I LOVE homeopathy. While sometimes our profession stands as a role that we fill in order to serve our community, for me, being a homeopath is who I am – not just what I do. I came into homeopathy by accident. In fact, I was a skeptic at first. Interestingly, I later learned that many Homeopaths were also initially skeptics, the most famous being Dr. Constantine Hering, who in the 1800’s was hired to debunk homeopathy while studying at university –and yet later became a passionate scholar and practitioner of homeopathy and is known as one of the “Founding Fathers” of Homeopathy in the United States.
I love that Homeopathy fosters deep study into the world sciences. It intersects with many realms of study including: history both of the planet and Her inhabitants; biology; chemistry; physics; astronomy; social studies & behavioural sciences; languages; music; and many realms of esoterica. I have discovered homeopaths to be an incredibly diverse, colourful, brilliant and varying group of individuals.
The word Homeopathy means similar (homeo) suffering (pathy) . Founded in the late 1700’s by a German physician named Dr.Samuel Hahnemann who was dis-enchanted by the extreme and often harmful medical practices of his era (blood-letting & purging), he began experimenting with medicinal substances that made up the pharmacy of the day, diluting them in hopes to render them non-toxic. In his quest, he discovered that prepared in a specialized method of potentisation resulted in the medicine to not only be deeper acting in its ability to restore health, but it also worked best given less frequently. Potentised, the “true nature” or deeper virtues of the substance were released. And to avoid unnecessary side effects or aggravations, just a few drops moistened on tiny pills which are to be dissolved under the tongue were enough to stimulate the vital force, restoring the sick to health.
How Homeopathy Began ~
In his refusal to practice as a physician Hahnemann turned to translating scientific texts to earn a living. While translating a text by physician William Cullen of the University in Edinborough, Hahnemann couldn’t believe that it was simply because of its bitter and astringent properties that Peruvian Bark (Chinchona pubescens) could cure malaria. There are countless plants more bitter, and more astringent than this one, he thought. However, he also could not dispute that it was an effective anti-malarial herb (to this day, the alkaloid quinine is extracted from Peruvian Bark and used as a drug to treat malaria).
To gain deeper understanding of the inner nature of the plant, and the mechanisms behind its anti-malarial action, Hahnemann began taking minute doses of the homeopathically potentised plant himself. Amazing to him, he developed symptoms that resemble malaria: intermittent fever. He did not actually have the disease, just the symptoms of it. This gave him incredible (and intimate) insight into the plant, and for whom it was well indicated. The process of a healthy person taking a homeopathically prepared medicine to induce symptoms is called a proving (from the German word Prufung meaning test). While experiencing the “proving” of Chinchona, Hahnemann took notes of all he experienced. Once he stopped taking the medicine, the symptoms went away. He concluded that “Peruvian Bark, which is used for the intermittent fever, acts because it can produce symptoms similar to those of intermittent fever in healthy people.” This was the first homeopathic “proving” that Hahnemann undertook. With this first experience homeopathy as a formal system of medicine was born as was the maxim “Similia Similibus Curentur” which means ‘similars be cured by similars’. Before his death, Hahnemann homeopathically proved over one hundred different remedies. You can read more about Hahnemann and provings here.
Did these provings cause negative effects? Amazingly, no. In fact, provings still take place today, all over the world, among homeopathic schools and practitioners still using Hahnemann’s methodology. No ill effects have been reported in the 200 + years provings have been taking place. In fact, most participants report their health improves after the provings.
How Does Homeopathy Work?
Homeopathy works indirectly on the physical body. Illness starts in the vital force – or chi as it is called in Chinese medicine and prana in Ayurveda — the vital force is the unseen force that gives life to all living things. It’s that something that we cannot see, touch, or smell, but depend on until our last breath, and experience the effects of in every moment through our vital expressions.
Homeopathy, like acupuncture and other forms of energy medicine, stimulate the vital force so that the body may self-correct. Homeopathy recognizes that the body knows how to heal itself, in fact it is designed to do so. Many factors such as emotional stress, environmental stress, poor dietary choices, and genetics can compromise a persons vital force and leave us susceptible to illness. Homeopathy focuses on our susceptibility. Why did that person fall ill? What in their nature or make up left them vulnerable to begin with? And from there, we seek to find the appropriate homeopathic remedy to stimulate that individual’s vital force to self correct.
So while illness starts in the vital force, it usually does not stay there. It expresses itself typically in an organ or system of the body. Homeopaths recognize that this location and expression is not random. The body is brilliant at organizing and expressing disease patterns. This is one of the many skills we learn in our four-year training at Homeopathy school–how to read the language of the body. The wisdom of the body continues to keep me humble. I am always learning.
WHAT DOES A HOMEOPATH DO?
A homeopathic prescriber is matching the illness expression — not simply the name of the disease. Therefore, five different people with headaches may each receive a completely different remedy. The person with the bursting, throbbing headache who feels angry and impatient may receive Belladonna (remember, it’s homeopathically prepared so non-toxic!) whilst the person with droopy eyelids, malaise, who has a dull, low-grade ache of a headache and feels weak and nervous may receive Gelsemium.
All in all, we seek to understand the beautiful, complex, and unique expression of an individual. And then we match it with the correct remedy that addresses and complements that very picture.
Homeopathy has taught me how to love and accept all of our human parts. Homeopathy has taught me to refrain from judgement. We are all on a journey of becoming whole. Even when it doesn’t look like it. Homeopathy has taught me to look deeper. Underneath our pain, anger, depression and despair. And to see the seedling of health that is just waiting for the right kind of nourishment.
And it’s the right remedy – or nudging of health – that can help to remove obstacles that are hindering our growth. So we may burst forth, whole, in our multi-faceted and complex beauty.
Interested in learning more? Check out my homeopathy class online. I’ve been teaching this class since 2007 and it remains to be one of my most popular classes. Join a private group of dynamic and passionate students in our online forum. Go to my classes page above and get details there.