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The Whole Person
Mind and body are not separate but are a whole organism.
Homeopathy treats the whole person - on the mental and emotional level as well
as the physical.
The Vital Force
There is a life energy, or vital force, that always strives
to bring the living organism back into balance and health. Homeopathic remedies
stimulate this life force, or immune system, to bring about healing.
Disease or illness takes a hold when we are susceptible to
it; it is not usually something that hits us completely out of the blue. In
many cases, emotional and/or physical stresses, or the environment in which we
live or work, make us susceptible to illnesses that otherwise might not affect
Samuel Hahnemann talked about 'miasms' – inherited
tendencies towards certain types of illness. In modern terms, we are talking
about genetically inherited tendencies that come to us from our parents,
grandparents and the many generations before which were affected by major
diseases. We all carry these 'imprints' but we do not have to succumb to these
inherited tendencies. Homeopathic treatment aims to make the best of our
Like Cures Like
A substance which causes certain symptoms in a well person
can be used in microscopic doses to cure an unwell person showing similar
symptoms. This is Hahnemann's Law of Similars.
To find out what types of illness a substance might cure, 'provings'
of remedies have been carried out. This involves human guinea pigs taking doses
of a remedy until they begin to exhibit symptoms. These symptoms are then noted
as being ones that would indicate the use of that remedy as a cure.
Minimum Dose and the Single Remedy
It is an important homeopathic principle that one should
bring about cure with the minimum amount of medication. Most homeopaths also
use only one remedy at a time. If several remedies are used at the same time,
it is impossible for the homeopath to be clear as to what is happening as the
case progresses, i.e. which remedy is doing what. In acute cases, several
remedies may be used in quick succession until one takes effect.
Succussion and Dilution
Remedies are diluted over and over again to achieve the
minimum dose – and, paradoxically, to increase their potency. As well as being
diluted, the remedies are also succussed, or shaken. It is in this process,
discovered by Hahnemann that the remedies appear to release their healing
Direction of Cure
In the 19th century, the homeopath Constantine Hering
discovered what became known as Hering's Law of Cure. This says that disease
tends to move from the exterior of the body to the interior, from the
extremities to the upper body, and from the less vital organs to the more vital
organs. A curative homeopathic remedy can reverse these directions, with
symptoms disappearing in the reverse order of their appearance, a process which
can involve the brief return of old symptoms – sometimes mildly alarming for the
patient, but a sign that healing is under way.