PAUL NOGIER: OUR MASTER
When, before 1968, we wrote to our doctors of medicine, it was the custom to use the formula "Sir and Dear Master". It was a custom imposed by submission to the prevailing academic Establishment rather than by a deep attachment to the person. For it is not enough to be a teacher to earn the name of master. The Master is he who, by his world vision, is able to alter our convictions and beliefs, thus creating a real school of thought. Paul Nogier was one such person. He profoundly modified our conception of medicine and our approach to man. He not only made important discoveries but he incorporated this image of man and the world into his everyday life, becoming a model for many of us. Pupils from all over the world came of their own volition to hear him and emulate him. Paul Nogier dedicated his life to an idea that could be expressed as follows: There are simple ways of bringing relief to a patient; it is up to us to discover them. Through his pupils, millions of patients have benefited and will henceforth continue to do so.
The originality of Paul Nogier's Philosophy
It could be expressed in a few phrases:
- It is our duty to seek every possible means of providing relief for our patients and there are often simple ways of doing this.
- Let us seek the cause of the pathology far beyond the actual disorder. It is, moreover, this message that he reiterated to us at the time of the last meeting that we had with him.
- Man is also a physical being who shares the same laws as the rest of the universe. It is therefore possible to use these laws to study the patient.
- We should never get fixated with an idea that cannot be considered as more than a working hypothesis. We should be constantly calling our ideas into question and not hesitate to destroy what we have constructed if that enables us to make progress.
- Having no preconceived ideas, let us not reject any idea, but neither let us accept any hypothesis without subjecting it to measurement, experimentation, and confronting it with reality. Experimental measurement goes far beyond simple logic.
- Observe nature and facts: they contain the clues to our theories.
Given time, we will gain a better understanding of the knowledge he has bequeathed to us and others who knew him better than I will be able to help you discover his work.
The origin of this Philosophy
Paul Nogier was the son of a physics professor who invented electrotherapy, and he himself had a degree in physics and was a medical doctor, homeopath and acupuncturist. Living in the century of great technological advances, he was at the meeting point of cultures. Like the Chinese, he accepted the idea that man is governed by energy and everything is reflected in everything else, which allowed him to say that the whole person reflected in the ear. The Chinese method of monitoring the pulse enabled him to discover the VAS. His knowledge of physics helped him to perfect the methods of measuring energy. Hahnemann's philosophy enabled him to approach illness as the consequence of experiences of life, the essential elements of which needed to be found. However, none of these elements would have sufficed to explain his genius without the added qualities of exceptional powers of observation, a fertile imagination and a passion for everything which he undertook. All these elements made it possible for him to perfect a method which acts as a missing link between empirical, traditional forms of medicine and modern science.
What motivated Paul Nogier above all was his passion for treating. His consultations were a role model. A very long interrogation, complete, attentive, Paul Nogier wanted to know everything about his patient, the search for the element which could put hip on the trail of the cure. He was compassionate towards his patients, he took care to make sure they were comfortable then examined them carefully on both a clinical and osteopathic level. The auriculomedicine examination completed the whole. Prolonged, looking for the causes of the pathologies, and dedicating part of his time to new research, he did not fail to and by asking after the family when he knew them. He saw very few patients but examined them thoroughly. His work was exceptional whereas his fees were derisory. He never knew how to charge, one of his locums told me.
Second to his passion for treatment came that researcher. "My role is to discover new things," he told me. "My pupils will take it upon themselves to go into them in more depth." Nothing that appears absurd to most people seemed to be able to stop him. He constantly sought for new elements capable of being measured by the VAS and of giving him a better understanding of how the ear worked. Sometimes he scandalized even those most open to his methods and yet he was often right. The use of colors is an obvious example. There was such an outcry that Paul Nogier abandoned this research for two years. He was ahead of his time, but that will only be recognized with the passage of time.
His name will obviously remain linked to discovery of auriculotherapy and the VAS which Rene Bourdiol called Nogier's arterial reflex. But his discoveries do not stop there. The organism's frequencies, the corresponding colors, the oscillating phenomena, the nets, the energy measurements and many other things are all phenomena that will force themselves upon us. He also perfected many pieces of apparatus to measure and treat the points. He showed, too that pathologies have many causes and gave us instruments to find them. It is now up to his pupils to make an inventory of them, and to show us everything he taught.
His mere presence sufficed to command respect. Without ever having learned to teach, he communicated his discoveries without apparent difficulty, spoke slowly, calmly so that everyone understood. He was not always too clear, but did not hesitate to go over things again and again, to explain and expand on ideas that seemed obscure. He answered all questions without ever becoming irritated and did not hesitate to question certain aspects of his teaching if there was much criticism. He took suggestions into account without retaining anything that risked taking him down uncertain routes.
He also knew how to recognize the value of people, and surrounded himself with personalities "of great worth" who offered to help him improve his method. Some of them made a big contribution but nearly all ended up by going too far, beyond the experimental field. Often then there was a break-up and, in spite of all those gathering round and appealing to him, Paul Nogier was a solitary man. Nothing that happened to do with his method affected him. I would not like to swear that such was really the case, but he had inner resources to draw on which enabled him to conceal his true feelings. He knew how to rise above the fray and calmly went his way according to his own lights.
One cannot speak of Paul Nogier without mentioning all his family. They were always there by his side to help and support him. All Paul Nogier's pupils know Elizabeth, his wife, always present, friendly, welcoming and ready to help. Simplicity and conviviality characterized the Nogier couple. All the children participated in his work one way or another. Each of us knows at least one son or daughter who came to help out or who participated in their father's work. Even his grand-daughter came to help us at the last symposium. We are grateful to all of them for what they have done for us and for having allowed us to usurp so much time which should by rights have been spent on them.
Paul Nogier was a great worker but he has left us much still to do. Our role is to continue the work he undertook in the same sprit. We should rally round his ideas and the associations he himself founded. A few months ago the GLEM annals were considering a collection of anecdotes which particularly struck you; Paul Nogier's disappearance invites us make it into a real Homage. Help us gather the documents together and write your own impressions and memories so that, through your texts, the different facets of Paul Nogier's personality may shine through and everything that he has done for us be highlighted. Whatever your present options, if at any time in your life you have been a student of Paul Nogier, write to us and share your feelings and impressions with us. Tell us about events which impressed you, about the seminars, congresses, encounters, and your setbacks, so that together we can relate the significant events in the Nogier years by combining all these elements. Each of us should be thinking:
"it is up to me join in transmitting Paul Nogier's message."
Dr. Andre Lentz
13 bd Trimolet