Centisimal & Decimal Scale
Trituration & Succussion
Fifty Millesimal scale
(Modified Techniques)
Scope of Homeopathy

Adapted From "The Genius Of Homeopathy" By Stuart Close

In the modern world, with multiple aids for diagnosis of disease, with homeopathy gaining popularity and homeopathic teachings becoming organized, the knowledge of the Scope of Homeopathy has somewhat lagged behind. It has been a neglected issue.Homeopaths, may be artistic in case taking, have an in depth knowledge of Materia Medica and be skilled in selecting the similimum, but are ignorant of the scope and limitations.

Hence, a sincere enthusiast may try to attempt the impossible, bringing ridicule upon him. Or, the ignorant homeopath may miss a golden opportunity and bring discredit upon homeopathy by resorting to unhomeopathic measures in cases, which could readily be cured by homoeopathic remedies. It is essential to understand the scope and limitations of the system and of one's self.

The homeopathic therapeutic principle is known; the methodology of prescribing has been developed; a large number of remedies have been proved and studied; but the field of action has not been clearly defined.

It is first necessary to discriminate between 'disease' per se, and the material end products in which the disease ultimates. With the latter, homeopathy primarily has nothing to do. It is concerned only with disease per se, in its primary, functional or dynamical aspect. It becomes necessary to carefully separate the primary, functional symptoms that represent the morbid process itself, from the secondary symptoms that represent the pathological end products of the disease. The gross, tangible lesions and products in which disease ultimates are not the primary object of the homoeopathic prescription.

Homeopathy may be defined as the Science of Vital Dynamics. Its field is the field of disordered vital phenomena and functional changes in the individual patient, irrespective of the name of the disease, or of its cause. Its object is the restoration of order and harmony in vital functioning in the individual patient.

The tangible things, which the examining physician finds in the body, are not the disease, but merely its effects. Hahnemann thus philosophically distinguishes between disease itself and its causes, occasions, conditions, products and phenomena, and in so doing shows clearly that the sphere of homeopathy is limited primarily to the functional changes from which the phenomena of disease arise.

The intelligent physician should first remove the causes of the disease and the obstacles to cure as far as possible before he addresses himself to the task of selecting and administering the remedy.

Removal of the pathological end products of disease, if it is advanced may have to be relegated to surgery. Hahnemann says, that every intelligent physician will first remove by appropriate means, as far as possible, every exciting and maintaining cause of disease and obstacle to cure, and endeavor to establish a correct and orderly course of living for his patient, with due regard to mental and physical hygiene. Failing to do this, nothing much can be accomplished by homoeopathic remedies, and what slight impression is made will be of short duration.

While gross pathological tissue changes, organic lesions, morphological disproportion, neoplasm and the physical effects of mechanical causes are not primarily within the domain of Similia, and therefore are not the object of homoeopathic treatment, the morbid processes from which they arise, or to which they lead, are amenable to homoeopathic medication. If homoeopathy does not have a scope as curative, it definitely has a scope as a palliative. Homoeopathic remedies, by virtue of their power to control vital functions and increase resistance, often exercise a favorable influence upon physical developments as well as upon the tangible products of disease or accident.

Thus, the growth of tumors may be retarded or arrested; absorption and repair promoted, even to a total removal of the morbid product or growth; secretions and excretions may be increased or decreased; eruptions, sores and ulcers healed. But all these happy tangible results are secondary to the real cure, which takes place solely in the functional or dynamical sphere, controlling metabolism, antidoting poisons, raising resistance and bringing about cure by the dynamical influence of the symptomatically similar remedy.

To understand the scope of homeopathy, one needs to first understand its limitations :
  1. Homoeopathy relates to no affection of health where the exciting cause of disease is constantly present and operative.
  2. It relates to no affections of health, which will, of themselves, cease after the removal of the exciting cause by physical, chemical or hygienic measures.
  3. It relates to no affections of health occasioned by the injury or destruction of tissues that are incapable of restoration.
  4. It relates to no affections of health, where the vital reactive power of the organism to medicines is exhausted, obstructed or prevented.
  5. It relates to no affection of health, the symptomatic likeness of which may not be perceptibly produced in the healthy organism by medical means, nor to affections in which such symptoms are not perceptible

The sphere of homeopathy is thus limited to those morbid functional conditions and processes that result from the dynamic action upon the living organism of morbific agents inimical to life.

The living organism may be acted upon or affected primarily in three ways:
(1) Mechanically,(2) Chemically,(3) Dynamically.

