What is Homeopathy?
(from the Greek word ‘homois’ = similar and ‘pathos’ = suffering). It is an independent experience-based method of treatment. It was developed in 1970’s by the physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) from Saxony in Germany.
Homoeopathy does not identify a disease as such, but sees it as a disorder that affects the whole human being. Fever, pain etc. are merely symptoms of this general disorder. Unlike orthodox medicine, homoeopathy does not focus on a particular disease but on the whole person.
A person is considered healthy as long as his or her organism is able to counter balance any intruding pathogenic organism. Homoeopathic treatment aims to re-establish lost balance by using appropriate remedies.
Classical homoeopathy, as founded by Hahnemann is based on three principles:
- The principle of similarity (‘law of similarity’) which says that a disease is to be treated with the remedy that produces similar symptom in healthy individual.
- Drug proving on the healthy person to establish which symptoms a remedy can produce.
- The drawing up of an individual disease picture based on thorough case taking (anamnesis).
Homeopathy in India
Homeopathy came to India as early as 1810 when a French traveler, Dr. John Martin Honigberger who learnt Homeopathy from Dr. Samuel Hahnemann visited India and treated patients with Homeopathy. In his second visit in the year 1839, he treated the then ruler of Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh with Dulcamara. Maharaja was so happy with results and he encouraged him to continue the Homoeopathic treatment in India. Homeopathy continued to spread and Indians found in its philosophy and principles, a reflection of their belief and culture. The ancient Hindu physicians had, in fact recognized the “Law of Similars” as one of the principles of treatment. In the Bhagwat Purana, written hundred of years ago in the Bhagwat Purana – a Sanskrit couplet says “Vishaya Vishmoshashi” to which Homeopathy took root and flourished. In 1861, a virulent epidemic of malarial fever was raging over lower Bengal and it was at this juncture that the great philanthropist, Late Babu Rajendra Lall Dutta, a layman, truly laid the foundation of Homoeopathy and started its practice with astounding results. He converted the redoubtable allopath and his opponent, Dr. Mahendra Lall Sircar, M.D. D.L., C.I. E. to Homeopathy.
The year 1867 is memorable for the establishment of Banaras Homeopathic Hospital with Shri Loke Nath Moitra as Physician In-charge. In August 1869 a homeopathic charitable dispensary was started at Allahabad while in another important event in 1870 the Maharaja of Jaipur sent for Dr. Salazar of Calcutta for the treatment of his cataract. From this time onwards, homeopathy spread not only in Bengal, but also to other parts of India. Homeopathic treatment proved to be highly effective in practice and its fame spread rapidly with the opening of several dispensaries in the second half of the nineteenth century. Now the process of its recognition by the Government of India was started. In April 1937, Md. Ghias –ud-idin, M.L.A. moved a resolution in the Legislative Assembly for its recognition. The resolution was passed and forwarded to the State Governments for its implementation and Bengal was the first province to constitute a Homeopathic State Faculty in 1943. After independence and formation of National Government, on 17th February, 1948 Shri Satish Chandra Samanta, M.P. (West Bengal) moved a resolution which runs as follows “This Assembly is of opinion that homeopathic system of treatment be recognized by the Indian Union and that a General Council and a State Faculty of Homeopathic Medicine be established at once“. This resolution was unanimously adopted and subsequently the Government appointed a Homeopathic Inquiry Committee in 1948 and the Committee submitted its report in 1949. In 1952, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, the then Union Health Minister appointed a Homeopathic Ad-hoc Committee which functioned upto 1954. In 1954 Government constituted a Homeopathic Advisory Committee. In 1956 this Advisory Committee was taken over by the Minister of Health and Secretary in the Ministry of Health became its first Chairman. Govt. of India appointed Dr. K. G. Saxena as first Honorary Homeopathic Advisor in 1962. A Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Committee was established in the year 1962 to lay down the standard of Homeopathic drugs. In 1969 for the development of ISM & Homeopathic drugs an autonomous council was established. On 17th December 1973, Central Council of Homeopathy was established by the Government of India with the enactment of Central Council of Homeopathy Act, 1973 with the following objectives.
“To evolve minimum standards for admission, duration of course of training, details of curricula and syllabi of studies of Homeopathy, uniform title of degree and diploma, uniform courses of study of not less than four years duration and maintain central register of practitioners of Homeopathy’’.
In 1978 separate Central Council for Research in Homeopathy established.
CONCEPT OF HEALTH
DISEASE AND CURE
Concept of health – The oldest definition of health is absence of disease. However, health and harmony are considered as equivalent. The harmony is defined as being at peace with self, the community, the god and cosmos. Health as defined by Hahnemann as “ In health there is harmony in vital processes, feeling and function is normal, there is a feeling of well being, the mind looks out, the senses are alert, the sense perceptions are clear and normal.” Health is multidimensional. The three core specifics are – physical, mental and social. However, many others can be incorporated.
