Homoeopathy is actually based on thousands of experiments in which human subjects have taken continual doses of various plant, mineral, or animal substances until specific symptoms were elicited. These experimetns are called "provings", and they are conducted on humans, not animals, because homeopaths believe that the symptoms a substance causes in an animal do not necessarily accurately parallel how the substance will act on the human body. Innumerable substances cause skin rashes, digestive problems, tumors, and various other disease processes;however, each substance causes its own unique pattern of symptoms. The trick to making a homathic medicine work is finding the medicine that matches the overall pattern of symptoms that the person is experiencing, not just a single symptom or small group of symptoms. Once it is known what a substance causes in overdoes, the specific affinity that this substance has to the human body is then understood. And because symptoms represent the best defense of the human body to fight infection and/or to adapt to stress, it makes sense to mimic and augment the body's own defenses.
Our Inner Doctor
Homeopathy, like conventional physiology and pathology, recognizes that symptoms do not simply represent something "wrong" with the person but rather that they are actually the body's defense against infection and/or stress. The body creates symptoms in its effort to defend and heal itself.
Every textbook on patholody recognizes that inflammation is the body's way to heat up, burn out, and isolate infective organisms. Althoug conventional anti-inflammatory drugs work temporarily to reduce inflammation, they do not influence the underlying cause of the inflammation. Such drugs provide a short-term benefit but often lead to longer-term complications.
The human organism has survived as long as it has because we have an "inner doctor" who helps us fight infection and adopt to stress. Using conventional drugs to inhibit or suppress symptoms tends to push the disease deeper into our bodies, creating more serious chronic physical and mental illness. The homeopathic principle of similars, on the other hand, respects the body's own wisdom and seeks to find the correct, individualized remedy that will mimic and augment this wisdom.
Homeopathy Explained PART I - Dr. Normanallan
Homeopathy Explained PART II - Dr. Normanallan
Video courtesy -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPYMXzJCXK8&feature=related
Video courtesy -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_1pyWK1wQg&feature=related
Conventional doctors treat the symptoms of disease because they see the symptoms as a manifestation of the illness. They prescribe pharmaceutical drugs that deliver a dose of painkilling antibiotic or anti-inflammatory ingredients in a dose great enough to dampen the symptoms of the condition or to kill the bacteria causing it.
Homeopaths, however, see symptoms as an expression of the body's attempts to heal itself. They see them as a positive sigh that the body is fighting illness and so they should not be suppressed. Homeopathic remedies are aimed at stimulating and supporting the body's healing mechanism. For this reason they can sometimes provoke what homeopaths call an "aggravation" whereby symptoms may get worse before they improve.
Homeopathic remedies are prescribe for the whole person and are based on the principles established by Hahneman: the law of similars, the principle of minimum dose and prescribing for the individual.
The law of similars:
This states that a substance, which in large doses can produce symptoms of illness in a well person, can, in minute doses, cure similar symptoms of disease in a sick person. According to Hahnemann, this is because nature does not allow two similar diseases to exist in the body at the same time. To rid the body of one disease, homeopaths introduce a similar artifical disease that pushes the original one out, but is too fleeting to cause any long-term suffering.
The minimum dose:
This states that extreme dilution enhances the curative properties of a substance, while eliminating any possible side-effects. You need only use a minimum dose of the active ingredient to stimulate an improvement in health.
Whole person prescribing:
This is the third and vitally important principle, which has been mentioned in the introduction. A homeopath studies the whole person: their temperament, personality, emotional and physical responses when prescribing a remedy. Therefore a homeopath will not treat flu, he will treat a person who has flu-like symptoms. So, although a conventional doctor could see ten people with flu and prescribe the same treatment for all of them, a homeopath might well give each one a different remedy, depending on how they were responding as individuals to their illness.
