You already know or at least assume that homeopathy is ‘holistic’ just like other forms of alternative medicine. Homeopaths will consider all of the patient’s complaints in their diagnosis, will strive to make the patient better on the whole, and so on.
This philosophical basis is of course the ideal foundation of all forms of natural medicine, and are embodied in the principles of naturopathic medicine. But there are features which further distinguish classical homeopathy even from many forms of alternative medicine. The following is one such feature.
Homeopathyic diagnosis leads directly to treatment
What makes the homeopathic perspective especially powerful is that the homeopathic diagnosis leads directly to homeopathic treatment. This is markedly different from conventional medicine where a clear diagnosis does not necessarily guarantee clear or effective treatment.
For example, in the case of the very common condition of hypertension, diagnosis is simple — three repeated blood-pressure measurements exceeding 140/90 are usually considered diagnostic — but treatment involves the permanent intake of drugs which do not resolve the underlying problem and cause side-effects of their own. Similarly, in chronic conditions such as asthma, allergies, arthritis and various skin aliments, diagnosis will often be obvious from the clinical signs, yet treatment is both usually complicated and frequently ineffective.
The homeopathic diagnostic method
Homeopathic diagnosis relies on a sophisticated and thorough clinical methodology. A typical first appointment lasts 1 to 2 hours or more, during which the patient is asked to describe his or her concerns in great detail (if needed, with the assistance of family members).
With the help of very specific yet open-ended questions the patient is led exactly to describe the symptomatology and own experience of the disease. Following that, areas which the patient has not already touched on are enquired about: major illnesses, traumatic events, childhood history, recurrent dreams, fears, food cravings or aversions, reaction to weather, etc. This allows for information from diverse aspects of the patient’s life to be used in determining the picture (recurrent pattern, morphology) of the disease.
The resulting diagnosis is only mildly dependent on the diagnostic label (‘flu’, ‘diabetes’, ‘depression’); rather, it is based mainly on many small details about the pathology (when did it begin in relation to stressful events in the person’s life? what is the exact sensation? what factors make it better or worse?) and about the person in general (stress factors, lifestyle and hobbies, physical constitution). So it may happen that two people with arthritis will receive completely different homeopathic treatment, and conversely that one homeopathic treatment can be effective for addressing multiple diseases.
This clinical approach, unique to classical homeopathy, results in superior clinical effectiveness by addressing much beyond the patient’s chief complaint. Homeopathic treatment typiclaly improves secondary complaints (in those who have more than one illness), and will increase energy, improve mood, and enhance overall vitality and joy-of-life