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 Homeopathy: A Modern Understanding of Homeopathic Medicine 

Nineteenth-century American homeopathic physician James Tyler Kent made frequent reference to "the innate intelligence of the human organism." (16) In so doing, Kent acknowledged the aspect of the body-mind that enables it to react curatively to microdoses of correctly chosen substances.

Contemporary homeopath George Vithoulkas explains microdose cures by defining the human body as a magnificent cybernetic system. (17) Such a system has the inherent capacity to respondto changes always with the most effective and efficient response based on its present abilities. Perhaps astronomer Johann Kepler described this phenomena as well as it could be described, centuries before computers when he said, "Nature uses as little as possible of anything."

R.R. Sharma, a professor of biophysics in India, theorizes that the small doses used in homeopathy are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and cellular and nuclear membranes. Dr. Sharma hypothesizes that more potentized homeopathic medicines may act deeper and longer than less potentized medicines because they can penetrate these physiological barriers and thereby delivertheir therapeutic effects more profoundly. (18)

These modern perspectives on the action of the microdoses have some similarities to the traditional explanation in homeopathy for the action of the medicines. Homeopaths conceptualize a "life force" or "vital force" which they describe as the inherent, underlying, interconnective, self-healing process of the organism. This bio-energetic force is similar to what the Chinese call "chi," Japanese call "ki," yogis call "prana," Russian scientists call "bioplasm," and Star Wars characters call "The Force." Homeopaths theorize that this bio-energetic process is sensitive to the submolecular homeopathic medicines. The resonance of the microdose is thought to affect the resonance of the person's life force.

Evidence of how small doses can actually have increased strength was reported in Science News. (19) A study engaged in by chemists, who work for the U.S. Government's National Bureau of Standards and who knew nothing about homeopathy, noted that when they shook the coupled molecules of nitric oxide, the units did not weaken and break into parts, but rather developed stronger molecular bonds. One can theorize from this research that the homeopathic process of dilution and succussion (shaking) may actually create super strong molecules, perhaps super strong medicines.

Scientists in non-medical fields are finding value in small dose applications. For instance, during the oil crisis, Dr. Stanley Ries and his colleagues at Michigan State University used microdoses of a fertilizer to stimulate crop production. (20) As an alternative to petroleum-based fertilizer, Ries used doses of an alcohol derived from alfalfa equivalent to the 9x, or as one journalist reported, a dose of about one jigger of vermouth to 800,000 gallons of gin! (21)

Publishing his study in the prestigious Science magazine, Ries reported that treated tomatoes yielded 30% more than untreated tomatoes; carrots were 21% bigger and fatter; asparagus plants produced 35-60% more and sweet corn yields increased by nearly 25%; while rice increased in its growth as well as in protein content.

The intelligent use of microdoses is just beginning to be considered. When such research develops to the next stage, new, safer, non-toxic technologies will become available. And we will have a new understanding of natural law.

Understanding the Healing Process
As we have noted, the human body is a remarkable organism that will go to great extremes to protect itself and survive. Our various symptoms are evidence of this process, and our differing symptoms represent different levels of defense that our body is synchronously deploying in an effort to survive.

From their basic assumption that the human being lives on three levels of experience--the physical, emotional, and mental--homeopaths have observed a predictable hierarchy by which any cure of chronic illness takes place. Certain symptoms in each category, depending on their intensities, represent more serious stresses to the defense system than others.

The hierarchy is relatively obvious and may be described here in an oversimplified form: On the physical level, for instance, a skin rash, is not as serious as hepatitis, and hepatitis is not as serious as heart disease. On the emotional level, a minor irritability is more superifical than a strong anger, and an intense fear of death represents a deeper, more seriously ill condition than either. On the mental level*, a slightly poor memory is relatively minor compared to a general state of mental confusion which itself is less significant than a full-blown schizophrenic state.

[*Symptoms on the mental level might be defined as disturbances in a person's cognitive functioning, sense of self, sense of connectedness with the world, or will power.]

Generally, mental symptoms are regarded as the deepest core of an individual's health, emotional problems are of secondary importance, and physical symptoms of tertiary value. The actual depth of an individual symptom on a person's health is determined by its severity, frequency, and degree of impact on limiting the person's freedom to be and act at his/her potential. Thus, many serious or persistent physical symptoms can be considered deeper diseases than emotional or mental symptoms if they threaten basic survival or make living very difficult.

