What is Homeopathy?

A Brief History of Health Systems in the Western World  what is homeopathy

What is Homeopathy, Vitality and Energetic Medicine?

Homeopathy is the most recent and modern form of holistic / energetic medicine, which also includes Traditional Chinese Medicine & Ayurveda. Another term for “energetic” is “vitalistic” – a form of medicine aimed at increasing vitality or the vital force of an individual.

Homeopathy was created about 200 years ago by German medical doctors who became disillusioned with the side-effects of chemical drugs used during their time (see previous page). They created a principle of healing based on restoring the body’s healing abilities, which very quickly became the main alternative approach of treatment in Europe.

Homeopathy is widely used as a system of medicine in many parts of the world. For example. in Germany, there are over 10,000 practitioners and several major homeopathic pharmaceutical companies. It is a regulated sector, and partly publicly-funded by the State. France and Switzerland are other major centres where about 70% of medical doctors recommend it. Homeopathy was introduced in the 19th Century in the UK by the father of Nobel Prize Laureate, Pierre Curie. The British introduced it to many parts of their Empire. For example. India is now one of the major centres of homeopathy.

There, it is part of the medical system and it is estimated that between 20% and 50% use homeopathy or Ayurveda (the Indian traditional medical system). Thierry Clerc is a member of the editorial team of HPATHY, the biggest homeopathic resource and e-magazine, which is based in India.
Other major centres include South-Africa, Cuba and South America where homeopathy is seen as a cheaper alternative to conventional chemical medication.

What is energetic or holistic medicine?

The body self-regulates constantly. Without thinking, during the past minute, you will have breathed between 12 and 20 times, let your heart beat between 60 and 100 times, and replaced 180,000,000 red blood cells. Every 3-4 days, your stomach and intestines’ inner linings are replaced. Some experts estimate that we have around 10 million self-regulating metrics that are constantly in check.

Thought, food or physical activity will subtly upset this balance, but only temporarily in a healthy person. However, if some of these metrics are constantly out of the range that represents balance, then the likelihood of disease increases.

Disease is defined as an inability to achieve balance naturally. Every form of holistic medicine is aimed at helping to support the body and our amazing self-regulating abilities. In conclusion, the healing power is in the patient, and the practitioner will only try to unlock the potential within.
This is often why we say that homeopathy or any other form of energetic approach treats nothing. However, it allows through a rigorous process, to re-generate the healing abilities of the sick.

What are the principles of Homeopathy?

The first question a homeopath should ask is “why has disease arrived?” and “why is the body not re-balancing itself?”. The healing process is based on understanding precisely what has caused a particular person to develop some sets of symptoms.
If we accept that human beings are self-regulating organisms, then the primary action will be on helping to provide a good environment to the sick person, so that self-healing can occur. Access to good quality food, clean water, managing emotional balance and good quality sleep are important. Then, the most likely causes or triggers of imbalances need to be addressed. Very common issues include:

  • poor nutrition habits & lifestyle: the body cannot function without good quality food
  • chronic stress, anxiety or associated negative emotions: stress chemicals can cause chaos in the long term
    physical and emotional traumas
  • long term use of drugs (toxins, alcohol, cigarette, illegal drugs, medical drugs): long-term exposure to toxins can bring side-effects and reduce the way the body self-regulates.

What has caused an individual to develop disease may be very different from someone else, and a homeopathic support plan will take this into account.

If you wish a simple explanation, you can find a useful video here:


The biphasic effect – how the body compensates & homeopathy works

The body uses two phases to re-balance. It will first respond to the physical impact of the disturbance and then will provide an opposite action to re-balance this impact and bring back normality. Depending on the issue and the strength of the organism, this re-balancing effect can take longer and be more difficult.
For example, drinking coffee may raise the heart rate and make the person more alert. This is due to the caffeine and others chemicals acting on the body and the mind.

The initial response will be a feeling of being more awake, or excited, and more deeper changes can include heart palpitations and loss of sleep. This is the initial phase. However, the body will organize mechanism to restore healthy balance: often, people get thirsty after a coffee, or want to defecate, as these can be some of the mechanisms used by the body to eliminate the chemicals and restore balance. This is the biphasic effect.
Homeopathic remedies use the biphasic effect of any given substance to re-balance the body’s vitality.

