Homœopathy is a form of medicine in which illness and disease are treated with dynamic remedies that are derived from a substance that would cause a similar illness in a healthy person who took them.

The principle that "Like Cures Like" is one that is found in ancient medical textbooks and is also found in modern medicine, but it was formulated into a complete system of medicine 200 years ago by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann. Homœopathy proved its efficacy during the many epidemics, particularly of cholera, that swept across Europe and America during the Nineteenth Century. It has been developed and improved by many outstanding thinkers and physicians but has still remained true to its original principles and philosophy. It is now practised in most parts of the world and in some places, especially India, it is a major medical discipline.

The properties of a remedy are discovered by healthy volunteers taking a dose of the remedy and carefully recording the effect that it has upon them. This process is called a proving and over the years many hundreds of remedies have been proved and are available to the homœopath.

The remedies used in homœopathy are diluted and purified in a special process that means there is often none of the original substance in the remedy. Although the mechanism of how they work has not yet been completely described; there have been a number of careful experiments that consistently show that the remedies have a physiological effect.

The principle of the Minimum Dose applies not only to this purification of the remedy but also to the fact that the cure is effected by the patient and the remedy given by the homœopath initiates the process but does not force it. Only such intervention as is necessary to begin the healing process and to encourage its continuation should be given.

Homœopathy views illness in an holistic way and sees it as affecting the entire person. Symptoms of all types and in all planes: the mental, emotional and physical, are all seen as the expressions of a central disturbance. A Single Remedy is therefore the ideal way in which to respond to this disturbance and to return the patient to a state of harmony.

When consulting a homœopath the patient is asked to talk about the details of his or her illness, character and history. The homœopath is much more interested in things that are unusual or characteristic of the patient and his or her disease and less interested in things that are common to the disease or to humanity in general. By discovering what is special about the patient and the disease expressed by the patient, he or she can find the remedy that most closely matches the patient's disease and which will be most likely to bring about a cure.

Homœopathy, when practised well, achieves impressive results. However, to practise well requires a great deal of knowledge, experience and skill. Many people are tempted to take shortcuts and this usually results in a much lesser level of success. There are also many people who use potentized remedies (often referred to as homœopathic) in a non homœopathic manner again with varying degrees of success.

© Copyright 2005 The Institute of Homœopathy