Cell salt therapy

Definition

Cell salt therapies use a set of specific minerals, also known as the 12 tissue salts, to correct symptoms arising from metabolic deficiencies. They are very similar to homeopathy, and may be prescribed by a homeopathic doctor.

The 12 cell salts are as follows:

  • Calcarea fluor (calcium fluoride)
  • Calcarea phos (calcium phosphate)
  • Calcarea sulph (calcium sulfate)
  • Ferrum phos (iron phosphate)
  • Kali mur (potassium chloride)
  • Kali phos (potassium phosphate)
  • Kali sulph (potassium sulfate)
  • Magnesia phos (magnesium phosphate)
  • Natrum mur (sodium chloride)
  • Natrum phos (sodium phosphate)
  • Natrum sulph (sodium sulfate)
  • Silicea (silica)

Origins

Cell salt therapy was developed by a German physician, W. H. Schussler, in the 1870s. Schussler studied cremated human bodies, and found that these 12 substances made up the bulk of the remains. From this finding he theorized that these 12 so-called tissue salts are responsible for the harmonious functioning of the human organism. Disease follows when a person becomes deficient in any of the 12 salts. Schussler recommended that patients take the salts in pill form to cure a variety of disorders. He believed that the salts provided adequate nutrition to the cells. If cell nutrition was adequate, then cell metabolism would be normal, and the body would be healthy. However, Schussler's pills were not direct nutritional supplements as we would understand them today. He followed the principles of homeopathy, which works somewhat to the reverse of modern medicine, in that the smaller the dose, the more effective it is believed to be. Cell salts are prepared like homeopathic medicines, by a process of continued dilution and shaking or pounding (succussion).

Benefits

Practitioners of cell salt therapy believe the minerals to be effective against a variety of ailments. For example, Calcarea fluor is thought to be essential to vascular health; it is given to patients with circulatory diseases or such conditions as varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and hardening of the arteries. Ferrum phos is used to treat colds, flu, and inflammation. Kali phos is used to treat body odor, as well as mental problems. Other salts treat other disorders, from cramps to gout to skin problems. Some are prescribed for general healing; that is, to restore general health to a person without any overriding specific disease.

Preparations

Cell salts may be derived from inorganic sources, though they can also be derived from plants. The salts are made into pills which are extremely dilute, following the principles of homeopathy. The salts are crushed into fine particles, and the particles go through a series of dilutions, then are molded into tablets. The patient does not swallow the tablet, but allows it to dissolve on the tongue.

Precautions

Though the cell salt pills are extremely dilute, practitioners believe them to be quite potent. Practitioners advise people to take cell salts only under the advice of a homeopathic physician. The cell salts are not intended to be a complete treatment, but only one part of a treatment plan devised by a knowledgeable practitioner.

Side effects

Because of the extremely dilute nature of cell salt pills, side effects are unlikely. Traditionally trained medical doctors would consider them placebos.

Research & general acceptance

Cell salt therapy, like homeopathy, is not based on scientific research but on provings. Provings are basically anecdotal evidence gathered from volunteers. This method of testing the efficacy of remedies was devised by Samuel Hahnemann, the German physician who originated homeopathy. Within the field of homeopathy, cell salt therapy is considered a sister therapy or perhaps a subset of homeopathy. Homeopaths prescribe cell salts, sometimes in conjunction with other remedies.

Training & certification

Cell salts are available as over-the-counter remedies, and patients are able to treat themselves if they wish. An understanding of cell salts can be gained from reading Schussler's work, or from comprehensive guides to homeopathy. Cell salt therapy may be administered by a homeopathic doctor. Rules governing the practice of homeopathy vary from state to state. Homeopaths in the United States can become certified through the Council for Homeopathic Certification. This requires at least 500 hours of training in homeopathy through a school or seminars, plus a written examination. Certification is also offered to practitioners who have apprenticed for at least 2,000 hours with a certified homeopath. Other qualifications may also be necessary, such as having taken a course in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and human anatomy.

Resources

BOOKS

Cummings, Stephen, and Ullmann, Dana. Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicines. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1996.

PERIODICALS

Stehlin, Isadora. "Homeopathy: Real Medicine or Empty Promise?" FDA Consumer (December 1996): 15.

ORGANIZATIONS

National Center for Homeopathy. 801 North Fairfax Street, Suite 306. Alexandria, VA 22314. (703) 548-7790.

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