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The Homoeopathic Compenidum
by David Little

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General Questions
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© David Little 1996-2007, all rights reserved.
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1. What is Homoeopathy?
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David Little: Homoeopathy is a healing art developed by Doctor Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) who was born in Germany. He was an orthodox physician who became disillusioned with the practice of medicine in his day. The term Homoeopathy means "similar to the suffering", because it teaches the use of similars to cure similars. This is an ancient maxim used by Hippocrates but Samuel Hahnemann expanded the theorem into a complete system of checks and balances that make up a new medical system. The theory and practice of Homoeopathy are recorded in Samuel Hahnemann's works; the Organon of the Healing Art; The Chronic Diseases, Their Peculiar Nature and Their Homoeopathic Cure; and a collection of smaller articles called The Lesser Writings. Since Hahnemann's time there have been a number of good books written for both professional and lay persons. At this time, there are books available for the beginner, intermediate and advanced student that suits each individual's needs. These can be purchased from bookstores and internet distributors who sell such works. There are also computer programs available for serious students and practitioner.

2. What is the philosophy behind Homoeopathy?
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David Little: The cardinal principles of Homoeopathy revolve around the doctrine of vitalism, similars cure similars, proven medicines, individualized treatment, the single remedy, the minimal dose and the potentized medicine. These are the major areas that must be studied by students as well as patients if they are to understand this healing art. Human life is based on an energetic vital force which harmonizes all natural processes and manifests as vitality. When this vital force is mistuned by pathogenic factors there is the appearance of the symptoms that are associated with disease. Homeopathic remedies are tested on healthy volunteers in clinical trials called provings. During a proving the healthy human volunteer takes a safe amount of a homoeopathic remedy until they experience the symptoms it produces. This gives us an exact picture of the symptoms that the remedy will cure in an ill patient. This information is collected in volumes of data called the materia medica, which is indexed by a work called the repertorium. When a homoeopath studies an ill patient they are searching for a remedy that produced similar symptoms during a proving, and has been clinically confirmed to remove those symptoms. In this way, the practitioner matches the symptoms of the patient with the symptoms of the similar remedy. The repertory and materia medica are the reference works used by the homoeopath to assess the symptoms of the individual patient. Many homoeopaths have these works on computers for easy referral.

3. How are homoeopathic remedies applied?
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David Little: First of all there is the healing maxim, "Similars cure similars". After establishing this principle the practitioner must know how to apply the homoeopathic remedy. Although various individuals throughout history knew that similars cured similars, their methods of applying the medicines were rather crude, which made the process more dangerous than necessary. It is Hahnemann's system of checks and balances that make Homoeopathy a safe and effective medical system. Orthodox medicine thinks nothing of mixing many medicinal substances together or giving several single medicines at once in very large doses. Samuel Hahnemann realized that the best way to use similars in the art of curing was to use one single remedy at a time in a very small dose. The small amount of the remedy administered to the patient is an important aspect of this healing art. For this reason, the medium for homoeopathic remedies are very small pills that are often dissolved in water.

Homoeopathic remedies are potentized to bring out the pure remedial powers within a potential healing agent while removing all physical toxicity. This process is called dynamization. During the homoeopathic pharmaceutical process, the original substance is diluted in specific ratios that produce various degrees of potency. There are three ratios of potentization used in preparing homoeopathic remedies. These are the decimal or X dynamization, which uses a ratio of 1 to 10; the centesimal or C dynamization, which uses a ratio of 1 to 100; and the 50 Millesimal or LM potency, which uses a ratio of 1 to 50, 000. Each of these ratios has somewhat different medicinal powers. Samuel Hahnemann developed the centesimal and 50 Millesimal potency, while the decimal potency is a later creation. Most homoeopathic remedies are made from substances found in the mineral, plant and animal worlds, although there are some remedies made of forces like magnetism, electricity and solar radiation, etc.

Orthodox allopathic medicine is based mostly on opposites cure opposites, standardization, multiple remedies, massive doses and chemical controls. Homoeopathy is based on similars cure similars, individualization, single remedies, minimal doses, and vital response. The differences in the approach of these two systems of medicine could not be any more apparent. Although allopathic medicine is very advanced in emergency treatment, surgery and technology, it's medicines for acute and chronic diseases are often ineffectual. The side effects of chemical medicines are well documented. Homoeopathy is a system of natural healing that uses no chemical medicines. In ancient Greece there were two systems of medicine, i.e. the surgical school and the school of the materia medica. Allopathy is the offspring of the traditions of the surgical school while Homoeopathy is the successor of the school of materia medica. In truth both medical approaches are needed but allopathy is in need of serious reform, and Homoeopathy needs to be returned to its rightful place as a frontline medicine.

