A group of videos featuring the Snooks were introduced by the 4Homeopathy group in 2014. I love these videos because they are so straightforward and yet gives an accurate account of what homeopathy is and how it differs from conventional western medicine and Naturopathy. There are three videos total. The other two are: What to Expect When you See a Homeopath and Why Try Homeopathy.
.For more information, take a look at the British Homeopathic Association's website.
This is a "rectangle is a square but a square is not always a rectangle" situation.
Naturopaths often use homeopathy, but are always well trained in homeopathy. Naturopaths also offer lifestyle counselling, herbal therapies, acupunture, TCM, and other types of therapies.
Homeopaths generally only use homeopathy. Depending on where you are located, there are different licensing requirements for homeopaths. If you are interested in seeing one, check that they have been trained. In some states/provinces in North America, anyone can call themselves a homeopath, even if they haven't been trained. (This is true of Naturopaths as well)
The differences between these two types of practitioners gets more complicated by the legal system. In every state and province in North America, there are different laws about what naturopaths and homeopaths can and cannot do. Usually homeopaths are not legally able to diagnose any condition and are not able to perform more than basic physical exams. Naturopaths, however, are generally allowed to diagnose and perform the same physical exams an MD would do. In a few states and provinces, naturopaths can prescribe medications like antibiotics or steroids like cortisol. Therefore, check the laws in your area so you know what kind of appointment you are walking into!
Aphorism 2: "The highest ideal of cure is the rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of health...in the shortest, most reliable, and least disadvantageous [gentlest] way, according to clearly realizable principles". Organon of the Medical Art by Samuel Hahnemann
No form of medicine I have encountered has been as
-Based on clear principles
Other therapies can be gentle, but may not be fast or permanent. For example, massage. Patients generally have to go a few times before getting strong results and the results don't usually last long. However massage is definitely effective and incredibly gentle. Conventional medicine can be fast, permanent, based on some key principles such as relying on clinical trials, relying on synthetically made compounds, etc, but it is rarely gentle. Gifted spiritual healers are fast, gentle, and often permanent, but not based on principles. Therefore these gifted healers are one-offs, and very few people are able to learn their methods and follow in their footsteps. This therefore limits the amount of good they can do; access to healing has been limited by their inability to impart their gift to others.
A foundation of clear principles allows for easily reproducible results and the goal of gentle, fast, and permanent cures guides practitioners to make choices that are sometimes different from other practitioners. The combination revolutionizes care.
Basically, he meant something that infects you.
Miasms were not invented by Hahnemann. During Hahnemann's time, there was a debate raging about the origins of disease. There was a miasma theory and the germ theory, which eventually was proved by microbiology, as we all know. "In miasma theory, diseases were caused by the presence in the air of a miasma, a poisonous vapour in which were suspended particles of decaying matter that was characterised by its foul smell. The theory originated in the Middle Ages and endured for several centuries. That a killer disease like malaria is so named - from the Italian mala ‘bad’ and aria ‘air’ - is evidence of its suspected miasmic origins" (Science Museum's History of Medicine ).
Hahnemann was not convinced miasma existed in the air however. Hahnemann's essay "Appeal to thinking philanthropists respecting the mode of propagation of the asiatic cholera" argues that cholera spreads from town to town via minute living creatures.
"In those [people] confined spaces [ships], filled with moldy vapors, the cholera miasm find a favorable element for its multiplication and grows into an enormously increased brood of those excessively minute, invisible, living creatures so inimical to human life, of which the contagious matter of the cholera most probably consists....this concentrated aggravated miasm kills several of the crew; the others, however, being frequently exposed to the danger of infection and thus gradually habituated to it at length become fortified against it and no longer liable to be infected. These individuals, apparently in good health, go ashore and are received by the inhabitants without hesitation into their cottages, and...those who have approached nearest to them are suddenly carried off by the cholera. The cause of this is undoubtedly the invisible cloud...composed of probably millions of those miasmatic animated beings" (Hahnemann's Lesser Writings, page 758) Italics mine.
This passage clearly describes almost the exact same process that happens in infectious diseases, now proven by microbiology. From this passage, his use of the word "miasm" clearly means an infectious disease agent like a virus or bacteria. Therefore his theory on chronic disease does not mean he was thinking about our genetic or epigenetic lineage (those are not infectious diseases) nor does it mean you treat the chronic disease with the infectious disease the caused the miasm (e.g. treat a tubercular miasm with tuberculinum, because a tubercular miasm is the same as an infection by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria) because that would be isopathy, not homeopathy. He thought that chronic disease was caused by an infectious disease agent that created subtle disease symptoms over decades that would get worse slowly (think of Herpes Zoster/Shingles - the virus infects us when we are children but lays dormant for decades and can manifest in many different ways when our system is stressed).
To me, this is a fascinating example of how well Hahnemann understood the disease process. In other words, that he was a keen observer of the world around him. This remarkable insight was well ahead of his time, and is a testament to the power of being an unprejudiced observer.
Prescribing based on Kingdoms is too close for comfort to the doctrine of signatures.
Doctrine of signatures is an idea that a remedy source will tell you what diseases it can treat. For example, a plant that has yellow flowers will treat liver issues. This kind of thinking is common in folk medicines, and especially in Christian and Muslim traditions; in traditionally Muslim or Christian nations, folk healers believed Allah/God deliberately made plants look like the parts of the body the plant could heal.
