Homeopathy as an Alternative Medicine
Homeopathy is based on the similarity principal: Similar things are supposed to be healed by similar things.
Samuel Hahnemann was the founder of homeopathy. He was a great observer and realized that many illnesses occur without many symptoms and when the patient is sick, he often does not realize it. According to his observations, it is not only the patient who does not realize that he is sick, but also his body's own immune system. This animation "homeopathy" demonstrates this theory by using the example of athlete’s foot. The patient ran around the pool barefoot and got infected with athlete’s foot. The fungus feels very comfortable inside the skin and a skin fungus disease occurs. However, the patient does not feel any of what’s going on with his foot. Hahnemann`s teachings are based on symptom-oriented medicine, which means that if there are no symptoms – for example pain or itching – there is not going to be an response from the immune system and the patient cannot get healthy. It was his opinion that if the stimulus was increased with the same disease-inflicting agents, the immune system would become aware of the disease or illness and jump into action; only then could the patient be healed. In our case, he gives the swimmer the same fungus and hopes that the swimmer regains his health.
This assumption gave the treatment the name “homeopathy,” from the Greek hómoios, meaning “the same” or “similar,” and pathos, meaning “the suffering” or “the disease.” A disease is treated with the triggering cause, or a kind of tit for tat. The teachings mirrored the knowledge about immune system response at the time. However, immunity procedures known today are much more complex. Just because we do not see or feel them does not mean that our body is not working against them. In general, we hardly feel slow moving processes. Take an old, continuously bedridden patient for example. They often remain in one particular position for an extended period of time until they lie themselves sore. However, only movement causes pain; so long as they are immobile in one particular position, they remain pain free.
Homeopathic theses have been somewhat forgotten. Today, homeopathy is more of a counterpart in opposition to treatment-oriented conventional medicine. Treatment-oriented means the patient is treated to death. Pharmaceutical companies value the chronically ill patient: Imagine if all high blood pressure patients, all diabetics, et cetera, were suddenly cured. Human warmth, compassion and time have become rare in contemporary conventional medicine. This has surely contributed to “conventional medicine’s” bad reputation and supported the emergence of alternative methods of treatment known as “alternative medicine.” This is not necessarily useful, because in the sometimes fanatical struggle between supporters of conventional and alternative medicine, a certain group is often not served best: Patients.
The right approach is prevention-oriented medicine. Unfortunately, this is still in its infancy! Why is that so? Today, treatment and symptom-oriented medicine – meaning homeopathy – is a lucrative field. Many people believe that homeopathy is something natural and biological while conventional medicine represents the chemical mace. These assumptions are completely false and this will be illustrated in an example shortly. For example penicillin, a well-known antibiotic, is a product made from mold. Nature is an eternal battleground: Plants fight with bacteria and microbes just as much as we do. During the course of evolution, many of these plants have developed substances to efficiently defend themselves against microorganisms. Many of these natural substances are the foundation for contemporary medications.
One positive development in conventional medicine is that the trend has gone more and more toward evidence-based medicine. Reputable medical departments do not base their treatment regime on the opinion of one dominant boss or on the support budgets of pharmaceutical companies anymore, but rather on well-researched data, referred to as evidence based data. Although such departments are still the minority, evidence-based medicine is clearly gaining ground.
On this point, homeopathy lags behind medicine. Many treatments are based on hearsay and personal observations. Standards, which are applied to evidence-based medicine in terms of traceability of treatment efficacy, are missing in homeopathy, even though they both work with similar medications. The consumer uses products much more carelessly as soon he reads “homeopathic” on the label. It is ignorant to distinguish between conventional, alternative, orthomolecular or homeopathic medicine. Medicine is medicine, and the same standards should apply to all treatments and medications. The significant benefit of all treatments, medications and treatments should be well-documented through reliable studies.
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