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"The goal of the professional homeopath is to help strengthen the constitution and thereby raise the general level of health of the client. It is not to treat any particular disease or condition but to stimulate the vital force (NASH Code of Ethics...)."
A Glimpse into Homeopathy and How it Fits with Vitalism
By Karen M. Diefenbach
Copyright © 2018-2020 Karen M. Diefenbach. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in Organon of the Medical Art, first chapter; entitled, "The Life Force in Health and Disease § 9" says:
In the healthy human state, the spirit-like life force
(autocracy) that enlivens the material organism as
dynamis, governs without restriction and keeps all parts
of the organism in admirable, harmonious, vital operation,
as regards both feelings and functions, so that our
indwelling, rational spirit can freely avail itself of this
living, healthy instrument for the higher purpose of our
existence (Hahnemann, 1996, p. 65).
Anything alive is animated with a force-like energy, which we may well perceive by comparing something alive with a similar something that has died (O’Reilly, 1996, p. 65). This is a large component of the basic definition of vitalism, which I will expand upon later. Science, even up until now, hasn’t been able to find this dynamism, precisely, within a living being. But, nonetheless, neuroscientists have now acknowledged an aspect of this aliveness with respect to cognizance. Some say, essentially, different structures of the brain are energized with what they have termed, consciousness. To add, they have settled on there being no “consciousness center.” Thus, it has not been possible to pinpoint where or what this phenomenon is, exactly, through their scientific method (Garrett, 2015, pp. 499-500). Some scientists also suggest “that the brain creates patterns within consciousness—consciousness is in some way a property of the universe” (Gilbert, 2013, p. 43).
In homeopathic literature the term vital force or life force is used in this connection. It associates with the term, consciousness, above, and includes the dynamic power that moves things in the universe [emphasis added] (O’Reilly, 1996, pp. 65-66). Similarly, vitalism understands the vital force as the immaterial that contains life and health. It is intelligent, creative and is the animation of the alive person. More than that, this substance permeates all life. It flows as an energy-like force through the material or internal physical and chemical forces of the body or entity (Glassy, 2010, pp. 12-14).
When we have, as Dr. Samuel Hahnemann would say, "a mistunement" in our energetic system, we can experience unpleasant symptoms and a disruption from normal health and well-being (Hahnemann, 1996, p. 66). We most notably understand this from the standpoint of poor quality or lack of resilience in physical health. But this can show up as a disharmony within our relationships with ourselves; with others, and even with things and circumstances, as well.
This is our organism’s way of speaking to us about a need for change. If, for example, we were to ignore an emotional signal, the physical part of us may produce pain and discomfort so as to continue to try to alert us through another signal that may be more available for our detection (Glassey, 2010, pp. 13-14). Homeopathic practice uses these signals as part of their assay with the aim to help correct the impeded energy or, as they say, “lift” the disharmony (Hahnemann, 1996, pp. 60 & 67).
Besides the concept of vitalism, of which we are in the process of describing, homeopathy uses empirical science and, also, philosophy that aligns most with quantum physics to guide their profession (Hahnemann, 1996, p. xvi). Homeopathy’s empirical science is well documented within the discovery of homeopathy itself; and within the many case-studies that have followed and continue to be registered even up to now. However, more recently, double blind studies do exist, as well. Quantum physics says, “Like attracts like” (YouAreCreators, 2015). Homeopathy is a science that encompasses the law of similars or, “like cures like” (Hahnemann, 1996, pp. 4-5 & 48). Comprehensively, this means that the remedy acts as a mirror for us to see our own true inner wisdom. Once we see our state, our innate intelligent forces are activated more fully, and can promote a more integrated self and an establishment of health. The remedy, as it is called, is the homeopathic substance used for our purposes, which will be discussed in more detail later.
Furthermore, did you know quantum science is responsible for all technology we see today? It is a science of probability (Advexon Science Network, 2014). “Quantum mechanics hasn’t gotten that involved with biological science yet, and if it were to do that, it could change how we see the human being” (Lisa Gassin, 2015). This could certainly reflect a change in the current paradigm of medicine. Quantum science is obviously a useful science that has the ability to take into account many variables. Not suggesting the only way, but one of the ways to discover truth or the way certain things may work. Since the human being, and life itself, is so complex with no one outcome, I would say that the suitability of this approach has great merit. Homeopathy honors this reality.
