I have just returned from attending the Heidelberg University Neural Therapy Meeting on July 1st and 2nd and I thought that you might like to know something about it.
The meeting combined a series of neural therapy workshops with a Scientific Symposium. The workshops were part of Heidelberg University's 60‐hour neural therapy program that leads to certification. The Scientific Symposium was a series of lectures mostly on research, some of it recent, and some of it of immediate practical application.
My primary reason for attending was to experience the workshops. As most North American neural therapists know, we have had some excellent teaching over the years mostly from Dietrich Klinghardt and those influenced by him. However a formal program with systematic teaching leading to accreditation is lacking. North Americans could develop this, but it would entail a great deal of work, so why re‐invent the wheel, if someone else has already done it? The small group of us organizing the International Neural Therapy conference in Ottawa for May 2017 have been discussing these things.
Now about the Heidelberg workshops: About 70 attended, mostly Germans with a few Dutch, Belgians, Italians, Austrians and two North Americans. The lectures and workshops were conducted mostly in English, although sometimes the slides were in German (or vice‐versa). I was impressed by how well most Germans and other Europeans speak English.
I attended a variety of workshops and they were mostly well-presented, systematic, clear and interesting. (I have been practising neural therapy for 30 years but I learned something new in each one.) For example, segmental injections should be intradermal if targeting a dermatome, but subcutaneous if targeting a "vasotome" or myotome. The "vasotome" concept was new to me and comes from the segmental anatomy textbook of Ingrid Wancura-Kampik, a book written for neural therapists, acupuncturists and manual therapists. A practical example of this distinction is that the dermatome of T12 overlies the vasotome of L5. The depth of the injection will determine which division of the nervous system is affected.
However I was a little surprised at the slowness of the pace at which new ideas were introduced. For example, the first level was entirely about segmental therapy; interference fields were not discussed until more advanced levels, and deep injections are not taught at all. I was even more surprised that energetic testing (autonomic response testing) was not taught. In fact of those present at the conference, only one or two used autonomic response testing in their practices.
The Heidelberg neural therapy committee has made the acceptance of neural therapy into conventional medicine a priority. It feels that it has all the evidence needed to move it from the "alternative/complementary" category into the conventional medical realm. Certainly the research reported in this Symposium was conventional, of high quality, and would be more than acceptable in any medical environment.
However the price paid for this policy is that energy medicine cannot be taught. It simply is taboo in too many medical circles and for this reason the committee has made the conscious decision to keep it out of their curriculum.
Now back to the Symposium: Some of the most interesting lectures revolved around recent research of local anaesthetics. Procaine's action on sodium channels has been known for many years and is the basis of our understanding of its effect on interference fields. Its anti-inflammatory properties have also been recognized for over a century, but new science is demonstrating epigenetic effects. Two recent papers show procaine's potential to activate tumor suppressor genes. And these other effects occur at very low concentrations, lower than that needed to block sodium channels.
As Professor Schaible of Jena, Germany, showed us, there is still more to learn about sodium channels. Many can be found in nociceptors. Each has its own depolarization pattern, some fast-acting and of short duration, others slower and longer‐lasting. And lidocaine can actually activate heat-sensing sodium channels. Could this be why local anaesthetics momentarily cause pain when they are injected?
And finally, one paper (and subject of a PhD thesis) has finally laid to rest the oft-repeated claim that procaine is dangerous because of its allergic potential. Experienced neural therapists know that procaine allergy is extremely rare and this elegant study proved it.
This year's Heidelberg neural therapy meeting was (from my point of view) most enjoyable. Heidelberg is a lovely old university town overlooked by an ancient castle. The program was a well-balanced mix of clinical teaching and demonstrations targeting both novices and the experienced, in addition to an interesting variety of scientific lectures. I appreciated the opportunity to converse with world-class scientists (Professors Schaible and Professor Zimmerman) and to spend time with colleagues and keen young students. I would recommend it for next year to anyone wanting to broaden their horizons of neural therapy.
Readers may be interested in some recent papers published by Professor Weinschenk of Heidelberg University. Three of them relate to neural therapy
Robert F. Kidd, MD, CM