Constantine Hering, M.D. (1800-1880), the father of American homeopathy, was one of the first to make note of specific ways that healing progresses. He made three observations of the healing process which he asserted should be understood together as a unitary pattern, and homeopaths have dubbed his observations "Hering's Law of Cure." First, he observed that the human body seeks to externalize disease--to dislodge it from more serious, internal levels to more superficial, external levels. Someone with asthma may develop an external skin rash as part of the curative process. Or someone with a headache may undergo a day or two of fever and sweating as a part of their cure. A person with emotional or mental symptoms may experience different and less serious emotional or mental problems or physical symptoms during their curative process.

Sadly, most conventional medical doctors treat each symptom as a unique and unconnected phenomenon. A person's skin rash generally would be treated with cortisone, thus suppressing it,and, possibly, reactivating the person's asthma. The mentally ill person's new physical symptom is also suppressed, leading to a relapse of the mental illness.

Hering's second observation was that healing progresses from the top of the body to the bottom. Thus, a person with arthritis in many joints will generally notice relief in the upper part of the body before the lower part. An understanding of this aspect of healing helps homeopaths to differentiate true cures from temporary relief or placebo response.

The third observation was that healing proceeds in reverse order of the appearance of symptoms. Thus, the most recent symptoms one has experienced generally will be the first to be healed. For this reason, in the process of cure a person may sometimes re-experience symptoms that he or she previously suffered from (generally those symptoms which were suppressed or never really healed). Needless to say, homeopaths are pleased when a person informs them that one of their old symptoms has returned. Although these old symptoms may be irritating, homeopaths will avoid suppressing them. They are usually only experienced for a short period of time, and when they depart this time, the person usually experiences a significantly higher level of health.

These three observations of the healing process are called "Hering's Laws." They are not meant to be thought of as universal laws, but as general guiding principles that help us understand if a patient's health is improving or deteriorating.

Homeopaths are not the only ones to have recognized these laws of cure. Acupuncturists have witnessed aspects of them for thousands of years. Naturopaths and psychotherapists commonly have noted that their patients re-experience old physical or psychological symptoms in the process of healing.

Hering's Laws of Cure represent a significant development in medicine. Most conventional physicians and even many "alternative" practitioners evaluate a person's state of health by the person's main symptom. If this symptom goes away, they generally assume that their therapy "worked," even though some new symptom now must be treated. Most practitioners are not working from a model of health which defines the curative process. Hering's Laws of Cure are unique, holistic assessment tools that can be used to evaluate the progress of the healing process person over time.

Summary and Conclusion
Homeopathy is a sophisticated medical science which individualizes a substance based on the totality of a person's symptoms. A person's unique pattern of symptoms, his/her headache, stomachache, constipation, low energy in the morning, sensitivity to cold, irritability at the slightest cause, and fear of heights are all interrelated. No matter what the individual symptoms are, they are recognized as primarily an intrinsic effort of the organism to adapt to and deal with various internal or external stresses. Methods that simply suppress, control, or manage symptoms should be avoided since such therapies compromise the innate tendency of the organism to defend and heal itself. The side effects which these suppressive treatments cause are actually direct effects of the treatment. Homeopathic medicines, on the other hand, are prescribed to aid the organism in its highly sophisticated efforts to heal. Inherent in the homeopathic approach is a basic respect for the body's wisdom; it is thus no wonder that it is a safer medicine.

At a time in our civilization when it is essential to develop practices that strengthen the immune and defense system, homeopathic medicine is quite naturally gaining popularity. Homeopathy embodies the characteristics of a medical science one could hope and dream for in the 21st century...and the best news is that we do not have to wait until the 21st century to draw upon of its benefits.

