2011 January

Jan's column: What does it mean: homeopathy treats the patient but not the disease?

by Jan Scholten

I just read an article on a website, titled: "What does it mean:homeopathy treats the patient but not the disease? It is a foolish concept. How do you treat a patient without treating the disease?"
It is an old statement, I think, originating from Margery Blacky, but it indeed sounds a bit foolish. Of course, homeopathy treats the disease. That is what the patient is coming for; he wants to get rid of his complaints.
The confusion arises from the word disease. In conventional medicine, eczema is a disease, asthma is a disease, and so on. Seen from the homeopathic point of view, however, those are symptoms or syndromes but not diseases as such. It is like fever; in medieval times, fever was considered a disease, a diagnosis. In our times, it is clear that fever is a symptom and not a disease as such.
Broadly speaking, one can say that diagnoses in conventional medicine are not real diagnoses, just descriptions of symptoms. The real diagnosis is the homeopathic remedy. I have discussed this in my article "Diagnosis Yellow flower" (Diagnosis Yellow-flower). The regular diagnosis can be compared to the plant identification "yellow flower", where all plants with yellow flowers are identified as such. There are however, many different plants with yellow flowers, like sunflower, dandelion, buttercup, and so on; these can be compared with the homeopathic diagnosis.
So, why did the statement "homeopathy treats the patient not the disease" arise? I think it is from the realization that regular diagnoses are not the diseases, and consequently, that is not what we are treating in homeopathy. This statement, nevertheless, is confusing because we are definitely not treating the patient, the person; we are only treating his/her problem, not him/herself.
These considerations have led me not to use the above statement. It is confusing and even wrong, leading to unnecessary criticism. It is much clearer to state that in homeopathy disease is seen as something different than in conventional medicine, and I have noticed that the comparison with plant identification is often very clarifying.

Categories: Columns
Keywords: homeopathy, patient, disease


Write a comment

  • Required fields are marked with *.

Showing comments 1 to 10 of 14 | Next | Last

Posts: 18
suffering ...disease
Reply #14 on : Mon April 01, 2013, 12:37:06
i forgot that the documentary
Die Akte Aluminium also showed studies that had found out that Aluminium can reproduceably
used to induce Allergies..

they gave mise while growing food together with smal doses of Aluminium and they regularly became allergic on the food that had been given.

The same mechanism is found in humans, as the Al shows to have the abillity to enter in the body
in a way that inprints the immunological system to overreact to substances coming with it...

Posts: 18
disease and suffering......individual ......collective
Reply #13 on : Mon April 01, 2013, 12:07:25
there is the suffering that brings the patient to us, disease wording is changing with time....

there is the self healing potencial that lies in the patterns unconsciuos to the patient and there is more potencial to our knowledge:

patterns that we can read that point out to even deeper layers and to preventive possibillities: what i mean ?

On Arte TV there was an exellent documentary under the title : Die Akte Aluminium

( in the moment this film is not openly accessible, but i hope it might become so again in a helpfull context)

This documentary shows how Aluminium is produced in our time and how it is not an element of the body. They showed people that had got Alzheimers disease or breast cancer because of the Aluminium in the products that they took as they were suffering "harmless" symptoms as sour eructations ( antacida with aluminium) or
sweating ( deodoratns with aluminium) . The guy had naively taken antacida with aluminium as he had sour eructations. Than he got Alzheimer and we know : with the poisoning symptoms of Alumina....The film showed that Aluminium is everywhere today and that it is without doubts also in the natural cicles....( guess about the growing of Dementia and Alzehimer...and the causes: who investigates those and makes numbersprojektions to it ?)

The film showed were in the global level the missing link is, because the production of Aluminium is very poisonous and because of the missing global ecological laws to make producers accountable people get killed not only in the third world. But also : the symptoms of Alumina were counted out in this film quite often, as people got poisoned by alopathic or cosmetic products. It seems that the all pervading contamination with Aluminium, as it is in so many products, will for shure produce a big number of Alzheimer and dementia patients that will need the social budgets that we see in these days of crisis beiing cut down everywhere.

