Concluding our series of blog posts around the principles of homeopathy, as developed by Dr Samuel Hahnemann, UK homeopath Gill Graham talks about the fourth principle of homeopathy and shares facts around the worldwide use of homeopathy:
Homeopathic remedies are made from natural substances such as plants, minerals, animals but the process of their manufacture is unlike that of any other medicine. A remedy made from a specific substance is put through a process of serial dilution, the end result being a very dilute extract is made. Each step of this dilution involves the substance being shaken with force; homeopathically this is referred to as ‘succussion.’ It has been found that by succusing in this way the remedy becomes active and dynamic (generally latent in its crude form) and the degree of the succussion produces a final potency of a remedy which will be given in accordance with the presenting vital force.
Fundamentally, potentization means that a substance has been prepared according to homeopathic philosophy and homeopathic pharmaceutical standards, through serial dilution and succussion.
To show the extent of its popularity, even in the wake of fanatical sceptisism by institutions of often dubious repute, over 200 million people worldwide use homeopathy on a regular basis, which undoubtedly is testament to its effectiveness. It is included in the national health systems of a number of countries e.g. Brazil, Chile, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Switzerland, United Kingdom. 10% of people in the UK use homeopathy, an estimated 6 million people. There are over 400 doctors in the UK that use homeopathy, regulated by the Faculty of Homeopathy and promoted by the British Homeopathic Association. In the NHS approx. 40,000 homeopathic prescriptions are provided to patients per year by doctors working within the homeopathic service. There were originally 5 homeopathic hospitals (Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Bristol and Tunbridge Wells). Tunbridge Wells closed in 2007 and in 2010, the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital changed its name to the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine. There are more than 1,500 professional homeopaths (non-medically qualified homeopaths) in the UK, regulated by the Society of Homeopaths (65%), Alliance of Registered Homeopaths and Homeopathic Medical Association. They largely operate in private practice outside the NHS. In addition, there are many vets that use homeopathy as an integral part of their practice. Randomised controlled trials, clinical outcome studies and observational studies are ongoing via The Clinical Outcome Research in Homeopathy data base (CORE-hom). It currently comprises over 1015 clinical trials in homeopathy and is updated regularly as new trials are completed. (Source: Homeopathy Research Institute.) In addition, there are many other research projects continuously being performed throughout the world by a variety of eminent institutions.
The objective of summarizing the underlying homeopathic principles was to help and clarify philosophy and practice, whilst also discussing the extent of its popularity as a system of medicine world wide. Even though homeopathy is over 200 years old, confusion still exists as to its foundations, its underlying philosophy, and its role in health care; hopefully any grey areas are now clearer. Please feel free to share if you think others would benefit.