by Natalija Aleksandrova
Homeopathy is a system of natural medicine introduced and developed by a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann, at the end of the 18th century. The origin of illness lies in an imbalance of the vital force; the symptoms expressed by the body, mind, and emotions are the manifestation of that imbalance. Recognizing that the whole living creature ― their spirit, mind, and body ― is affected when there is illness, homeopathy seeks to treat that whole living creature. The focus is not the diseased part or the sickness, rather the whole of the individual. Homeopathic medicines, or 'remedies', like in many other complimentary healing approaches, stimulate the body's self-regulating mechanisms to initiate the healing process.
So often professionals and patients alike (or owners in the case of animals) assume that symptoms are the actual disease and that simply treating these symptoms is the best way to cure. To treat only the symptoms is the same as unplugging a flushing emergency oil lamp in your car, which indicates something is wrong with the oil in the car ― you cannot see the annoying light anymore but the problem ― the low oil level ― remains. The same principle applies when the body manifests symptoms of illness the symptom is not the origin of the illness. Homeopathy believes, when a person becomes ill, it is the whole that is ill: spirit, mind and body. The origin of illness lies in an imbalance of the vital force — the symptoms expressed by the body, mind, and emotions are the manifestation of that imbalance.
Today, not only homeopaths, but also a growing number of physiologists are recognizing that symptoms are actually efforts of the organism to deal with stress or infection. Rather than viewing symptoms simply as signs of the body's breakdown, these medical doctors see symptoms as defenses of the body that attempt to protect and heal the self. (for example, Dr Hans Selye, "The Stress of Life")
By matching the symptoms of ones current illness with the appropriate homeopathic remedy the vital force returns to balance; the symptoms disappear as the person heals themself.
4 principles of classic homeopathy
'Similia Similbus Curentur' — The Law of Similars
In Greek homoeo means ‘similar’ and pathos means ‘suffering’. Through research and practice, homeopathic cures were verified through the use of similars. A substance that can produce disease in a healthy person is used to initiate a healing response in someone presenting with a similar disease. Each patient shows symptoms of the body/mind/spirit when they are ill. Some of these symptoms are common to that illness, others are characteristic of that patient in their illness. The homeopathic practitioner matches the symptom picture of the homeopathic remedy to the symptom picture of the patient, with particular attention paid to those symptoms which are unique to the individual.
The Single Remedy
Only one homeopathic remedy is given at any one time. It would be difficult, to judge the action of multiple homeopathic remedies given at one time. The response of the vital force would be unpredictable and unclear. Though Dr Hahnemann experimented with this approach, he abandoned it as unsatisfactory.
The Small Dose
This refers to the infinitesimal doses of medicine given and to the repetition of dose only when necessary. Drugs that are given to individuals in material doses frequently cause side effects or adverse reactions. To reduce this problem, a homeopath administers the smallest possible dose so as to maximize beneficial effects and minimize side effects. In higher potency homeopathic remedies (with higher dilution), there no even a single molecule of a particular substance may be detected, yet the remedies still have the healing effect attributed to the water’s ability to ‘remember’.
Repetition of dose is determined by the individual's response to the remedy. Unnecessary repetition may lessen the response, even to the correct remedy. In homoeopathy, less is better and we have to learn to observe much more closely to judge “when” is enough, or when more is needed because it is not like giving conventional drug doses.
The Potentized Remedy
Homeopathic remedies, though made from natural substances such as plants, minerals, animals, etc., are manufactured unlike any other medicine. Through a process of serial dilution a very dilute extract is made. With every step of dilution the remedy is shaken or succussed. The process of succussion is designed to arouse the dynamic nature of the medicine. The succussion process originally occurred whilst riding on horseback to patients, the succussion rhythm was more gentle, today however mechanized succussion is faster and harder than the horse’s rhythm and life itself is lived to a faster harder pace. To affect the vital force, a similarly energetic, homoeopathic remedy must be employed. At this level of medicine each frequency has a note and the drug remedy must match the frequency of the patient.
The importance of individualization
In classic homeopathy it is only possible and therefore essential that the medicine be individually prescribed for every patient.
