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Home>PHP Homeopathics>How Homeopathy Works
How Homeopathy Works

Homeopathy was founded in the late eighteenth century by the celebrated German physician Samuel Hahnemann, known for his work in pharmacology, hygiene, public health, industrial toxicology, and psychiatry.  Reacting to the barbarous practices of his day, such as bloodletting (the use of leeches), and toxic mercury-based laxatives, Dr. Hahnemann set out to find a more rational and humane approach to medicine.**

Dr. Hahnemann's breakthrough came during an experiment in which he twice daily ingested cinchona, a Peruvian bark well known as a cure for malaria.  As soon as he stopped taking the cinchona, his symptoms disappeared. Dr. Hahnemann theorized that, if taking a large dose of cinchona created symptoms of malaria in a healthy person, this same substance, taken in a smaller dose by a person suffering from malaria, might stimulate the body to fight the disease.  His theory was born out by years of experiments with hundreds of substances that produced similar results.  Based on his work, Dr. Hahnemann formulated the principles of homeopathy: Like cures like (Law of Similars). The more a remedy is diluted, the greater its potency (Law of the Infinitesimal Dose). An illness is specific to the individual (a holistic medical model).**

Like Cures Like
According to Dr. Hahnemann, "Each individual case of disease is most surely, radically, rapidly, and permanently annihilated and removed only by a medicine capable of producing (in the human system) the most similar and complete manner of the totality of the symtoms." In other words, the same substance that in large doses produces the symptoms of an illness, in very minute doses cures it.**

Dr. Hahnemann referred to this phenomenon as the Law of Similars, a principle first recognized in the fourth century B.C., by Hippocrates, who was studying the effects of herbs upon disease. This Law of Similars was also the theoretical basis for the vaccines of physician Edward Jenner, Jonas Salk, and Louis Pasteur.  They would "immunize" the body with trace amounts of a disease component, often a virus, to strengthen its immune response to the actual disease. Allergies are treated in a similar fashion by introducing minute quantities of the suspected allergen into the body to bolster natural tolerance levels.**

The More Dilute the Remedy, the Greater Its Potency

Most people believe that the higher the dose of a medicine, the greater the effect. But the opposite holds true in homeopathy where the more a substance is diluted, the higher its potency.  Dr. Hahnemann discovered this Law of Infinitesimal Dose by experimenting with higher and higher dilutions of substances to avoid toxic side effects.**

Today, homeopathic remedies are usually prepared through a process of diluting with pure water or alcohol and succussing (vigorous shaking).  Homeopathic solutions can be diluted to such an extent that literally no molecules of the original substance remain in the remedy. Yet, the more dilute it gets the more potent it becomes. This phenomenon has been the source of great fascination among practitioners and researchers in the field of homeopathic medicine, as from the point of view of conventional chemistry, diluted homeopathic remedies may contain no trace of the original substance. In fact, any homeopathic remedy over 24X potency (twenty-four successive dilutions and succussions) will have no chemical trace of the original substance remaining.**

According to Trevor Cook, Ph.D., DI Hom., President of the United Kingdom Homeopathic Medical Association, the explanation of the therapeutic action of highly dilute homeopathic remedies appears to lie in the domain of quantum physics and the emerging field of energy medicine. A study using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging demonstrated distinctive readings of subatomic activity in twenty-three different homeopathic remedies. This potency was not demonstrated in placebos (substances having no pharmacological effect).**

Some researchers believe that the specific electromagnetic frequency of the original substance is imprinted in the homeopathic remedy through the process of successive dilution and succussion, says Dr. Cook.
The distinguished Italian Emilio del Giudici has set forth a theory that helps explain homeopathy's mode of therapeutic action. Del Giudici proposes that water molecules form structures capable of storing minute electromagnetic signals. This proposition is given added weight by the findings of Dr. Wolfgang Ludwig, a German biophysicist, who has demonstrated in preliminary research that homeopathic substances give off measurable electromagnetic signals. These signals show that specific frequencies are dominant in each homeopathic substance.**

If del Giudici's model is accurate, a homeopathic remedy may convey an electromagnetic frequency or pattern of illness in order to stimulate the body's natural healing response. What Dr. Hahnemann may have been doing in his empirical research was unwittingly "matching the frequencies of the plant extract with the frequency of the [patient's] illness.**

The Healing Crisis and Hering's Laws of Cure

In homeopathy, the process of healing begins by eliminating the immediate symptoms, then progressing to the "older," underlying symptoms. Many of these "layers" are residues of fevers, trauma, or chronic disease that were unsuccessfully treated or suppressed by conventional medicine. As the stages of homeopathic healing progress, the patient may get worse before feeling better. This is often referred to as the "healing crisis." **

In the mid-nineteenth century, Dr. Constantine Hering, the father of American homeopathy, stated that healing progresses from the deepest part of the body to the extremities; from the emotional and mental aspects to the physical; and from the upper part of the body (head, neck, ears, throat) to the lower part of the body (fingers, abdomen, legs, feet). Hering's Laws of Cure also state that healing progresses in reverse chronological order, from the most recent maladies to the oldest. By Hering laws, homeopaths are able to track the progress of their treatment and restore a patient's health, layer by layer.**

Conditions Benefited by Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a complete system of natural medicine that can have a therapeutic effect on almost any disease or health condition. "Homeopathy has been a tremendous value in reversing diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, bronchial asthma, epilepsy, skin eruptions, allergic conditions, mental or emotional disorders, especially if applied at the onset of the disease," states George Vithoulkas, Director of the Athenian School of Homeopathic Medicine in Athens, Greece. "The long-term benefit of homeopathy to the patient is that it not only alleviates the presenting symptoms but it reestablishes internal order at the deepest levels and thereby provides a lasting cure.**

Increasingly, clinical studies are supporting the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies. In a recent article published in the British Medical Journal, 107 controlled clinical studies (performed between 1966 and 1990) were reviewed. Eighty-one of these studies showed that homeopathic medicines were beneficial in treating headaches, respiratory infections, diseases of the digestive system, ankle sprains, postoperative infections and symptoms, and other health-related disorders.**

Studies attesting to the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis have appeared in both The Lancet and the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. In a Double-blind study on the effects of homeopathic remedies on influenza, it was found that twice as many of the patients who took the homeopathic remedy were cured in forty-eight hours, as opposed to those who took a placebo, as reported in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.**

Another clinical study shows the efficacy of treating hay fever with homeopathic remedies.  A double-blind trial indicates that homeopathic remedies are extremely effective in dealing with dental neuralgic pain following tooth extraction.  German research reports successful homeopathic treatment of Parkinson's disease, bronchitis, sinusitis, migraines,  influenza, and motion sickness with homeopathic remedies.**

Combination Remedies

Today, many homeopathic practitioners use "combination" formulas that contain several remedies to cover a broad range of symptoms for an acute condition. For example, people with colds experience runny noses, watery eyes, sneezing, fever, and headaches. A combination cold remedy contains remedies for each of these symptoms. The appropriate remedies in a formula will have a therapeutic effect, while the unnecessary remedies will be shed off and have no effect at all. Combination homeopathic remedies have a unique effect on the body--the body assimilates what it needs, and throws off what it doesn't, making it a completely safe, nontoxic form of medicine.**


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