is just somewhere to be. It happens if I am upset, for example by an argument at home or with my girlfriend or if I have forgotten to do my homework.”
I asked him to tell me about the feeling of floating.
“There is something around you, but you are not on solid ground. There is no telling if it is gravity or if you are upside down.”
Again we are hearing described a womb-like state. The baby just floats peacefully in the womb without a worry in the world and under stress Michael is regressing into this womb-like state. He continued.
“Sometimes I am like Kevin the teenager! I am just going ‘life’s not fair’. I get angry, I don’t want to talk to anyone. There are times when I get upset and I really want to talk to my mother – she is my ‘attachment figure’.”
Here, he is talking about two more themes: a grumpy teenager who thinks he is a victim is an Oxygen theme and it is very interesting he talks about his mother as an “attachment figure”, because as we know separation from the mother figure is a big theme in row 2.
His mother tells me that “he makes life hell on earth! He is very isolated and totally disengages from everybody and everything. He very rarely expresses what’s the matter.” Again we see this theme of cutting off.
Naturally Michael had Ozonum and one month later he was sleeping much better. “I am much less tired, actually I am quite amazed how refreshed I am in the morning. I am zoning out much less and I am much more focused. I am feeling much closer to my father, I feel connected to him, more supportive of him.”
Here we have the opposite sensation of separation: connection.
Angela, at 17, also came because of depression. Her mother said to me, “She goes into a quiet state, she still smiles but is withdrawn. She does not enter into any conversation. She is very solitary.”
Angela described her condition. “It feels floaty, it feels zoned out. I don’t want to do anything; I can’t talk. I just want to be on my own, not trying too hard. Just in my own little world. I am floating, it is like being somewhere else completely. It is like being in a big bubble. I don’t hear anything. There is a big wall between me and everybody, no communication.”
I asked her what the opposite of that state would be.
“Talking to everybody, wanting to be with people, being the centre of attention: actually when I am in the zoned out state I really do not want to be acknowledged.”
Again, we have a beautiful description of the womb-like state. She also touches on the issue of self-esteem and value: she does not want to be acknowledged when she is in the zoned out state. After taking
Ozonum the depression went and she no longer cuts herself off.
With complaints of depression, tiredness and recurrent mouth ulcers, 40 year-old Robert commented, “I am feeling so tired. At half-past eight I want to go to bed. It is strange, in the past I used to feel almost hollow, fragile, as if someone had knocked the breath out of me. As if I could be blown over by the wind, as if there wasn’t much substance to me as a person.”
When asked to explain this more, he said he felt “as if I could be knocked out of the way, as if I would just go unnoticed. I feel like I am not on an even keel. I feel off balance, almost dizzy. It is like I am not on solid ground, a kind of floating, nothing substantial. I am almost on quick-sand, no stability. It is a kind of emptiness.”
What was the opposite of that feeling? (This is a very useful question in homeopathy!)
“Flying, buoyant, it is like the air is beneath you – buoyancy. It is air. Support and a warmth about it. It is almost like a balloon, but more malleable like a plastic that supports you.”
This is what we mean by “sensation” in homeopathy. A sensation level of experience which people can describe is the experience of their remedy state coming directly from the source material. When he describes something “floating, empty, unnoticed, buoyant and invisible” he is connecting with a very deep experiential level of the source of his remedy – the gas “sensation”: a gas is all these things – invisible, buoyant and so on.
But which gas does he need? “I think my depression is to do with relationships. I always feel less attached to others than they do to me. I can’t form a real close bond with other people. My attachment with people is not strong. I always feel at some time someone is going to leave me therefore I am very independent. I rarely ask for help – I do everything myself, in anticipation that people will leave me.”
Here he is describing the issue of separation in row 2. Can I be connected? Do I dare to be connected? Or do I have to remain separate?
I prescribed Ozonum and as the months passed Michael felt better and better, commenting: “I feel very relaxed, solid. Very well and more grounded.” In other words the opposite of floating, invisible and insubstantial. “My voice is lower, deeper. Last year you could have pushed me over with a finger. Now I could stand up in a wind tunnel! I have no mouth ulcers. I am on my journey and I can see blue sky all the time now.” (Interesting considering where we find Oxygen and Ozone.)
In response to my question about being grounded, he replied, “Before I felt almost transparent as if people could see through me. I had no substance. Since the remedy I feel centred and solid and I have presence. Previously it was like my feet were not on the ground, I was floating.”
Again we see the themes of no self-worth, of not being noticed and also the sensation of being a gas with no solidity.
The recent developments in homeopathy are fascinating. They build on the solid data from provings and clinical material which we have always had but add a dimension which penetrates deep to the source of our remedies. The use of themes and looking at remedies in relation to the group or family to which they belong can increase the reliability and accuracy of our prescribing. Sensation material can add that extra degree of certainty which helps us to prescribe one remedy from a group of very similar looking remedies with great precision and confidence.
Jonathan Hardy MA BM MFHom has been practising homeopathy full-time in Hampshire since 1985. He obtained a degree in zoology before studying medicine and this can help his understanding of animal remedies. He is a member of the Faculty of Homeopathy’s International Teaching Group and enjoys giving seminars both in the UK and abroad.