What is Homeopathy?
I've noticed that a lot of people really don't have a clue what homeopathy is. When I tell people I'm a homeopath I often get met with a blank stare, or worse, a cutting retort - "oh, you're one of those".
So I thought I would try to explain what this beautiful form of medicine really is all about. The underlying philosophy in homoeopathy is that each and everyone of us has a life force within us.
Homeopathy and the vital force
Think about it - what makes you you? What is it that when you are alive makes you who you are? Makes you vibrant and unique. It is a life force that makes you who you are. It is an energy within you. At death this energy leaves and your body becomes nothing more than a mass of organs and cells.
This life force is universally recognised and different cultures have different names for it - the soul, prana, chi, ki. As homoeopaths we call it the life principle or vital force.
When we are ill, the signs and symptoms of the disease or disorder we have are actually signals telling us our vital force is out of balance. This is why homoeopaths do not like to suppress signs and symptoms such as fever or pain - we don't see these as a problem. We see them as a message that there is an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.
What is the difference between conventional medicine and homeopathy?
I think one very important difference between conventional medicine and homoeopathy is that in conventional medicine we see states such as pain or inflammation as being a problem and so take painkillers or anti-inflammatories. In homoeopathy, we see these states as the vital force's attempt to correct an underlying problem in our body. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homoeopathy, wrote more than 200 years ago:
"If even the minutest splinter penetrates a sensitive part, the life principle, which is omnipresent in our body, does not rest until the splinter is carried away through pain, fever, suppuration or necrosis."
Samuel Hahnemann, Organon of the Medical Art
From Hahnemann's words you can see that the pain, fever, suppuration or necrosis are not the problem - they are the body's way of trying to get rid of the problem, which in this case is the splinter. We have a choice here - we can either take a medicine that suppresses the pain, fever or suppuration or....we can take the splinter out and the pain, fever and suppuration will go away by themselves. In cases where the splinter is too deep and cannot be taken out, we could use a homeopathic medicine to encourage the body to push out the splinter. Silica (Silicea terra) is one homeopathic remedy often used to help expel foreign objects, such as splinters and thorns, from the body.
The way I think about health and healing is that you wouldn't kick a man when he is down, now would you? So when you are sick, when your body's energy is low and not really coping, why take a medicine that not only further suppresses your body's natural healing mechanisms but that also becomes an additional stressor to your body? Why add something else to the list of 'enemies' that your body is already fighting?
"According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, medical treatment is the third-leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer in the United States. Homeopathy and Chinese medicine are two examples of possible alternative approaches to disease that do not treat the illness as an enemy and therefore do not create new diseases."
Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
Why not, instead, nurture and strengthen your body so that it can cope with whatever comes its way? Why not balance and strengthen your own vital force so that it can maintain your health?
"These days you frequently hear the expression "the war against" this or that, and whenever I hear it, I know that it is condemned to failure...The war against disease has given us, amongst other things, antibiotics. At first, they were spectacularly successful, seemingly enabling us to win the war against infectious diseases. Now, many experts agree that the widespread and indiscriminate use of antibiotics has created a time bomb and that antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, so-called super bugs, will in all likelihood bring about a reemergence of those diseases and possibly epidemics."
Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
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