Many of the homeopathic remedies are so diluted that according to the known laws of physics and chemistry, they couldn’t possibly have any effect. Once you get beyond a certain point-24x or 12c -there is probably not even one single molecule of the original active substance remaining. This fact is often pointed to by critics of homeopathy as they dismiss the effect of homeopathy as merely due to placebo effect.
And yet, according to homeopathic doctrine and experience, the more diluted the solution, the more potent it is. Homeopaths contend that the remedies work and they see no reason to stop using them simply because we do not understand how they work. They often argue that pharmacologists cannot explain exactly how most conventional drugs work. For example, even aspirin is not fully understood in terms of how it works, but physicians have no difficulty in recommending its use.
Over the years several theories have been proposed to explain the action on homeopathic potentization.
The effects of microdoses have been known for a long time, and there are a number of examples that support the idea that very diluted concentrations of a substance will have a measurable and sometimes profound effect. Scientists call this phenomenon: hormesis.
Scientists from Michigan State University have shown how hormesis work in nature. They used microdoses of a fertilizer to stimulate crop production. In a dose equivalent to a 9x dilution, the fertilizer increased tomato yield by 30 percent, carrots were 21 percent bigger, and corn yield increased by 25 percent.
Our own bodies secrete minute amounts of hormones that have powerful effects. Thyroid hormone is present in our blood at only 1 part per 10 billion-yet this is enough to regulate the rate of our entire metabolism. Many animal studies show that low doses of some substances elicit a beneficial response while high doses are harmful. This phenomenon has been documented to occur with radiation, antibiotics, and heavy metals.
Pheromones are powerful aromatic hormone-like substances that creatures secrete to attract one another. One molecule of moth pheromone is so potent, it will attract another moth from miles away and trigger a cascade of physical reactions. Though well documented, the exact mechanism for pheromones remains unknown.
Homeopathic Remedies Work in Spiritual/Energy Plane and Not in Physical Plane
Homeopathic remedies are believed to work in the spiritual plane as opposed to the physical plane as we are used to think and measure. Hahnemann believed that dilution and succussion released a spirit- like power that worked on the spiritual level of the vital force in humans. We are familiar with the formerly invisible, immeasurable, unknowable energy forms, such as electromagnetic radiation and subatomic particles. Magnets exerted their force long before science could explain the mechanism. Physicists are still trying to explain gravity and the nature of matter, still discovering phenomena such as the “strong force” and the “weak force.”
Homeopathy is an energy medicine, as are acupuncture and therapeutic touch. Homeopaths believe that although the physical molecules of the original substance may be gone, dilution and succussion leaves something behind-an imprint of its essence, or its energy pattern-that gives it a kind of healing charge. Potentization does not occur if you simply dilute the substance, even if you dilute it repeatedly. Nor does it occur if you only shake the substance vigorously. There is something about each process that builds sequentially upon the other, causing the power to be retained and progressively intensified.
But how does the information in such a minute amount of substance get transferred to the body? Some theorists suggest the repeated succussion creates an electrochemical pattern that is stored in the water carrier and then spreads like liquid crystallization through the body’s own water; others say the dilution process triggers an electromagnetic imprinting that directly affects the electro- magnetic field of the body. This concept is used in other therapies also. For example, Ayurveda suggests taking water that has been potentizated by precious metals such as gold. The water is believed to possess curative power as a result of coming in contact with gold and other gemstones although no molecular transfer takes place. The healing power of crystals and magnets are believed to come from their effect on the energy pattern or vibration frequency. So, the suggestion of the homeopathic remedies as working on the energy plane may not be as far fetched as we may think at the first glance.
Homeopathic Remedies Activate the Vital Force
Homeopaths believe that it is the energy or “vibrational pattern” of the remedy, rather than the chemical content, that stimulates the healing by activating what Hahnemann called the Vital force. Vital force is the healing power or energy that exists within us all. It is called by the name Chi by Chinese and Prana by Indian Ayurveda. The vital force fuels the mind, body, emotions and mind. It keeps us healthy and balanced. When the balance of the vital force is disturbed by factors such as stress, pollution, improper diet and lack of exercise, it becomes weakened resulting in the person getting sick. (For a description of the Chinese philosophy of the vital force, please refer to the section on Acupuncture. For the Ayurvedic concept of the vital force, please read the corresponding section of the Ayurveda.)
Scientists who accept the potential benefits of homeopathic theory suggest several theories to explain how highly diluted homeopathic medicines may act. Using recent developments in quantum physics, they have proposed that electromagnetic energy in the medicines may interact with the body on some level. Researchers in physical chemistry have proposed the “memory of water” theory, whereby the structure of the water-alcohol solution is altered by the medicine during the process of dilution and retains this structure even after none of the actual substance remains.
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