What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathic medicine is a clinical-pharmaceutical system which uses microdoses of substances derived from palnts, minerals or animals for the purposes of stimulating the natural healing response. [Bellavite & Signorini, 1995]
This system claims to cure diseases using remedies which are prepared according to particular procedures of dilution and dynamization (percussion which adds kinetic energy according to the principles of physics).
These remedies are chosen according to a complex methodology based on the law of similars.
The law of similars states that a disease can be cured by administering the patient a substance, which in healthy individuals casuses symptoms similar to those of the disease. For example, if a person is stung by a bee, the venom causes a characteristic wheal with pain and swelling which is helped by application of cold compresses. The homeopath will administer bee extract in a homeopathic remedy (Apis) to cure patients presenting with this symptom (Urticaria) with wheals and pain similar to those of bee stings may also respond to this remedy.
The history of homeopathy is very ineresting in the fact that it was popular in this country, especially around the late 1800s and early 1900s when one out of four physicians were homeopaths. There were 22 homeopathic medical schools and over 100 homeopathic hospitals. With the development of synthetic aspirin and financial and political support for only the medical schools, homeopathy declined.
Homeopathy's current popularity has grown considerably in the US over the past couple of decades but is is still much greater in other countries, particularly in India, England, France, the former USSR, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. In India there are over 70,000 registered homeopathic practitioners and almost that many in Pakistan. There are over 35 colleges in England that teach homeopathy and two full-time homeopathy colleges in London. The royal family has been under homeopathic care since the 1930s. France has over 6000 physicians actively practicing homeopathy. Over 18,000 pharmacies sell hemeopathic medicine.
There are two primary prescribing procedures in Doctor Vail's office: acute prescribing and classical. Acute prescribing is matching the current symptoms with those that the medicine is known to cure. Classical prescribing is about a two hour process of interviewing the patient and collecting complete and accurate information about the patient and matching the remedy that best suits the person and his or her illness (not just the symptoms).