Well-known for its application of the fundamental principle similia similibus curentur (like is cured by like), Homeopathy is non-materialistic and has its own interesting and captivating concept of health. Though officially founded as a new alternative medicine by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann in 1796, Homeopathy was known thousands of years ago and in 400 BC people like the Greek physician Hippocrates were already familiar with homeopathic remedies. While the latter should never be prescribed according to the name of the health issue but rather in accordance to the summary of all psychological and physical characteristics of the person, according to constitutional types, all symptoms are considered levels of defense, like bastions, through which the body warns about a problem. To the homeopath, therefore, “the human body and the mind are like windows displaying the patient’s inner state.” (Čehovský, 1997)
Homeopathy is a philosophical and alternative health care system based on non-aggressive, non-invasive therapies whose remedies are characterized by highly diluted substances aiming at soliciting one’s natural self-healing ability. Depending on the specific symptomatology described by the client, the homeopath identifies the most appropriate remedy to recommend. The closer the remedy, also called “simillimum”, to the totality of the individual’s symptoms and personality characteristics the more effective it is, and, consequently, the higher the possibility for the client to heal. Homeopathy, as a holistic methodology, has a mind-body-spirit approach to health and sees symptoms as part of the body’s alarm and self-defense mechanism and the disease as being not the cause of any substance or diseased matter, but rather as the result of a blockage or derangement of the life force, the vital principle animating the body. Hence, according to homeopathy, healing is only possible depending on the ability and strength of the vital force to counteract the effect of the chosen remedy at any given time.
Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann
Although Hippocrates had already developed the Law of Similia, Galeno included the Aristotelian theory of the Four Humors in his practice, according to which blood, choler (yellow bile), melancholy (black bile), and phlegm must be kept in balance to maintain a state of vitality and health, and Paracelsus already argued that disease was not caused by external factors but rather by energy imbalance within the body which prevented healing from occurring, opposed amputation and introduced substances such as opium, sulphur, and arsenic in his practice, it is the German physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) who is considered the Father and Founder of Modern Homeopathy.
Hahnemann was dissatisfied with what he considered as the failure of conventional medicine and contrary to some common practices such as bloodletting. After years of observation and proving remedies on himself and other healthy individuals to build up a homeopathic Materia Medica, he created a completely new, revolutionary health care system: Homeopathy.
The term homeopathy derives from the Greek words hómoios meaning ‘similar or like, and páthos, meaning suffering and which is in contrast with conventional medicine, referred by homeopaths as ‘allopathic’, which originates from the Greek words állos, that is “other” or “different”, and páthos with the latter being based on the use of pharmaceutical drugs to suppress symptoms and diseases. As previously stated, homeopathy does not fight symptoms for it sees them as a way for the body to communicate with us but rather tries to identify the leading cause of a certain health issue or disease to remove it while taking into account not only the physical condition but also, and above all, the mental, psychological and spiritual state of the individual.
Laws of Homeopathy
Homeopathy is characterized by the following major Laws:
- The Law of Similia, also known as similia similibus curantur, that is “likes are cured by likes” and which is based on the assumption that substances that have the ability to provoke certain symptoms and diseases in a healthy individual are also able to treat them in a sick person;
- The Law of Simplex, applied by those practicing Classical Homeopathy, recommends one only remedy to be administered at a time. According to this law, once the correct remedy has been identified it should be effective and sufficient for healing to take place. In some particular and more complex cases, however, more than one remedy may be recommended also by classical homeopaths.
- The Law of Minimum, according to which, though lower potencies may require a longer time to be effective, their use will, nonetheless, avoid stressing the individual during the healing phase. Homeopathic remedies present a variety of doses, ranging from those resembling, as for concentration, some pharmaceutical drugs to those which are characterized by very high dilutions containing no material trace of the original substance used for their production. Though the Law of Minimum is valid and a fundamental one, also higher potencies can be as effective and in some cases even required.
- Law of Vital Force, which is in harmony with esoteric anatomy and physiology, is the invisible, subtle, dynamic energy animating the human body. Depending on its balance or imbalance it determines a state of physical and mental health or, to the contrary, one of disease.
- Law of Chronic Diseases (Miasmas). Hahnemann defined a miasma as “energy block(s) from healing” (aphorism # 78), which is a predisposition to chronic disease that is transmitted down from one generation to the other and which – he believed – are responsible for hindering treatment and preventing people from healing. To counteract them, he created remedies called Nosodes and identified three specific miasmas:
- a) Psora, which relates to scabies
- b) Sycosis, which is linked to gonorrhea,
- c) Syphilis, which is based on syphilis.
In more recent times, Cancer and Tuberculosis have also been considered by some homeopaths as potential miasmas and added to the above list.
Identifying the root cause of a health condition, especially chronic disease, with a specific miasma does not mean that the individual is affected or has been affected by psora, sycosis, or syphilis but only that the specific miasma, or predisposition, was passed on from one generation to the other strengthening itself while weakening, at each generational passage, the vital force of the individuals and their ability to heal.
- Law of Drug-proving, which is needed to create and elaborate the Materia Medica and consists in utilizing a healthy person to test remedies to identify symptoms produced by a specific remedy.
- Law of Dynamization,which along with the process of dilution is the hallmark of homeopathic remedy production. Generally speaking, the high dilution and the process of dynamization (also called potentization or succussion), that is the vigorous shaking of a diluted homeopathic preparation to activate the medicinal substance during its manufacturing phase, are common denominators of all homeopathic remedies.
- The Law of Cure. According to Homeopathy, the healing process takes place in the following order:
- Symptoms and disease heal from the deepest level, which includes vital organs, to the most superficial one;
- Symptoms and disease heal in the reverse order that they manifest, starting with the most recent and going backward;
- Symptoms and disease improve or even heal from the top of the body going downwards;
- Symptoms and disease heal from the most important, vital organs to the least important, superficial organs; and
- Symptoms and disease heal from the center of the body to the periphery.
Dr. De Donato’s Clinical Case Studies: