Centuries Old, Nothing New…What Is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a system of natural health care that has been in worldwide use for over 200 years. Homeopathy treats each person as a unique individual with the aim of stimulating their own healing ability. A homeopath selects the most appropriate medicine based on the individual’s specific symptoms and personal level of health.
The World Health Organization recognizes it as the second largest therapeutic system in use in the world. While it is most popular in India and South America, over thirty million people in Europe, and millions of others around the world, also benefit from its use.
The name homeopathy, coined by its originator, Samuel Hahnemann, is derived from the Greek words for ‘similar suffering’ referring to the ‘like cures like’ principle of healing. Hahnemann was born in Germany two hundred and fifty years ago. At this time the old world-view was being renovated and traditional beliefs, many flimsily based upon superstition, were being increasingly subjected to the rigor of experimental scrutiny and assessment. The practice of Homeopathy is based upon science while its application is an art.
Homeopathy is founded on two principles that have occurred regularly throughout the history of medicine, both in eastern and western worlds. The first principle of ‘like cures like’ can be looked at in several ways. One way is to assume that the body knows what it is doing and that symptoms are the body’s way of taking action to overcome illness. This healing response is automatic in living organisms; we term it the vital response. The similar medicine acts as a stimulus to the natural vital response, giving it the information it needs to complete its healing work. Since the initial action of the vital response plus the medicine is to increase the strength of the symptoms, this is our first indication of internal healing taking place, of diseases being cured from within – pushed outwards along the established routes of past and present symptoms.
Before the medicines are decided upon, their curative powers are discovered by testing them out on healthy human subjects and carefully noting emotional, mental and physical changes. This is termed a ‘proving.’ This information constitutes the basis for ‘like cures,’ like for a medicine’s unique symptom picture must match up with the individual’s unique expression of their disease, that is, the present and persisting symptoms of the disease.
The second principle, that only ‘the minimum dose’ should be employed is based on the understanding that the stimulus of the medicine works from within the vitality and is not imposed from the outside. Only enough is administered to initiate the healing process, which then carries on, driven by its own internal healing mission. Homeopathic medicines given in minimum doses, while they do stimulate the body’s vital response, do not produce the gross side effects that are so often the pitfall of conventional treatment.
Understanding Homeopathic Dilutions.
A principle tenet of homeopathy is the observation that the medicine is more effective as the active ingredient(s) are diluted and potentiated. Because many homeopathic ingredients are potent, volatile, and sometimes even harmful in their most natural form, we dilute the substance enough to maintain their healing properties while still making them safe for human consumption. On a drug ingredient panel, the active ingredient will be followed by a number, then a “C” or an “X”. This number (“12X”) represents how many times the ingredient has been diluted and potentiated.
Why is homeopathy so popular?
- Homeopathic treatment works with your body’s own healing powers to bring about health and well-being.
- You are treated as an individual, not as a collection of disease labels.
- Homeopathy treats all your symptoms at all levels of your being – spiritual, emotional, mental and physical and finds the ‘like cures like’ match for them.
- Homeopathically prepared remedies, providing the minimum dose, are gentle, subtle and powerful. They are non-addictive, and not tested on animals.