What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a 200+ year old system of medicine that involves triggering the body’s natural healing response by using naturally occurring (plant, animal and mineral) substances that have been highly diluted.
It is one of the four most widespread medical treatments in the world, alongside traditional Chinese medicine, herbal medicine and conventional medicine. It is widely practiced in Europe, India, Pakistan and Latin America, and is undergoing a rejuvenation in Canada and the US.
Although homeopathy has been practiced in Ontario since as early as 1840, the Ontario government only started regulating it in June, 2007 with the passing of the Homeopathy Act, 2007.
Homeopathy's foremost guiding principle is the law of similars.
Law of Similars
The Greek roots to the word homeopathy are homoios meaning similar and pathos meaning suffering. Together, they mean similar suffering. The law of similars or like cures like states that any substance which can cause a set of symptoms in a healthy person can cure those same symptoms in a sick person. The symptoms of the sick person, therefore, are the most important guide to the choice of the correct remedy.
The theory that like can be treated with like can be traced back as far Hippocrates, the father of medicine (c. 460–370 BC). However, it was German physician, Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), who recognized the universality of this law and made it the basis of a complete system of medicine, that being, homeopathy.
An example of this is the remedy, Allium Cepa (red onion). When you slice a red onion, your eyes become red and watery and your nose releases a copious, acrid discharge. Allium Cepa is a remedy that is popular for treating colds and allergies, which exhibit these same symptoms.
Homeopathy, therefore, may be defined as the therapeutic method of symptom-similarity.
Homeopathy is also the therapeutic science of the whole person. It views the body and the mind as an integrated dynamic unit. Instead of diagnosing and treating isolated symptoms of a disease, homeopathy tries to understand the disease’s overall pattern, composed of all of the symptoms – mental, emotional and physical. Once a homeopath has understood this pattern, he or she tries to match it to the pattern of a known remedy. And, by giving this homeopathic or similarly patterned remedy, the homeopath treats the whole person, i.e., all of the symptoms.
Simply stated, this principle dictates that the least amount of remedy necessary to cure should be used.