In additon to the three principles, homeopaths believe that treatment works according to the Laws of Cure. There are three laws of cure which state simply that a remedy starts at the top of the body and works downward; it works from within the body outward, and from major to minor organs. It also states that symptoms clear in reverse order of appearance. So you will start to feel emotionally better before feeling physically better. Also if you had an illness which manifested itself first as a rash, followed by vomiting and then a fever, the fever would subside first, then the vomiting would stop and finally the rash would disappear.
Homeopaths often find that the effective way to prescribe treatment is according to constitutional type. They believe a person's constitution is made up of inherited and acquired physical, mental and emotional characteristics and these can be matched to a remedy to improve their health, no matter what the illness.
Most people have difficulty in understanding how homeopathic remedies work when they contain such minute traces of the original remedy.
Homeopaths believe it is the energy or "vibrational pattern" of the remedy, rather than its chemical content, that stimulates healing by activating what Hahnemann called the Vital Force. The vital force is simply the healing power or energy that exists within all of us. It is what the Chinese call "Chi" and the Indians call "Prana". It fuels the body, mind and emotions, keeping us healthy and balanced. But when the balance of the vital force is disturbed by factors such as stress, pollution, inadequate diet and lack of exercise, it becomes weakened and illness can result. The symptoms of illness are the body's way of attracting our attention to the fact that the vital force is struggling to fight off disease.
Hahnemann could not prove how minute doses of homeopathic remedies could restore health, but he could prove that they did. His own belief that they somehow strengthened the embattled vital force, enabling it to restore the body to health remains the predominant belief among homeopaths today, even though science has been unable to support his belief.
How do you know when you'r cured ?
Although many people believe that they are cured when either a conventional or natural remedy erases their symptoms, that's not necessarily true. Just because a person's symptoms disappear doesn't mean that she is better off, and in fact, it may mean that she is in fact sicker. For instance, we commonly recognize that people who suppress emotions tend to explode later, usually to some unsuspecting soul. Likewise many conventional drugs work by inhibiting or actually suppressing the disease, which ultimately pushes the disease deeper into the person, creating more serious and often chronic illnesses that manifest later. This is called "disease suppression". What are often called the "side effects" of a drug are usually the results of this suppression.
Between cure and disease suppression is "palliation", that is, a treatment that provides temporary relief of an illness but does not suppress it. Palliative treatments are given when the person's immune system is reasonably strong. Although the treatment used does not cure the disease, it does provide enough relief to the person that his body is able to avoid disease suppression.
To evaluate whether a cure, palliation or suppression has occurred, it is useful first to understand Herring's guidelines to cure.
Hering's Guidelines to cure
Dr. Constantine Hering, MD
Constantine Herring, M.D.(1800-1880), is considered the father of American Homeopathy. He observed that patients often get better in somewhat predictable patterns. Hering recognized that each person experiences a specific pattern of symptoms, and that when comparing this pattern with past or future ones, it is necessary to evaluate the degree to which the symptoms cause pain and discomfort and the degree to which they inhibit a person's life. Hering assumed, for example, that skin symptoms are superficial signs of deeper, internal physical symptoms, that mild irritability is considerably less limiting than a fear of death, and that minor memory problems are significantly less problematic than, say, schizophrenia.
Hering and others since him have developed ways to evauluate the depth and breadth of physical, emotional, and mental/spiritual levels of a person's health. He and other homeopaths have found that certain symptoms in each level of a person's health, depending on their frequency and intensity, represent more and more serious stresses to that person's health.
Based on these assumptions, Hering developed guidelines to help us understand how to differentiate a healing response from a disruptive or diseasing respons. His guidelines too cure were based on the premise that a curative response evolves:
1) From the most vital functions of the person to more superifical ones (a healing process will indicate that a person with a high fever or high blood pressure will experience a reduction in fever or blood pressure, while other less vital physical symptoms may increase as a way of helping to externalize the disease process.)
2) From internal sources to external ones (sometimes mental or emotional symptoms will decrease, while more superficial physical symptoms may increase); and
3) in reverse order of appearance (a person may re-experience symptoms that were either previously suppressed or never fully cured as a wat to finally get rid of them).
These insights are useful no matter what treatment, conventional or natural, one uses.