What happens to the body when it encounters a pathogen? An inborn error of genes? A bee sting? It is the same for all events that may cause a stress on our body, or dis-ease. The simplicity of the body is as follows: there is a change in physiology. If the change in physiology is not addressed, pathology ensues.
Physiology, from a naturopathic medicine perspective, and in my opinion, a perspective that should be acknowledged by all healers, doctors, teachers, etc. is that physiology encompasses more than just physical physiology, but mental, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Rightfully so, the physiological changes in physiology are the most important for survival, however they are not necessarily the key to unlock the healing process. That key requires a full-body door to be opened.
So if healing means that it requires a change in our physiology away from pathology, how does medicine then treat our physiology? Simple answer: in the exact same way as the disease started in the first place. The medicine must tell your physiology to turn backwards to healing, rather than to create further changes in physiology that lead to pathology.
This is the difference between drugs and medicine. Which, to a degree, are the same thing. Anything that is a drug produces toxic effects in the body – that is, side effects (or changes physiology) that if ignored, will cause further damage if consumed in excessive doses. Most medicines are toxic. If taken too much or in a high dose, will produce in most cases, changes in physiology. Conventional medicines have been tested to ensure that the proper dose is respected in order to achieve a change in one aspect of physiology. For the most part, they are tested on the specific disease targeted.
The classic example is coffee, both a drug and a medicine. There are many other examples, as this is the principle behind medicine.
This physiological action also links to nutrition, in that, changes in physiology will also lead to changes in basic nutritional needs in order to maintain the changes in physiology. And so, nutrition is one very large factor in healing. Have you noticed when you are dehydrated you’re more thirsty? That if you have high blood pressure you are more likely to crave salt? Your cravings, desires, and aversions are indicative of the changes in physiology, and your body trying to maintain itself. Same can be said for body temperature. Your body will tell you what it needs. These changes begin long before the end-stage. Your body is in a dynamic equilibrium – the basic equation of chemical reactions. And so, the more closely you look at these small changes, the greater degree we can assess what is going on in your physiology.
Homeopathic medicine is tested in a completely different way. In order to determine the action of a substance found in nature, it is tested on a healthy individual. It is taken for a certain period of time, everyday. This person, or the prover, then records all changes in physiology ranging from physical symptoms, mental changes, emotional changes, behavioral, and even dreams. A number of provers will prove the same remedy, and the collection of symptoms are then categorized into a materia medica.
The symptoms which have been the most strange (i.e. are not « normal » for the prover in terms of typical changes in their physiology), or most intense or frequent, and which have been expressed in the most number of provers, are considered the most reliable symptoms when narrowing down a remedy. This is indicative of the effect the remedy has on the physiology of the body.
And so, when the collection of these symptoms are expressed in a person who comes into my office, I then ask them the questions in order to determine which remedy best suits them, and is most similar to them.
Why diluted remedies? Because they are non-toxic. And typically, I do not give the remedy frequently – unless it is needed. More frequent repetitions of a remedy are indicated when a person is continually exposed to the stressor.
If you are not a believer in homeopathy, the best way is to do a proving and see for yourself!
I do, however, believe that homeopathy is not the only path to healing. Plants, nutrition, social balance, all have an important part to play. The School of Medicine has skewed away from the philosophy held by the great medical thinkers such as Hippocrates. I am hopeful that this will not always be the case. The training of a homeopathic doctor is a hard one (from experience) but it is very rewarding!