Maybe it could be an issue for the collegues in UK who had the bitter blow from the lobby of alopathic chemistry pharma against their practise

to formulate our insigths on the levels that could enable comparative studies of a new level....?

because we Homeopaths have also to see that the ballance on the planet is kept...to help us stay healthy, isn't it ? Imagine a modern society with many many Alzheimer patients...or changes coming about ...


Posts: 18
Reply #12 on : Sat April 30, 2011, 10:44:19
Well i agree with Mr. JAn. it should be like this, Homeopathy treats disease not the patient.

Posts: 18
Goals of Medicine
Reply #11 on : Sat January 08, 2011, 19:55:25
How true Jan, we often tend to flog an expression or idea that has lost its originality or force through overuse! I am sure Marjorie Blackie must have said this in some relevant context. Even Hahnemann held the view (Aphorism 13, 6th edition) that it is absurd to view disease as separate from the living whole. We have similar dichotomies in social sciences too - eradicating poverty and not merely getting rid of the poor, and hoping to reduce crime by merely eliminating the criminals. Most governments try to get their numbers right without healing the social fabric.

Hahnemann did talk of “lifting and annihilation of the disease in its entire extent” in Aphorism 2. However Homeopathy differs from modern medicine in one distinct way – Homeopathy’s aim is to allow the “rational spirit to freely avail itself of this living, healthy instrument for the higher purpose of our existence”. Modern medicine by contrast has no defined aim or goal other than “to save and prolong life” (Hanson, Mark & Callahan, Daniel, (Editors): The Goals of Medicine-The Forgotten Issues in Health Care Reform, Georgetown University Press, 2001 & Pellegrino, Edmund: The Goals and Ends of Medicine- How are they Defined, page 55-The Goals of Medicine-The Forgotten Issues in Health Care Reform, Georgetown University Press, 2001).

Posts: 18
treating the patient and not the disease
Reply #10 on : Mon January 03, 2011, 08:05:52
With this sentence "Homoeopaths treats the patient and Not the disease," I guess it was meant to give the depth of treatment homoeopathic science offers. It meant to be a step forward of treatment and not a step down, but i understand [as Jan mentions] people do get confused with this terms, specifically those people who are used to the conventional mindsets, who are not aware of what actually the Disease is. That which an allopath calls a disease is actually is not the Actual disease but just a manifestation of something deeper - a deranged VF. For them, this sentence may look a bit confusing but I also am sure that when they are explained well, and when they experience the charm of homoeopathy, they too will agree upon the fact that "Homoeopathy treats the Patient and Not the Disease." I often use this sentence: "Homoeopathy treats Patient along with his disease," when I need to explain the depth of our science and its potential of healing to a conventional doctor. Thank you Jan for initiating this issue, it was a pleasure to know people's frank opinion about it.
Last Edit: January 05, 2011, 04:34:44 by *  

Posts: 18
what is treated is not allway the same
Reply #9 on : Sun January 02, 2011, 09:53:57
I have often been in the situation of having to explain to clients how homeopathy works, or what I am searching for.

The comparison, that reflects that I am not treating e.g. the arm, but the whole person is in a certain sense, in certain situations good enough. But if it is an acute arm accident this would not be the perfect way to explain it.

It has become more specified since we can speak about the -unconscious- sensation which is
showing best what remedy would activate the self-healing abilities of the client. In this way,
it is easily understood that I cannot try to ask the arm alone about this. Most people are familiar with the notion of the unconscious that Freud has brought into our cultural understanding.

Speaking about unconscious habitual patterns of
self-defense that keep the energy in ways too narrow for further growth, gives the metaphor
that makes it clear how the homeopathic process
works, by making the energy conscious and available. This helps to understand and tolerate the reappearance of old symptoms.

I dont think that opposing "the person" and "the disease" is a good idea. Re reading in Tinus Smits - Inspiring Homeopathy - i must say i tend to see it as he has described it: the idea of a status of "health" seems to be more like an illusion. This meaning that there is not such
comparison as health - disease, but only a continuum. We are part of a greater life and being healthy or conscious is also socialy working.

