Introduction to Homœopathy
Understanding Health and Disease
The word ‘health’ comes from the old English hælth meaning whole.
Health is defined as freedom from illness and injury; soundness of body and mind; the state of being bodily and mentally vigorous and free from disease.
Ill health results from increased susceptibility to one or more of the following factors often combined with an inherent predisposition:
Stressors – physical, mental, emotional, etc.
Toxins – environmental, medicinal, etc.
Infections – bacterial, fungal, viral, etc
Ideally, our own innate healing mechanism responds effectively to counter these adverse stimuli, and retain the balance we know as health.
A clean lifestyle and a good diet all assist in maintaining good health, however, if the external stimuli are too strong or our system overly sensitive we may need help regaining a state of health (wholeness). This is where Homœopathy can play an effective role.
The correctly chosen homœopathic medicine helps the body to regain its healthy balance by stimulating the individual’s own innate healing ability.
Homœopathy is able to successfully treat many types of illness, even those which may otherwise have a poor medical prognosis. Whether the illness is predominately mental, emotional, physical - Homœopathy has a medicine to assist.
What is Homœopathy?
Homœopathy derives from the Greek Omion (similar) & Pathos (suffering).
Homœopathic treatment involves prescribing the medicine which is capable of producing symptoms similar to those of the patient in their illness. The curative principle on which Homœopathy is based is defined by the Latin phrase, similia similibus curantur - like cures like.
For example, most of us are familiar with the consequences of peeling an onion – watery eyes, irritating runny nose, sneezing – symptoms similar to those experienced at the beginning of a cold or in hay fever.
A homœopath may therefore prescribe Alium-cepa, a homœopathic preparation of onion, to treat these similar symptoms.
On first consideration this premise may seem surprising, however, even modern medicine prescribes upon the basis of similars (though not individualised) in some cases, as for example when anti-venom is given for victims of snake or spider bites, or in “immunising” by administering a highly diluted preparation of the causative micro-organism. Treatment examples include Ritalin (a stimulant) prescribed to ADHD patients, Hyoscine (an extract of Hyoscyamus which can cause bowel irritation) to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel, Digoxin (an extract of Digitalis which can cause heart failure) for heart failure. There are also everyday examples, such as of the urge in some individuals to smoke a cigarette (nicotine a stimulant) to aid relaxation.
A Little History
This story goes back to 1796 when Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), a celebrated German physician with a deeply inquiring mind, realised this fundamental fact regarding the treatment and cure of disease.
In those days medicine was a haphazard affair where disease was believed to be caused by all manner of imaginary phenomena. Hahnemann, unhappy with this state of affairs, and also despondent that his own treatments too often failed, had taken up translating medical and scientific literature as a means of earning a living.
Whilst translating A treatise of the Materia Medica (William Cullen, 1789), from English into German, Hahnemann was unhappy with Cullen’s reasoning on the drug Cinchona (“China bark” from which quinine, used in the treatment of Malaria, is derived). Cullen highlighted that Cinchona contained both bitter and astringent properties, both of which acted together to form a potent tonic to the stomach, and that it was this property which he argued, gave it the specific virtue in healing malaria.
However Hahnemann was also a brilliant chemist (as acknowledged by Lavoisier) and well aware he could combine many drugs into a medicine much more bitter and astringent, yet which showed no effect on malarial fever. He therefore decided to try and find out more about Cinchona by taking it himself and recording the results. He found, on taking this substance, he actually developed symptoms similar to those present in malarial fever, against which he would commonly prescribe the drug.
No doubt Hahnemann was excited about this finding. He didn’t rush to conclusions however, instead setting about testing a whole range of substances in the same manner. The results of these drug tests (called “provings”) were consistent. He found in each case that a drug which produced certain symptoms in the healthy was capable of removing similar symptoms in disease.
His experiments validated the theory previously hinted at through the ages by others, including Hippocrates and Paracelsus. This principle, similia similibus curantur (likes cure likes), known in English as the law of similars, is as true and effective today as it was back in 1796 when Hahnemann first put it to the test.
Today we have at hand an even more comprehensive and complete record of drug provings, of a large range of substances from the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms. These medicines together make up our homœopathic materia medica.
How is Homœopathy Different?
Mainstream medicine has no consistent treatment strategy, no guiding fundamental principle, whereas Homœopathy always prescribes on the principle of similars in each case.
