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Homeopathy in the Modern World

by Rosemary Lawrence(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 189 - December 2011

When Dr Samuel Hahnemann developed the art of homoeopathy in the 19th Century, people's lives were very different to now. The average life expectancy would have been in the 60s. The ratio of acute to chronic illnesses was very different; 80% illnesses were acute in those days, complaints such as cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, polio and smallpox were commonplace, as many people lived in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.  The classical approach of Homoeopathy according to Hahnemann's principles was very successful. In the London cholera epidemic of 1854, the homoeopathic hospitals had a 16.4% mortality rate compared with the allopathic hospital, which was between 50-60%.

Samuel Hahnemann
Samuel Hahnemann

By contrast in the 21st Century, when we now have antibiotics, vaccinations, better sanitation and living conditions, the average life expectancy in the western world is now well into the 80s, but rather than being healthier than we have ever been, the incidence of chronic illnesses compared with acute, has completely reversed since Hahnemanns time; now chronic illnesses comprise 80% of illnesses.

Why should this be, especially as the chronic illnesses seem to appearing in younger age groups; diseases such as Parkinsons, ME, Rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's, and so on, always thought to be age related illnesses, are appearing in younger people.

Of course, the world is a very different place. The scientific and technological revolution has brought many benefits. The price of progress however has been to introduce many new chemicals into the environment, the effects of which are not fully understood alone or in combination.

Hans Hanrich Reickeweg
Hans Hanrich Reickeweg

Hans Henrich Reickeweg, (1905-1985) was a Doctor and Homoeopath, who realized that humans were subject to more 'human toxins' (homotoxins), some of which originated outside the body (exotoxins), and some were byproducts of processes within the body (endotoxins) resulting from disease for example. He believed that present day people in the developed world were thus more toxic than their predecessors and therefore their response to the classical approach in homeopathy was correspondingly poorer. This is reinforced by reports of homeopaths working in underdeveloped parts of the world such as Africa where the response to homeopathic treatment of diseases such as AIDS appears to be much better.

Modern drugs aggressively treat conditions in isolation, targeting physiological mechanisms such as inflammation. This will reduce the symptoms of inflammation such as redness, swelling and pyrexia. Inflammation is the body's attempt to heal itself and evidence is growing that the repeated suppression of the symptoms may eliminate acute inflammation but encourage low grade chronic inflammation which many now think is the basis of the rise of chronic disease as mentioned above. Reckeweg realized this, observing that diseases continually being suppressed just move into deeper tissue and become chronic problems later on.

In an expansion of Herings law of cure, Reckeweg developed his disease Evolution Table whereby diseases can be tracked from their initial onset and can see where they have progressed deeper.

Reckeweg devised formulations of homeopathic remedies often relatively low potency using the material medica as his guide, which acts synergistically to give a consistent desirable physiological response. These medicines were designed to satisfy the three pillars of homotoxicology, detoxification and drainage, immunomodulation and cellular activation and organ regeneration.

Over the years since Reckeweg devised his approach, there have been many practitioners from conventional and complementary medicine, including homeopaths, who have discovered the clinical benefits of his methods.

Now in a time of scepticism and the need for evidence based medicine, the next step is to demonstrate the clinical effectiveness of Reckeweg's formulations, as well as those derived from his ideas through safety tests, clinical trials and laboratory work.

This is indeed being done; companies that produce the remedies are having their products tested independently in laboratories and universities throughout the world. To the surprise of those rooted in the accepted paradigm, these are showing good results.

For some of the more conservative classical homeopaths who are offended by homeopathic formulations composed of many remedies and prescribed for conditions rather than the single remedy for the person, this success is hard to share.

For those in the extreme sceptic camp it will take a lot of scientific proof that these highly dilute substances can have any therapeutic effect other than placebo. The other problem for these people is understanding how these substances can have their effect without the usual side-effects that conventional medicine produces. Homotoxic preparations that treat inflammation for example seem not just to reduce or increase the response, but regulate it.

The explanation for this according to Dr Alta Smit, head of research at the Heel Company in Germany, is that these combinations multi-target different aspects of inflammation leading to up-regulating or down-regulating as necessary. This fulfils the complementary medicine aim of reinforcing the self-healing abilities of the organism.

This also reinforces the trend in modern medicine to recognize complexity within the organism. That the organism is not simple; composed of chemicals interacting with each other in a linear cause and effect relationship, but in a more holistic series of interdependent network of systems. Blindingly obvious to the Complementary practitioner.

This regulating property of the medicines has led to the coining of the term Bio-regulatory Medicine for this system to bring homotoxicology in line with modern medical thinking. Reckeweg's dream of building a bridge between homoeopathy and conventional medicine  is all but complete.

Homotoxicology in many cases unloved progeny of conventional and alternative medicine is beginning to show benefits to both. For conventional medicine, homotoxicology is showing how to treat patients in gentler more holistic way and yet maintain intellectual integrity.

For complementary therapists and particularly homeopaths, demonstrating the physiological activity and therapeutic benefit of repeatedly diluted and succussed substances working as predicted by the material medica of homeopathy gives undreamt of credibility.

Further Reading
Smit et Al. Introduction to Bioregulatory Medicine. Thieme.  New York 2009.


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About Rosemary Lawrence

Rosemary Lawrence Dip BFD Cert Clin Hom Cert Ed Dip TM BRCP has been practising Homotoxicology with Bio Diagnostics (EAV) since qualifying in 1998. She and her husband Jonathan run Turning Point Clinics in Devon, Bath and Pineapple Dance Studios, London. With Turning Point Training, they run courses for complementary health practitioners in Homotoxicology and Craniosacral Therapy. Rosemary may be contacted via Tel: 01769 574833;

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