Classical homeopathy is a rational, holistic treatment method. It is based on a complex system of analysis and classification that has been in successful use for over 200 years, with clear rules governing the use of remedies to treat health conditions.
The founder of classical homeopathy was Dr Samuel Hahnemann (1755 – 1843), a physician and pharmacist. The name is derived from the Greek words “homoios” (similar) and “pathos” (suffering). The basic principle of homeopathy is the “Law of Similars”, or the doctrine of “like cures like”, according to which a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people can be used to treat similar symptoms in sick people. Hahnemann investigated the principle by conducting scientific experiments using cinchona bark, which contains quinine and was successfully used to cure malaria in the 18th century. In a self-experiment involving ingestion the substance, Hahnemann noted that he developed symptoms similar to those of a bout of malaria he had previously experienced. He continued to research this principle in more detail and published his results.
According to Hahnemann, the symptoms experienced by a sick patient are the outward expression of disruption to the “vital force” – a regulatory force that imbues the entire human organism and works on all life functions at the unconscious level. Disease is a manifestation of disturbances to this self-regulation and of disharmony in the vital force. These disturbances cause symptoms to develop, which may encompass physical, mental or emotional levels. Illness is regularly the consequence of lasting excessive stress impacting on the organism and triggered by external circumstances or by the emotional stresses of daily life.
Classical homeopaths take the time to form as complete a picture of their patients as possible. Instead of treating symptoms individually, they choose the remedy whose picture of symptoms is the closest and broadest match for the patient’s general range of main symptoms. Personal habits and affinities or aversions to particular foods are also taken into consideration in the selection of the remedy, in addition to physical symptoms. The patient’s hereditary disposition also plays an important role.
The focus of homeopathy is not on the illness, but on the patient suffering from the illness and on the individual symptoms. The treatment is designed to strengthen the body’s own powers of self-regulation and stimulate its self-healing energies.
Classical homeopathy can be used alone or as a complementary therapy to conventional medical treatment. Conventional and homeopathic medicine can thus usefully complement each other.
In a letter dated 2 September 1820, Johann Wolfgang v. Goethe wrote about Samuel Hahnemann thus: “(…) I now believe more strongly than ever in the teachings of this wonderful doctor since I myself was able to feel the effect of the tiniest dose so vividly, and indeed continue to do so.”