A Guide To Homeopathy
Classical homeopathy is a challenging system of treatment that relies on profound understanding of the magnificent complexity of human beings. Homeopathy regards health as more than the absence of pathologic symptoms. The goal of homeopathic therapy is to enable each of us to attain a level of health and well-being that is not only free of symptoms but also allows the free expression of our fullest potential in life.
Human beings are not simply the sum total of their aches, pains, and other symptoms. There is also a core, or soul, that energizes the body and manifests the adaptive symptoms with intelligence and purpose. To stimulate the process of healing, the homeopath must perceive the underlying cause of each patient's disease.
Each of us experiences key moments in our life, often beginning early and continuing throughout our lifetime, when we encounter stress of situations that are difficult to reconcile, and our organism begins to devise strategies that enable us to survive. This process can occur even without our being overtly aware of it, simply by the natural workings of our nervous system. The homeopath strives to understand the unique dilemma that each patient has evolved.
The philosophy of homeopathy holds that the mind and body are not separate. The emotions affect the organs, the musculature, and hormonal cycles, and the shifting processes of the body affect the mind and the emotions. Every human experience leaves some residue in the physical body and in the "emotional body." For this reason, the homeopathic process begins with a personal interview. During this initial interview, the homeopath will ask an extensive range of questions. It is important to achieve a complete understanding of the state of health on the physical, mental, and emotional planes. The homeopath also takes into consideration the energy level and how the individual responds to their environment.
According to homeopathic philosophy, the definition of health is the ability to express ones potential freely, to act in a flexible and creative fashion, without undue limitation. Each person is a unique individual, with special creative talents and specific challenges. For example, a child who is born with an abnormality in her physical body, such as a club foot, might not be able to become a ballet dancer, yet she can be healthy in mind and emotions and express her creativity in other ways. This is in contrast to individuals who have a sound physical body but have emotional or mental problems that severely limit their ability to function. Thus the homeopath views each person as an individual and attempts to perceive the source and causes of their limitations or expression.
A New Model For Understanding Health And Disease
The Wound, the Wall, and the Mask
As patterns of symptoms, pathology, and disease are observed, a model of health and disease begins to emerge. In health, our bodies respond to stress in a variety of ways and maintain a balance of function. This process of continual balance is known as homeostasis. However, when the trauma or stress placed on an individual exceeds their ability to respond, their vital force or internal defense mechanisms will be unable to neutralize the stress. Many individuals have early experiences that created enormous stress upon their systems. These original traumas create what is referred to as the wound.
A wound is created when an individual is confronted with a traumatic experience that sudden, unexpected, or potentially life-threatening. The individual has no control over this experience and is unable to respond effectively to deflect the event. Overt examples of this type of trauma include having one's house destroyed by a fire or natural disaster, being permanently injured as the result of an automobile accident, and contracting a serious acute infection. A wound can also be caused by emotional experiences that can range from living in a family that does not express normal affection and nurturing or being physically or sexually abused by a parent. Individuals can also be wounded by witnessing violence of living through a war.
After the wound has occurred, the organism begins to produce a set of symptoms that act to protect or shield the raw "injury" of the wound. The symptoms of the wall represent the best adaptation that the wounded individual is capable of producing. In other words, the wall is a defense or survival mechanism for the individual. This is most easily understood if we consider the symptoms of the common cold: These might include fever, lethargy, and the production of mucus. These symptoms are an intelligent response to a viral infection. The fever speeds up enzymatic processes and mobilizes specialized cells in the immune system that combat the virus. The lethargy requires physical rest so that all available energy is being used to overcome the cold. Mucus has two functions: It contains immunoglobulins that help the body prevent further invasion, and it protects the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract while it acts to drain viral or bacterial organisms for the body.
Thus the symptoms of a cold a re survival mechanisms that have meaning and purpose. In homeopathy, the goal is not the removal of symptoms but the recognition and removal of the underlying cause of the symptoms. For this reason, the correct homeopathic remedy is based on understanding the whole person rather than matching the symptoms of the disease. Using homeopathy or other forms of therapy to suppress or remove selected symptoms might not really be in the best interest of the organism as a whole. When treatment is directed at symptom removal rather than the alleviation of the true irritation or cause, an essential form of protection or defense of the body may be inadvertently removed.
The symptoms produced by the body (the defense mechanism or wall) affect all levels of function: mental, emotional, and physical. For example, the lowered vitality of an individual can cause problems in the immune system, difficulty in the digestion or assimilation of food, or difficulty sleeping. All of the presenting symptoms of the patient, including the chief complaint, behavioral tendencies, and the patients personality traits, are symptoms of the wall.
We can make an analogy between the wall and a dressing that is placed over an injury. At first, the dressing protects the injury from contamination or further trauma. If the dressing is left on for a very long time however, it can become a source of injury in itself: it can constrict the flow of blood and prevent light and air from circulating around the wound. Eventually it will damage the healthy skin around the wound or become, in itself, a source of infection. Similarly, the symptoms of the wall can be problematic rather than the curative solution.
The wall is an attempt by the organism to protect the wound--an attempt to reconstruct the world following a traumatic experience. The wall surrounds the individual, forming a barrier that limits contact with the world and other people. The wound cannot be healed if no opening exists in the wall. The wall is originally a defensive mechanism, but it ultimately results in loss of freedom and impairment of health and creative expression.
If the chosen remedy matches the coping mechanism exactly and addresses both the core trauma and the resulting survival mode, the remedy will initiate the reconnect ion of the original and succeeding traumas, arouse the vital force, and begin to dismantle the wall. This remedy is referred to as the simillimum, which means that the substance it is made from is capable of producing similar symptoms in healthy individuals. The remedy represents the perfect energetic match and is capable of stimulating and reordering the vitality of the individual so that the secondary symptoms of the wall will become Unnecessary. When this occurs, the adaptive symptoms will gradually reduce in intensity.
The mask is the second layer of defense erected by the individual as a form of protection. The mask represents a more superficial layer than the wall. It is a diversion, a protective persona, the public self. The primary function of the mask is to project an image that is different from how the individual is actually feeling. For example, some people smile even when they are feeling extremely sad. This projection to the outside world diverts attention from the place of deep injury within.
The wound is a traumatic event or inherited sensitivity that usually occurs early in life. The wall is a set of adaptive changes that the organism creates to compensate for or protect the wound. This wall consists of all the physical symptoms and complaints combined with emotional and mental tendencies The mask is the outward personality that the individual projects to the world. The production of a wall and mask uses energy and can drain the vitality of an individual, leaving them subject to allergies, infections, and other forms of ill health. The homeopathic remedy stimulates the core vitality and begins a reorganization of the system so that the wound can begin to heal and wall and mask can dissolve. The result is a return to greater health, an increase of energy, and a renewed freedom from limitations.