In other respects also Hahnemann was ahead of his time in his thinking. For instance he postulated the theory that disease was in most cases not merely local but systemic, that local symptoms were but outward and visible signs of inward metabolic dysfunction, that many so-called acute illnesses were but a flare-up or exacerbation of a deep-seated smouldering disorder or toxicosis.
In consequence he argued that in treating an illness it is the whole person who should be considered and not just the local manifestations of the trouble.
It is interesting to note that many diseases thought at one time to be local in nature have within recent years been found to be systemic diseases with local manifestations; to mention but three-Lupus Erythematosus, Grave’s Disease and Diabetes mellitus.
In general terms it can be said that the absorption of a foreign substance into the body results in tissue reactions or responses. The nature of these reactions is widespread, complex and elusive. In effect they may be helpful-health-protecting, health- restoring-or the reverse. If this reaction is adequate “health” will be maintained; if it is inadequate, damage, disorder and disease will result.
Homoeopathy suggests, and claims as the result of decades of clinical experience, that this vital protective and curative response can be boosted and enhanced by a medicinal substance capable of providing a stimulus similar to that which causes disease. Moreover, that the remedy most likely to induce this effect is one which can induce a “drug-disease” having similar symptoms, if given in sufficient dose.
The symptoms of which a sick person complains, or which can be detected by a trained observer, are the result of the various reactions occurring in the tissues. they constitute “the outward and observable signs of the inward metabolic disturbance”.
Further, all the varying details of the symptoms are a highly individual matter. These personal, and often peculiar, details reveal what is of extreme importance, the way in which the particular sick individual is reacting at any given time.
Another aspect of Hahnemann’s clear thinking was his realisation of the folly and fallacy of routine prescribing by diagnostic label. In other words the uniqueness of the individual calls for treatment suited to the individual sufferer. It becomes a problem of dealing with a particular illness in a particular person.
The details of symptoms differ from one case to another although a common label may be attached. It is these details which are personal and particular, that are important homoeopathically, for a remedy must be sought which possesses similar symptoms in its materia medica picture.
Further, these symptoms are present in a particular person, and it has been found that there is often a correspondence between the characteristics of a drug and the constitutional and temperamental characteristics of the individual sufferer.
It can become possible, therefore, to suit a remedy not merely to the particular features of the symptoms but also to the particular type of the sick person. All this makes for an accuracy in prescribing that is absent from treatment by rote.
That this method of therapy does give results in the cure of disease and relief of suffering is a matter of history, of innumerable factual records. To explain just how it achieves this is not easy. Hahnemann did not find it easy, and simply stated that the “drug disease” over-came the “natural disease” when suitably matched, which, of course, did not explain anything.
As a result of modern research along biochemical and biophysical lines certain phenomena have been brought to light, such as resistance, immunity, allergy and other forms of tissue activity and reactivity.