Interpreting Chronic Illness: The Convergence of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Homeopathy, and Biomedicine by JERRY KANTOR, LAc, CCH [#KANINT]


The Convergance of Acupuncture, Homeopathy, & Biomedicine — by Jerry Kantor, Lic Ac, CCH, MMHS


Although the words “homeopathic medicine” are in this book’s title, this book is FULL of practical insights into homeopathic medicines and their “bodymind personalities.” Notable homeopaths who have influenced this author include: Massimo Mangliavori, Lou Klein, Roger Morrison, Rajan Sankaran, Sunil Anand, Frans Vermeulen, Karen Allen, Farouk Master, Peter Fraser, Tinus Smits, Arthur Hill Grimmer, E.A. Farrington, A.U. Ramakrishnan, and Ton Jansen.

That said, the author asserts “There has been no greater teacher than experience, observation and study of the natural world.”

This book may be the first genuinely integrative medicine text, a book that integrates homeopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, and the biomedical worldview.

Our grasp of a homeopathic medicine’s essence is aided by familiarity with its frame of reference: location on the Periodic Table for example, or position within a plant or animal kingdom. Interpreting Chronic Illness introduces a frame of reference equally conducive to accurate prescribing: the context supplied by an updated version of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Five Phase System.

Interpreting Chronic Illness:

· Sheds new light on the materia medica of numerous homeopathic remedies;

· While providing startling examples, teaches a method by which both the subjective and biochemical features of illness may be decoded;

· Introduces to homeopathy a currently lacking, theory of healthful function;

· Adapts The Five Phases System’s dysfunctionality cycles so that these can represent homeopathic remedies;

· Introduces homeopaths and other clinicians to possibilities afforded by the book’s self-diagnosis mandala.

“A brilliant and groundbreaking work by an integrative practitioner who speaks the language‚ of three very different healing paradigms– biomedicine (modern Western medicine), Traditional Chinese Medicine and homeopathy. By illumining each in the light of the others, he brings the CAM modalities from a subservient role as alternative medicine‚ to full participation as complementary. Kantor simultaneously updates the Five Elements model of acupuncture; provides fresh insights into the major homeopathic remedies based on the Five Elements model; and shows how both can address the diagnostic categories of biomedicine. This will be an essential book for practitioners and students of all three modalities who want to expand their healing paradigm.”

–Begabati Leninhan, RN, CCH

“Jerry Kantor has successfully integrated the disciplines of homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and biomedicine into pragmatic healing approaches that busy practitioners can readily and easily apply to common clinical presentations. Multi-modal management and integrative medicine techniques, while certainly the best approach to medical conditions, can be deceptively cer Director of the Teleosis School of Homeopathy complex. Jerry’s explanations and guidelines are the perfect balance of background information and recommendations allowing the clinician to effectively supplement their treatment armamentarium.”

Mark Scheutzow MD, PhD, DHom, NMD, FAAIM, DABHM, DAAPM

“Much of American medicine is based on the belief that disease is an entity that flies through the air and lands on the unlucky, whereupon we do battle‚ with it. Jerry Kantor persuades us otherwise with his thoroughly original coalescence of the best of Eastern and Western views of diagnosis and treatment. I won’t let another physician touch me until he/she has read this book.”

–William Martin Sloane, Ph.D., Vice President
American Association of Integrative Medicine

“I know of no other body of work, in the science of homeopathic medicine, which demystifies the core essence of homeopathic materia medica as does Kantor’s brilliant work. A truly integrative, evidence-based perspective that should be mandatory reading for all practitioners of the art, science and philosophy of homeopathy.”

–Georgianna Donadio, PhD
Florence Nightingale Scholar and Director of the National Institute of Whole Health

“This is an excellent book for those of us who would like to use both Traditional Chinese Medicine including Acupuncture and Homeopathy to treat patients.”

–Zhaoming Chen, MD, PhD, MS, CFP, FAAIM
Chair and Chief Spokesman, American Association of Integrative Medicine
Diplomate of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, American Board of
Psychiatry and Neurology

“This book is a major triangulation of multi-medical perspectives that add to our understanding of what healing is about. Jerry Kantor has done a great job!”

Ted Kaptchuk, OMD
author, The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine


Book Review

Interpreting Chronic Illness: The Convergence of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Homeopathy, and Biomedicine

by Jerry M. Kantor, LAc, CCH, MMHS

Right Whale Press, Wellesley, MA, 2011, softcover, 229 pages, $39.99.

ISBN 9780984678808

Reviewed by Mario Fontes, LAc, MSOM, CCH

Jerry Kantor highlights a fresh approach to the understanding of acupuncture, homeopathy, and conventional medicine in his book Interpreting Chronic Illness. In just over 200 pages, he leads us on an epic quest for a new model (“a sea change”) in the understanding of chronic ­illness, complete with literary references to sailing ships and to Homer’s six-headed monster Scylla and whirlpool Charybdis.