Instead of merely targeting the symptoms of the disease (e.g. lowering the blood pressure, reducing the inflammation, expanding the airways) as in other forms of medicine, the homœopathic medicine addresses the core of the problem by stimulating the patient’s own physiology to work more effectively, the result being the removal of the process of disorder entirely. Treatment by Homœopathy is far more likely to result in a real cure and is at the same time free from the harmful long term side effects from main stream medical drugs.
The medicines (also known as remedies) are derived from a variety of natural sources; included are those from the animal, mineral and plant kingdoms. Each natural substance is then prepared in a carefully controlled process unique to Homœopathy.
They are administered either in the form of tiny pills or n liquid drops which are often further diluted in water and taken from a teaspoon. They are easy to take as they do not have an unpleasant taste. Many countries including U.S and U.K. have their own Homœopathic Pharmacopia, stipulating the mode of manufacture.
During the consultation, the homœopath questions the patient carefully about their illness, about its history & onset, and how they are affected by it, what makes them better and what makes them worse. They will also take a medical history and when necessary make a physical examination.
Most patients appreciate the opportunity to talk freely about their complaint and sometimes their life in general. Usually the first consult will be longer, possibly up to one hour, with follow ups taking 15-30 minutes.
A successful prescription is often marked by the patient feeling better in themselves, followed by a gradual decrease in the severity of their symptoms, and finally complete removal of all signs of their disorder. In a recent illness cure can be achieved rapidly, even in a matter of hours. In conditions of long-standing chronic illness, whilst signs of improvement may be evident in the first few days, the time required for a complete cure varies from patient to patient.
Homœopathy every time utilises the same principle of application, using like to treat like, as described above.
In Homœopathy we treat each person’s illness individually. We do not have standard drugs to treat a diagnosed condition.
Two people suffering with arthritis for example,
may need entirely different medicines, based on the history and unique expression of their disease.
Patient 1 Restless and active, can only gain relief by constantly stretching and moving, prefers to be out doors, in the open air and may also suffer with hay fever in the Spring.
Patient 2 Lethargic and miserable, afraid to move due to pain, sitting with a hot water bottle and a warm drink, and also suffering regular headaches.
These two patients would each require a different homœopathic medicine for the treatment of their arthritic condition.
A homœopath assesses and treats the patient as a ‘whole,’ giving only one medicine at a time. i.e. even if the patient is suffering several seemingly unrelated conditions, (e.g. arthritis, hay fever and migraines), the practitioner, after taking into account all the symptoms, selects one medicine which best covers the overall condition of the patient. This is truly wholistic medicine.
A successful result with Homœopathy is considered to be no less than, the complete removal of the entire disease with no side effects. Whereas with main stream medicine, relief or lessening of symptoms is very often all that can be hoped for, while long term use of a medicine is accepted as common place, as are the frequently bothersome side effects.
Do you ‘believe’ in Homœopathy?
Critics of Homœopathy claim a lack of scientific evidence relating to its application, yet they themselves have never examined the abundant evidence carefully, and have never put the similars principle to the actual test. The fact remains that Homœopathy, properly applied, fulfils all the criteria of the modern scientific method.
Similarly, these so called ‘skeptics,’ would have the public believe that Homœopathy (along with other alternative therapies) can only work, if at all, due to the placebo effect – regardless of the fact that very often our patients have already tried various mainstream medical treatments, without results, before consulting a Homœopath. One does not need to be a ‘believer’ in order to get a good result with Homœopathy.
The well-chosen homœopathic medicine is equally effective in sceptical patients, children and even in animals.
Homœopathic medicine, despite having proved itself a reliable and effective method of treatment for over two hundred years, is still a little known form of medicinal therapy in Australia and rarely the first choice for those searching for help. Nevertheless, Homœopathy is popular in many other parts of the world including Europe, UK, US, Canada and India. Those who have experienced its often seemingly miraculous results, rarely again resort to using other forms of medicinal therapies.
In fact, many well-known people throughout history have used it! These include Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Ghandi, Beethoven, George Bernard-Shaw and Charles Darwin, to name a few. More recently you have the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Catherine Zeta-Jones, David Beckham, Jane Seymour, Cindy Crawford, Paul McCartney, Tony Blair, Prince Charles and Cher, have all chosen to use Homœopathy.
Queen Elizabeth II not only uses Homœopathy herself, as did her parents but is also patron of the Royal London Homœopathic Hospital.
For more info see also : www.hhmc-dimitriadis.com