Holism in the homeopathic experience very directly demonstrates that a relationship exists between all organs and functions of the body. A multitude of potential relationships exists between the various body parts and functions. We give each set of related symptoms a specific disease name. Within any one disease, there are also multiple possibilities for the symptomatic expression of the disease. The pattern of relationships in disease is specific to the individual.
A homeopathic remedy represents an energetic influence on the body that will interact with any structure or function according to the patient’s need for healing. Similarly, the cause of a disease and all of its resultant symptoms is also the result of a specific influence on the patient. The matching of these two influences creates the healing power of a homeopathic remedy.
A specific set of effects is known to result when a homeopathic remedy is given. The remedy imparts information to a person and each part and function responds in a way that is specific to that remedy information and the nature of the organ responding.
The actions resulting from giving a homeopathic remedy are universal to all people. A specific set of responses will result in everyone taking the same remedy. Different doses of the remedy will be required to get a response in different people but the actions of the remedy are always the same. Also, a patient’s response is determined by the state of health they have in various organs or functions. Not all possible responses are seen in any one patient. A patient will respond only according to his susceptibilities and the type of influence he has encountered. A healthy organ or function will usually not have a response to a remedy.
For example the homeopathic remedy Arsenicum album is a common remedy to be used for many different clinical syndromes. The symptoms that the homeopathic remedy Arsenicum album is able to heal are the same symptoms that arsenic poisoning is able to create.
Symptoms Specific to Arsenicum Album
- Asthma or difficulty breathing that is worse around midnight and where the patient must sit up to breathe and he fears suffocation if he tries to lie down.
- Symptoms of food poisoning or infectious diarrhea where the stool has a putrid odor and is passed frequently in small amounts. The patient has pain of a burning character in the abdomen with vomiting. They desire cold drinks but vomit especially after drinking anything cold. They also cannot bear the sight or smell of food.
- Prone to eczema or psoriasis with intense itching of the scalp
- Swelling of the lower eyelids with a marked sensitivity to bright light
- History of either hay fever or acid reflux and heartburn
- Insomnia with anxious or restless sleep
- Chilly and has a hard time getting warm
- Anorexia nervosa
- Anxious and restless but easily exhausted
- Fastidious with a passion for order and cleanliness
- Perfectionist and at times critical or censorious of others
- Prone to rapid heartbeat or arrhythmias
- Prone to arthritis (often of either the hip or shoulder) or they have arthritis associated with psoriasis
This list of most common symptoms cured by arsenicum album is specific in that it includes these symptoms and excludes others. To prescribe arsenicum you need to have one of these symptoms present and not the opposite state. For example, arsenicum album is commonly helpful in food poisoning, but patients who are very warm blooded would not match arsenicum album well as a remedy. Also, patients who tend to be untidy or sloppy would not likely be helped by arsenicum.
Homeopathic Remedies and the Healing Response
A homeopathic remedy imparts a specific energetic influence on the body and a specific healing response results in each organ or function of the person. Of course, each organ can only respond according to its nature. A hip can only create a hip symptom and the stomach can only create a stomach symptom but the symptoms they produce each represent a response to the same influence.
The power of homeopathy results from the similarity of a remedy to the disease process in a patient. When we respond to a disease-causing influence, our symptoms are specific to that cause interacting with our unique set of susceptibilities. The remedy that will cure must have the ability to produce those same symptoms. The remedy in some way adds to the energy of the symptoms and brings about healing.
This is why the homeopathic remedy needs to match the totality of the patient’s symptoms to be maximally beneficial in healing whatever the cause of the disease is. Collecting symptoms together into a totality insures that a correct matching remedy will be found. The specific set of symptoms appearing in a disease is presumed in the homeopathic understanding of health to be the exact ones useful to overcome a specific susceptibility state in the patient. This concept is further explained in the video on the meaning of symptoms.
Just as a remedy represents a totality of symptoms, the totality of a disease complex represents the effects of one underlying cause of the disease. Thus, any symptom in any part of the body can be helpful in the process of discovering the underlying cause of the disease. Over 200 years, the various symptom complexes of many homeopathic remedies have been refined and can be related to the susceptibility that the disease symptom complex represents. The same remedies have been used over this time frame, similar diseases have been treated and similar underlying causes deduced. The human being has been equally holistic in his expressions of disease and his healing over these 200 years. What has proven true over time still remains true today.
This concept is further explored in the section on the purpose of Symptoms and Healing and the meaning of disease.