One of the biggest challenges for homeopaths is to describe the practice to others. On the one hand, remedies for short-term injuries and acute illnesses are relatively easy to use, and on the other, remedies for longer-term problems require a great deal of training and experience.
To complicate matters, there are different approaches to the use of remedies, and homeopathic practitioners have a wide variety of backgrounds and talents. Our culture is also continually defining–even if unwittingly–the concepts of health and disease according to conventional medicine. So it’s natural when we’re looking to understand homeopathy, our first impulse is often to “frame” the practice in terms of conventional medicine, with the idea that the remedies are more natural than prescription medicines. Which they are…but, we need to start with the homeopathic concepts of health and disease before understanding how we solve different problems.
When I was first introduced to homeopathic philosophy, I was working in conventional medicine as a physician assistant, and was somewhat shocked to realize I had no guiding philosophy to treatment of disease, other than to get rid of symptoms. The idea of “body-mind” connection might be an interesting idea, but it couldn’t easily be translated into practice, or direct how I might choose a prescription medicine.
In homeopathy everything about us is a whole–a totality–in other words, body and mind are simply on a continuum of more measurable to less measurable, whereas in conventional medicine, the practice is largely limited to what is or can be measured. All else is considered “subjective”–subject to errors whose ultimate judge is the test or diagnosis. In other words, how we feel about the problem(s), how they affect us, how we describe our total experience…is all considered subjective information and not completely “true.”
To the homeopath, however, that same subjective information is crucial to understanding your problems. Our physical, mental and emotional realms are included in the experience of stress and imbalance. A homeopath looks to understand that greater state of imbalance, regardless of whether it can be measured or not. When the questions of “what is this like” or “how does this feel” are answered, the question of “why” is usually self-evident.
Assuming the strongest instinct is self-preservation, we can then imagine our symptoms are related to a stuck “survival” response that has outlived its usefulness. Our second greatest instinct may be growth and full self-expression, and when this latter instinct is thwarted, signs and symptoms of disease are the result. In homeopathy, of course, we want to resolve those signs and symptoms, but we don’t do so by “killing the messenger.” We recognize that our bodies and minds are incredible and finely tuned instruments with their own profound wisdom. By using remedies to inform ourselves how we’ve gone out of balance–how we’re stuck in an old survival pattern–we provoke an inner and outer healing correction on all levels, knowing we can rely on our own innate wisdom for self-healing.
This is the meaning of “homeo”–similar–and “pathy”–disease–instead of battling symptoms and viewing them as the enemy, we respect the body/mind’s own wisdom. Rather than coercing change upon our body, homeopathic remedies help us recognize how old stress patterns interfere with growth and unfoldment. From there, the body, mind, and emotions are quick to respond and we experience resolution of symptoms and greater freedom on all levels of being.
Interested in learning whether homeopathy is a good match for you? You can call David Johnson at the Ommani Center for no charge to discuss your health concerns. For an excellent overview of homeopathy in general, you can read the shorter book, “Homeopathy: Beyond Flat Earth Medicine” or the longer, “Dynamic Medicine: the World According to Homeopathy”, each of which are written by physicians.
January 2017 David Johnson, CCH has been in full-time practice for nearly 20 years and teaches at the Northwestern Academy of Homeopathy, MN. Prior to his certification as a Classical Homeopath, he taught Clinical Medicine as a Physician Assistant and worked in conventional medical settings for twelve years. Schedule your appointment at Ommani by calling 262.695.5311.