Homeopathy 102: Matchmaking symptoms to remedies
I have started studying classical homeopath Mary Aspinwall’s free course on Homeopathy and am making cliff notes of what I’m learning. The first post was about Homeopathy’s fundamental law, the Law of Similars.
In order to use the remedies of Homeopathy, one must make as exact a match as possible between a person’s symptoms, and the symptoms that a remedy is know to produce in healthy testers. Mary calls this “matchmaking”. Only when there is a good match will the remedy be right, and truly homeopathic (“of same suffering”) for the person.
In order to find just the right remedy, a homeopath will ask for details of your sickness just like any other doctor. But he will not stop there. Homeopathy involves holistic treatment of the whole person. Therefore the homeopath needs to understand all the features that belong to you as an individual. This includes your reactions to various factors, your past and family history and your mental make up. It includes your food preferences, the way you sleep/dream, anxieties, and patterns of behaviour.
Here are a few questions a homeopath might ask on the subject of perspiration (Sankaran, n.d.):
• How much do you sweat?
• Where and on what part do you sweat most?
• Do you perspire on the palms or soles?
• Is the sweat warm, cold, clammy, sticky, musty, greasy, stiffens the linen etc.?
• What is the smell like? e.g. foul, pungent, sour, urinous.10
• What colour does it stain the clothing?
• Is the stain easy to wash off or difficult?
• Any symptoms after sweating?
• When do you get fever or chill?
• What brings it on?
• Do you experience any sense of heat or cold in
• any part of your body at any particular time?
• Do you have burning or heat in your palms or soles?
And here are some that he might ask about your sleeping habits:
• Describe your posture in sleep,
• on the back, side, abdomen etc.
• Are you able to sleep in any position?
• In which position you can’t sleep?
• During sleep do you :
• Snore? Grind teeth?
• Dribble saliva? Sweat?
• Keep eyes or mouth open?
• Walk? Talk? Moan? Weep?
• Become restless? Wake up with a jerk?
• Describe if anything else is unusual
• about your sleep : ( Sleepy,
• Sleeplessness, etc. if so when )
• How much do you cover?
• Do you have to uncover any parts?
As you can see, these questions are very detailed – and very odd if all you know is conventional medicine! But they are there for a reason. These questions were born from the personal symptoms experienced by remedy testers (“provers”), which they wrote down in minute detail.
Once all the symptoms of a case have been gathered, research begins. Symptoms are looked up in one or more repertories (books of symptoms that name corresponding remedies). Then remedies are looked up in the homeopathic Materia Medica (book of remedies with all their symptoms) to see whether a certain remedy’s other recorded symptoms fit the case. Nowadays there is homeopathic software, too.
Homeopathy is not only used for first aid purposes or to treat acute illnesses, but also for the treatment of chronic disease. These can be treated homeopathically, often successfully. However, chronic diseases usually take time to develop, and are deep-seated. Therefore it usually takes time for healing to be achieved, and is much more difficult than treating acute illness.
Moreover, it was Hahnemann’s conviction that people are born with certain weaknesses that make them susceptible to further illness. These weaknesses include the socalled psychological disorders, such as ADHD or autism. These can be treated homeopathically, often with great progress. However, this “constitutional treatment” of symptoms that lie at the core of a person involves regular detective work. Some people call it “the quest for the simillimum” (the simillimum is the remedy with the symptom complex most nearly approaching that of the case in question). It is an art, really, to find the constitutional remedy that fits the whole person, and is best left to the experienced professional.
Here is part of a “repertorising chart” to give an idea of the charts a homeopath uses to record a person’s symptoms and tick off possible medicines to check on. Mary explains that this chart is especially helpful in cases where a lot of possible medicines are listed, to help one keep track of which remedies seem to be the most similar to the complaints. The chart can be downloaded on Mary’s course site.
Since Mary’s course is for beginners who want to use Homeopathy for first aid purposes or to treat acute illnesses (which is quite straightforward), we’ll keep it simple for now. I thought of Rudyard Kipling’s very useful “six servants”. Perhaps you know his poem that begins with:
I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
In other words, ask open questions about problems in need of treatment that start with “What…?”, “Why…?”, “When…?” and so on in order to find the right remedy.
When it comes to your own illnesses, Mary calls this questioning “tuning in to what your body is asking for via its symptoms”. When you give your body the right remedy (that matches the symptoms) you give it what it needs to activate its own healing powers.
Aspinwall, M. (n.d.). Mary’s FREE Homeopathy Course. Retrieved on Feb 12th, 2020 from https://maryaspinwall.com/marys-free-course-exploring-Homeopathy/
Sankaran, R. (n.d.). Case record form for adults. Retrieved on Feb 15th, 2020 from https://www.sankaransclinic.com/