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What is Classical Homeopathy?

Daniel Liden
Updated May 16, 2024
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Classical homeopathy is an alternative medical practice based on treating patients with diluted solutions of substances that cause symptoms similar to those expressed by the patient. An individual with a headache, for example, would be treated with a highly diluted solution of some substance that causes headaches. The underlying rule of classical homeopathy is that "like cures like." Those who accept the theories behind homeopathy believe that the diluted symptom-causing substance stimulates an individual's "vital force," causing the body's defenses to fight the original illness. There is no solid scientific explanation for how such a cure could occur, and many clinical trials have shown that homeopathy is not particularly effective, but some people have had success with homeopathy as a treatment method.

One of the main differences between modern homeopathy and classical homeopathy is the use of combinatorial remedies. Classical homeopathy is based almost entirely on single cures in which a single substance intended to fight a single symptom is diluted and given to a patient. In combinatorial homeopathy, a variety of substances are combined in the same remedy either to treat several of the symptoms of a complex illness or because the substances are believed to have a synergistic effect in treating a single illness. In other cases, it may be difficult to determine exactly what the problem or illness is or the symptom may be vague and difficult to tie to a single remedy.

Another element of classical homeopathy that is often lacking from contemporary combinatorial homeopathy is the focus on the patient's physical and psychological state. Before a single remedy is prescribed, a homeopathic physician will often spend a great deal of time examining the patient's health history and current physical and psychological condition. Only after performing such a detailed examination will he decide how best to treat the patient.

Depending on where one intends to practice, it is often necessary to receive accreditation before one can work in the field of classical homeopathy. Many people interested in such a career choose to attend a traditional medical school first before specializing in homeopathic medicine. Others attend medical schools devoted exclusively to teaching either combinatorial or classical homeopathy.

The efficacy of both contemporary and classical homeopathy has been called into question countless times since the early development of the field. It has been noted that the level of dilution is often so extreme that no element of the original substance remains after a series of dilutions. Repeated trials have indicated that homeopathic treatment is no more effective than a placebo. Some isolated trials, however, have suggested that homeopathic treatment may be effective in some cases.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Daniel Liden
By Daniel Liden , Former Writer
Daniel Liden, a talented writer with a passion for cutting-edge topics and data analysis, brings a unique perspective to his work. With a diverse academic background, he crafts compelling content on complex subjects, showcasing his ability to effectively communicate intricate ideas. He is skilled at understanding and connecting with target audiences, making him a valuable contributor.

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Daniel Liden

Daniel Liden

Former Writer

Daniel Liden, a talented writer with a passion for cutting-edge topics and data analysis, brings a unique perspective to...
Learn more
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