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What is Classical Homeopathy?

Classical Homeopathy refers to the practice of Homeopathy according to the tenets set forth by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann over two hundred years ago. As described in the blog post What is Homeopathy, it involves the use of a single remedy (made from a single plant, mineral or animal substance) in the minimum dose necessary to stimulate a healing response, the remedy having been chosen based upon the similarity of the totality of the symptoms elicited in provings of the remedy on healthy subjects to the totality of the symptoms observed in the patient (“like cures like”.)

Classical Homeopathy may be distinguished from other therapies which are called homeopathy, but which, strictly speaking, are not homeopathy. These might include therapies which use “combination” remedies, “isopathic” remedies,  or remedies chosen solely on the basis of the “doctrine of signatures” or solely on the basis of  plant kingdoms or  position in the periodic table of elements, or solely on the results of a group meditation on the remedy in question.

The use of combination remedies may have an effect, but this effect is unpredictable because there is no way of knowing which remedy in the combination is doing what and what is the effect of combining them.  If there is any therapeutic effect with a combination remedy it is unlikely that it will be lasting or curative in any holistic sense.

An isopathic remedy is one made from a potentized preparation of the supposed etiological agent of a given disease, for example, potentized DPT vaccine to treat the “side effects” of the vaccine. Some practitioners call this therapy “tautopathy” and would say that the isopathic remedy is extinguishing the lasting dynamic effects of the DPT vaccine. But, others would say that this isn’t really homeopathic because the remedy has not been “proven” in a healthy subject to reveal all its characteristics and then prescribed based on the tenet of “like cures like.”  Advocates of this type of treatment might say that it is useful in removing “obstacles to cure,” that the DPT vaccine (or whatever) is a maintaining cause of disease (like continued smoking or other unhealthy habits) preventing the homeopathically prescribed remedy from being effective.  Some practitioners report having had good success with “reverse chronological tautopathy,” a system for lifting the adverse effects of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, hormones, environmental toxins, etc. starting with the most recent exposure and working back to the most distant exposure before prescribing a homeopathic remedy based on the totality of symptoms in the whole person. I have not had enough experience with this method to take a position one way or the other.

The other systems which I have mentioned– the doctrine of signatures, plant kingdoms, families in the periodic table of elements, meditation provings – seem to me to be based on theories and speculation, not on scientific, experiential evidence. These ideas are creative and they do add something to finding the simillimum (the appropriate homeopathic remedy) but, as the only basis for a prescription, they are likely to lead the practitioner astray and are not homeopathy.  Again, some prominent and “successful” homeopaths base their prescriptions on these ideas and systems; for me, however, it seems simpler and less confusing to let the taking of the case and the repertorization lead me to the materia medica and remedy provings in choosing a remedy.

Without a doubt, imagination and creativity are important in homeopathy as in any scientific endeavor. The “ah ha” moment, the process of discerning  true symptoms and connecting seemingly disparate symptoms, expressions, pathology and ideas is critical to understanding a disease totality and to correlating that totality with that of a homeopathic remedy (the simillimum) and is a creative endeavor.

Classical Homeopathy, contrary to what its detractors say, and contrary to the systems which are called homeopathy in error, is highly scientific – in the true sense of the word – and is based on principles which are unchanging and time tested.