There are two principles that makes a remedy homeopathic:

  • First, it uses the biphasic effect that allows the body’s own mechanisms and vitality to reach homeostatic balance (see above).
  • Second, the dose provided must be as small as possible while still effecting the recipient, directly following the Hippocratic principle “First, do not harm” and Paracelsus’ Philosophy (“the dose is the poison”).

The first homeopaths were using remedies slightly diluted, from 1% to 10%, but they realized that by actively shaking the product during each dilution, they would get a stronger response. They were then able to dilute the remedies even more, reducing even more any risk of poisoning.
The last Section of this page has a very useful “Questions & Answers on Homeopathy”. It covers the issue of ultra-dilution.

How do chemical drugs work?

Conventional medical drugs come directly from the healing philosophies developed by the Cnidians in Greece and popularized in Europe during the Age of Rationalism (see previous page – “a short history of health”).

The concept is to use chemicals or medications that will force the body back into balance. This is usually effective in the short term at reducing symptoms. It is extremely successful and very often necessary when there is a threat to the life of the patient and time is short.
However, there are some major issues with this approach. The first is that it rarely takes into account the specificity of the condition for a particular patient, and very often, a practitioner will not try and address the underlying cause of the issue. For example, there are about6 classes of medications used to reduce high-blood pressure which is one of the top-3 killers in most industrialized countries.

It is easier to produce a “one for all” drug so, these types of drugs each work on a specific body process that will block high blood pressure, in complete disregard of what the actual cause may be.
For example, diuretics, one of the most common hypertensive drugs, work by forcing the kidneys to flush water out of the body. As the blood is made of 99% water, some of it will be taken out of the blood, thus reducing the blood volume… less blood volume, means less blood pressure.
Using this approach for a chronic issue may not be a long-term cure however. Using the example of high-blood pressure, most people are asked to take these drugs everyday for life. This is because the chemical in the drug will force the body to reduce the blood pressure. However, if the underlying causes have not been addressed, the body will keeping getting back to the same level of high-blood pressure… requiring the use of more and more drugs.
This would not be a problem if this approach didn’t cause side-effects.

Here are the common side-effects of the use of diuretics, as reported by www.drugs.com:
– Kidney & Hepatic issues (side effects, failure, congestion, hepatitis): As the artificial drug is filtered through by the liver, and acts on the kidneys, both organs will be slowly affected by it.
– Hypersensitivity (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash): as the drugs flush out water in the system… common side-effects of water shortage are common
– Psychiatric & Nervous system: peripheral neuropathy, paresthesias, numbness, and tingling in the extremities, depression occurs in 2% to 28% of patients. When the kidneys flush out water, key-nutrients for the nervous system.
– Metabolic problems: may increase bad cholesterol (LDL) by 12/50%.
– Immunologic: up to 20% of patients develop a SLE (lupus) syndrome.
– Cardiovascular: restriction in blood supply resulting in loss of organs (ischemia) in patients with underlying issues.
Others: musculo-skeletal, oncologic, Endocrine, Gastrointestinal, Hematologic, Genitourinary, Respiratory…
These issues are all due to the diuretic drugs and are more and more likely to occur, the longer someone is on this medication.

We do not advocate stopping drugs and in many cases, they are necessary until long-lasting changes can be implemented in a natural way.

However, very often, if it is safe to do so, and your General Practitioner agrees, it is possible to try and change lifestyle and nutrition, with holistic support, before putting someone on medication.
Even if someone is on medication, it may be possible to reduce the side-effects or the amount required while receiving holistic support, as well as it might be able to help rebalancing the body systems so that the medications can be ultimately reduced and stopped. This is best achieved with the agreement of the GP and regular tests to see that the body is responding well to the therapies.

Some common questions about homeopathy & holistic medicine

I hear in the press that homeopathic pills can not work because there is nothing in it. Can you explain how they work?

