to homeopathy? Start here!
How does homeopathy work, anyway?
By Susy Parker Goins
Homeopathy can seem like a completely foreign
concept to those of us brought up on mainstream, allopathic
medicine. The principles
of homeopathy are easily understood, however, by even novice
users. With a little study and good reference materials, you
can understand and apply homeopathic medicine to your family’s
The four fundamental laws of homeopathy -- the
Law of Similars, the Law of Single Remedy, the Law of Minimum
Dose and the Law
of Direction of Cure – form the philosophical basis of
this powerful healing modality. Each law identifies an aspect
of homeopathy that sets it apart from other healing philosophies.
As like is to like
The Law of Similars, so named by homeopathy’s founder,
Samuel Hahnemann, has been known for thousands of years. Physicians
discussed theories on symptoms substances caused and were capable
of curing as early as the time of Hippocrates and the Oracle
It was Hahnemann who began the process he called “proving,” taking
notes on the reactions a healthy person (himself) had in response
to a given substance. For example, the symptoms he developed
after drinking cinchona bark extract were similar to the symptom
picture for malaria. The treatment for malaria is quinine, a
product from cinchona bark. Hahnemann drew the conclusion that
if cinchona bark can cause the symptoms, it should be able to
resolve them too.
One thing at a time
The second homeopathic fundamental is the Law of Single Remedy.
Hahnemann believed that a practitioner should not prescribe
more than one remedy at a time.
There is a lot of wisdom in this concept. Say
you take a multiple-remedy product. If it doesn’t work
-- well, too bad, try something else. But if it does work,
how can you know which of the five
or six or 12 ingredients in the product is the remedy that worked?
And what are the chances that the remedy that was beneficial
is the same remedy that promoted complete healing?
To determine which single remedy best suits your
individual needs, you must get a complete picture of your state
at that moment. Several excellent reference volumes can assist
you in sorting through the options. A consultation with a homeopathic
practitioner will give you a thorough understanding of your needs.
Remember: A scattershot approach with a multiple-remedy formula
won’t necessarily lead to complete healing, just relief
from immediate symptoms.
A strategic nudge
The third law, the Law of Minimum Dose, states that you should
take the smallest possible dose to nudge your vital force to
start the healing process. This conservative attitude allows
practitioners to ease clients into the healing process. Hahnemann
believed that healing should be “rapid, gently and permanent.”
To use too much of a remedy frequently aggravates
symptoms before creating any improvement. This can put patients
off the homeopathic
modality entirely. I twisted my ankle some years ago at my in-laws’ house
and took arnica montana for it. This was indeed the correct remedy,
yes -- but due to my inexperience with homeopathy, I took several
doses of 30C potency. The result was an incredibly painful night
with little sleep. Had I researched more deeply into my particular
situation, I would have taken far less and been able to get some
Improvement may take a little longer using the minimum dose
standard, but it is much easier and less disruptive to increase
dosages than it is to step back.
Which way from here?
The fourth fundamental law of homeopathy describes the Direction
of Cure. As you work your way closer to a state of health,
an identifiable pattern of healing emerges. First, healing
works its way down from head to foot. Second, healing works
from major organ to minor organ. Third, it works from the inside
to the outside. And finally, you see a reversal of symptoms.
The first three directions follow
a logical path down and out the body. The fourth direction
can be surprising. As the most
recent ailments resolve, older or previously suppressed symptoms
can reappear. You might find that an old knee injury you thought
was completely healed
resurfaces after you resolve a series of migraines.
Rapid, gentle and permanent
These four fundamental laws – the laws of Similars, Single
Remdy, Minimum Dose and Direction of Cure – form the philosophical
framework for homeopathy. Many health care providers and patients
apply allopathic sensibilities to the healing process by suppressing
symptoms or using more remedy than is necessary. These laws allow
the use of homeopathy for healing as Samuel Hahnemann believed
it should be: rapid, gentle and permanent.
Watch future issues of Natural
Family Online for further installments about homeopathy.
This article first appeared in Sno-Isle Natural Foods Co-op's
November/December 2003 member newsletter.
An informal student
of natural health for years, NFO Bookshelf and Natural Beauty
Editor Susy Goins received her certificate in homeopathy from
the American College of Health Sciences. The self-proclaimed out-of-the-mainstream
mama of three is a writer, belly dancer, actress, costumer and
cook and will soon be celebrating 20 years of marriage to her