In modern medicine, symptoms are seen as the enemy, as the disease itself. Homeopathy, in contrast, recognizes that symptoms are merely the evidence, the manifestations or signposts, of the disease. While medicine seeks to destroy the symptoms, homeopathy challenges the underlying disease.
It is easy to see that modern medical treatment is generally limited to suppression and palliation. Sometimes, though, we forget that homeopathy can also be used in such a way that palliation or suppression, rather than our ultimate goal of cure, is the result. The differences between these outcomes may sometimes even be difficult to discern, but there are specific ways to distinguish among them.
With suppression, one or more symptoms disappear permanently, either quickly or slowly. The medicine need not be continued or repeated. The patient may continue to have other symptoms (which may not have been considered to be part of the original disease), or generally does not feel better. There is no evidence of a curative process. The patient may become immune to common infectious diseases, but may be increasingly susceptible to parasites. Often, although the patient seems physically improved, mental and emotional symptoms worsen. Eventually, after a period of seemingly good health, the patient becomes worse in some other function, experiences a crisis, and other, deeper and more serious symptoms appear.
In palliation, there is a temporary, sometimes dramatic, relief of symptoms without actually curing the disease from which they originated. If the remedy is discontinued, the symptoms quickly return. Other symptoms continue unchanged or worsen, new symptoms may appear, and there are no signs of cure. Over time, if the remedy is continued, the patient will deteriorate.
Cure is a profound overall improvement in health and enhanced well-being. The disease is removed in its entirety, with all its signs and symptoms. The effect is permanent and no further treatment is required. The patient's mental and emotional well-being is increased, and behavior returns to normal. Symptoms of the disease decrease and disappear. The patient is more physiologically resistant to disease.
There are certain signs of the curative process by which we know we are on the right track with our prescription:
1. Three to five days after the remedy is given, there is a homeopathic aggravation. This is a short-lived worsening of one or a related group of symptoms. While some symptoms may be increased, the patient still feels better overall; there is no depression, lethargy, loss of appetite, or other signs of illness.
2. Return of old symptoms. These are symptoms previously suppressed by drugs (or remedies!). The symptoms appear in a milder form than originally, and disappear rapidly. If the patient experienced multiple episodes of illness during its life, these symptoms will reappear in reverse order.
3. Return of original symptoms. These are the symptoms for which the curative remedy was prescribed. They may reappear for one or two days, often about a month after the remedy is given.
If symptoms have gone away, but none of these curative reactions has taken place, you should very carefully assess the case to be sure you have not palliated or suppressed with your prescription.
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Copyright © 2013, Jean C. Hofve, DVM
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- Last Updated: 16 November 2013