By Are S. Thoresen DVM
Veterinarian acupuncturist homeopath osteopath agronomist
In Germany, Neural therapy is considered part of conventional medicine. In spite of this, there are very few people in Norway who are familiar with this form of therapy. Neural therapy (NT) is a basic medical diagnosis and method of therapy. In British publications it is referred to as Sekunden Phanomen (Instantaneous Phenomenon) therapy. The reason for this name is that the results of a successful treatment often manifest within seconds.
Dr. Ferdinand Huneke, the medical doctor who discovered and publicised the method in 1928, researched it until his death in 1968. His work was based on two basic observations:
- He gave his sister an intravenous injection of an analgesic agent for a migraine attack; this was more effective than expected. He discovered later that he had made a mistake; he had given her procaine instead. This effect, caused by procaine, was not known at the time.
- He had a female patient with bilateral frozen shoulders and chronic pain. Her disorder seemed to be incurable because of its long duration. She also had a tubercular wound on her right leg. This wound had to be cleansed surgically and a local anaesthetic was given to facilitate this. Her right shoulder became free of pain only seconds after the injection of procaine was given. This effect lasted for a long time and after repeated local anaesthetic on the same spot on her leg, the left shoulder was completely cured.
Having discovered a phenomenon completely unknown to him at the time, Huneke started working with his observations. Even though Dr. Leriche, the great French surgeon, and Professor Esnaurrizar at the University of Mexico City, had noted similar phenomena before him, Huneke's greatest strength was that he realised the importance of his discoveries. He organised and documented his notes into a very complete system that was based solely on his clinical experience. He did not try to explain anything; he did not even try to develop a theory. This was probably the reason why he did not experience the big breakthrough that he wanted so much.
Although some German medical experts knew that his observations were correct as well as important, in his lifetime Huneke did not receive the medical recognition that he deserved. However, value of his work was recognised posthumously when scientists at the University of Vienna confirmed his results. They proved that the effect was purely physical and they managed to explain the physiological mechanisms that cause the effect. Professors Fleischacher (Internal Medicine), Pishinger and Kellner led that medical research. Their observations silenced Huneke's critics and cleared the way for increasing international acceptance of NT.
The important aspects of NT are as follows: Throughout life, Disturbance Fields in local injuries and scars in any part of the body can disturb the total harmony of bodily functions and these disturbances can last a very long time. Huneke used the German term "Störfeld" to designate these Disturbance Fields. The word means "an area which disturbs". A Störfeld can work like a time-set bomb: it can be latent for a long time and then suddenly "explode" to cause an acute disorder.
In NT theory, it is most important to find the actual Störfeld. In practice, this can be very difficult. Huneke usually analysed the whole medical history of the patient and systematically administered "durchspritzen", i.e. he injected all scars or damaged areas that the patient could remember. Often this would mean many small injections and the result depended on the patients' ability to remember their scars. This ability is rather poor, even if the person has medical education and a good memory. Such people normally remember <50% of their medical history.
Dr. Doch was probably Huneke's best student. One of Doch's patients, a veterinarian, came to him in a wheelchair; polyarthritis had left him an invalid, unable to walk. Doch gave him several injections in all possible scars, even in the upper part of the tonsils but without result. Finally Doch went to a hospital in Leipzig where his patient had been shortly before the onset of his polyarthritis. The hospital could not help. The veterinarian then remembered that he had treated a cow and had pricked his own finger with a dirty needle before his problems arose. The sore had developed into an infected boil that had burst and healed soon afterwards. He discharged himself from hospital, went home and injected Impletol (2% procaine plus 1% caffeine) at the old site of the boil on his finger. Immediately he experienced a Sekunden Phanomen (Instantaneous Effect). The polyarthralgia disappeared and, five minutes later, he could walk again.
Forty-nine years is the longest time on record (Dr. Doch) between the formation of a Störfeld and the onset of symptoms that could be traced back to it with certainty. The patient was a taxi-driver who had sciatica that had failed to respond to any form of treatment. Measurements of the temperature of the skin signified a possible scar on the inside of the left heel, on the same side as the sciatica. The man could not remember any injury on this spot until he suddenly remembered that he had hurt himself with an axe when he was 7 years old (49 years earlier). Using a magnifying glass, Doch found the scar and injected it with Impletol. That treatment cured the patient's sciatica.