As stated, homeopathy’s legacy is directed towards sensibility and insights of observation (empirical science). This naturally extends to how its services are performed. Homeopaths are trained to see a collective consolidation of energy that represents a whole person. This includes, quality of vitality, disposition, physical content, and complaints of the client. The concept of vitalism is especially cultivated in this respect. Vitalist’s ascertain a living being is more than its individual parts (Glassey, 2010, p. 14). Interestingly and related, holistic views in Gestalt psychology state: “The whole is different from the sum of the parts” (Sherrill, 1984, p. 53).
“As a person heals, his mind, body and spirit forge a closer connection” (Glassey, 2010, p. 14). In other words, the client or patient begins to establish and embody their wholeness. As a result, their life and health naturally reflect positive shifts, as a totality. With this idea in view, a homeopath watches and manages their client’s cases. Expanding on this manner of working, there is also a hierarchy of symptoms, and a direction of reparation verses a direction of suppression that needs careful consideration.
“Many . . . deep acting [homeopathic] remedies are today commonly known as constitutionals” (Wood, 2005, p. 61). The quality of the conditions that our bodies are prone to are an expression of our constitution. Our constitution is exclusive to each of us, specifically. In essence, it is our makeup and it is generally created by our unique set of genes that help generate how we form as individuals. Also, a person’s constitution characteristically responds and corresponds to life experiences in differentiated ways. However, there is a randomness to this, which I won’t talk about here. But the main point is, a living being’s constitution is highly variable and particular to each life. Homeopathy is a person-specific approach towards finding balance.
Other parts of the homeopathic system is that homeopathic remedies are made through infinitesimal dilutions of a substance (another quantum science type of idea); and only one remedy at a time is recommended for the client. Also, homeopathic remedies are not the herbs a naturopath may use. Homeopathic remedies are made a special way. As follows, the crude form of a substance is removed, which then becomes safe, influencing the physical and the energetic systems. At the same time, they are recommended with respect to homeopathic statutes (Law of Similars).
The recommended remedy is settled on after great care is taken through the analyzing of all of the presenting characterizing expressions on all of the levels of the person: body, mind and emotions. Then, this end process becomes the client’s case to work with for as long as necessary, or until a goal is met. Many people I see appreciate this unique course towards wellness. It not only can give support on their healing journey; it can bring forth a considerable sense of personal power and has a large potential for self-development.
Some may wonder why they haven't heard much about homeopathy. Unfortunately, during the birth and hay day of homeopathy (Late 1700's-mid 1800's), it has had to compete with the then relatively new paradigm of healing-- a mechanistic point of view. Vitalism was thrown out with the baby's bathwater, so to speak, when the new age of "proving things" took precedence over the study of the finer energies in the healing practices of ancient times, such as with acupuncture and yoga. And, of course, this same attitude followed as regards homeopathy. Religion, all the same, was relegated away from the healing arts, as well.
Fortunately, collaborative thinking and integration of holistic and even mystical knowledge, going back to the days of vitalism, homeopathy, yoga, acupuncture and like sciences, as mentioned, and even to religion and spirituality, with their convergent ideas in common; has been gaining a foothold, conspicuously, since the mid 1990's. The sciences of psychology and neurology have been especially helpful in the movement in this direction of late. The mind-body connection has now been fully established (Alloy, Riskind & Manos, 2005, p. 213) with many, many scholarly papers written. Consciousness is now considered as playing an integral part with how we feel physically and vise versa. The interplay is more acceptable.
Among this process, mindfulness-based practices have become nearly conventional, as they are now seen to correlate with increased physical and mental health (Greeson, Smoski, Suarez, Brantley, Ekblad, Lynch & Wolever, 2015, p. 172). Additionally, relatively new research has been affirming the associations between overall health and the practices of spirituality and religion (Greeson, Smoski, Suarez, Brantley, Ekblad, Lynch & Wolever, 2015, p. 172; Shulman, 2016, p. 791). Further, Buddhist psychology has emerged as a bridge linking the secular with the mystical (Sahdra & Shaver, 2013, pp. 283-284). And, importantly, a clearer definition of spirituality has been identified. This has propagated the enhancement of relationships between the religious and non-religious by engendering open doors to encourage understanding between these two perspectives (Boston College School of Social Work, 2012; Shulman, 2016, p.792). At the same time, neuroscientists have detected revelations that have admittedly underscored how little we know by how much, as one scientist says . . . “remains to be done.” He says, “Almost everything” (Garrett, 2015, p. 514).
