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classical homeopathy) Classical Homeopathy is a scientifically based holistic system of medicine that has been practiced worldwide for nearly 200 years. Its use as an effective health care choice has seen a resurgence in the last two decades as more and more individuals experience the limits of allopathic (conventional) medicine and search for a more natural, gentle and long-lasting approach to addressing their health-care concerns.

The goal of treatment with homeopathy is freedom: physical emotional and mental.

The Body's Response to Disease
Before we can appreciate how homeopathy works, it is helpful to understand how our body responds to disease.

A healthy person has an inner strength or resilience that counter many forms of stress or insults. This inner strength acts through a number of defense mechanisms, including but not limited to the immune system, that keep an individual healthy at the physical, emotional and mental levels. Stress comes in many forms and degrees.

For example, exposure to viruses and bacteria, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, environmental pollution, and injury are more obvious physical stresses on our bodies. There are, however, components to our lives that can bring joy but can also add to the stress to which our bodies must respond: managing a household, managing a career, parenting, and maintaining relationships with family and friends. Conventional wisdom has us separate physical and emotional insults but, clearly the evidence shows that the body is an integrated system and stresses at either the physical, emotional or mental levels can and do have an affect at other levels.

When the stresses become stronger than the individual's constitutional strength, the body's defense mechanism counterbalances the stress to minimize its effects. These counterbalancing efforts appear as symptoms. Thus, such reactions by the body as a cough, inflammation or fever are simply the body's way of doing what it can to resist the stress. For example, it is widely recognized, that a cough is the body's effort to clear the bronchia that inflammation is a manifestation of the body's effort to wall off and burn out invading foreign bodies, and that fever is the body's way to create an internal environment that is less conducive to bacterial or viral growth. The symptoms are not the actual disease but rather the defense mechanism's way to fight disease and minimize the damage from stress.

The defense mechanism works similarly with acute and chronic illnesses, creating symptoms to fight off disease. However, in the case of chronic illness, the defense mechanism is not strong enough to completely fight off the disease and the result is symptoms that last for months, years or even a lifetime. The continued presence of symptoms indicates the continued presence of disease.

Our usual reaction to symptoms is to fear and suppress them by taking drugs. But if the symptom is the body's best reaction to stress, what are the effects of making them go away? Such medicines counteract the body's efforts to protect itself. Such conventional treatment may give immediate relief from a particular symptom, but the patient's overall health and resistance to disease are not improved and are often weakened.

Basic Principles of Homeopathy
When considering how the body then works to fight disease, it is easier to see how we regularly undermine the body's ability to self heal. Homeopathy, however, focuses on removing the inner disease process by using medicines that do not suppress symptoms but instead stimulate the body's defense mechanism to overcome the disease.

Treat the Person, Not the Disease. The Homeopath begins by viewing the person as unified organism, looking at every symptom the individual has - not only the physical symptoms but also the mental and emotional symptoms, knowing that each level can and does affect the others. Homeopathy treats the person, not the disease.

"The science and the art of homeopathic medicine is to find the substance from the plant, mineral, or animal kingdom with the ability to mimic most closely the sick person's pattern of symptoms."
-Dana Ullman
Whole Earth Review, Fall 1993
Going With, Not Against, The Body's Defenses. When the Homeopath determines the pattern of how all symptoms come together, they will identify a remedy that considers the totality of an individual's symptoms based on a biological principle called the Law of Similars. This law states that a medicine that produces a set of symptoms in a healthy person will cure the same set of symptoms exhibited by an unhealthy person. The remedy steers the body's own defenses into rather than away from or against symptoms. The remedy aids the body's efforts to adapt to stress and allows the body to fight the disease. By empowering the body in this way, it will be able to do what it couldn't do before: overcome the disease.

The law of similars is not unique to homeopathy. It is a fact of nature that has been well demonstrated and used in healing for centuries. Immunization and allergy treatments, two of the very few conventional therapies that seek to stimulate the body's own healing, have homeopathic law of similars as their basis. Radiation, known to cause cancer, is often used as treatment for certain types of cancer. Ritalin, an amphetamine-like drug, is used in the treatment of hyperactive children. It is, however, important to note that these conventional medical treatments are not to be considered homeopathic due primarily to how the medicines are prepared and administered.

We may never actually know the cause or exact nature of the original disease influence. The symptoms are a reflection and will be enough to guide the Homeopath to the correct remedy. The body will then cure the disease process itself with the extra boost from the appropriate remedy.

Succession and Dilution of Remedies
Since its origins nearly 200 years ago, homeopathic science has developed over 2000 remedies. All are naturally occurring and, because of how remedies are prepared, are safe, non-toxic and rarely produce any negative side effects. Homeopathic medicines are made through a process called "potentization" or serial dilution. The naturally occurring substance is diluted in distilled in water, vigorously shaken (succussed), diluted again and shaken, diluted again and shaken. Through this process all toxic effects of the original substances are removed but the healing power is retained. The homeopathic medicine is delivered in such small doses that modern principles of chemistry and physics estimate that there should be, in all probability, no molecules remaining after this succussion and dilution process. Yet, we find that the more a medicine is potentized, the deeper it acts, the longer it acts, and the fewer doses are needed.

Just as pharmacologists do not understand the mechanisms of many conventional drugs, we presently do not fully understand how homeopathic medicines work. There are many theories that attempt to explain how micro-doses can bring such deep and sustained health. We must remember, however, that theories are just theories; they neither prove nor disprove anything; they simply attempt to explain how and why something works. Evidence that disproves a theory of gravity, for instance, does not mean that gravity ceases to exist; it only means that the theory was incorrect.

Homeopathy Is A Process. To find the correct medicine requires establishing the totality of the symptoms and the individual. Many people require several medicines over time to adequately stimulate healing. In some cases, several medicines must be given before the symptoms start to change. Because homeopathic medicine is given in micro-doses, if a medicine doesn't produce a positive effect, either no effect or a partial effect will take place. Very rarely will a homeopathic remedy produce a new, temporary symptom.

Homeopathy In Summary:
Homeopathy is a complete and efficient healing system for physical, emotional and mental symptoms, therefore anyone can benefit as homeopathy treats the person not the ailment. Homeopathy is also a safe and gentle alternative to mainstream medicine, and can be given to pregnant women, infants, children and the elderly alike.

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