The Whole Picture
Hahnemann reasoned that the only way that the vital force can show that it is weakened is by causing the body to produce symptoms. Symptoms are therefore the body’s way of communicating to us that something is wrong and it needs help to fix it. The conventional view is that symptoms are the problem and drugs are used to treat the symptoms. In holistic terms, this is shooting the messenger! We do not get sick unless there is a reason. This could be a sudden change in our circumstances or a longer-term exposure to something that we cannot effectively cope with. It is important, when considering treatment, to look at factors such as nutrition, lifestyle and environment. It may be that in addition to finding the appropriate remedy, changes need to be made in one or more of these factors. It may even be that an alternative therapy to homeopathy may be needed instead! The point of this is that we do not need to fear illness – it can usually teach us something about ourselves, if only we would listen! It also means that healing is our own responsibility – nobody else can do it for us!
Based on the above, if a homeopath is to prescribe for a chronic complaint it is important for them to obtain as complete a picture as possible about the person being treated. However, for acute conditions, knowing about the general state of the whole person is not necessarily appropriate! Nevertheless, sufficient detail concerning the acute state needs to be gathered for a remedy to be selected with confidence.
The key to successful homeopathic prescribing lies in paying close attention to symptoms so that the remedy that most closely matches those symptoms can be selected. This means not only considering those symptoms that we commonly present at the doctor’s (sore throat, stomach-ache, etc) but adding the detail of each symptom. The sore throat may then become “a sore, rough pain that feels like a splinter on swallowing, worse on the right side but better for warm drinks.” This is why the homeopath is interested in symptoms and details that a GP usually considers irrelevant.