A Single Remedy Cures without Side Effects

What is Homeopathy? What can it do for me?

If you haven’t read the Overview page, you should read it now. It will prepare you for the following.

Homeopathy is a science of healing based on the law of nature that like cures like (also known as the law of similars). In other words, the unique constellation of mental, emotional & physical symptoms that a substance will cause in a healthy person it will cure in a sick person. This is the first major principle of homeopathy.

[Note that you can’t pick isolated individual symptoms or a small subset of symptoms that define an allopathic disease and assume that any particular remedy that is known to cure the symptom(s), will cure them in an individual. A remedy must be chosen to match the entire constellation of symptoms – mental, physical & emotional – that an individual expresses. Many remedies may be known to cure any particular symptom. The overlap of remedy symptom “pictures” makes picking a remedy frequently challenging.]

For example, you are probably familiar with this brief summary of coffee’s possible effects. Those who are still sensitive to it, first feel a lift. Emotionally they might be more excitable, agitated and everything seeming more important. Physically they might be restless, their senses more acute and their heart rate increased. Mentally they might be more active with lots of rapid thoughts. This is the primary action of coffee. After it wears off they crash and are “lower” than before they took the coffee initially. They might be dull, depressed and their senses are dulled.  Physically and mentally they might be slow and lethargic,  This is the secondary reaction of the body’s vital force pushing back in the “opposite” direction. Anything that affects one’s vital force has a primary action followed by the secondary reaction of the vital force pushing back in the opposite direction.

Suppose that a particular individual is sick and diagnosed with insomnia. Insomnia, like all illnesses may appear in many different forms. Some people wake too early. Some have trouble getting to sleep. Some have depression with insomnia. Some are over-excited. But suppose that the homeopath recognizes that this individual’s overall symptom pattern is very similar to coffee’s effects, where along with the insomnia they are agitated, senses acute, mind and body racing, etc. Their vital force has been pushed off center and stuck there by the natural disease.

If they are given homeopathic coffee, it will give the vital force a slight push in the same or similar direction as the disease. If the homeopathic remedy is too strong there may even be a slight initial aggravation of the existing symptoms of the illness [this is not seen when placebo is given]. After the primary force of the remedy wears off, then due to the secondary reaction, the vital force will push back in the “opposite” direction towards health. The body’s vital force is doing the healing, not some outside agent overpowering the vital force like the primary action of a conventional medical sleeping pill.

You can see the problem with allopathic drugs

For this example, when sleeping pills are used, they push the vital force in a direction that forces the individual to sleep but there are many additional side effects that have no relation to the person’s illness. Then the vital force pushes back in the “opposite” direction towards wakefulness with its secondary reaction and the side effects wear off. As a result, on successive nights one needs more sleeping pills to achieve sleep. Healing doesn’t occur, only temporary suppression of the one particular symptom of sleeplessness occurs and all the side effects of the sleeping pill can be troublesome.  You can also see why one must continue to take the drug with no end in sight in many cases of chronic disease. It may even happen that there is permanent suppression of the disease due the drug overpowering the vital force, without actually causing a cure; the side effects remain with long term consequences.

So the first principle of classical homeopathy requires that the proper homeopathic remedy must match and cure all the symptoms, mental, physical and emotional with a single remedy – not a cornucopia of drugs with a cornucopia of side effects. Note that some practitioners and pharmacies provide so-called “combination remedies” that have more than one remedy in them. This is not classical homeopathy and in my limited experience of them, is not as effective as the single well-chosen remedy although it does lack the toxicity of regular drugs.

If you went to a doctor for a cold and he said you have to go to the ‘sneeze doctor’ for the sneeze, the ‘cough doctor’ for the cough, the ‘runny nose doctor’ for the runny nose, you’d say “That’s crazy! Just give me something for my cold!” Yet that is exactly what allopathic medicine (i.e. conventional western medicine) does for chronic disease: multiple doctors and multiple drugs for what is essentially one disease in the view of homeopathy. One doctor for the skin condition, one for the cancer, one for the ADHD, depression and insomnia; with one or more drugs for each condition, which may interact unpleasantly and usually are only palliative at best. Homeopathy defines the disease not in a local isolated short-term way, but as all the symptoms, mental, physical and emotional, that are present at the time and as they evolve over time.

In classical homeopathy a single remedy works on the entire group of mental, physical and emotional symptoms present at one time. It is individualized for the client. Not everyone’s cold, flu, arthritis, diabetes, or insomnia has the same set of symptoms. Each person is unique and a unique remedy matching the individual’s symptom picture must be chosen. That is why homeopaths must take a very careful in-depth interview and choose a remedy carefully. Like all healing, homeopathy is an art as well as a science. The science is that the properly chosen remedy will cure deeply. The art is choosing the remedy that matches an individual’s mental, emotional and physical picture from the thousands that are available.

[Note too, that in the over 200 years of homeopathy’s existence people have come up with ways that they feel short-cut the means to arrive at appropriate remedy(ies) for a client, such as electronic instruments or intuitive methods. Not to in any way to denigrate them (since I have little experience with these approaches), they too are not using the classical approach that has been tried and tested over time.]

