Homeopathy

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in deutscher Sprache: Homöopathie

 

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Homeopathy or homoeopathy — from the Greek hómoios (similar) and páthos (suffering) – is a traditional medical method that is being used for more than 200 years by millions of doctors and other therapists all over the world. According to the WHO it is the second most used medical method.[1] Homeopathic remedies are usually prepared in a high dilution and known for not containing any chemical substance, but work only on an informational level. Homeopathy has its historical roots in the findings of the German doctor Samuel Hahnemann in the beginning of the 19th century.
Regarding different homeopathic subjects please see our page on special homeopathic topics

 

General Introductions

Introduction according to 4 principles by Jeremy Sherr:
Homeopathy is a therapeutic system based on four principles that work together in synergy.

Homoeopathy may be defined as a minute amount of a potentised substance, that will cure a totality of symptoms uniquely similar to those which it can cause in healthy people.

The four principles are:

  1. Like cures like
  2. Totality of symptoms
  3. Individuality
  4. Minimum dose

None of these four principles alone justifies the term homoeopathy when used alone. It is the combination and utilization of all four principles that makes the practice what is termed Classical Homoeopathy. Any compromise of one of the principles renders homoeopathy less effective.

The first principle, ‘Like cures like’, means using a particular substance to cure a disease pattern similar to the one it can create in a relatively healthy human being. This disease pattern is ascertained by ‘provings’, literally a test of the substance on volunteers, who will meticulously record all the symptoms they experience during this experiment. It is the science and art of the homoeopathic practitioner to match the proving picture to the patient as accurately as possible.

The second principle, Totality, means observing the whole symptom picture, which includes mental, emotional and physical symptoms. The practitioner perceives the pattern that runs through these symptoms, and combines them into one meaningful picture. There are a variety of different systems or tools that may help the practitioner to perceive the totality of symptoms.

The third principle, Individuality, means that no matter what the disease name or type, each person needs a medicine or remedy to match their own particular set of symptoms. Thus ten people suffering from migraines may receive ten different remedies depending on the individual headaches and general symptoms. A patient may have a headache on the left or right, at 6am or 3pm, burning or sharp pain, with or without visual disturbance etc. Each will receive a different remedy.

The fourth principle is ‘Minimum dose’ or ‘Less is more.’ This means that smaller doses are more effective than larger ones, and minute quantities are used, often diluted below Avogadro’s number. This principle is often misunderstood by those unfamiliar with homoeopathy.  It is also the most frequently attacked by so-called "skeptics", while they ignore the other three principles. However these attacks are based on the erroneous assumption that this principle means merely diluting the remedy. In addition to dilution, the remedy is vigorously succussed or agitated at each stage of dilution. It is only when the remedy is succussed that it becomes more effective. This process is called potentisation because it renders the remedy more potent. The mechanism by which this works is not known, but it is clearly different then just diluting the remedy and is a well-known mechanism in chemistry.

In order for the potentised remedy to be effective, it must be accurately prescribed, based on the first three principles of Similarity, Totality and Individuality. When it does match these criteria then the potentised dose will act like a catalyst, stimulating the organism to activate its innate healing powers in the most effective direction for cure.

It might be said that the accurate homoeopathic prescription provides information to the person rather than a chemical quantity. Much like a software program, the information  is not tangible but provides the correct program that stimulates the organism into healing. Simply buying a potentized remedy off the shelf does not make it homoeopathic. It is only when these four principles are fulfilled and work in synergy that a remedy is homoeopathic.

 

General introduction by Misha Norland:
Homeopathy is an integrated mind-body therapy that encourages self-healing.This means, that as the patient, you are listened to in a non-judgmental and empathetic way and treated as a unique individual rather than according to a particular syndrome or diagnosis. In this way, and through careful and detailed observation and enquiry, the homeopathic physician learns which specific homeopathic medicine to select to engender wellbeing and health. A homeopathic prescription is chosen according to specific criteria in a manner defined and systematized by Samuel Hahnemann who was born in 1755 in Meissen, Germany. It is based upon the application of the principle of similarity, finding correspondences between a substance ‘out there’ and the internal disturbance, the sickness ‘in here’. For instance, fresh onion juice provokes profuse and burning tears, (action of the substance ‘out there’) while for a patient with profuse, burning tears, it acts curatively (quelling the internal disturbance). One of homeopathy’s best known and popular applications is demonstrated in the immune response after inoculation where an attenuated virus of the same or similar disease stimulates an immunological response in the patient.