This idea has often proved useful in folk medicine, however it has no place in homeopathy. Homeopathy, as stated before, is matching a proving symptom to the symptom of the patient. Where the remedy is derived from has no implications for its prescription. Prescribing based on which kingdom the remedy comes from or where the remedy comes from in the periodic table directly implies that a remedy's source can tell us its use. For example: a mineral is structured, therefore the person who needs a remedy prepared from a mineral will have structural issues. This is a vast generalization, and there are many exceptions to such generalizations:
Phosphorus, a remedy made from the mineral phosphorus, produces symptoms of incredible sensitivity and hypersexuality, but sensitivity is associated with plants and hypersexuality is associated with animals. Hyoscyamus niger (a plant) produces some of the most intense sexual mania seen in the materia medica. However hypersexuality is, again, supposedly, a symptom associated with the "animal" symptom. The classic example of a "split in two" personality (a symptom associated with animals) is Anacardium orientale, another plant remedy. Even generalizing based on plant families can lead us astray. The solanaceae family includes the highly poisonous Datura stramonium, Atropa belladonna, (both lethal in small doses) but also potatoes, eggplants and tomatoes. Attempting to generalize based on remedy source will filter the remedies into artificial categories that can easily confuse a remedy prescription.
Hahnemann in Essay on a New Principle (Hahnemann's Lesser Writings, page 249) explains that we cannot generalize based on the remedy's origins (although such connections can be useful in memorizing), but rather we must pay attention to the proving symptoms in determining prescriptions.
Generalizing in this way is detrimental in another way: it's a generalization. My interpretation of the people I meet in the field of alternative health, and homeopathy especially, is that they want a repose from the de-humanizing categorizations and disease labels given to patients by the conventional medical profession. One of the virtues of homeopathy, supposedly, is that it is the only system of medicine that does not categorize people but keeps them as true individuals. This is different from Ayurveda and TCM, which also put people into the categories of "spleen qi deficient" or "vata". If homeopathy puts its patients into these kingdom and miasm boxes, are we not doing exactly the same thing?
Additionally, the definition of homeopathy matching patient symptoms (this does not include normal attributes of your personality) with the symptoms that arose from a proving. Note that in this process, there is no theorizing about the patient nor about the remedy; the process is a simple matching of one set of facts to another set of facts. If we match patient attributes to kingdom traits, we are in fact not practicing homeopathy.
In Anshutz's New Remedies you can find the original proving of Chionanthus virginica. For those new to homeopathic language, a proving is when a healthy person takes a dose of a medicine in order to understand the effects that medicine has on the body. Every remedy should be tested in this way before being given to patients. Many provings were done during Hahnemann's time (mid nineteenth century) and the original results have been lost; we only have access to secondary sources: compilations of of the original results with the intent to allow homeopaths to prescribe remedies based on the data.
Recently I went through the original proving of Chionanthus viriginica and I encourage others to do the same. The exercise raised more questions than it answered. How do you decide on time modalities? If someone wakes at 4am, is the symptom: worse at 4am OR is it because the prover took the tincture three hours previously? How many of the symptoms in this one proving characteristic (common and consistent) and how many are specific to this individual prover?
Our materia medica was put into perspective for me; it's a compilation of symptoms that are not as concrete and discreet as they seem. Additionally it became apparent that symptoms can only become concrete and discreet after many provings have been done.
This is the most common question people ask me. The philosophy behind both forms of medicine are relatively similar. They both aim to find the root cause of disease and remove it and stimulate the body to heal itself. There is one difference: Homeopaths only use homeopathy and maybe some lifestyle counselling. Naturopaths use many different types of medicine, such as acupuncture, Chinese medicine, herbal therapies, vitamin therapies, lifestyle counselling and homeopathy.
Naturopaths' large toolbox gives them a unique ability to determine what therapy is best for you and if one therapy doesn't work, they have lots of others to try. However the breadth of their knowledge does not always translate into a depth of knowledge. The homeopathic schools I know in Ontario teach 10 times the amount of information on homeopathy than a Naturopathic college does, with hundreds of hours of clinical, homeopathic, experience included in the degree. Therefore if you know you would like to try homeopathy, I suggest finding a licensed homeopath. Regulations are always changing and different in every country/state/province, so I can't recommend a universally good place to look for a homeopath. If you are in Ontario, as I am, then you want to see a homeopath that is licensed by the Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine.
In homeopathy, a symptom is cured by a medicine that creates that same symptom. For example Poison Ivy creates a raised, itchy rash with vesicles. If someone comes into a homeopath's office and has a raised, itchy rash with vesicles, the homeopath will give them Poison Ivy (note that if someone gets a rash from Poison Ivy, the homeopath will not give the person more Poison Ivy. That method of treatment is called Isopathy). This law of cure is termed "like cures like".
"Like cures like" is hard to wrap your head around. The way I like to think about it is that your body is telling you what it needs. If you get abnormally hot, your body is saying it wants something that makes it hot. If you get muscle aches, your body is telling you it wants something that gives you muscle aches.
Therefore homeopathy is personal and simple; all that is needed for cure is careful observation of yourself.
Homeopathy is not using diluted medicines. Homeopathy can be practiced with non-diluted medicines. Therefore, homeopathy is not energy medicine. If you believe diluted medicines work because of energetic qualities (for me the jury is still out on that point), then homeopathy is the utilization of this energy medicine according to clearly defined principles.
Homeopathy is a law of cure; in other words, the word "homeopathy" means cure is accomplished by using medicines in a specific manner.