1. The Royal Family has been intimately involved in homeopathic medicine dating back to the 1830s when Queen Adelaide sought homeopathic care from Dr. Ernst Stapf, a colleague of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. For further information, see "Homoeopathy: The Royal Key," Homoeopathy: Journal of the British Homoeopathic Association, February, 1987, 18-21. Mahatma Gandhi was once quoted to have said, "Homeopathy cures a greater number of case than any other method of treatment." From a speech on August 30, 1936, quoted in World Homoeopathic Directory 1982, New Delhi: World Homoeopathic Links, 32. John D. Rockefeller, Sr. was known to be under homeopathic care for at least 15 years of his life. He once described homeopathy as "a progressive and aggressive step in medicine." A. Nevins, John D. Rockefeller: The Heroic Age of American Enterprise, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940, II, 263. Tina Turner has been vocal in her support of homeopathy, as mentioned in her autobiography I, Tina, Tina Turner with Kurt Loder, New York: Avon, 1986; and in Maureen Orth, "Tina," Vogue, May, 1985, 318+. Yehudi Menuhin's support for homeopathy is epitomized by the fact that he is the President of the Hahnemann Society, one of the major homeopathic organization in Great Britain.
2. Walter B. Cannon, The Wisdom of the Body, New York: Norton, 1942.
3. Hans Selye, The Stress of Life, Revised edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1978, 12.
4. Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers, Order Out of Chaos, New York: Bantam, 1984.
5. Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1982.
6. Erich Jantsch, The Self-Organizing Universe, Oxford, England: Pergamon, 1980.
7. Matthew Kluger, "Fever," Pediatrics, 66,5, November, 1980, 720-724. Matthew Kluger, "Fever: Effect of Drug-Induced Antipyresis on Survival," Science, 193, July 16, 1976, 237-239. Matthew Kluger, "Fever and Survival," Science, 188, April 11, 1975, 166-168.
8. William Boyd, An Introduction to the Study of Disease, Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, 1972, 95-110.
9. H.L. DuPont and R.B. Hornick, "The Adverse Effect of Lomotil Therapy in Shigellosis," JAMA, 226,13, December 24, 1971, 1525- 1528.
10. Emil Adolph Von Behring, Modern Phthiso-genetic and Phthisio-therapeutic Problems in Historical Illuniation, Section V, New York, 1906.
11. Linn Boyd, A Study of the Simile in Medicine, Philadelphia: Boericke and Tafel, 1936.
12. Quoted in Maesimund Panos and Jane Heimlich, Homeopathic Medicine at Home, Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, 1980, 11. For further reference to various places in the Hippocratic writings which discuss the similars principles, see Divided Legacy: The Patterns Emerge: Hippocrates to Paracelsus, Washington, D.C.: Wehawken, 1975, 205-6.
13. Quoted in Harris L. Coulter, Divided Legacy: The Patterns Emerge: Hippocrates to Paracelsus, Washington, D.C.: Wehawken, 1975, 432. Although the Doctrine of Signatures has some resemblance to the homeopathic law of similars, the signatures principle which is based on analytical interpretation is not as precise as the homeopathic method which utilizes drug trials or "provings" to determine the symptoms each substance will heal.
14. K.C. Cole, Sympathetic Vibrations, New York: Bantam, 1985.
15. Kathleen McAuliffe, "The Mind Fields," Omni, January, 1985.
16. James Tyler Kent, Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy, Reprint. Berkeley: North Atlantic, 1979.
17. George Vithoulkas, The Science of Homeopathy, New York: Grove, 1980.
18. R.R. Sharma, "Homoeopathy Today: A Scientific Appraisal," British Homoeopathic Journal, 75,4, October, 1986, 231-236.
19. I. Amato, "Molecular Divorce Gives Strange Vibes," Science News, November 1, 1986, 277-278.
20. Stanley Ries,, "Triacontanol: A New Naturally Occurring Plant Growth Regulator," Science, 195, 4284, 1977, 1339-1341.
21. David Perlman, "Chance Discovery of a Magic Fertilizer," San Francisco Chronicle, November 15, 1977.

The best source of homeopathic books, tapes, home medicine kits, and software is:
Homeopathic Educational Services
2124B Kittredge St.
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 649-0294
(510) 649-1955 (fax)

The Consumer's Guide to Homeopathy is available from Homeopathic Educational Services or through your local bookseller.

(Excerpted from Discovering Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century ISBN: 1556431082)
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 About The Author
Dana Ullman, MPHDANA ULLMAN, MPH, is one of America's leading advocates for homeopathy. He has authored 10 books, including ...more
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