“The physician’s highest and only calling is to make the sick healthy – to heal, as it is called….”
highest ideal of therapy is to restore health rapidly, gently and
permanently; to remove and destroy the whole disease in the shortest,
surest, least harmful way, according to clearly understandable
principles.” - Samuel Hahnemann, “Organon of Medicine”
is the most widespread and accepted form of western natural medicine in
the world today. It was discovered and developed more than two
hundred years ago by a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann. Given the
horrendous effects of drugs, he was more than dissatisfied with the
medical approach of his day and considered that his patients would be
better off without his attentions. Moreover, he felt powerless to
help his large family of children, some of whom died in
epidemics. As a spiritual man he believed there must be
some natural system that would work in harmony with the creator’s laws
and those of the body.
Giving up the practice of
medicine for the time being, in order to do no harm, he earned a living
translating medical texts, and focused his attention on the philosophy
of medicine, but in a practical way: he wanted to experiment and
discover a true system of medicine. His mission was no less than
to uncover the laws of nature as they applied to health and healing.
He knew, in principle, what true medicine should do. He
understood how the body healed itself. This system should stimulate the
body's responses and without side effects. In other words it would aid
what the body was trying to do and not work against it or impose
symptoms of its own. It would be rational and not based on fanciful
speculation, like most of the remedies of his day. To properly be able
to apply such remedies, each medicine should be understood in detail,
through all its potential effects on the whole person: mental,
emotional and physical.
Hahnemann was searching for was no less than an entire system of
medicine and a principle of healing, not just a few new remedies.
As a true system, these medicines should act through some underlying
single principle. In Hahnemann’s time and even today in orthodox
medicine, there is no single rationale for treatment or an underlying
principle of healing. Each drug acts in a different way through
chemical action, with a full spectrum of side effects.
This is partly why conventional medicine remains stuck in a
materialistic world view, while most of the other sciences have moved
towards a more holistic analysis of the dynamic interconnections in
nature, where the self regulating effect of the network is seen as more
important than the parts or even sum of the parts: the phrase “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” summarises the wisdom of the holistic approach.
The recognition of the importance of this viewpoint accelerates as we
face the challenges posed by climate change. The only way to properly
heal the world is holistically; two hundred years ago Hahnemann
recognised that it is the same for the body.
The Law of Similars
The first principle of this ideal medical system, known as homeopathy,
was discovered when he enquired into the full effects of the drugs of
his day on a healthy individual. Peruvian bark, which contains
quinine, was used to treat malaria, as derivatives of quinine still are
to this day. He decided to try some on himself, and he came down with
many symptoms similar to malaria.
discovered that many of the most effective medicines could cause
similar symptoms in the healthy to the same pattern of symptoms that
they could treat in the sick. This was the first principle of
homeopathy: the Law of Similars. (The name homoeopathy comes from the Greek, homoeo meaning similar and pathos
meaning suffering.) In homeopathy, we give a minute but energised
dose of a substance which in a normal, material dose can cause a
similar pattern of symptoms in a healthy individual.
all medicines were tested on the healthy and all their effects noted,
they could be rationally applied to the sick, matching the full pattern
of effects, not just the one wanted. In this case, there could be no
side effects, so homeopathy could only assist the body and never harm
it. To this end, and to rationally apply the Law of Similars, Hahnemann
and his colleagues started experimenting with medicines on themselves,
calling the results provings.
extensive. They noted the effects of medicines on all parts of
the healthy person: the mind, the emotions and all the body’s
systems. The emotional symptoms were recorded in extensive detail
together with the times of day everything occurred and all incidental
features, such as response to weather and temperature, sleep patterns
and menstrual symptoms.
means that to choose and apply a homeopathic medicine, the homeopath
takes a very extensive case history that enquires into the patient’s
emotional experience and the symptoms of every part of their body in
great detail. This pattern of the patient’s disturbance in their
health is known as the totality of symptoms.
To the homeopath this totality is the sum and reflection of the Vital Force
or life force, homeopathy’s name for the self regulating and healing
principle in the body. Symptoms themselves are the body’s
response and attempt to heal, and the Vital Force at all times produces
a pattern of symptoms to prevent more serious change that may affect
deeper organs. The totality of symptoms is the true indicator of what
needs to be healed, not a named disease diagnosis.
In his or her choice of the indicated remedy, known as the simillimum,
the homeopath assesses the pattern and gives a remedy that truly
assists the body in its attempt to restore balance and harmony.
