The name ‘Homeopathy’ is derived from the Greek ‘homeo’ meaning similar and, ‘pathy’ meaning suffering. As we will see Homeopathy is based on the Law of Similars but it is much more than that.
Homeopathy was founded in the 18th into the 19th century by a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann. As a physician he became disillusioned by the system of medicine practiced at the time and gave up his medical practice. As far as he was concerned the practice of medicine at the time was doing more harm than good.
For a living he commenced to translate medical texts as he was proficient in several languages. In one case he was translating a medical text about why a medicinal form of cinchona bark (active ingredient quinine) was effective in treating malaria. The author of the text postulated that quinine’s bitter quality was the reason for its effectiveness in treating malaria.
Hahnemann did not think this was the right conclusion as there were many medicines that were bitter but were not effective against malaria. Hahnemann decided to experiment by taking the malaria medicine himself even though he did not have malaria. He found that on taking the medicine it produced symptoms in him similar to symptoms one would have if they had malaria (periodic high fever, sweating, lethargy, etc.)
As a result he developed two theories:
• The Law of Similars: a substance that causes symptoms in a healthy person will cure those symptoms in a sick person
• Provings: he identified how a medicine can be tested to determine its effectiveness in treating the sick (tested on healthy people)
The system of using similars in healing was not new as it was recognized as a method of healing back as far as the ancient Greeks and probably before that. Paracelsus in the 16th century, and others, also recognized the healing power of using similars (for example, if you burn yourself apply heat). Hahnemann formalized this method to be an irrefutable law.
So far this was all relatively acceptable to main stream medicine at the time however, what was to follow was not.
Hahnemann considered that there were three parts to life, physical, mental (mind) and spirit. The spirit being a state referred to by Hahnemann as the ‘vital force’ (vital energy) or a life force. According to Hahnemann, ‘this vital force animates the material body and is responsible for maintaining the body in harmonious operation as regards both sensations and functions’.
Without this vital force there would be no life. This life force is present everywhere in the body. Every cell of the body has this life force (energy fields) and is what distinguishes one cell from another. It directs cell function like a conductor of an orchestra and this vital force contains intelligence and information as to what functions each cell is designed to carry out.
Einstein said that behind everything in nature are energy fields. Research in physics has revealed that these electro-magnetic energy fields can be measured. At the atomic and sub-atomic level all matter is the same; its form in the physical is determined by its energy level or vibratory rate. All similar cells have the same vibratory rate and this energy field somehow contains information as to its function (liver cell functions differently from a heart cell or kidney cell and so on).
Even a similar cell that is cancerous has a different energy field (vibration rate) that is detectable. This indicates that the effect of cancer (disease) has changed the energy field of that cell. As a result, the cancer has changed the cell information so that when it reproduces it replicates cells with cancer. It also changes the function of the cell so that the body is not functioning normally.
Hahnemann held that ‘when a person falls ill it is only this spiritual, self-acting vital force present throughout the body that is deranged’. In most cases of illness we do not know the cause. Some causes are obvious such as injury from an accident or from food poisoning etc. but most cases a cause can’t be determined.
Even illness thought to be caused by a virus or bacteria is considered not to be the cause. Even Pasteur later in his life thought he got it wrong and considered that a virus or bacteria may be a symptom of the disease rather than the disease itself. This is supported by the fact that not all people exposed to a virus actually get sick. In those cases it is the person’s vital force directed through the immune system that protects against the colonization of the virus that produces symptoms (such as in the common cold).
So to Hahnemann, ‘disease is a derangement of the body’s vital force which in most cases in of an unknown source’. How homeopathy recognizes the disease is by the symptoms the body produces in response to the derangement of the vital force. All the symptoms (whether physical, mental or emotional) present as a result of the disease are considered to be the expression of the disease. The expression is the body trying to heal it-self and thus should be supported rather than opposed. For example, a skin condition such as eczema is not the disease itself but an expression of a deranged vital force which expresses itself as a skin condition.
In modern medicine there is no mention in medical literature of vital force or energy fields in the body. Anatomy and physiology books go into great detail about how this hormone activates that hormone which activates another hormone that performs a function. But nowhere does it mention how the processes start…what is directing the body’s ‘orchestra’ into harmony…..what intelligence or information determines cell composition and function….what causes the heart to beat, the lungs to breathe, the skin to repair itself, etc. The only explanation can be the body’s life force….it doesn’t make it otherwise because we can’t see, touch or understand it. Same as gravity we can’t see it or touch it but we know it is there because of its effects.
Hahnemann found in his research that through a series of dilutions along with succussion (vigorous shaking) that the medicines produced were capable of acting at an energy level. The dilutions were to such a level that no molecules of the original substance (made from plants, minerals, animals) remained. Paradoxically, the greater a substance was diluted and succussed the higher the energy level or potency.
In treating disease, Homeopathy considers all the symptoms that are produced as a result of sickness are an expression of the derangement of the body’s vital force and that is the disease. Based on the Law of Similars a medicine is selected on its ability to produce symptoms similar to the disease symptoms. (We know from earlier on that quinine cures malaria but also produced malaria type symptoms in a healthy person).
Homeopathy is effective because it addresses the disease at the energy level. If the disease is the derangement of the body’s vital force then it makes sense that a medicine at the energy level is needed to affect a cure. If the derangement is removed from the vital force by the effect of the energy medicine then the body’s expression of symptoms is also removed. Perhaps this is why modern medicine is not effective in curing chronic diseases in man…you can’t expect to cure a disease at an energy level with medicines that act at a chemical or material level.