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Homeopathy – Health and Disease

by June Sayer(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 295 - June 2024

As part of my schedule of training student homeopaths the word disease is discussed in great detail.  What after all is disease?  As a homeopath we prefer to use the term dis-ease meaning that the body is ill at ease with itself and is therefore expressing symptoms in the best way it can so that the homeopath can select the most appropriate remedy.

As a non-medically qualified homeopath, I cannot diagnose any form of disease and certainly do not suggest that any student homeopath offers a diagnosis.  This would only come under the remit of a qualified medical doctor or specialist.  Looking over some of the cases I have had over the past 30 years in practice, the client will offer a diagnosis, either based on their own interpretation or one that they have had given to them by a qualified medical practitioner and the clinical diagnosis will be taken into account during the consultation.  However, as a homeopath the questions I will pose to the client will be to ask if they can determine exactly when the problem, as they know it arose, what may have preceded the issue and in their own words identifying and explaining their symptoms in greater detail.  

If we take for example a headache.  Many people will reach for broad-spectrum analgesia (i.e. Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Nurofen) that they hope will bring them instant relief.    The difference with homeopathy is that a homeopath will ask questions that will relate to the type of headache, i.e., throbbing, sharp, dull, etc. and the positioning, e.g. left sided, right-sided, frontal etc. and the answers given to the questions will ultimately lead to the selection of a remedy that matches the information obtained.

Conventional medicine tends to look upon the body as a machine, something that can be dissected and analysed and adjusted so that it performs better.   How is health defined?   We all have our own idea of what constitutes health and that could be that we are free from all emotional, mental and physical discomfort along with a sense of well-being and fitness.  

John Ball[1] quotes; “In purely physical terms health is a stable internal environment maintained in the face of external changes to which we have learned to adapt in the course of evolution.” 

Herbert Roberts [2] writes: “In health all expressions of vital force may be expressed by perfect functioning of all parts of the body and by a sense of general well-being.  In disease this expression is vastly changed.”  

When a person is healthy the body will be in a state of harmony.  Dis-ease is when this harmony becomes unbalanced and symptoms present themselves in a variety of ways.  Headaches caused by tense muscles as a result of stress or eye strain due to long periods in front of the computer/tv screen. 

Skin eruptions that could be due to poor diet and digestive disturbances.  Fiery temperamental outbursts could be the outcome of suppressing emotions and then having to ‘let rip’.  The body is very clever at presenting symptoms to give its own warning that something is out of balance and the more that we recognise this, the easier it is to address the problem and take steps to resolve it.  If the dis-ease is due to the strong smell of flowers in a room causing the person to sneeze, homeopaths acknowledge this to be an exciting cause and when the flowers are removed the sneezing ceases.  Should a person experience coughs and colds and chest infections as a result of living or working in a damp environment this could be termed a maintaining cause.  An exciting cause is one where the problem is easily resolved, a maintaining cause is when the situation cannot be easily or readily altered.

 

Organon of Medicine + Homeopathic Clinical Repertory

Homeopathic Textbooks

 

Hahnemann quotes in §4 of The Organon[3] ; “The physician is likewise a preserver of health if he knows the things that disturb it, that cause and sustain illness, and if he knows how to remove them from healthy people”

It is only natural that a person would wish to preserve and maintain their health for as long as possible, yet circumstances affect everyone at some stage in their life and create an imbalance or a disharmony.  Think about a time when you have eaten something that disagrees with you resulting in vomiting and diarrhoea – this disharmony could be rectified over a period of time without any intervention as the body rids itself of the offending agent and restores the equilibrium.  In an instance such as this the homeopathic remedy Arsenicum Album [4,5] has proved itself to be a valuable remedy to hasten recovery.

In §11 [3] Hahnemann writes; “When man falls ill it is at first only this self-sustaining spirit-like vital force everywhere present in the organism which is untuned by the dynamic influence of the hostile disease agent.  It is only this vital force untuned which brings about in the organism the disagreeable sensations and abnormal functions that we call disease.” 

In §19 [3]he further writes; “Since diseases are only deviations from the healthy condition and since they express themselves through symptoms”

A homeopath must listen carefully to what the client has to say, take note of the descriptions they give of their symptoms and be an unprejudiced observer.  A subjective symptom is one that is expressed by the client where they might say “I feel as if my legs are made of wood”. In reality, of course their legs are not made of wood, but it is a useful description for the homeopath who, in turn, will make their own observation. 

An objective symptom is one that a homeopath can see, example skin discolouration and/or skin eruptions, swelling of an area of the body.  When describing a headache, the client will give their subjective symptoms but the homeopath will note the objective symptoms by the action of the client, e.g. placing their hand on the area of the face or head that is causing the pain.  In that way the homeopath can observe whether the pain is left or right sided, across the forehead or the back of the head etc., and noting the symptoms accordingly.

