How does it work?
Homeopathy is based on the observation, that we all are susceptible to certain stimuli in our environment.
These can be meteorological or athmospheric phenomena, such as dampness, cold winds, or thunderstorms. It may be dust, or pollen, or certain food stuffs that we are sensitive to, or badly washed foods, or over-used cooking oils. It may be bad news, or sad news, a difficult conversation, or a confrontation at work or at school. It may be the sight of a stray dog on the road side, or a furtive glance into the eyes of a homeless person that strike us with an imcomprehensable power.
Not everybody is susceptible to the same triggers.
We may be able to deal with a lot of aggression at work. We may put up with continuous humiliation in personal relationships, or the pression built up by our own ambitions – but we cannot face the coackroach scuttling through the kitchen at night, the giant spider hiding in the window seals or the wasp that has entered our car. Or vice versa.
And we all react to these stimuli in a more or less individual way.
We may pretend that nothing happend or we freak out. We try to guard our cool, keep our dignity and let reason speak – we try to be the “good kid” – or we let hell break loose. We may get lost in overthinking. Or we start somatising things: Getting a headache, or a stomach ache, or we suddenly feel indisposed or listless or depressed. Or we get irritated about trifles.
Now what, if we could find a remedy that does not just numb our pain, quiets down our stomach, or helps us to be unrattled by the puny and powerless insect on the floor, but would actually help us to confront our issues just like a person that is naturally unaffected by them?
What if there was something like a capsulised exposure therapy, that does not just calm us down, but would – in actual fact – remove our sensitivity to our triggers, in something akin to spontaneous healing?
Would that not be magical or miraculous?
In fact, this is what we aspire to do in homeopathy.
The word “homeopathy” is a combination of the two Greek terms “homeo“, “similar” and “pathos“, “suffering”, and is meant to convey the idea, that:
Ailments shall be cured by remedies that are able to create similar symptoms in healthy persons.
This idea is not new, but has already been described by Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC), the still famed father of modern medicine. It is also not only applied by homeopathy, but moreover is the principle behind the above mentioned exposure therapy or the disensitisation therapy used in the treatment of allergies.
It was a German physician and polymath, Samuel Hahnemann (1755−1843), who thanks to his knowledge of medicine, chemistry and pharmacology, his proficiency in upto nine languages and thanks to his acute perception of the shortcomings of the medicine practised in his days, laid the conceptual and practical groundwork for this therapeutic modality.
Not dissimilar to Mithridates the Great (135 – 63 BC), the witches of the Middle Ages or the psychonauts of our days, and in line with scientists of his age, such as Albrecht von Haller (1708 – 1777) or fellow physician Anton von Störck (1731 – 1803), was Hahnemann of the opinion that the ingestion of small doses of a substance is the most reliable way to gain knowledge on its pharmaceutical properties.
These self-experiments, called provings, that Hahnemann initiated with the consumption of a small quantity of China bark, have been continued during the centuries that followed him, have been extended to several thousands of different substances by his pupils, and still form the basis on any practical and meaningful understanding of homeopathy by nowaday’s practitioners.
It is for these reasons then, that when you visit a homeopath, he or she is trying to get to a deep understanding of your personal sensitivities and predispositions, as well as to the cascades of your reactions to them. In fact, we try to become what in modern Greek is called a “omiopathis“, a “fellow sufferer” of your condition. Because only this deep understanding will help us, to identify the remedy – amongst thousands of others – that will actually be able to help you to overcome your current problems. Not to sweeten them, not to numb you to them, not to suppress your reactions or change them in any way, but to help you to overcome them and to become a person profoundly unaffected by them.
This is the magic of homeopathy.
And as you have understood by now, it has nothing to do with magical or wishful thinking, but rather with empathy, and understanding and the profound knowledge of a whole universe of substances and their ability to mess with and cure us!