'So what the hell does that title even mean!?' I hear you asking. Well partly it was just a way to grab your attention but talk about a hugely important aspect of, not just homeopathy, but health in general.
How do we know a treatment is making us healthier (or sicker, in fact!)? It may seem obvious. I mean you just feel better don't you? Well it's not quite as simple as that.
Let me illustrate. I was chatting to a friend the other day and he was telling me how he used to have arthritic joints. The doctors decided to treat him with Hydrochloroquine and unfortunately, or so it seemed, he developed an intense reaction- an itchy rash that started at his head and worked its way down to his toes then disappeared. . The doctors were mystified. However, the joints healed and the doctors put it down to an allergic reaction. But the moment he told me the story I realised that that was no allergic reaction, but a curative reaction based on a Law of Cure developed by a famous 19th century homeopath called Constantine Hering (and this is no red herring!! :-))
Hering's Law of Cure states that the following occurs when a person is moving to better health:
Symptoms move from more internal organs to the external ones (so, in my friend's case, his joints improved and he developed a rash on his skin)
Symptoms move from above downwards. (again, in my friend's case the rash started on his head and moved down his body before disappearing)
Symptoms disappear in the reverse order in which they appeared (quite often patients say "Oh after your remedy I briefly developed a headache which was exactly like what I used to get years a go")
It is like the body has a way of processing things in order to optimise its health. Unfortunately, a majority of health professionals don't know this reference and this can lead to patient harm. For instance when a drug suppresses a skin eruption and then the patient develops asthma. In fact this happens more frequently that one might expect. We are intelligent bodily systems and our body is always trying to throw off disease from the internal to the external, if unimpeded.
And another thing... Symptoms are just signs of a disorder, not the disorder itself. (Read that again... it's so important!). If a car's oil light comes on we look at the engine, we don't rip out the oil light! The disorder lies more internally.
By knowing these simple maxims we can learn to trust our body's processes, see symptoms as signs of disease and resist the desire to suppress symptoms with drugs unnecessarily. Of course there are times when we just need to ensure survival of the body and conventional medications and treatments are really good at this.
My friend was delighted to hear my explanation and said it made perfect sense and that it was the first time he had been able to understand what had happened to him. And for me it was so interesting to hear of a conventional treatment that perfectly followed Hering's Law of Cure!