Small causes with large effects
Modern neural therapy arose from an ingeniously observed and thought out coincidence:
For years, two physicians, Ferdinand and Walter Huneke, had vainly attempted to cure their sister, who often suffered severe migraine attacks. No matter what they tried for this distressing malady had failed. They might relieve pain for brief periods, but no lasting improvement could be achieved, let alone a cure. On the occasion of a renewed and particularly violent attack, Ferdinand remembered that an experienced colleague had recently drawn his attention to a remedy for rheumatism which he had found effective in similarly painful disorders.
He quickly transferred the contents of an ampoule of this product to his syringe and carefully injected it into the patient's vein. After their many disappointments, neither expected much from this new experiment. But this time, something happened that shook Ferdinand Huneke to such an extent that it would simply not let him go: while he was still administering the injection, the blinding headache simply vanished, together with the flashing sensation in front of the eyes, the dizziness, nausea, and depression that are all characteristic migraine symptoms. The patient's pain-racked expression relaxed and what had only moments earlier been someone full of despair turned at a stroke into a smiling, healthy individual.
Obviously, something completely new had happened; something that was not merely the suppression of pain, but a deep-acting cure, that had apparently changed the whole person in mind and body. After so many unsuccessful injections in the past, Ferdinand Huneke was fully convinced that this cure could not be the result of suggestion or imagination. He discussed this experience with his brother Walter and they decided to carry out a number of experiments with the product. As a result, they found out that the product used was made in two different forms, one for direct intravenous injection and the other, with a procaine additive, for painless injection into the muscles. Procaine (Novocaine) is a local anaesthetic used by dentists, for example, in preparing for dental extractions. Ferdinand had accidentally used the product containing procaine; it was this additive that had produced the startling cure.
Until then, it was widely believed that procaine injected intravenously would result in fatal cerebral paralysis. Ferdinand Huneke's mistake had now proven that this was not the cause and that apart from its usefulness as a local anaesthetic, procaine could also be used as a remedy.
After this discovery, the two brothers continued their experiments with a procaine solution to which they added a little caffeine. This made the product still better tolerated, and further increased its effectiveness. The German pharmaceutical firm Bayer demonstrated the outstanding therapeutic qualities of this compound and launched it on the market under the trade name of "Impletol".
Three years later, in 1928, the two brothers jointly published a summary of the results of a series of experiments, in which they first carefully tested each injection on themselves to ensure that it was completely free from risk. With the publication of their thesis "Unfamiliar Remote Effects of Local Anaesthetics" what we now know as neural therapy was born. Neural therapy is the name given to using the nervous system to affect a cure. That the product did not act via the bloodstream was proven by the fact that chronic headache and other painful disorders often vanished just as suddenly when it was injected not intravenously but into nearby tissue.
The speed with which the healing processes occurred long before the product could be absorbed was reminiscent of electricity. Only the nerves of the autonomic system could act as the means of transmission; this is the part of the nervous system which is not subject to the will. The human organism provides a vast network of the finest electrical circuits for these "vital nerves", having a total length of twelve times the circumference of the earth. This autonomic system controls the vital processes everywhere in our bodies. It regulates breathing, circulation, body temperature, the inactivities of the digestive glands, metabolism, hormone formation and distribution; it causes the heart to beat, even when we are asleep, and controls all the numerous automatic processes without which we could not live.
We now know that these nerves are pathways to illness and back to health, and that procaine and other neural-therapeutic products, if correctly applied at the site of a disturbance, are capable of eliminating these automatic regulatory dysfunctions.
By the re-establishment of normal electrical conditions in nerves and tissues, the disturbed functions are also restored to normality, and the patient returns to health as far as this is anatomically still possible.
Illness indicates that the living organism as a whole is somehow out of control. An organ (heart, gallbladder, eye, joint etc.) never becomes diseased in isolation, but always the whole individual, in body and soul. The physician's task, not by any means always an easy one, is to intervene here in a regulating manner.
At present, mankind's knowledge is doubling every ten years. But this knowledge is still not enough for a complete understanding of the complex cybernetic processes in the living organism. In medicine, we still have to rely not upon knowledge alone, but also the skill of those who have mastered the art of healing and can draw upon the experience of millennia of empirical medicine, who observe and make effective use of the reactions of the living organism, even when they cannot find complete explanations in modern science of the effects they observe.
In medicine above all, success should be the sole criterion: right is whoever and whatever is capable of healing the sick.
Von Hering, a German physiologist, prophesied in 1925 that "the intelligent use of the neurovegetative system will one day become the most important element of the art of medicine." The Huneke brothers have shown us an excellent means of making use of it in neural therapy, which is a genuinely holistic therapy. Physicians will have to take a leaf out of their book if they want to become more successful in helping their patients. Their first commandment should always be: Thou shalt help, to the best of thy ability, thy knowledge, and thy conscience!
Meanwhile, time has worked in favour of the ultimate scientific recognition of the Huneke therapy. At the suggestion of Prof. Dr. F. Hopfer, an experienced neural therapist, a team was formed in Vienna that set itself the task of carrying out scientific research in medical fringe areas and methods of empirical medicine. This research group included such famous scientists as the professors Harrer, Fleischhacker, Kellner, and Pischinger. It was able to offer objective proof of the phenomena of neural therapy according to Huneke, some of which had until then been regarded as controversial.
According to their conclusions, illness is the result of disturbances in the basic autonomic system, what Pischinger called the cell-environment system. The extremely fine endings of the autonomic nervous system and the blood vessels terminate in the fluid that surrounds every cell. This is where all vital functions, such as metabolism, blood supply, temperature, cell respiration, energy balance, and the acid/base balance are ultimately controlled by the entire nervous system. Similarly, when any disturbance occurs in the organism, it is also here that the initial counter-regulatory action can be shown to occur. The Viennese team proved that inflammatory disorders, injuries, bacterial foci, foreign bodies, and scars can produce permanent disturbances in this crucial regulating system; that such interference fields and foci can place the entire human being under strain far beyond their immediate vicinity; and that in such cases the likelihood of the organism's succumbing to illness is increased.
Obviously, if there is further damage that can no longer be overcome, illness is likely to occur in organs or feedback control systems weakened by hereditary factors or previous disease. In these studies, differences due to such interference fields were found to occur as between the two sides of the body, in the blood picture, in temperature, in oxygen and energy metabolism, and included changes in the electrical resistance of the skin and in bio-electrical potential. All these returned to normal after elimination of the interference field by procaine and the Huneke phenomenon. These results prove that skilful procaine therapy as taught by the Huneke brothers can completely cure illness by attacking it at its roots.