Kantor is obviously a deep thinker, and it comes across in every sentence. His book is a product of profound meditation and great insight. Even so, it’s very readable and you don’t have to be an expert in conventional medicine, acupuncture, and homeopathy to understand it. For experts, however, it offers a very clear and detailed explanation of the convergence of these three modalities as related to chronic disease.

Kantor is well qualified to write about his subjects. A nationally certified homeopath and licensed acupuncturist, he is the only homeopath-acupuncturist with an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School, where he has been a Teaching Associate in Anesthesiology since 1999. He is also past vice-chairman of The American Association of Integrative Medicine.

Interpreting Chronic Illness is actually more like three books in one: two major works and one workbook. The first part is a description of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Kantor outlines the basics and then insightfully proposes changes to the 3,000-year-old tradition. Not only is it brash and brilliant, but with his explanation, it makes perfect sense. (Only those readers who have studied TCM will likely appreciate this brief example: For millennia, the sense organ that TCM has associated with the heart is “taste.” Kantor, however, has changed this to “touch.”)

In the second part of the book, Kantor takes on chronic disease both as a whole and at the same time through three different yet, as Kantor shows us, convergent therapeutic systems. He devotes a chapter to each of the five sense dimensions—touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight—and uniquely categorizes chronic disease in terms of illness, function, and core dilemma. He also outlines the stages of life that correspond to each of the five senses and the therapeutic interventions that are best suited to them.

In essence, he is advocating the fusion of TCM patterns, connecting them to conventional medical illnesses, and then linking both with homeopathic medicines. Here is one example of correspondences from the dimension of touch:

Phase Fire
Sense Touch
Organ Heart
System Circulation
Core Issue Synchrony-Isolation
Illness Edema
Homeopathic remedies Apis, Bovista, Hamamelis

Kantor tackles tough subjects, offering new ways to look at Schizophrenia, Autism, Lyme Disease, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Cancer. He shares his deep understanding of our homeopathic materia medica and explains more than 80 remedies in clinically useful TCM terms. This can be a useful tool for experienced homeopaths to expand the way we think about our medicines. For those familiar with the basics of TCM, Kantor presents common concepts in terms of homeopathic remedies.

The third section of the book is actually a workbook on how to create your own “Sense Dimensional Mandala” for meditation. Kantor leads us through a series of introspective, soul-searching questions and then asks us to evaluate ourselves and develop imagery to represent our current state as it relates to touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight. It was not until I actually made my own Mandala that I understood that this was the end of Kantor’s journey where the reader integrates all the concepts laid out in the book.

This really is a monumental work, and in some ways I think it is too condensed. It could have been easily drawn out over several volumes. One other small item of note: Kantor writes that Calcarea carbonica is made from tortoise shell (when it is actually made from oyster shell).

Kantor’s book has given me a wider perspective on homeopathy and TCM. A few years ago, I wrote an article for the Townsend Letter on combining homeopathy and TCM in practice [“Homeopathy and Chinese Medicine: Uniting Two Forms of Energetic Medicine,” February/March 2009]. I focused on the similarities between the two systems—where they overlap and the similar pattern differentiations. After reading Kantor’s book I’ve definitely gained a deeper understanding into the fundamentals of the five sense dimensions and how they can be recognized across conventional medicine, TCM, and homeopathic medicine. Reading this book can help us broaden our homeopathic understanding of our patients.

This review originally appeared in the Autumn 2012 issue of Homeopathy Today, the magazine of the National Center for Homeopathy, and is used here with permission. For more information, visit


Mario Fontes, LAc, MSOM, CCH is a Licensed Acupuncturist who holds a Master of Oriental Medicine degree. He is Board Certified in Herbal Medicine by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and is a Certified Classical Homeopath by the Council for Homeopathic Certification. Mario maintains a non-invasive approach to his practice located at the American Medical College of Homeopathy in Phoenix, Arizona • (602) 332-8079.


Chapter One
Turning Our Great Ship: A Sea Change

Phenomenology: The Great Ship‚s Wheel
Turning Our Great Ship: A Sea Change

Chapter Two
Beyond Biomedicine

Enlarging the Focus
Building the Framework
Why Interpret Symptoms?