Ruth L
Last Edit: January 03, 2011, 07:41:51 by *  

Posts: 18
Patient and Disease
Reply #8 on : Sun January 02, 2011, 09:49:32
I think Jan is right in that way that we should adapt medicines to what is “undoubtedly morbid in the patient” (§ 3). It is like the two sides of a coin, as it is the patient suffering from a diseased state, both on the level of the deranged VF, as well as it is shown by means of symptoms THROUGHOUT the whole person, but it is not the whole of the person. –
As we see in §§ 34 to 42 about dissimilar diseases, there may be sometimes more than one disease state in a person. With Kent s statement in mind, “treat the patient and not the disease”, we might fail to see e.g. why in cases of co-existing dissimilar diseases Hahnemann recommends the well-timed alternation of remedies for each of these diseases (note to § 40), such as AIDS and malaria in the same patient. – Hahnemann in my eyes is clearer: “these useless and misused names of diseases ought to have no influence on the practice of the true physician” (note 2 to § 81). (Sources: Organon – Boericke-edition, Repertory of Kent).

Posts: 18
Treuherz's comment
Reply #7 on : Sun January 02, 2011, 02:36:18
Rings true for me - not an either or situation. Our remedies have affinities and when known, power to us. Beg to differ with Nagabhushanam in that I don't see allopaths treating by giving disease specific remedy...a) they don't treat really, they intervene, and b) they don't give remedies that heal, they give drugs that are suppressive/harmful, and c) they don't match to the disease name/diagnosis (supposedly their area of expertise), they just give some substance that alters the chemistry, hormones or somethg that seems to stop the pain or problem they see to be a problem but can not say that is addressing the disease - granted, they can say that they stop for a period of time the outward manifestation of the complaint/problem.
I would agree with Jan Scholten to say that we do treat the disease, as I understand that we, homeopathically, are treating the person in a state of disease...if a person is not in a state (of disease) than s/he is resonating fully as a healthy human being and is not diseased.
However, it is a matter of semantics really, as Sandvoss and Marty B are inline with my view as well.

Posts: 18
Reply #6 on : Sat January 01, 2011, 18:39:17
Thanks Jan, well worth mentioning. I think some of the confusion arises from how much we tend to compartmentalize things in general, especially parts of ourselves, in two (like body and mind), or in many pieces, disconnected. We disconnect our diseases from ourselves. But it's not how complex life expresses itself. The part reflects the whole, and as much as we are or can be treating the whole, the parts will be treated as well. Whereas, conventionally, its the opposite, you treat the part expecting the whole to get better, which it doesn't in any broad or lasting way. It's as if the patient and disease somehow don't relate. In homeopathy we need to know how the expression of the local disease patterns itself with the expression of the person. Perhaps another amendment might say: treating the person heals the disease.
Last Edit: January 01, 2011, 19:55:13 by *  

Posts: 18
the patient not the disease
Reply #5 on : Sat January 01, 2011, 16:30:43
Yes, it would be a big mistake to state that Homeopathy is not treating the patient.
Disease and persons can't be separated, it is the individual at dis-ease.
The underlying predisposition for disease must also be included and treated to achieve a lasting cure. This is what Hahnemann discovered later in his life by developing his miasm theory.
This is why he added §5 to his Oganon of Medicine:

"Useful to the physician in assisting him to cure are the particulars of the most probable exciting cause of the acute disease, as also the most significant points in the whole history of the chronic disease, to enable him to discover its fundamental cause, which is generally due to a chronic miasm. In these investigations, the ascertainable physical constitution of the patient (especially when the disease is chronic), his moral and intellectual character, his occupation, mode of living and habits, his social and domestic relations, his age, sexual function, etc., are to be taken into consideration."
Last Edit: January 01, 2011, 19:53:26 by *  
Showing comments 1 to 10 of 14 | Next | Last