What is Homeopathy? Homeopathy is a safe, effective system of Naturopathic Medicine, used by millions of people worldwide for more than 200 years.

Homeopathic medicines are a modality used in naturopathic medicine. They are prepared from natural sources, are used in extremely small amounts, and are recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They are non-toxic and, when properly administered, can be safely used with infants, children, adults and animals.

How does Homeopathy differ from Conventional Medicine?

Homeopathy is based on the principle that “like cures like.” That is, if a substance can cause symptoms of disease in a healthy person, then it can cure a sick person suffering from similar symptoms.

Suppose a person has hay fever, with watery eyes and a burning nasal discharge. Instead of giving an antihistamine to dry up the discharge, a homeopath might prescribe Allium cepa—a tiny dose of onion, specially prepared by a homeopathic pharmacy in accordance with FDA-approved guidelines—because onion is known to cause watery eyes and a burning nasal discharge.

Homeopathy regards symptoms as the body’s healthy attempt to restore itself to balance. A homeopath will choose a remedy that supports the symptoms—rather than opposing them or suppressing them as in conventional medicine.

Homeopathy recognizes that each person manifests illness in a unique and slightly different way. That is why two people with the same illness will not necessarily receive the same homeopathic remedy. A cold sufferer with a stopped-up nose and dry eyes would receive a different remedy than a cold sufferer with a runny nose and watering eyes. Unlike the “one size fits all” approach often used in conventional medicine, a homeopath chooses a remedy that matches a person’s unique symptom profile—including physical, mental and emotional symptoms.

What is homeopathy’s history?

The principles of homeopathy were developed into a system of medicine by the German physician, Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843).

Homeopathy spread quickly throughout Europe and the rest of the world, including the U.S. The exact mechanism by which homeopathy works is unkown, but 200 years of clinical experience along with research published in such medical journals as The Lancet, Pediatrics and the British Medical Journal have confirmed homeopathy’s effectiveness.

What is the “Vital Force”?

In the era prior to modern science, various concepts of vital force were widely accepted. This is an invisible, immaterial, yet dynamic force which animates the physical body.

This vital principle maintains all the parts of the material body, both sensation and function, in a harmonious and coordinated manner. The mind and will can then express higher purpose in life. Without this vital force, the material body is incapable of any sensation or function; in other words, it is dead.

Ideas similar to vital force are still in use today. In oriental medicine and martial arts this force is referred to as chi, meaning life-force. In yoga and ayurveda it is called prana, meaning vital energy.

What does “Vital Force” have to do with homeopathy?

In his book, Organon of Medicine, Hahnemann proposed that the essence of illness is a disorder in the vital force. Because of this disorder, people are susceptible to various diseases an afflictions. When the integrity of the vital force is restored, the whole organism recovers health, and the disease is cured.

Hahnemann felt that the effects of a single disorder in the vital force results in many signs and symptoms throughout the patient. By viewing the totality of the patient’s signs and symptoms throughout the patient. By viewing the totality of the patient’s signs and symptoms, a picture of the disturbance on the vital force can emerge, even though the vital force itself cannot be directly examined.

Hahnemann also felt that homeopathic remedies are sufficiently subtle to directly correct morbid derangements in the vital force. In short, this was part of his theory explaining the observation that a single homeopathic remedy can result in improved health and resolution of symptoms throughout the patient.

Why don’t conventional doctors consider the “Vital Force”?

Modern science currently teaches that vital force is an outdated and discredited theory. It is now generally accepted that all of these life functions are the result of biochemical processes. These processes utilize the same basic elements and chemical properties inside living things as occur outside of living things. Therefore, it is felt that there is no need for any force which is unique to life.

Homeopathic practitioners are conversant with the tenets of modern science. They have studied biochemistry and other sciences which explain the chemical basis of life processes. Yet they still use the term vital force in describing both the patient and the effects of medicines on the patient. In doing so, homeopathic doctors do not reject the well established concepts of science. It is simply a matter of terminology and perspective.

Looking at and evaluating the whole person is entirely different from looking at and evaluating the sum of the parts. Science and medicine today are concerned almost exclusively with the parts. Disease research attempts to understand the problem on the most refined biochemical level available. Treatment is likewise directed at this level.

Vital force, however, is a concept of the whole, living person and has little relevance in scientific studies which investigate only the parts of an organism. Homeopathy is the therapeutic science of the whole person. It needs concepts and terms which allow the perception and evaluation of the person in a unified way. Vital force remains the most appropriate and useful term for this purpose.

Do you have to “believe” in this concept for homeopathic remedies to work?

It is not necessary that one must be a believer in vital force or a convert to vitalism to practice homeopathy or to benefit from its application as a patient. Vital force continues to be a useful model for perceiving disease influences and medicinal effects on the whole person.

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