Pain or other symptoms induced by a Störfeld can appear anywhere in the body, and in any organ. The problem may occur on the same or the opposite side of the Störfeld. Until now, the only way to confirm whether a certain Störfeld is the cause of a specific ailment, is to inject a local anaesthetic into the scar and wait for the classic sign that shows whether there is a relationship or not. If the "Sekunden Phanomen" (Instantaneous Phenomenon) occurs, it proves the relationship. For example, pains or other clear signs of illness, such as skin discoloration, often disappear within seconds. The anaesthetic must be free of additives, adrenaline, or other vasoconstrictors.
Huneke recommended using Impletol, which contained 2% procaine and 1.42% caffeine. I use 0.5% xylocaine (lidocaine) without additives. Instantaneous phenomena ought to come immediately and should last at least for 20 hours. Huneke was quite definite about this. However, those of his students whom I know thought that the reaction needs not occur immediately and needs not last for 20 hours.
Finding the relevant scar, and then finding the Störfeld within it is the most important part of NT. But how can we find it? Sometimes we simply get the information from the owner of the animal. Typical significant information from the owner is:
- "The cat has been ill since it was castrated", or
- "The horse has been lame since the operation on its throat", or
- "The cow has been seen in heat since her ear tag was pulled out", or
- "The dog has been aggressive since the tail was docked".
I have seen all of those examples and many more in my practice. Such causes are not as rare as we would tend to think. However, animal owners often forget that the disorder started after an injury.
Although a Störfeld often arises after trauma or a wound, it can arise in other circumstances also. For example, a Störfeld can arise after a sore throat, an abscess, an infected tooth socket, or an apparently insignificant scar. An invisible and old trauma, or a calcified abscess site, can also be the cause.
Neural therapy in practice
In German studies, 10% of operations create a Störfeld (personal communication, Georg Bentze). Thus, it is important to check post-operative scars, for example in spayed or castrated animals. I have treated many functionally impaired horses after castration. They showed sensitivity in the TH area of the neck, or the TH or KI areas of the lumbar, sacral or hindlimb muscles, unpredictability or poor racing performance. Before the horses could function properly, they needed treatment of a Störfeld in the operation wound. One should include an internal examination of the cervix, vagina and rectum, especially in females that have given birth. Vaccination scars should be noted also. Several times I have seen that the vaccine itself has not caused the problem but rather local scarring after infection of the needle track.
A Störfeld on the tiniest scar can be as important as one on a big scar. It requires a very thorough whole-body examination to locate scars that may contain a Störfeld. When scars are present, one should try to confirm when the trauma occurred in relation to the onset of the illness. It is important to note that trauma influences the body at the time that it occurs but a disorder like a gallstone may have an effect for a long time before the symptoms manifest.
Neural therapy is the most effective way to treat disorders that originate in a Störfeld. Treatment of the blockage - the reactive parts of the scar or the place of injury - usually improves the disorder within seconds. It is as if one resets a tripped electronic fuse; suddenly the power is restored to the circuit again. We should examine for a temporal relationship between onset of the disease and prior injuries or operations that induced Störfelds in scars. Here is an example:
- After his tail was docked, a Doberman became irritable and began to bite his hindquarter. He had obvious pain in the tail area. Later, he developed a KI disorder and heavy proteinuria (+++). The symptoms disappeared within a few days after injection of local anaesthetic into the scarred area of the tail stump. Treatment about six times per year kept this dog healthy for several years.
Surgery (tail docking, castration, spaying, etc.), injuries and ear tagging can induce a blockage (Störfeld). I have seen on several occasions that eartags can inhibit the expression of oestrus in cows; the tag usually is inserted in the reflex Earzone that relates to the endocrine system. Also, I have seen that rings in the ear can induce serious symptoms of humans.
Where possible, avoid making transverse abdominal incisions and avoid incising directly over the ventral midline (the Renmai, CV). Where possible, surgeons should incise between Channels, or slightly off the ventral midline. Transverse abdominal scars (from surgery) can obstruct the free flow of Qi in many Channels, especially KI, ST and SP. Incisions in the midline may obstruct CV. The CV has 6 Mu Points (CV03, CV04 and CV05 for BL, SI and TH; CV12, CV14 and CV17 for ST, HT and PC). Reactive (hypersensitive, tender) points in scars at these locations can obstruct Qi flow and induce symptoms in the related Processes. Treatment of reactive points on scars can relieve many symptoms that relate to the obstructed Process. However, one really can not avoid cutting some Channels, or other "side branches", as the body has many, many energy pathways apart from the Main Channels. Disturbance Fields on scars anywhere can cause problems. Therefore, the best solution is to treat all scars routinely about 5-6 weeks after surgery. If the scar is treated just a few days after surgery, the neuraltherapeutic treatment does not seem to work.