Homoeopathy: A truly holistic system of medicine

Dr Sushikshitha S A

ABSTRACT:
BACKGROUND: In the modern world different systems of medicine claim themselves to be a holistic system of medicine, but what is the true definition of holism in medicine? According to homoeopathic philosophy the homoeopathic system of medicine is one of the truly holistic system of medicine as it encapsules the definition of holism according to medical aspects. The purpose of this article is to show case the relations that make homoeopathic system of medicine truly holistic in nature.

KEYWORDS: Homoeopathy, Holistic system, evolution of medicine, Homoeopathic Philosophy.

INTRODUCTION:

According to medicine the definition of holistic is characterized by the treatment of the whole person, considering mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease and according to philosophy it is characterized by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

To understand the concept of holism we need to dig deeper into philosophy. It is philosophy that teaches us how to live with the uncertainty of homoeopathy.

Philosophy and concept of holism:
In organic theory of Aristotle, he says that every particular or parts are organically related, so they should be seen as a whole and should not be taken as identities separately. Homoeopathy depends in the organic theory of Aristotle in the organic level. We look into the organism as a single unit for treatment as well as for the study purpose.

The whole or totality is always more than the mathematical summation of individual parts – Organic theory of Hegel. In his philosophical concept of “part and whole relationship” we can see the intimate relationship between the philosophies of Hahnemann and Hegel.

The basic idea of holism is the contribution of Aristotle and Hegel but when Hahnemann forwarded the holistic system, he made it in such a way, that when we prescribe a medicine, we should consider all the physical and mental aspects of the individual.

Evolution of medicine and the holistic concept:
During the ancient times diseases were evil forces treated with witchcraft and by priests. There was a fact that the cause of the disease was intrinsic and not extrinsic in nature and the whole man was said to be diseased. As the medicine started evolving with the evolving civilisations different concepts as to the cause of disease came into play. A lot of discoveries like cellular pathology, tissues and organs lead to more  mechanical mode of thought and the concept of disease as local disorder. There was thus a shift in the emphasis from intrinsic to extrinsic factors as the cause of disease. Robert Koch (1843-1910) and Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) established the microbes as a cause of disease and thus emphasis was once again shifted from the host to the environment, from intrinsic to extrinsic factors. The importance of the natural resistance or susceptibility of the host to adverse environmental stimuli was consequently ignored with excessive preoccupation with germs and later viruses (external factors of causation of disease). Therefore, in the scientific era the micro-organisms have taken the place of the evil spirits and demons of earlier times that attack the body and must be got rid of.

According to homoeopathic philosophy the whole body is diseased and never a single part. Hahnemann’s (1755-1843) concept that tissue changes(pathology) are the effects of disease and not the cause. He conceived of disease in its deeper implication and wider perspective as a biological phenomenon of “altered life” (biological concept). Hence in the art of case taking every detail as to the alteration in the physical functions, mental functions, family history, menstrual history, personal history, environment, and social factors are given importance to as to find the cause of the disease or in finding the perfect Simillimum.

Holism in terms of human evolution:
It is considered that the human evolved from having no restrictions and rules in their basic desires and intuitions, to being restricted of their own desires and thoughts when they started civilising from being nomads who did what they desired and wished. This suppression of basic desires leads to the beginning stage of diseases in terms of physical illness. This evolution highlights the corelation between the mental wellbeing to the physical wellbeing of humans. Hence the holistic system of medicines needs to include both the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of the patient in terms of treatment and care.

Homoeopathic system of medicine and holism:
If we go to the definition of WHO for health, it states –“A complete state of physical, mental and social well-being and not merely, the absence of disease.”

Homoeopathic system of medicine is the only system that has the holistic method in treatment and cure. It holistically comprises the phenomena of disease, patient, and the treatment.

Hahnemann conveyed through Organon of medicine “it’s the patient and not the disease which is only to be cured.” So, to gain complete cure proper totality of the person must be taken. No symptoms must be left out. This including physical, mental and any factors affecting the health of the patient.

Homoeopathic Materia medica is the embodiment of true holistic pharmacological work. Drug proving is another unquestionable evidence of true holism of homoeopathy. Both pathological and dynamic changes are real, and they combine to form the disease and they together give the essence of the disease.

Holism implies that the parts in a system relate interactively; that body, mind and spirit are all aspects of a whole being and that all individuals are involved in a web of interrelationships with the world, its mineral, plant, and animal constituents. Apropos of which, the healing agents used in homeopathy derive from mineral, plant and animal sources and are used according to the principles.

According to Stuart Close, a human being is something more than a miscellaneous assortment of eyes, ears, nose, throat, lungs etc., which if left to the ordinary physicians, usually treat as if they were independent of each other.

Homoeopathic system of medicine hence is a true holistic system of medicine starting from the collection of all symptoms effecting health to the cure of the patient through remedies that are proven scientifically through a set of principles mentioned.

References:

  1. Hahnemann S. Organon of medicine. B. Jain publishers; 2002.
  2. Close S. The genius of homoeopathy: lectures and essays on homoeopathic philosophy. Indian Books & Periodicals Publishers; 2005.
  3. Rajendran ES. New Lights Lectures on Homoeopathy and Philosophy.
  4. Park K. Park’s textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine. India: Bhanot Publishers; 2017.
  5. Why study with us [Internet]. The School of Homeopathy’s RSS. [cited 2022Nov13]. Available from: https://www.homeopathyschool.com/why-study-with-us/
  6. Bidani N. Dr Diwan Harish Chand: 7th March 1924–13th December 2011. Homeopathy. 2012;101(2):138..

Dr Sushikshitha S A
MD Student, Father Mullers Homoeopathic Medical College Mangalore.

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