4. How do homoeopathic remedies work?
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David Little: Homoeopathic remedies are dynamic medicines that affect the mind, energy and body. These remedies imitate the way in which Nature cures natural diseases with the aid of the human life force. All natural organisms demonstrate the power of action and reaction and have a certain degree of self healing power. Hippocrates called this natural remedial power "Physis". This natural power, however, is not always able to overcome the negative influences of disease, especially those illnesses which are chronic. The homoeopath seeks to match the symptoms of the patient with the most similar symptoms in the materia medica. The most similar remedy is then given in a proper small dose of the most effective degree of potency. The primary action of the homoeopathic remedy replaces the sensation of the natural disease registered by the vital force, which represents the autonomic activities of the human organism. In this way, the homoeopathic remedy replaces the natural disease with a temporary remedial potence that delusively mimics the original malady. The secondary curative action of the vital force then seeks to remove the homoeopathic remedy from within to without while retuning to the state of health with renewed vitality. In the process the natural disease is cured. This is called Hahnemann's action-reaction model. Homoeopathic remedies strengthen the resistance of the organism to stress, infection and disease. They have a powerful affect on the psychological and physiological causes of illness and improve the quality of life of the patient.

5. What is it like to see a homoeopath?
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David Little: Placing oneself under the treatment of a homoeopath is quite different from seeing an orthodox medical doctor. First of all, the initial consultation is a complete interview that includes both a psychological and physiological examination. This process may take anywhere between 1 to 2 hours, although a very experienced practitioner may need less time. A homoeopath is interested in the patient's complete medical history, their mental make up, their social and domestic relationships, their overall lifestyle and habits, their sexuality, as well as their energetic and physical symptoms. This provides the homoeopath with what Samuel Hahnemann called the complete Gestalt of the disease state. On the basis of this complete interview the homoeopath seeks to find a remedy that is most similar to the individual's state and administer this medicine in the proper small dose and correct potency degree. Unlike chemical medicine, Homoeopathy does not administer dosages in a mechanical fashion. Each remedy is carefully tested to assess its reaction on each individual patient. Sometimes a patient only needs a single dose or infrequent repetitions of the remedy, while other patients may require taking the medicine more often. These factors are determined in the follow-up interviews, which usually take less time than the first consultation. Homoeopathy requires a close relationship between the healer and patient. What the patient is feeling is as important as what the practitioner is thinking! Homoeopaths and their patients work together to improve the health of the individual.

6. Does Homoeopathy have side effects?
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David Little: Homoeopathy has no chemical side effects but this does not mean that the remedies will not cause problems if they are applied incorrectly. If a so-called homoeopath tells you that homoeopathic remedies are completely safe no matter how they are given, it would be best to find another practitioner. All medicinal models have their inherent dangers, but when Homoeopathy is administered correctly, it is an extremely safe and effective system. This is one of the reasons it is important to see persons that are well trained in traditional Homoeopathy. A properly trained homoeopath should undertake a complete personal interview, individualize the treatment to suit the patient, only use one single remedy at a time, only administer a small amount of the remedy, and be careful not to overmedicate the patient by repeating the dose in a mechanical manner.

7. How do I find a qualified homoeopath?
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David Little: There are people who say they practice Homoeopathy but actually use a mixture of new age medicines, and homoeopathic remedies, sometimes in combinations. Some may have degrees in other fields but they do not practice Homoeopathy in the true sense of the word. For this reason, it is best to investigate just what the person really does before accepting treatment in the name of Homoeopathy. There are various societies that hold registers of traditional homoeopaths that have fulfilled important requirements. This includes societies of orthodox doctors who have learned Homoeopathy as well as professional homoeopaths. Such organizations include the North American Society of Homeopaths (NASH) in the USA and the Royal Society of Homoeopaths (RSH) in England. Homeopathic schools often hold registers of homoeopaths who have graduated from their institutions. Those who are interested should check out the situation in their own country. It is always best to seek a personal recommendation from someone who has already undergone, or is undergoing successful treatment from an experienced homoeopath. They can explain exactly what kind of treatment they have been receiving under the title of Homoeopathy. To find a good homoeopath sometimes requires educating oneself in the basics of Homoeopathy.

8. How does one learn to be a homoeopath?
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David Little: The legal position of Homoeopathy varies from country to country. In India there are full medical colleges that train homoeopathic doctors yet lay practice is also respected. In some countries only orthodox medical doctors are allow to practice Homoeopathy. In England, individuals may practice Homoeopathy if they do not treat certain regulated diseases. In the USA the laws governing medicine are enforced by state governments and homoeopathic remedies are controlled by the FDA. Homoeopathic remedies are considered to be over the counter medicine but the situation for professional homoeopaths is not clear. Some have been charged with practicing medicine without a license and other infractions. This means that the individual must find out what rules and regulations apply to them, assess the situation, and make a personal decision on how to proceed.