Restlessness may be due to the discomfort the person is experiencing or because they are anxious.  I recall many years ago a client advised me when he first arrived in clinic that he would only be able to sit for very short periods of time due to a back injury.  Every few minutes he would change his position from sitting to standing and during my observation I noted, and was able to further clarify, using Socratic questioning, whether he found it difficult to move from a seated position and if standing alleviated the pain even for short periods.  It can be easy to make an assumption about how someone feels.  Socratic questioning allows questions to be raised and answers reflected back thereby ensuring the client is happy with the information given. 

In §22 [3] Hahnemann writes: “To change diseases into health the only thing that must be removed is the totality of the subjective and objective symptoms.”  A homeopath is trained to identify those symptoms during a consultation.

When a person becomes unwell the severity of the ailment will differ from person to person.  What one may describe as a nagging pain another could describe as intolerable, this is due to uniqueness of personality and constitution. 

 

Natures Materia Medica + The Chronic Disease

Homeopathic Textbooks

 

As society has evolved people have adapted to a variety of lifestyle changes, some of which can lead to suffering or illness.  The use of technology (where would we be today without the use of wifi?).   Pollution, poor dietary choices, recreational drugs, anti-depressants, over the counter analgesics, poor sleep patterns all have a knock-on effect on our overall health.  The types of food and drink that we ingest can affect the integrity of the gut microbiome, those bacteria, fungi, viruses that live naturally on our bodies and inside us.  Eating a well-balanced diet that includes fresh wholefoods with fruits and vegetables nuts and grains help to maintain a healthy microbiome and that in turn promotes good health.

Homeopathy has a great reputation at dealing with acute conditions alleviating the symptoms speedily and without suppression.  Chronic conditions take longer to respond because Hahnemann believed that there was an underlying miasm that also needed to be treated.

In his book Signatures, Miasms, Aids [6], Misha Norland writes “Hahnemann describes miasms as inherited predispositions which allow disease to take root.  Diseases are delayed, accelerated or modified in their progression by this inheritance.  This theory is based up the clinical observation that diseases live their imprint (inherited predisposition) in the original healthy soil of individuals.”   

Repeating the earlier paragraph, conventional medicine tends to look upon the body as a machine, something that can be dissected and analysed and adjusted so that it performs better.   In this way homeopathy differs so much from conventional medicine.  Homeopaths take the whole person into account because we consider the mental, physical and emotional symptoms as being the whole rather than separated out from each other. 

Roberts [2] writes: ”Homeopathy considers the man as a whole not just his individual parts.”    

Referring back to the mention of diarrhoea and vomiting above, restlessness, anxiety about health, attention to detail (fastidiousness), only taking sips of water and feeling worse between midnight and 2am, are all factors that may be present when the person needs Arsenicum Album.  This clarifies what Roberts has stated that a homeopath will take the whole person into account when selecting a remedy.  

If medical intervention such as an operation is deemed necessary then homeopathic remedies can be given prior to the hospital appointment to address any underlying anxiety that the person may be feeling.  Once the operation has been performed, remedies can be administered to speed up the healing process.   One incident that comes to mind is that of a young boy who was given homeopathic remedies to help heal his broken leg was able to return to his sporting activities sooner than had been anticipated. My mother took remedies to assist her recovery following a hip replacement.  Many other clients have been prescribed remedies post-operatively reducing or negating the need for strong painkillers. 

In §2 of The Organon[3] Hahnemann writes: “The highest ideal of therapy is to restore health rapidly, gently, permanently: to remove and destroy the whole disease in the shortest, surest, least harmful way, according to clearly comprehensible principles.”

Homeopathy is a natural medicine and one can add today that it is eco-friendly that can safely be given to people of all ages.  Homeopathic remedies are obtainable from homeopathic pharmacies or from health shops.   I would always recommend that anyone looking to use homeopathic remedies seek guidance so that they feel confident in selecting the most appropriate remedies.  Chronic ailments should be referred to a qualified homeopath and if in any doubt do not hesitate to consult your GP.   The remedies quoted above are listed in the homeopathic Repertory[4]and Materia Medica[3].  New provings are continually being undertaken thereby expanding the range of homeopathic remedies a homeopath has to choose from. 

References:

  1. Ball, John B, Understanding Disease, A Health Practitioner’s Handbook
  2. Roberts, Herbert A, MD, The Principles and Art of Cure by Homeopathy
  3. Hahnemann Samuel, Organon of Medicine 6th Edition
  4. Murphy, Robin ND, Nature’s Materia Medica 3rd Edition
  5. Murphy, Robin ND, Homeopathic Clinical Repertory 3rd Edition
  6. Norland, Misha, with Robinson Claire, Signatures Miasms Aids

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About June Sayer

June Sayer DHom (Med) MARH MRHom DNTh DIridol Homeopath Nutritionist Reiki Master/Teacher became fascinated by homeopathy after seeking treatment for her children and herself some 23 years ago; this dramatic change in their overall health led her to train as a homoeopathic practitioner. She qualified from the Hahnemann College in 1992 and has been in practice since that date. She is one of the founding directors of the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths and has a practice in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex where she enjoys training individuals in the art and practice of homoeopathy. She may be contacted on Tel: 01621 730664;  june@betterhealthnow.co.uk  www.betterhealthnow.co.uk   www.homeopathinessex.co.uk   

 

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