Homeopathy was created at the beginning of the 19th century by a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann. It is based on the following two fundamental principles:
* The law of similitude. Established according to the principle: “the similar heals the similar”. This means that a substance that would cause a group of symptoms in a healthy person can cure a sick person with the same types of symptoms. It is this principle that is at the origin of the word homeopathy, from the Greek words homeo meaning “similar” and pathos meaning “disease”.
* The practice of dilutions. The homeopathic theory suggests that diluting a remedy can increase and accentuate its curative effects. Homeopathic medicines (called “strains”) are diluted several times in vials (water-alcohol mixture). Between each successive dilution, the vial is given a series of shakes (about a hundred) or succussions (shaking, shaking a homeopathic dilution to obtain a homogeneous and active mixture). The set of operations that bring the drug from the weighty state to the infinitesimal is called dynamisation.
The homeopathic method
Homeopathy is based on the principle that every living body holds the “vital energy” necessary to provoke the natural healing process.
Therefore, it is less important to know the cause of illness than to find ways to stimulate the natural healing process of every living organism.
For this reason, the homeopathic physician will strive to conscientiously study all of the patient’s symptoms in order to provoke or support the development of healing. The doctor will therefore seek to know when and how the symptoms appear, what amplifies or diminishes their intensity, the hours when they appear, the actions that will increase or decrease them.
In conclusion, two patients with the same disease may be prescribed different homeopathic remedies because their “constitution” is not the same or because their characteristic symptoms are not the same (for example: same cold, but not the same runny nose and not the same type of irritation). The patient is therefore treated according to his response to the disease, whereas in conventional medicine the patient is treated only according to his illness.
Given the countless combinations of symptoms and constitutions of their patients, homeopathic doctors today have computerized databases to help them choose remedies.
A homeopathic preparation labelled 6X (or 6DH) is a remedy in which the active ingredient has been diluted six times, one part for every nine parts of solvent each time. This is called a low dilution (or decimal dilution). At each step (six if it is 6DH), the mixture must be dynamised by 100 shakes. There are also centesimal dilutions (one part extract to 99 parts solvent, at each dilution) which are denoted by the letter C, and “vintage” dilutions denoted by the letter M (one part extract to 999 parts solvent). The latter two types of preparation are high dilutions.
The letter H (for Hahnemann) attached to the symbols X, C, or M (e.g., 30CH) identifies Hahnemann dilutions. Some dilutions are prepared using a different procedure developed by another homeopath, Dr. Korsakov; Korsakovian dilutions are identified by a K.
In homeopathy, it is believed that remedies prepared in high dilution have a longer duration of action than those prepared in low dilution, but their onset of action is slower.