Mutually, these discoveries of the present-day science, and openness towards the past have done their part to illuminate the vitalistic and holistic points of view. Science and the mystical are seen to have more in common than ever before. They are becoming more known as central elements and positive components in the approach of attaining overall general health and well-being. To note, it's the classical form of homeopathy that adheres most accurately to homeopathic doctrine, which embodies these views, versus a few of the more modern interpretations. For example, taking more than one remedy at a time. It’s been my experience that it is necessary to follow Hahnemann’s guidance, abiding by the main tenants of the science, and its art; building from what’s been built already in order to fulfill its purpose adequately.
In Europe, “homeopathy is practiced in 40 out of 42 European countries.” It is integrated into the national health care systems of countries like Brazil, Chile, India, Mexico, Pakistan, [and] Switzerland.” The market in Britain is growing and estimated 20% per year (Homeopathy Research Institute, 2019).
In the US, many of us only know homeopathy through the little pills we see in the health-food store or CVS for assisting in first-aid situations or for general complaints. Yet, there are over 6 million in the US who use homeopathy for self-care (Homeopathy Research Institute, 2019). However, an experienced person in the US, who has consulted with a qualified homeopathic practitioner, could attest to its more substantial health enhancing capabilities.
To use myself as an example, homeopathy was an intervention which elevated my health greatly; increased my energy enormously; motivated me to stick to a self-care plan and helped me to feel more alive. What is more, homeopathy is sustainable. For example, its industry doesn't need to eventually cut down a whole forest for their ingredients. Also, there would be no ad-trailing list of side-effects, if they had TV commercials. Over and above, proving’s of the remedies are not on animals, but on healthy human provers. Furthermore, it is known to be a safe and gentle individualized alternative healing modality.
So, what would be the next steps?
Please feel free to contact me (914-631-4049) for additional information or to answer any questions that may have surfaced. Please, also, see other links above for further inquiry, as well, along with references below. Thank you for your time and attention to this article.
[Advexon Science Network]. (2014, May 25]. Quantum theory-full documentary HD. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=CBrsWPCp_rs
Alloy, L.B., Riskind, J.H., Manos, M.J. (2005), Abnormal psychology: Current perspectives (9th edition). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
[Boston College School of Social Work]. (2012, September 21). Diversity conference 2012 - Boston college school of social work–video. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Garrett, B. (2015). Brain & behavior: An introduction to biological psychology 4th Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
Gilbert, P. (2013). The Compassionate Mind. London, UK: Carmelite House.
Glassy, D. (2010, September). The vitalistic healing model. Pathways to Family Wellness, 12- 17.
Greeson, J. M., Smoski, M. J., Suarez, E. C., Brantley, J. G., Ekblad, A. G., Lynch, T. R., & Wolever, R. Q. (2015). Decreased symptoms of depression after mindfulness-based stress reduction: Potential moderating effects of religiosity, spirituality, trait mindfulness, sex, and age. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 21(3), 166-174.
Hahnemann, S. (1996). Organon of the medical art, 6th edition. (Decker, S. trans.). (O’Reilly, W.B, Ed.). Palo Alto, CA, Birdcage Books.
Homeopathy Research Institute. July 27, 2019. Homeopathy use around the world. Retrieved from https://www.hri-research.org/resources/essentialevidence/use-of-homeopathy- across-the-world/
[Lisa Gassin]. (2015, September 25). Gestalt psychology 2. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEl5yMryvD8
Sahdra, B., & Shaver, P. (2013). Comparing attachment theory and Buddhist psychology. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 23(4), 282–293. https://doi- org.library.esc.edu/10.1080/10508619.2013.795821
Sherrill, R. E. (1986). Gestalt therapy and Gestalt psychology. Gestalt Journal, 9(2), 53–66. Retrieved from http://library.esc.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db= psyh&AN=1988-08233-001&site=eds-live
Shulman, L. (2016). The skills of helping individuals, families, groups and communities (8th Ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning
Wood, M. (2005). Vitalism: The history of herbalism, homeopathy, and flower essences. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
[YouAreCreators]. (2015, September 15). How “like” attracts “like” in the Universe! (law of attraction). [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WviqVGAO4SU
* Changes are variable from person to person. Information imparted is for educational use and does not constitute medical advice.
© 2001-2020 Karen M. Diefenbach. All Rights Reserved.