Homeopathy takes a holistic approach, which means that the body, soul and mind are regarded as one entity. Well ahead of his time, Hahnemann was a physician who thought holistically. He considered the entire lifestyle of his patients to be important.
In order to be able to find the right way of healing an individual from a holistic perspective, it is of the utmost importance to perceive the person in the totality of his or her environment. Homeopathic treatment is a regulatory therapy. A well chosen remedy provides a stimulus from within the patient, triggering the inner healing power of the body. If the homeopathic method is used in an optimal way, it becomes a medical art.
The concept of health and disease
Hahnemann describes a healthy person as follows: “In the healthy human state, the spirit-like life force that enlivens the material organism as dynamis, governs without restriction and keeps all parts of the organism in admirable, harmonious, vital operation, as regards both feelings and functions, so that our indwelling, rational spirit can freely avail itself of this living, healthy instrument for the higher purposes of our existence.”
(Hahnemann, Organon, aphorism 9)
According to Hahnemann, a disturbance in this life principle lies at the basis of every disease.
George Vithoulkas, whose goal in life has been the propagation of classical homeopathy throughout the world and who in 1996 was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize for this reason, describes health as freedom –freedom from pain in the physical body, freedom from passion on the emotional level, and freedom from selfishness in the mental sphere. In this respect, the parameter for measuring the health of an individual is his creativity.
For Hahnemann and for most homeopaths today, while the physical complaints of a patient are important to address, the entire mental/emotional status of the patient is of utmost importance in finding the most effective remedy.
How Homeopathy Works – The Law of Similars
“similia similibus curentur” is the general principle of homeopathy that Hahnemann discovered: “let like be cured by like.” The meaning of the Law of Similars is that a substance that provokes symptoms in a healthy person is able to cure similar symptoms in a sick person. Therefore, one must find the remedy that produces the most similar symptoms in a healthy person to cure the sick person. For example, Allium cepa is made from onion. As we know, the onion produces in a healthy person some discharge of fluid in the mucous membranes of the eyes, the nose, and the mouth. Following the Law of Similars, Allium cepa might be prescribed for a runny nose with watery eyes.
Provings and Symptom Pictures
to assess the effect on the healthy person, so-called ‘provings’ are carried out, during which a certain substance is given to a person. Thereafter, every single event is recorder, in terms of not only physical but also emotional and mental symptoms. Further knowledge about the effects of a remedy is gained from toxicology, the science of toxic effects on the body. Finally, reports on cured cases confirm the symptom picture of a homeopathically chosen remedy.
The collected findings about the effect of a remedy constitute the symptom picture or remedy picture, as it is called. To date, substances from plants (e.g. Belladonna, the deadly nightshade), animals (e.g. Apis mellifica, the honeybee), minerals (e.g. natrum muriaticum, sodium chloride), and synthetic substances, as well as nosodes, have been tested in a homeopathic proving. Nosodes are taken from secretions from the body of a sick person.
the symptom pictures of all the proven substances are collected in the Materia Medica. Each Materia Medica has is own structure, depending on the author. For each remedy, all symptoms that appear in a healthy person are listed. It is the Materia Medica, or rather several Materia Medicas are consulted by a homeopath to come up with the best remedy for a patient.
Through his method of diluting, using succussion or trituration at each stage, Hahnemann discovered that the effects of poisoning from the substances were eliminated, while increasing the healing powers, according to the Law of Similars.
This kind of strengthening of the curative effect of a medicinal substance is also called potentization or dynamization. The action of substances diluted in this way, and in which no molecules of the original substance can be detected any longer, can be regarded as information from the original substance being transferred onto the carrier substance through the process of potentization. This is comparable with a recording on a CD. The material has not changed chemically but the information has been saved. Through the right information, stored in the well chosen homeopathic remedy, the patient receives the stimulus to heal him/her self.
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For another good book, read Impossible Cure, written by a scientist and describes how homeopathy cured her daughter of autism.