In general, it is best to seek out homoeopathic schools and societies and place oneself under a competent homoeopath for treatment. Being treated by a good homoeopath is a great learning experience. Many people take up the study of Homoeopathy after being helped by homoeopathic remedies. This educational process can also be complemented by taking seminars by experienced homoeopaths that are offered throughout the world. There are also distance learning programs offered by mail and on the internet that provide homoeopathic classes. Such teachings, however, need to be complemented by educational services that offer clinical experience. Nothing can replace studying Homoeopathy with good teachers in person. There are also email discussion groups that provide interesting information and debates about the application of Homoeopathy. Like all serious healing systems, Homoeopathy takes around 5 years of integrated study to master the fundamental requirements to be a professional. Nevertheless, there are classes in first aid and domestic medicine for simple conditions that allow the lay practitioner to help their family and friends in a safe manner, and gain valuable experience. This is a good place to start.

9. I have heard that Homoeopathy can be used to prevent infectious diseases? Is this true?
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David Little: Within Homoeopathy there are methods that are reputed to be useful for preventing infectious diseases. This method of prophylaxis was introduced by Samuel Hahnemann, and it has been used by a number of great homoeopaths over the years. It is their clinical opinion that this method is quite effective, but this assertion has not been tested thoroughly by the methods of modern medical science. For this reason, the subject of the prevention of diseases by Homoeopathy has legal ramifications for the patient as well as homoeopath depending on the circumstances. There is a great debate between those who think universal vaccination is perfectly safe and effective and those that think such methods are dangerous and do not work. The truth may actually lie somewhere in the middle.

Those who are interested in this subject should study both sides of the argument for themselves, and come to a personal conclusion about how they want to approach this matter. There are risks versus benefits in every approach to healing that should be assessed in a mature manner by each individual. Such factors must be weighed by each person and discussed among their family. If the individual or family decides that they wish to use Homoeopathy for the prevention of diseases, they can seek out those homeopaths that provide this service. There are several levels of homoeo-prophylaxis that are applied depending on the time and circumstances. This includes constitutional treatment, the application of specific remedies for epidemics, and the use of remedies called nosodes. Nosodes are homoeopathic remedies that are made from the diseases that they are used to prevent. For more information speak to homoeopaths who have knowledge of this particular area of Homoeopathy.

Homoeopaths have pointed out since the mid 1800s that immunization has the potential to produce side affects. These side effects are called Vaccinosis by homoeopaths and various treatment scenarios have been developed for this disorder. Orthodox immunization is a method that utilizes the same substances treated in various manners to prevent diseases but the dosage and application is rather crude. There is a tendency to over-vaccinate children with several diseases at once, and to immunize against too many diseases too quickly during childhood. This massive dosing schedule may be responsible for some of the side effects witnessed because the immune system did not develop to handle so many potential infections at once or that quickly. Homoeopathy not only has methods reputed to prevent infectious disease, they also have remedies that are capable of treating side effects in those suffering from immunization-related disorders. This twin approach offers an alternative method that is not found in any other healing science.

10. I have heard that Homoeopathic remedies can make the patient feel worse before they feel better. Homoeopaths call this an aggravation. What is an aggravation?
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David Little: Sometimes a homoeopathic remedy will cause an increase in the symptoms of the disease state for a short period. Samuel Hahnemann developed techniques that reduce the phenomena of aggravation completely or at least to a minimum. A homoeopathic aggravation is a sign that the correct remedy has been given and the remedy is acting very deeply on the disease state. If the dose and potency of the remedy has been given properly, this aggravation will pass off quickly, and be followed by noticeable improvement. If the aggravation is overly uncomfortable and prolonged, it is a sign that the patient is overmedicated. This situation should be reported to the homoeopath immediately so corrective measures can be applied when necessary. Normally, aggravations are not dangerous unless the person administering the medicine is not properly trained. Some practitioners think that they must aggravate the symptoms to cure the patient. They believe in the "no pain - no gain" philosophy. This is a sign that this person has not learned all the checks and balances that make Homoeopathy a gentle, safe and effective medical system. At times a homoeopathic remedy may bring out old latent disease states in the process of treatment. This is a natural healing crisis. Although such conditions may be uncomfortable for a short period, they are immediately followed by an increase in the sense of well-being and vitality. This condition should also be reported to the homoeopath so that they can manage the situation in the proper manner. If the classical teachings of Homoeopathy are well understood such manifestations are easily controlled and lead to better states of health.

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