It is medicine for the person; it is not prescribed to a
specific disease but to why the person has that disease. As you
can see, homeopathy requires great skill, insight and dedication – and
experience is important. Michael Blanch has been in practice for
24 years now and has always been committed to this approach.
The Law of the Minimum Dose and the Principle of Potentisation
went further. Although side effects were reduced, these medicines were
still active chemical substances, and large doses could be toxic. He
experimented with smaller and smaller doses and found them still
effective, in this way further minimising toxic effects.
Through a stroke of genius, he discovered what we call today serial dilution.
He diluted smaller and smaller amounts of the substance with water and
alcohol. Unlike normal serial dilutions he added what he called succussions at each dilution, striking the bottle firmly on a book one hundred times before the next dilution.
Provided the succussions were done, the medicine would still be active
– even more so – and completely without side effects. This became known
as theLaw of the Minimum Dose.
absence of side effects is not surprising. After dilution and
succussion, chemically there are few or no molecules of the original
substance remaining. This means the homeopathic remedy, at this stage
of dilution, no longer has a chemical or pharmacological action. So
what remains, if anything?
It is believed that the turbulence of the succussions imparts a memory
of the original substance on the water molecules between each dilution
and that what is left is information that is stored in the molecular
arrangement of the water molecules. As an analogy, if you analyse a CD
that you use in your computer, chemically you will find it is just
plastic; but your computer is designed to read the physical information
contained, in the same way we believe the body uptakes the information
message contained in the homeopathic medicine. This is why homeopathy
has been called physical medicine.
body responds only to physical information in homeopathic medicine, if
it is the wrong information, nothing happens; no harm is done; but
drugs have effects through chemical action regardless. If it is the
right information, the body learns how to remove the blocks that stop
it from rebalancing. In homeopathy, it is the body's innate healing
wisdom that cures, not the medicine, which is only a catalyst.
History of Homeopathy
Homeopathy spread rapidly throughout the world in the nineteenth
century. There were many instances of miraculous cures in the many
epidemics that ravaged Europe at that time, including those of cholera,
where homeopathy saved more than 5 times the patients than those
treated by orthodox medicine.
Homeopathy only went into
decline in the 1930's, when the "wonder drugs" like antibiotics were
temporarily seen as the answer to all disease. Since the 1970’s
homeopathy has experienced a worldwide resurgence, as the limitations
of wonder drugs and the medical approach of treating diseases in
isolation from the whole person has become apparent.
Homeopathy is seen as safe, effective and inexpensive by the World
Health Organisation, which notes that it is the most used system of
natural medicine in the world after traditional Chinese medicine; it is
certainly the most popular and respected form of alternative medicine
in the western world. In many countries such as South Africa, India,
Germany and France it is studied at university level and graduates have
the same status as medical doctors.
The Scope of Modern Homeopathy
importantly, homeopathy has proved itself, in the hands of dedicated
practitioners throughout the modern world, as living up to Hahnemann's
original ideals. It is a complete system of medicine, which works
through a single natural law to bring about true healing. It is
completely without side effects and can be safely used by pregnant
women and babies.
Homeopathy is also very effective in
treating animals, and Michael Blanch frequently treats the pets and
other animals of his patients).
It works on the whole
person, balancing on all levels, including the emotional and mental
planes, so purely mental problems are treated by homeopathy; and most
patients experience a general improvement in mental calmness and an
increased sense of vitality when they receive their constitutional remedy. This
is the name that we give to the homeopathic remedy that is chosen on
the basis of the full pattern of health disturbance in a patient.
Because it stimulates the healing forces in the body enduring symptom
relief is possible for most chronic complaints, such as
psoriasis, eczema, allergies like hay fever, problems like irritable
bowel syndrome, menstrual disorders and chronic fatigue. In
many cases symptoms can be permanently eliminated and health fully
restored. (See Conditions treated for a fuller list)
many people often fail to understand, however, is that homeopathy is
very effective in treating acute problems, like colds, influenza,
bronchitis, ear infections, tonsillitis, glandular fever and infections
like impetigo (school sores) and boils, and childhood epidemic diseases
like chicken pox, measles and roseola. It must be remembered that the
first great success of homeopathy was in the acute cholera epidemics of
Europe in the nineteenth century. This means that homeopathy is a
real alternative for the health problems of babies, infants and
children, who often have frequent acute infections, and the largest
part of Michael Blanch's practice has always been the treatment