Alternative Medicine :: Science of today and conventional medicine

What is non-science today may indeed become the science of tomorrow, & with these thoughts in mind the complacencies of both schools of thought must be shaken. (Michael Baum, Brit. Prof. Of Surgery; Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 80, June, 1987 336-337.)

What was called conventional medicine just 30 years back would be considered primitive today & medical care (Blood letting!) hundred years ago would be considered barbaric today. Likewise what is called conventional (scientific) medicine today will be considered relatively primitive in the near future and will probably be considered barbaric in the more distant future. Once this perspective about the continuing evolution of medicine is consciously acknowledged physicians and scientists will probably not be so dogmatic in their exclusion of unconventional therapies that do not seem to fit within present day theories of health and disease. This is especially so when it comes to Homoeopathy or a system of medicine that is/ has been misjudged or ignored or overlooked by pompous people showing off scientific attitude and misguiding ignorant masses at large.

The Father of Medicine Hippocrates has written that there are two methods of treatment, by contraries and by similars (Homoeopathy) and the latter is better. These laws have also been mentioned in the ancient Indian works contraries and similars – Contraria Principle (Vipareeta Chikitsa) and the Similia Principle (Vipareethardakaari Chikitsa) are mentioned in Ayurveda.

Homoeopathy is based on the law of Similars. This word is derived from 2 Greek words- ?Homoios? and ?Pathos?, meaning ?similar? ?suffering? respectively. This is more popularly known, as shown above, treatment on the basis of law of similars. In other words the thing, which has the capability to produce sickness, is also having the capability to enhance the defense mechanism of the body and produce health. More popularly it is known that poisons are used to treat poisons; iron is used to cut iron; diamonds are used to cut and shape diamonds etc.

This law of similars is proclaimed in the Delphic Oracle Stating ?That which makes sick shall heal?. Paracelsus the well-known Physician of Renaissance period – used the fundamental of similia extensively in his practice and referred to it in his writings. His formulation of Doctrine of signatures spoke directly of the value of using similars in healing.

This law is not unknown to conventional medicine. Immunizations are based on the principle of Similars. Dr Emil Adolph Von Behring, ?Father of Immunology? directly pointed to the origin of immunization when he asserted ?By what technical term could we more appropriately speak of this influence than by Hahnemann?s word Homoeopathy? (Modern Phtisia-Genetic and Phtisia-Therapeutic Problems in Historical Illumination New York, 1906)

Modern allergy treatment likewise utilizes the homoeopathic approach by the use of small doses of allergens in order to create and antibody response. The conventional medicine also uses homoeopathic like therapy in choosing radiation to treat people with cancer (radiation causes cancer); digitals for heart conditions (digitalis creates heart conditions) Ritalin for hyperactive children (Ritalin is an amphetamine like drug that normally causes hyperactivity). There are many more examples but these examples merely prove them as having partial application of law of similars but they do not follow other fundamental principles of Homoeopathy and hence are distinct from, Homeopathy e.g. they do not follow the individual assessment of the patient before determining the required.

The law of similars is also a fundamental of physics – a weak magnet can be recharged by placing the same pole of a stronger magnet next to it – eventually the weak magnet will become recharged and then both will repel each other. Similarly in Homoeopathy, the like medicine regenerates/ recharges/ heals the like (suffering individual).

But, Homoeopathy is not merely treatment based on this principle rather it is a specialized system of treatment of sick individuals based on certain principles (one of which is law of similars) and guided by its distinct philosophy. Homoeopathy is in true sense a philosophy of living life in a healthy and harmonious way (with nature and fellow beings).

This system of medicine is based on the principles of nature. It believes in disease not to be a separate entity rather an altered mode of life or living life under altered circumstances. This alteration could be due to faulty lifestyles-, which consequently should be treated with correct modes of living; or due to a weak immune system. In the latter condition only it should be treated with the help of medicines, which strengthen the immune response of the body, and thereby it overcomes the disease on its own. For example, a person having a staphylococcal skin infection (like a boil) should be treated with an indicated homoeopathic medicine, which can improve his immune status so that this normal inhabitant of the skin (staphylococcus aureus) ceases to become infective. Once his vitality has been boosted then this harmonious equilibrium is once again recovered and he can continue to live healthily.

Homoeopathy also follows the principle of prescribing minimum medicines and thus is one system of medicine famous for least side effects. It was also the foremost system to recognize the iatrogenic diseases or drug induced diseases as a separate category of illness.

It is known that there are no two same persons on the face of this earth. In fact people are as distinct as their fingerprints! If this is true then how can we have two persons suffering from the same disease? Homoeopathy, since the time of its inception by Samuel Hahnemann, has followed the principle of individualization. It treats each and every person as a new case, which may be having a usual nosological label- like amoebic dysentery, viral fever, diabetes etc. This fact has now begun to be appreciated by the dominant school of medicine. ?Textbook descriptions of disease are, of necessity, misleading. Even in the case of the most straightforward of illnesses, for which we know the cause down to the last building block of DNA, the presentation, course, and management is never the same in any two patients? (D. J. Weatherall ; Scientific method and the art of healing ; Oxford Textbook of Medicine, 1996.)

We all know that the living being is a uniform and interconnected whole- though comprised of various parts. But all of these parts are dependent on one another. We cannot say that our heart is separate; lungs are separate and so on. If so then they should be able to live individually! Our body has evolved as a complete unit comprising of various parts and organ systems- none of which is unwanted and if any system goes haywire then all the other parts or the whole body suffers. If this is true then our treatment should be as a whole- with the coverage of all the parts together as a single unit. Homoeopathy prides itself in following this sound holistic philosophy. This has been missing in the conventional system of medicine, which has now often been criticized for its reductionist approach as is evident by the specialization and super specializations. Thus there are so many medicines prescribed and their correspondingly multiplying side effects! When Elvis Presley died, coroners discovered nine different drugs in his body. In an effort to prevent embarrassment, one of his physicians sought to reassure public that there were -sound rational medical reasons- for all nine drugs (but can there ever really be!).

These are some of the fundamental principles of Homoeopathy, which have withstood the test of time and always proven beneficial. They guide the homoeopathic physicians as they heal the suffering person in the most gentle, natural and harmless way.

From the desk of: Prof. L. M. Khan MD(HOM)
HOD Deptt. Of Organon, Homoeopathic Philosophy, Chronic disease and Psychology
National Institute of Homoeopathy, Kolkata, India.

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