The Origins of Homeopathy
By James McVeigh, clinic assistant
The ideas of homeopathy were first put forward by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, in 1807. Originally he had made his living as a village doctor, before becoming disillusioned with the inadequacies of early 19th Century medicine which often worsened rather than healed conditions. More than a decade later, he learned how the bark of a Peruvian tree can help treat malaria. When he tried consuming this bark whilst healthy to test its effects, he developed symptoms similar to those of the early stages of the disease. From this, he became convinced that ‘like cures like’, a principle first put forward by the 16th Century chemist Paracelsus.
Upon further research he developed his newly christened science of ‘Homeopathy‘ with the ideas of potentization and succussion. Succession is a method of shaking involving elastic and is combined with dilutions of a substance that generates similar symptoms to the target disease. This method causes the substance to become ‘potentized’, retaining its therapeutic effects and losing the negative symptoms.
He also put forward the idea of ‘miasms’ which are deep-rooted causes of diseases that affect the vitality of the sufferer. The importance of miasms is that the treatment of just the symptoms is not guaranteed to be effective, as the underlying problem is not addressed.
Homeopathy declined in the late 19th to early 20th Century, but underwent a resurgence in the 1970s, largely due to the efforts of the greek Homeopath George Vithoulkas. He studied the practice in South Africa and India before returning to Greece and starting a school, centre, journal and society for Homeopathy. His work established Homeopathy as a credible medical treatment system in Greece, later expanding this to much of the West, including the UK.
Homeopathy is available in Bristol here at the Natural Health Clinic with the practitioner Lyn Clark. Additionally, a new service will soon be starting at the clinic; Homeopathy for All. This will be an effort to reduce the costs involved in seeking treatment to ensure everyone can benefit from the therapy.