Many homoeopaths hold the viewpoint that diagnosis of a ‘disease’ is not important. By disease, I mean the descriptive name for a collection of symptoms that individualise a known condition, ie pneumonia, measles, eczema etc.
The reality is, and always has been, as taught by Hahnemann, to treat the DISEASE that the has destabilised the health of an individual. We do not take the collective totality of the personality, the likes and dislikes of the person, we take only the altered state CAUSED by the disease and expressed by the individual affected person.
The two single most useful Aphorisms in case taking are ~5 and ~6. It is beyond the scope of this post to discuss in detail, if truth be told it requires time in a seminar to expand the writings and demonstrate fully so as to inculcate the understanding to reach the heart of a practitioner. If assimilated incorrectly, you will find that a lot of misprescriptions will be made based on faulty comprehension of Hahnemanns words.
This leads me to my next point. I ask a question: Are you a real homoeopath?
Firstly, after many years of thinking on this question, I realise that the question is incorrect. It should be: Are you a real believer in the law of similars?
The scope and sphere of Homoeopathy must be clearly expressed. In a wider sense, Homoeopathy, in the first place, means a method of scientific study and therapeutic practice; in the second place, it means the facts discovered by this method; and thirdly it signifies the theories that have been propounded to explain and correlate these facts. In other words, Homoeopathy implies a particular way of applying drugs to diseases according to a specific principle viz., “Similia Similibus Curentur”, and of potentitiation (dynamisation) of drugs. In a narrower and stricter sense, Homoeopathy means a specialised system of drug therapy, nothing more or nothing less.
As Homoeopathy looks upon diseases as an altered condition of the life principal of a living being, Homoeopathy, as a therapeutic method, is concerned primarily with the morbid vital processes in the living organism which are perceptibly represented by the symptoms irrespective of what caused them. Homoeopathy then is concerned only with dis-eases, per se in its primary functional or dynamical aspect.
With the morbific agents themselves Homoeopathy has no more to do than it has with the tangible products or ultimates of disease. It is taken for granted that the physician acting in another capacity than that of a prescriber of Homoeopathic medicines will remove the causes of the disease and the obstacle to cure as far as possible before he addresses himself to the task of selecting and administering the remedy which is homoeopathic to the symptoms of the case by which the cure is to be effected. Thus Homoeopathy deals directly with disease itself, morbid vital processes manifested by perceptible symptoms in the functional side of disease. In fact, Homoeopathy might well be defined as the science of vital dynamics.
It is confined to and operative only in the sphere of vital dynamics.
As Homoeopathy is primarily and pre eminently a specialised system of drug therapy, it is not a complete system of medicine (in the wide sense of the term); but it might legitimately claim itself to be a complete system of therapeutic medication.
It is supreme within its legitimate sphere because it is a method of therapeutic medication which is based on a fixed and definite law of nature. The time has come for defining the scope and limits of Homoeopathy. Wide as its scope is, it has its limitations as well and we have to be cognisant of this fact.
Homoeopathy may have many gaps which need be filled; may have many points of obscurity which need illumination and clarification and may imply many directions in which researches can be carried out—but it is and will continue to be a distinct system of healing art; it is uncompromising with regard to following items which can be claimed as specialities for itself. The most important speciality of Homoeopathy lies in the distinctive mode of approach to the study of diseases and drug actions. It is a clinical method of approach and the art of individualising patients and drug-actions.
The clinical phenomena are those which render themselves perceptible to our senses as a resultant of the actions and reactions of forces, physico-chemical, vital and psychological operating in and through the diseased human organism.
Homoeopathy disregards all the hypothetical and ever-changing explanations of physiology and pathology and uses this plane of clinical phenomena as a guide to reach the unseen activities operating below the surface.
The second speciality is with regard to classification of diseases. The dominant school of medicine follows the system of classificatory sciences of botany and zoology. It classifies diseases into genus and species. But Homoeopathy goes further and concentrates its attention on individuals—so it is closer to factual concrete reality. The “Totality of symptoms” is taken to be a guide for individualisation.
The third speciality is with regard to this: The essential question in Homoeopathy is not what the patient is suffering from, but in what kind of way he reacts.
Diagnosis in Homoeopathy does not mean the labelling of the patient with the name of a disease and then treating that nominal entity, but diagnosing the patient in terms of drug reaction, which would restore his vital equilibrium. The patient is to be diagnosed in terms of treatment. This is Homoeopathy in a nut shell.
But “it is a shell which some find hard to crack, but when cracked it is found to be packed full of sweet and wholesome meat with no worms in it”—as Stuart Close points out in his book ‘Lecture on Homoeopathic Philosophy”.
The selection and administration of remedies constitute the science of therapeutics, as the investigation of the properties of drugs constitutes the science of Materia Medica. It is impossible to conceive of a science i.e., systematized knowledge, which is not based on some fundamental principle correlating the series of phenomena concerning any particular branch of study. The therapeutic branch of medical knowledge consists of a study of disease phenomena on the one hand and that of positive effects of drugs on the healthy human beings on the other. Hence any therapeutic study is incomplete and unscientific if a general law be not discovered between a natural disease-condition and the action of a drug that will be curative. Homoeopathy supplies such a law—though the orthodox school of medicine apparently denies the necessity for such a general therapeutic law and relies only on unmethodized experience and fallacious reasoning and presumes to claim utter scientificity for itself by borrowing from chemico-physical sciences.
The therapeutic law of Similia Similibus Curentur is a scientific law as justified by the following considerations:
- It is based on observation, correct logical principles of induction, deduction and experimental verification.
- It is based on no hypothesis or speculation but it is just a statement of inter-relation between two series of phenomena viz-, the natural disease and drug-action.
- Like any other scientific law it is made use of in the matter of predicting future results.
- Like any other scientific law it does not attempt to explain the “how or why” of drugs curing diseases but rests contented with giving a clear indication of what drug would be curative in which disease condition.
This therapeutic law of cure, as discovered in Homoeopathy, as regards the treatment of diseases by drugs which, when proved on healthy human beings, possess the power to produce symptoms similar to those found in persons suffering from natural diseases—pursues at its every step the scientific methods of observation, classification, comparison of phenomena perceptible to our senses and does not attempt to enter into the misty realm of metaphysical speculation to divine the essential secrets of nature viz-, life, mind and body and their nature of inter-relationship and the “modus operandi” of drugs in producing symptoms in healthy human beings or curing disease conditions brought on by natural causes.
This law takes into account only the clinical phenomena (i.e.,perceptible alterations of sensations, functions and of tissues) in patients and drug provers—which hold good so long as observations are correct and complete and which are not liable to be changed with every altered biological conception, newer medical terminologies or newer discoveries in physiological and pathological sciences. The clinical symptoms are facts—they do not change but may be added to.
With the help of this Law of cure the study of therapeutic branch of medicine has been raised to an independent status having a life of its own. While deriving its sustenance from truths and conceptions of other sciences auxiliary to medicine it possesses freedom from whatever new knowledge might be acquired in those sciences in course of time.
On comparison with other therapeutic systems (with or without any basic law underlying) the Law of Simile stands out boldest and most free from uncertainties, imperfections and irrationality inherent in others.