Homeopathy is a comprehensive holistic healing system and medical science that has been practiced and continually developed for over 200 years. The remedies that homeopaths prescribe are natural medicines that are without harmful side effects, which can be safely used on their own as well as alongside orthodox medical treatment. A fitting homeopathic prescription serves to enhance the body’s own ability to initiate self-healing, and can address everything from mild acute flare-ups to debilitating, longstanding chronic disease states. Remedies are selected according to the rigorous, highly individualized principles of prescribing that serve to distinguish homeopathic medicine from other systems of natural healing. What further distinguishes homeopathy is its remarkable ability to address a broad spectrum of health conditions and concerns. In addition to working with specific states of dis-ease, homeopathic medicine can also greatly help to improve and enhance a patient’s overall quality of life on the mental, emotional, physical, and soul-spiritual dimensions of experience.
What Makes Homeopathy Holistic?
Holistic treatment starts from the assumption that life is dynamic and multifaceted, rather than static and one-dimensional. As such, homeopaths do not approach disease on the basis of generic diagnostic categories or reductive and limiting labels. Instead, homeopaths guide their patients through a comprehensive, introspective process that serves to illuminate the fundamental nature and background of their complaints, in order to arrive at a clear perception of what is required to restore optimal health and wellbeing. The homeopathic healing journey facilitates the full expression of your singular totality as a living human being.
Homeopathy works with and explores the uniqueness of your individual experience. This is essential in order for true healing to take place. No two cases of eczema or migraine headache, for example, are ever the same. What distinguishes your particular state of dis-ease from any other are your representative, unique and characteristic symptoms. Symptoms are part of the language that the body uses to express itself. Paying careful attention to your symptoms and their underlying patterns of expression is part of what allows us to arrive at a detailed understanding of the diverse life circumstances that served as the foundation upon which your current state has arisen. The homeopathic approach to healing understands that health and disease exist as a dynamic continuum. Homeopathic treatment works to mobilize the vital energy of the body such that a comprehensive self-healing response can take place.
Homeopathy is holistic in that it is a system of medicine that is equipped to understand the true underlying causes of illness and dis-ease, and to identify precisely what in you needs to be healed. As this understanding is developed over time, not only are the presenting symptoms addressed, but states of vibrant, lasting health and well being also become well established.
The Nature of Healing
Homeopaths understand that, in most instances, illness is not a purely random or entirely physical event. Illness emerges through the confluence of innumerable factors that have transpired over the course of many years, and even over many generations. When we take the time to understand what needs to be healed in ourselves, we begin to recognize that illness can serve to direct our attention to the imbalances and disharmonious ways of being that we have, often unconsciously and unintentionally, cultivated in our lives. Where we direct our attention, there things begin to develop.
Healing is a process that can generate awareness of our outdated and harmful patterns of experience and perception. These patterns have been perpetuated through the force of habit and circumstance. When confronted and adequately addressed through the prescription of a fitting homeopathic medicine, our patterns are recognized as meaningful, such that they show us a way towards more fulfilling and less burdensome ways of being in the world.
The Vital Force
Homeopathic medicine maintains that there is an immaterial life principle that animates the organism in health and disease. This has been referred to by homeopaths since the time of Samuel Hahnemann (the founder of Homeopathic medicine) as the vital force. The notion of the vital force refers to the innate intelligence and power of expressivity of the living organism; it is that which allows for life to prosper and maintain itself in a state of harmony and equilibrium.
In addition to overlapping with the notions of qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine, or prana in Ayurveda, the notion of the vital force has many parallels with findings in the contemporary scientific field of psychoneuroimmunology. Psychoneuroimmunology studies the interactions that take place between the central nervous system, the endocrine system, and the immune system and the myriad ways in which this bidirectional communication network affects physical health. Psycho-emotional and environmental influences significantly affect a person’s overall state of health through shaping behaviour, modifying stress responsivity, as well as through immune modulation. This has been a fundamental postulate of homeopathic medicine since the time of its inception, but which is only now coming to be widely recognized and embraced in wider scientific circles.
Hahnemann’s claim that the vital force is responsible for governing and enlivening the living body and allowing it to function in a state of harmony and balance on the level of both feeling and function is entirely consistent with the contemporary scientific view that the psycho-neuro-endocrine-immune axis acts as a homeostatic controller of the entire human organism.