The homeopathic stimulus afforded by the similar medicine is in inverse proportion to the quantity of the dose. As has been observed by immunologists, the smallest, especially energized doses of allergens stimulate responses in sensitive individuals. Homeopaths understand, that healing action is purely dynamic, and that physical results follow shifts in the body’s energy. When Einstein wrote his elegant formula for the conversion between matter and energy, there were many dissenters until the explosion of the atom bomb dispelled doubt, but not so the evidence by ‘energy’-medicine of billions of cures world-wise, today and yesterday, under the action of smallest, energized homeopathic doses.

The action of non-material influences are ubiquitous, we cannot get away from them. There is nothing material in the mood of hatred, or worry, or uncertainty, yet they undoubtedly trouble us. By way of another example, when the one we hope may be keen on us sends an affirmation, exclaiming, “I love you”, we may experience wellsprings of joy, yet there is nothing actually there to locate or to measure. It is the intention, the focus and the receptivity to that energy which is of the moment. Our understanding is that the receptive aspect of any organism is accentuated in direct proportion to their sickness. Therefore, the dose need not be material (where it would likely cause side effects), because ‘the receptive’ is open and primed for the stimulus in the correct and suitably energized dosage.

In homeopathic pharmacy a material substance, be it gold or cat’s milk, is usually the starting point in the manufacture of a medicine. However, this is not necessarily so. The healing agents themselves are not necessarily of material origin. We mention this because reaction by living organisms is always initially dynamic, only subsequently affecting the systems. The dynamic agency is known as the vital force. This is an archaic term, but a beautifully serviceable one. Quoted below are the ninth and tenth paragraphs by Samuel Hahnemann in his seminal work ‘The Organon of the Healing Art.’

In the healthy condition of man, the spiritual vital force (autocracy), the dynamis that animates the material body (organism), rules with unbounded sway, and retains all the parts of the organism in admirable, harmonious, vital operation, as regards both sensations and functions, so that our indwelling, reason-gifted mind can freely employ this living, healthy instrument for the higher purpose of our existence.
The material organism, without the vital force, is capable of no sensation, no function, no self-preservation, it is dead, and only subject to the power of the external physical world; it decays, and is again resolved into its chemical constituents.

The vital force, as Hahnemann defines it, is the information field that directs all the responses of organism, informing the body how to act and respond. It is an invisible or spiritual force that orders, marshals and coordinates the physical body according to intrinsic and inherited energy patterns (genetic and epigenetic information). When it is distorted because of disease, or misdirected because of failure to respond adequately to stress, then functional and structural changes occur. In other words we fall sick.

When medicines are offered to the sick organism according to similarity and in infinitesimally small, dynamized dosages, it is to the spiritual vital force that they are directed. The vital force acts as a bridge between the medicine and the deranged organism, allowing the homeopathic effect to manifest in cure. Now it stands revealed that the prepared medicine that is no longer material, but vital in its nature, addresses the vital force, because it speaks the same language, the language of spirit as it was called then, but is now called energy in the language of physics.

The law of similar stating that likes shall be treated with likes, stands as an immutable truth (made visible through the preventative treatment of epidemic diseases by immunization), operates by addressing the life furthering vital force. Today this is often referred to as the immune defense system. This is misleading because the latter is not the invisible vital force although it is electively susceptible to its influence, not its master, but its servant.

 

Short introduction retrieved from Wiki4CAM (version of 25.10.2012):
The underlying concept of homeopathy is "like cures like" and is based on "the principle of similars", which asserts that substances known to cause particular symptoms can also, in low and specially prepared doses, help to cure diseases that cause similar symptoms. Remedies are prepared by a well defined process, which includes a trituration of the original substance in lactose and following in their diluting into extremely small doses, while vigorously shaking them ("succussing") with each step of diluting in water or ethanol. They are then dispensed in pills, globules or liquid form. This dilution and succussion process is what gives the remedies their potency.

Some principles of homeopathy have been utilized in various forms in various medical systems for thousands of years in many diverse cultures[3], but they were first methodically set out by a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843), who observed that a medicine sometimes evoked symptoms similar to those of the illness for which it was prescribed.

Homeopaths point to a long safety record for their very dilute remedies. There are many clinical trials and studies which show that homeopathy is effective. See our special page on research and studies.

 

Literature:

Hahnemann, Samuel: Organon of the Medical Art, ed. W. B. O’Reilly. Birdcage Books, Palo Alto California, 1996.

 

References

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