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Principle of Homoeopathy – like cures like

© Healthwise
December 1992 - January 1993

Homoeopathy is a system of medicine based on the principle of Like cures Like. A substance which can produce disease like symptoms when taken by a healthy person can be used to treat a sick person with the same symptoms.

Homoeopathic medicine treats the person rather than the disease. It is important to make a medical assessment and diagnosis, although many people in the community suffer from non-specific ill-health for which no specific label can be found.

Homoeopathy, however, treats the person and not the disease. When selecting a remedy (or medication) for a patient, the name of the disease they are suffering from, or the identity of the bacteria is secondary to the symptoms that the patient exhibits. Ten people may all have the symptoms of influenza, yet because the symptoms of the disease vary from person to person, they may each receive a different remedy. Homoeopathy is the medicine of individualising, that is regarding patients as individuals. In selecting a remedy, the Homoeopath matches the symptoms of the patient to the remedy, and then gives the remedy to help balance the person's health, and to allow the body to start its own healing. It is still the body's normal processes of recuperation that does the improvement, but it is the homoeopathic remedy that can help to stimulate or enhance this.

Homoeopathic remedies can be used to treat the whole range of physical, mental and psychological illnesses, and the pattern of improvement, and the amount of the improvement varies from individual to individual. It is not necessary to stop conventional medical treatment in order to undergo homoeopathic treatment, and the two systems can be used quite comfortably in the same patient. But there are some conditions that need to be treated medically, rather than principally by homoeopathy, and these include cancer, severe infections, situations when surgery is required, and illnesses where replacement therapy is required such as diabetes, under-active thyroid and pernicious anaemia. But on the other hand, people have been spared surgical treatment, or have been able to come off their conventional medication when it is reviewed, after having had a course of homoeopathic treatment. The initial visit to a homoeopathic doctor differs little from a visit to the doctor, except that the case history taking is lengthier, and to help with this a questionnaire is often used. The information required is about the person as an individual, as well as about the disease the person is suffering from. The patient's personality and constitution are taken into account, and even their likes and dislikes are important. A physical examination is done, in order to check that there are no other underlying conditions present, and blood tests are arranged if necessary.

But in order to choose a remedy for the patient, the homoeopathic doctor has to put aside the diagnosis and problem list, and go back to the general features of the patient as a whole. The remedy is chosen according to the pattern of symptoms that the patient has, to be the best match for the patient at that time. The symptoms are a useful marker of how the body is behaving at that time.

The homoeopathic remedies can be regarded as small corrections or stimuli to the whole body system, and after this it is the body that does its own improvement, using its own reserves of recuperation. So, homoeopathic treatment is a partnership between the homoeopathic remedy and the body's own healing responses. For most conditions, best results are obtained from a short course of treatment, usually only 3 to 6 doses in all. Dr Margaret Tyler, in her book "Homoeopathic Drug Pictures" wrote: "Homoeopathy arrived a full hundred years before its time…It's unanswerable appeal was to Results."

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