Originally the simple substance was used in its original form such as an herbal tincture to treat the patient. But Dr. Hahnemann was concerned about the wisdom of giving toxic substances to sick people. He started experimenting with diluting the medicinal substances. And as he road about the countryside on horse and carriage, his remedies were bounced vigorously. The second major principle of homeopathy is the potentization of the remedy substances used i.e. minimum dose to achieve the desired effect. This is done by means of serial dilution and impact (known as succussion). Remedies can be diluted in this manner to the point where very little or none of the original substance remains. Yet paradoxically they become more powerful as curative agents the more dilute they are. But they are also less toxic because little or none of the toxic substance remains.

Dr Hahnemann was a famous chemist in his day and knew Avogadro’s law and knew that he was diluting his remedies to the point where none of the substance was left. His conclusion was that some unknown energy of the substance, not the chemical itself, was stimulating the healing process. It is the reason why homeopathy is so safe AND so powerful. This does not violate the laws of physics, chemistry or biology since the energy of remedies is unknown and clearly outside their realm. We all have the intuitive sense that we are not biochemical machines. There is some living principle (Hahnemann called it the Vital Force) that animates our being. Homeopathic remedies act on this living principle.

But this is also the reason why homeopathy is so controversial. No one knows why it works. But there is plenty of evidence that it does. There is evidence that homeopathic remedies have electromagnetic properties, but I dont think this is the entire explanation. And it is much more effective than placebo according to many studies that have been done comparing homeopathic remedies to placebo treatment. The whole area of clinical studies into the effectiveness of homeopathy (and conventional drugs) is controversial, though. Any clinical study can be found lacking on some grounds. Human subjects, particularly ill ones, are too variable to be easily lumped into categories and tested or treated uniformly. Read medical historian, Harris Coulter’s short book The Controlled Clinical Trial which debunks our worship of clinical trials. You can read this quick summary of his main points.

‘Provings’ are one way of showing the power of the remedies. A few doses of the remedy are given to healthy human volunteers over several days whose supervisors carefully record the new, not previously experienced mental, emotional and physical symptoms that develop. A similarly unique constellation of symptoms will show up in the provers although they are not in contact and are unaware of what they are taking. When Dr Hahnemann’s proving of Belladona was repeated a hundred years later at the beginning of the twentieth century with individuals who had no idea what they were proving,  the same symptom pattern emerged that Hahnemann saw. After a proving the symptoms quickly wear off and the provers return to their former state of health or sometimes even an improved state of health. I encourage anyone skeptical of homeopathy to do a supervised proving or to get treatment if they are not healthy.

The record of symptoms from a proving along with symptoms cured by the remedy in clinical situations is published in homeopathic materia medica texts. This information permits homeopaths to know how to use the remedy to treat their clients.

How does homeopathy differ from medicine and herbalogy?

It may be helpful or necessary to support your homeopathic care with medical or other care. It is wise to get a medical diagnosis and prognosis for your condition before seeing a homeopath. Homeopaths who are not doctors, will not diagnose or treat any allopathic diseases specifically, only offer a remedy to encourage your body to return to health, whatever the disease.

The founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, MD, discovered that substances heal best according to the Law of Similars. Unlike other healing methods, where someone may take several different substances or drugs at a time, in classical homeopathy only a single remedy is given. This remedy is chosen to be helpful for the particular combination of mental, physical and emotional symptoms present. Thus classical homeopathy is truly a holistic, or in other words, a comprehensive practice. One should see improvement in one’s general state of health (i.e. mental clarity, sleep and energy, calmness, sense of well being, sensitivity to one’s environment, etc.) in addition to the symptoms of concern being relieved, if one is truly healing and not just suppressing or palliating symptoms. With suppression/palliation new symptoms due to the treatment (e.g. drug side effects) appear without any improvement, and likely a worsening of the general state of health, even though the targeted symptom(s) of the allopathic disease may improve.

The extremely low doses and lack of toxicity are significant differences. I like to call Homeopathy the ultimate environmental medicine. Each remedy comes in a wide range of potencies used according to the needs of the situation.

What do I need to do? What will my homeopath do for me?

You must first be interviewed by your classical homeopath. S/he will listen to you in an accepting, non-judgmental way. Everything you say will be held strictly confidential. The first interview for a chronic problem will probably last an hour or longer (less for acute conditions and follow-ups).

Obviously your homeopath is interested in your medical history and any medical diagnoses that you are aware of. Your homeopath’s goal, though, is to understand your unique perception of yourself and your health in order to match you with the best homeopathic remedy. The homeopath wants precise descriptions of your perception of all your physical, emotional and mental symptoms. What do you think are the cause of your symptoms? What situations, actions, etc. make your symptoms better or worse? Your homeopath will want you to talk in your own words about what is important to you in your life and health.

After the interview you will be advised on a remedy and how to take it properly so you can heal gently and rapidly. Then you must monitor and take care of your health. It is important to let your homeopath know if anything significant occurs between interviews. You must have follow-ups so that your homeopath can assess your progress and make adjustments or select a more appropriate remedy. Certain types of drug use and other activities may interfere with homeopathic care. Adding in other treatments or supplements after starting on a remedy would make it difficult to determine if the homeopathic treatment was effective. Although results vary depending on the individual and the homeopath, you should notice over time, that your health improves. Patience and commitment is required. Complete healing of old conditions can take time.