Mechanical Affections
This includes traumas, injuries and destruction of tissues resulting from physical force; morbid growths, formations and foreign substances; congenitally defective or absent organs or parts, prolapsed or displaced organs, etc. These conditions are related primarily to surgery, physical therapeutics and hygiene.

Chemical Affections
The destructive action of chemical poisons, acids and alkalis is a sufficient illustration of the chemical causes of disease. Diseases arising from these causes require the use of chemical or physiological antidotes. At the same time, all such agents also have secondary dynamic effects, which come within the sphere of homeopathy, combined in some cases with measures for the physical expulsion of the offending substances, followed by homoeopathic treatment for the functional derangement. It is believed that bacterias, parasites, fungi, viruses, that give rise to disease, must be expelled or destroyed by mechanical measures or by the administration of medicines capable of weakening or destroying them. This is seldom required in homeopathy, where the homeopathic medicines acting on the human organism, improve the susceptibility to such an extent that these organisms are automatically expelled or destroyed, with least harm to the organism.

Dynamic Affections
The effects of dynamical causes of disease come within the sphere of Similia.
These are very numerous and may be classified as

  1. Mental or psychical, atmospheric, thermal, telluric and climatic,
  2. Dietetic, hygienic, contagious, infectious and specific - the last three including all disorders arising from the use or abuse of drugs, and from all bacterial agents or pathogenic microorganisms which produce their effects through their specific toxins or alkaloids. Homoeopathy successfully treats such diseases, as cholera, yellow fever, typhus and typhoid fever, malarial fever, diphtheria, tuberculosis and pneumonia, by internal homoeopathic medicines, without resorting to bactericides, germicides or antiseptics.

It may be said:
  1. The homoeopathic law relates to no agents intended to affect the organism chemically.
  2. It relates to none applied for mechanical effect simply.
  3. It relates to none required in the development or support of the organism when in health.
  4. It relates to none employed directly to remove or destroy the parasites, which infest or prey upon the human body.
  5. The homeopathic law relates to no agents or drugs administered for their direct or so-called physiological effects.

Hahnemann also admits the utility and necessity of antipathic measures for restoration and palliation in certain emergencies. In a footnote to Aphorism 67, he says:
" Only in the most urgent cases, where danger to life and imminent death allow no time for the action of a homoeopathic remedy not hours, sometimes not even quarter hours and scarcely minutes in sudden accidents occurring to previously healthy individuals for example, in asphyxia and suspended animation from lightning, from suffocation, freezing, drowning, etc. It is admissible and judicious at all events as a preliminary measure, to stimulate the irritability and sensibility (the physical life) with a palliative, as for instance, with gentle electric shocks, with clysters of strong coffee, with a stimulating odor, gradual application of heat, etc. When this stimulation is effected, the play of vital organs goes on again in its former healthy manner, for there is here no disease to be removed, but merely an obstruction and suppression of the healthy vital force. To this category belong various antidotes to sudden poisonings; alkalis for mineral acids, hepar sulphuris for metallic poisons, coffee and camphor (and ipecacuanha) for poisoning by opium, etc. "

It is evident that there is a wafer thin line of demarcation between the scope of homeopathy and its limitations. The physician may very well understand the scope and limitations of homeopathy, but each physician must also be governed by his own individual judgment and the circumstances of the case. Hence, there will always be differences of opinion between individual physicians under such circumstances.

While striving always to perfect his knowledge of homeopathy, in order that he may meet any emergency and extend the borders of his art to the farthest limits, the homeopathic physician should never forget the necessities and the welfare of his patient are first.

"The physician's high and only mission is to restore the sick to health, to cure, as it is termed."

He will not allow either pride or prejudice to obscure his sense of his own limitations, nor those of his art.

Circumstances sometimes arise when the ablest prescriber will be compelled to tide over a period of unendurable suffering by the use of non-homeopathic measures and medicines to meet extraordinary emergencies. This is where he should employ the services of other fellow brethren; he does this without in the least degree lowering his standards, or bringing discredit upon the art and science of homeopathy. He does this knowing, perhaps, that if he had time and the circumstances permitted, he could do better. But time and circumstances are sometimes, at least temporarily, beyond his control.

A strategic retreat to another line of defense in war often gives a stronger base from which to lunch a successful attack. In cases of renal or hepatic colic, for example if the physician is firm and calm as well as skilful, and possesses the entire confidence of the patient and his family and friends, he may be able to alleviate the agonizing pain and carry such cases through to a happy termination by the use of homoeopathic remedies alone. It has often been done and when possible is the ideal way. But in circumstances that are not favorable, whatever may be the cause, the best course for the physician is to explain, retreat, educate and gain the confidence of the patient.