Homeopathy is a system of medicine based on the work of Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). The word homeopathy is derived from the Greek words homoios, meaning like or similar and, pathos, meaning suffering, and describes the practice of treating like with like. Homeopathy tries to cure the same symptoms in a sick person that it could cause in healthy person (similia similibus curentur).
This is called the law of similars and is one of the fundamental cornerstones on which homeopathy is based. This is in direct contrast to traditional Western allopathic medicine, which tries to cure disease by using opposing energies or substances. So for example, allopathic medicine uses anti-biotics, anti-inflamatories, anti-histamines and anti-depressants just to name a few medicine groups. Instead of looking at the whole person, physically, emotionally and mentally, allopathic medicine seeks to suppress physical symptoms.
Homeopathy on the other hand looks at the individual holistically. It assesses all the symptoms that an individual may be experiencing and tries to achieve gentle relief for that symptom.. As homeopathic medicines are so tailored to the individual, a homeopathic remedy that might help with the symptoms of a headache in one person will have absolutely no effect on another person’s headache.
HOW ARE HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES MADE?
Homeopathic remedies are made by a process of serial dilution and succussion (vigorous shaking). Each dilution and succussion is given a value so that you can assess the potency or strength of the medicine. These are measured in a decimal (X) or a centesimal scale (c). Decimal dilutions measure the number of times a remedy has been diluted to the power of 10 (one part substance/previous dilution to 9 parts dilutant) and the centesimal scale measures the number of times a remedy has been diluted to the power of 100 (one part substance/previous dilution to 99 parts dilutent).
HOW DOES HOMEOPATHY WORK?
This process of dilution and succussion seems to potentise the remedy and make it more effective than when it was in its material form (undiluted)./ In practical terms, this means that the patient is only receiving a tiny, tiny dose of the original substance,and in some cases depending on the dilution, not one molecule of the original substance will be left in the remedy at all. . . . So what is going on!? How does something so diluted help with what can sometimes be very intense symptoms?
An honest answer would be that no one really knows for sure. We certainly wont be finding the answer with empirical Kentian analysis. The answer will probably revealed in time when we have a different paradigm to investigate how our bodies respond to health and well being.
Way back in the 1800s Hahnemann suggested that homeopathic remedies worked by initiating a response from the non-material part of the human being. Hahnemann called this the vital force. In today’s language we might refer to this as our energy field. It is this that will ultimately dictate a feeling of well being, of balance, of health in a person, and it is this force that homeopathy is seeking to help, should it fall out of balance. The aim of homeopathic prescribing is therefore to assess if the vital force needs any help, or whether it can manage on its own.
Homeopathy stimulates the vital force by giving it a tiny amount of a substance that if given in large quantities would cause the very symptoms that we are now trying to relieve (the like cures like paradigm).So if we know in advance what kinds of symptoms different substances can cause if taken in large material doses then these are the very symptoms that same substance can relieve if taken in homeopathic potencies. This is how symptoms pictures of remedies are built up. Some of the early homeopaths took some pretty severe steps in ingesting potentially lethal substances! The process of creating symptoms pictures of remedies is called proving and provings of new remedies are happening all the time. For example a recently proven remedy was syntocinin!