Chapter Three
The Dimension of Touch

The Sense Dimension of Touch
The Heart in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Touch Dimension Core Issue:
The Synchrony-Isolation Axis
The Heart and Synchrony in Biomedicine
Touch Dimension: Chronic Illnesses
The Touch Dimension:
Personal Therapeutic Practices and Masters of Expression

Chapter Four
The Dimension of Taste

The Sense Dimension of Taste
The Spleen in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Taste Dimension Core Issue:
The Challenge-Anxiety Axis
Taste Dimension Chronic Illnesses
Taste Dimension:
Personal Therapeutic Practices and Masters of Expresson

Chapter Five
The Dimension of Smell

The Sense Dimension of Smell
The Lungs in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Smell Dimension Core Issue:
The Centeredness-Disorientation Axis
Smell Dimension Chronic Illnesses
A Broader Perspective
The Smell Dimension:
Personal Therapeutic Practices and Masters of Expression

Chapter Six
The Dimension of Hearing

The Sense Dimension of Hearing
The Kidneys in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Hearing Dimension Core Issue:
The Consolidation-Entropy Axis
Hearing Dimension Chronic Illnesses
The Hearing Dimension:
Personal Therapeutic Practices and Masters of Expression

Chapter Seven
The Dimension of Sight

The Sense Dimension of Sight
The Liver in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Sight Dimension Core Issue:
The Creativity-Chaos Axis
The Sight Dimension:
Personal Therapeutic Practices and Masters of Expression

Chapter Eight
Encountering Scylla: Consciousness and Cancer
The Culture of Cancer
The Myth of Scylla
The Myth of Satan
Cancer Cell Seduction
Causes and Risk Factors of Cancer
Cancer and the Sense Dimensions
Lessons Learned from Cancer Awareness

Chapter Nine

Encountering Charybdis: The Chronic Illness Vortex

Sensitivity and Susceptibility
The Myth of Charybdis
TCM Theory:
The Energy Cycles
Smooth Sailing;
The Health Generating Cycle
Mother-Child Relationships
Sailing Against the Tide:
The Retrograde Generating Cycle
Troubled Waters:
The Control Cycle
Shallow Waters; The Compensation Cycle

Chapter Ten
Create Your Own Five Dimensional Mandala

The Five Sense Dimensions:
Creating a Personal Mandala
Healing Meditation:
The Sense Dimensional Mandala
Evaluating and Learning from your Responses
The Generating Cycle
Other Cycles:
Retrograde Generating, Control and Compensation

Epilogue: Turning Our Great Ship

The Voyage Home


Published in “The Homeopath” (the journal of the United Kingdom’s Society of Homeopaths)

Review by Margot Maidment

The key to this book is in the title. While we may recognise the existence of chronic illness, the question we have to ask ourselves as practitioners is how do we interpret what is going on in order to choose a therapeutic programme. Other writers have addressed this issue, not least, George Vithoulkas in his Levels of Health. While Vithoulkas is a classical practitioner, Kantor is a practitioner of integrated medicine and the blurb states that he is examining ‘three seemingly incompatible fields of medicine through the lens of phenomenology’. He is well qualified to do this, being both a homeopath and an acupuncturist, as well as a Teaching Associate at Harvard Medical School.

One of the problems for people interested in several healing modalities is that each is a long-term, indeed life-long, study in themselves, so a book addressing all three and looking at the ways they can complement each other in the understanding of chronic health is an invaluable route to achieving a better understanding of how each can contribute to care for patients suffering from chronic illness.

Kantor uses Traditional Chinese Medicine as the framework for his model of chronic disease and maps onto this framework, which involves the organisation of symptoms according to sense-dimensional themes, the homeopathic remedies that can be used to treat various conditions. He identifies the axis of the core issue associated with each sense dimension (touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight) and reveals how remedies can be used to ‘peel away layers’. This makes it ideal for homeopaths who like to think in terms of remedy relationships. He examines various remedies, particularly the polychrests, in detail but warns that, although he considers that ‘each of TCM’s Five Phases holds an affinity for specific homeopathic remedies’, since each remedy is ‘rooted in the human condition’, the passage from one remedy state to another is not regarded as either cyclic or predictable. The benefit of this approach for homeopaths is that it provides us with insight into causation and sequencing of ill health conditions, as well as providing a structure with which we can group remedies but at the same time an element of freedom of thought is maintained in that he asserts that it does not determine how any individual will pass through or move within that structure.

In total, this works seems to me in terms of its scope and clarity to be a ‘tour de force’. One criticism might be that the book is full of rather dense information and it is not possible to be certain of the accuracy of it all since references are not always provided. For example, Chapter Four details a number of points regarding the evidence for the benefits of a number of nutritional supplements but Kantor does not give us the sources for these claims. Nevertheless, this is a book that deserves very close attention and should form an essential addition to the library of any homeopath, but particularly those who are interested in the ‘integrated approach’.

In addition to the above reviews, another great review was published by NASH (The North American Society of Homeopaths): For details, click HERE!


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