This is missing the point about energetic medicine. First, most homeopathic remedies sold in French and German pharmacies do have actual chemical substances in them so homeopathy does not necessarily equate with water or sugar pills with no chemicals! For example, Heel and Boiron, the two biggest homeopathic pharmaceutical companies in the world sell remedies having between 1% to 10% of active substance, which is much more than many common medical drugs.
There are two principles that makes a remedy homeopathic:
– First, it uses the biphasic effect that allows the body’s own mechanisms and vitality to reach homeostatic balance (see first section of this page).
– Second, the dose provided must be as small as possible while still effecting the recipient, directly following the Hippocratic principle “First, do not harm” and Paracelsus’ Philosophy (“the dose is the poison”)
The first homeopaths were using remedies diluted, but they realised that by actively shaking the product during each dilution, they would get a stronger response. They were then able to dilute the remedies even more, reducing even more any risk of poisoning.
After a range of dilutions and shaking, homeopathic remedies reach the “Avogadro number”. They are then unlikely to have any chemicals in them. This baffled and split the homeopathic community at the end of the 19th Century. However, there is more and more evidence about positive effects of homeopathic ultra-diluted remedies and of their surprising electromagnetic pattern. See News on Homeopathy on this site to see reference to unbiased medical evidence.
Some people claim there is “nothing in” the remedies, so they cannot work”; but they usually do not have true understanding of the principles of healing, nor investigated the evidence.

So in that case, what is homeopathy, and what makes a remedy homeopathic?

Please, see the first section of this page.

However, I hear that this is just placebo or the power of persuasion?

Research confirms that homeopathic treatment gives results better than placebo. Homeopathy is effective on very young children and animals, two groups who are not supposed to be open to persuasion. You do not need to “believe” in homeopathy for it to work.

Several senior scientists and doctors, including Nobel Prize winners, have now publicly backed homeopathy. For example, when asked about it, Professor Luc Montagnier, Nobel Laureate & Medical Virologist responded the following: “High dilutions of something are not nothing. There are water structures, which mimic the original molecules. It is not pseudoscience. It is not quackery. These real phenomena, which deserve further study.”

Is the biphasic effect used in conventional medicine?

Yes. The term is called “hormesis”. This concept was developed in the 1940’s in the US when it was realised that mice that had been impacted by low-dose of radiation were more likely to survive a high-level of radiation. The scientists who discovered this concept thought it would revolutionise treatment, but were then publicly criticised as proponent of homeopathy.
This principle became slowly and quietly introduced by the pharmaceutical industry from the 1970’s. For example, radiation can prove lethal in high doses yet is used at low levels in a precisely targeted way, to treat cancer. Warfarin is a well-known blood thinning medication; yet in high doses it is actually a blood clotting agent, used in the pest industry to kill rodents.
Using the biphasic effect of the body however does not make a remedy homeopathic. As homeopathy is a “vitalistic medicine”, the aim is to disturb the body as little as possible. Medications using hormesis, such as warfarin or radiation, given at a high-enough dose will still produce side-effects.

Is Homeopathy safe?

Homeopathic remedies are made of a wide range of products, ranging from safe herbs to very poisons. However, a homeopathic remedy will always be prepared (diluted and shaken) so that it is 100% safe, with little or no toxic component in it.

However, can homeopathy be dangerous because it delays people seeking proper medical care from their doctors?

In the UK and most of Europe, people will consult a homeopath after having seen their GP or Medical Doctors. This is because treatment by GP or Doctor is perceived as being “free” (or paid through taxation). As with medical doctors and GPs, registered homeopaths have undertaken rigorous training and follow a strict code of conduct. This includes advising the patient to seek conventional medical treatment when appropriate.

Is there evidence supporting homeopathy?

There is more and more evidence supporting homeopathy, including the backing of prominent scientists. Please refer to our Evidence-based Homeopathy section.

Do homeopaths have any medical training?

Registered homeopaths have to study for four years to qualify. Courses include anatomy and physiology, medications, pathologies, etc…. Homeopaths are bound by a strict code of ethics. If you choose a homeopath who is registered in an approved association, such as the ARH, you can be assured that he or she has a strong educational background.


Asa Hershoff, NS, “Homeopathic & Herbal Remedies”
Dr A. Horvilleur, “Guide Familial de l’homéopathie”
Dr A. Lockie “The Family Guide to Homeopathy”
Robin Murphy, ND, Homeopathic Remedy Guide
Samuel Hannehman, Organon of Medicine, 6th Edition
MERCK Manual, 2nd Home Edition
HEEL Laboratory
International Academy of Homo-toxicology

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A Brief History of Health Systems in the Western World  what is homeopathy

Thierry Clerc, MARH, RHom, MSc
Registered Health Practitioner, Cambridge (UK)
Clinical Homeopath, Bioresonance Therapist, Nutritionist