Physical aspect – It implies the perfect functioning of the body. All the organs of body are normal in structure and functions, all special senses are intact, resting pulse, blood pressure and exercise tolerance are within normal range for the given age and sex. The signs of physical health are good complexion, clear skin, bright eyes, lustrous hair, firm flesh, good appetite, sound sleep, regular bowel and bladder activity.
Mental aspect – Mental health is not merely absence of mental illness, it is a state of harmony between the individual and the surrounding world. The attributes of a mentally healthy person are; free from internal conflicts, well adjusted and able to get well along with others. Accepts criticism and is not easily upset. Has a strong sense of self esteem. Has insight about his needs, problems, and goals. Has good self-control. Has the ability to cope with stress and anxiety. Has ability to face problems and solve them intelligently.
Social aspect – It is the harmony and integration between each individual and other members of society. It includes social skills that one possesses, social functioning and the ability to see oneself as a member of a larger society. Social health is rooted in positive material, environment focusing on financial and residential matters and positive human environment.
Spiritual aspect – It includes integrity, principles and ethics, the purpose in life, commitment to some higher being and belief in the concept that is not subject to state of art explanation.
Emotional aspect – With advancement of current knowledge the difference between mental and emotional dimensions are emerging. Mental health is seen as knowing or cognition while emotional health relates to feelings.
Occupational aspect – When work is fully personalized to human goals, it often plays a role in promoting both corporeal and mental health. Physical work is associated with improvement in physical capacity, while goal attainment and self realization in work are a source of satisfaction and enrichment of self esteem. Homeopathic concepts and approach to health is holistic. It believes in the power of social, economic, political and environmental influences on health. It has been described as an amalgamated or multidimensional process involving the well being of the whole person in the background of his environment. This corresponds to the ancient view that health implies a healthy mind, in a sound body, in a sound family in sound environment.
The holistic approach implies that not only the mind, both body and spirit but all sectors of society and other ecological factors have an effect on health.
CONCEPT OF DISEASE
Disease is defined by Hahnemann as “in disease, there are disturbed by vital processes, feeling and functions are abnormal. There is a feeling of ill being, the mind looks in ,the attention is attracted by the perverted sensations of abnormal organ function that pass unperceived when normal, thus in disease the fundamental sense of existence becomes distorted and mental concepts perverted.
This phenomenon shows in the profoundest manner – dissolvable connection between psychic and physiological life. The body is cognized subjectively not objectively. Disease has so many shades, which range from the in-apparent states to the serious manifest illnesses. Some of the diseases are acute, others are chronic. Many commence acutely and some insidiously. Some people appear to be healthy but are carriers of disease and hence infect others. Again it is easy to determine illness when the signs and symptoms are manifest but in many lifestyle disorders the borderline between normal and abnormal is indistinct as in case of diabetes, hypertension and emotional illness. The sequelae of the terminal outcome of disease is variable, that is recovery, disability or death.
CONCEPT OF CURE
Cure can be defined as a procedure by which the sick is restored to health. According to the homoeopathic principles, cure has certain parameters which are:
- Cure relates to the case as a whole
- It involves annihilation of disease in its whole extent
- It should be achieved through natural law of cure
- It must follow a definite pattern in disappearance of symptoms
Apart from the above, ethical and moral issues are to be addressed as under:
- The handling of the sick should be emphatic
- Cure should be rapid, gentle and permanent
- The process of cure should be harmless.
The schematic representation of the natural history of chronic disease is shown as under:
NATURAL HISTORY OF CHRONIC DISEASE
|DYNAMIC HORIZON PRE-PATHOGENIC STAGE||CLINICAL (ORGANIC) HORIZON PATHOGENIC STAGE|
|Latent stage||Pre-clinical stage||Early Secondary Clinical Presentation||Late Secondary Clinical Presentation||Terminal Clinical Presentation|
|Individual with latent miasm||Individual with risk factors (miasmatic makers present), suitable exciting stimulus; precipit-ates the syndrome||Early signs, symptoms and pathology, which is mostly reversible||Pathological changes are established, and become obstruction to recovery||Chronic state with disability and defect (complications)|
|Levels of Prevention|
|Primordial prevention||Primary prevention||Early secondary prevention||Late secondary prevention||Tertiary prevention|
|Concept of Intervention|
|Health promotion||Specific protection||Early diagnosis and treatment||Effective control of disease||Disability limitation. Rehabilitation|
|Homeopathic Therapeutic Models of Intervention|
|Miasmatic treatment||Constitutional with intercurrent miasmatic treatment||Constitutional and symptomatic||Symptomatic and pathological organospecific treatment||Conservative palliative treatment|