People commonly assume that, for example, their headache, stomachache, or depression or pain is just like everyone else's. They then assume that they need to take the same drug as others to achieve relief. But when one talks in depth with several people who, for example, have headaches, it appears that there are very obvious differences between them. One person hurts in the front part of the head, another hurts in the back part; one has pulsating pain, another has dull constant pain; one person says it worsens when moving, another says when laying down, so we observe that the pain is actually different among several people.
Upon further investigation, one discovers that some patients with headaches have other accompanying health problems, such as digestive problems, or have dizziness, or have sore throat, and still others skin problems.
Even though that there are some homeopathic medicines which are more commonly given for certain conditions than others, and some homeopathic medicines are given so often for certain conditions that some people come to believe them to be ‘for’ that problem, however, it is always possible that a sick individual doesn’t have the all the necessary symptoms that fit a commonly given medicine, and then another medicine is required. Therefore it is required to take a patient’s case in great detail in order to be able to give not just an approximate medicine, but, an individually accurate one.
In the process of finding the only appropriate medicine, a homeopathic practitioner asks many questions to collect idiosyncratic characteristics of a patient. Besides the questions about the patient’s chief complaints and minor complaints, there’re various questions about patient’s physical and psychological symptoms, feelings, present and past life, facts from the parents’ life, and much more. Common questions may include: Is there time of the day when a patient feels best or worse, or that any specific symptoms occurs? How does weather affect the symptoms? How does different surroundings affect the patient? Is there any food that the patient craves or to which they feel adverse?
And it is now also accepted in modern science that virtually every organ and enzyme of the body has its own daily rhythm and time of day when it becomes active or inactive. It is also known that geothermal changes can affect brain chemistry and affect physical and psychological states, and that physical health is impossible without psychological health. And it is recognized that food cravings or aversions may signal metabolic states.
Understanding the healing process in homoeopathy
Any living body is a remarkable organism that will go to great extremes to protect itself and survive. Various symptoms observed by illnesses are evidence of this process. Different symptoms represent different levels of defense that the body deploys in an effort to survive.
Homeopathy basically assumes that every living being lives on three levels of experience: the physical, emotional, and mental. Generally, mental symptoms are regarded as the deepest core of an individual's health, emotional problems are of secondary importance, and physical symptoms are third place. Symptoms inside each category also create a kind of a hierarchy. Depending on their intensities, some symptoms represent more serious stresses to the defense system than others.
Most conventional physicians and even many "alternative" practitioners evaluate a patient’s state of health by the patient’s main symptom. If this symptom goes away, they generally assume that their therapy "worked," even though some new symptom must now be treated. They haven’t been taught to see the connections between different symptoms and patient’s states.
In homeopathy it is known that a healing process follows certain hierarchical patterns. Constantine Hering, M.D. (1800–1880), was one of the first to make note of specific ways that healing progresses. According to the ‘Hering’s Law of Cure’, first it was observed that the body seeks to externalize disease ― to dislodge it from more serious, internal levels to more superficial, external levels. Someone with asthma may develop an external skin rash as a part of the curative process. Or someone with a headache may undergo a day or two of fever and sweating as a part of their cure.
Sadly, most conventional medical and veterinary doctors treat each symptom as a unique and unconnected phenomenon. A skin rash in humans generally would be treated with cortisone, thus suppressing it, and possibly, reactivating the person's asthma.
The second observation was that healing progresses from the top of the body to the bottom. Thus, someone with arthritis in many joints will generally notice relief in the upper part of the body before the lower part. An understanding of this aspect of healing helps homeopaths to differentiate true cures from temporary relief or placebo response.
The third observation was that healing proceeds in reverse order of the appearance of symptoms. Thus, the most recent symptoms one has experienced generally will be the first to be healed. For this reason, in the process of healing a patient may sometimes re-experience symptoms that were suffered previously. Generally these may be those symptoms, which were suppressed or never really healed. Although these old symptoms may be irritating, homeopaths will avoid suppressing them. Usually these symptoms return not for a long time, and when they are gone, the patient experiences a significantly higher level of health.
Homeopaths are not the only ones to have recognized these principles of cure. Acupuncturists have witnessed aspects of them for thousands of years. Also naturopaths and psychotherapists commonly have noted that their patients re-experience old physical or psychological symptoms in the process of healing and once healed these are no longer present.
(English Edit Courtesy of Tamlyn Labuschagne Ennor)