Vital Energy (1931)

In homeopathy we are more particularly concerned with dynamic energy. This dynamic energy Hahnemann called the dynamis, the spirit-like, vital force animating the material body. …

A thorough understanding of the subject of energy is a necessary foundation for the study of homeopathic philosophy, if the student is to understand the principles upon which the practice of Hahnemannian homeopathy is based.

Energy, as we understand it, is of a three-fold form, spiritual, dynamic and physical. In practical application we think of the source of energy as being a thing upon which we can draw. We draw upon spiritual energy, upon dynamic energy, upon physical energy. Because we speak of three forms of energy we do not mean that they are essentially different. They are not. The different forms shade insensibly into each other. Energy is a store-house of vitality which exists in all nature and it shall be our special effort to so train you that you may avail yourselves of the power which we call energy.

In homeopathy we are more particularly concerned with dynamic energy. This dynamic energy Hahnemann called the dynamis, the spirit-like, vital force animating the material body. In the human body we have present all three forms of energy, the physical in the tissues, the dynamic in the brain and nervous system, and the spiritual in the mind. This dynamis of the human organism inter-penetrates each and every physical tissue of the body, it does not sit apart and superintend the actions of the tissues and organs. It is the thing, the power, the force, upon which we depend for reaction. This brings us down to the practicality of taking advantage of this dynamic energy in our homeopathic prescribing. All energy, in its essence, consists of action and reaction, and this action and reaction are equal and opposite.


Now we come to the practical application. Disease, as we ordinarily understand it, originates in a disturbance of this dynamic energy. The harmony under which the vital, dynamic energy usually operates becomes disturbed. Its pace, its rhythm, its rate of vibration become changed in one way or another, and this disturbance reflects itself outwardly by means of symptoms. The appearance of the external symptoms is a manifestation of the internal storm. In speaking of these external manifestations we are not speaking of symptoms of arteries, of muscles, or of mind, but rather of universal symptoms shown in every part of the body, for the sick patient shows distress as a unit, and not as separate, single discrete changes or actions. Let us look upon disease as a unit of action moving in a certain direction, destined though it be. We must remain within the rhythm peculiar to our own vital force.- That rhythm is normally paced between certain limits and when these are overstepped, heightened beyond the normal or lowered under it, we have sickness. Thus sickness is a disturbance of the rhythm of the vital force, either increasing or lowering it, and such sickness is manifested by external symptoms.

In drawing upon this store-house of dynamic force within us we are also calling upon another force which acts almost synchronously with the disturbed vital force of the human body. If the pace were exactly synchronous there would be no effect. It acts by modifying the disturbing force by changing its rhythm. For example, in the case of a runaway train an engine is not sent in the opposite direction (allopathy) but in the same direction, following it. This engine or force acting in the same direction (homeopathy) changes the speed (pace) and rhythm of the runaway and checks the train (disease).

Symptoms show themselves in just the order above outlined, mental, dynamic, physical, but not every patient shows all symptoms in all three classes. One patient may show symptoms in the mental sphere, another in the dynamic sphere, and yet another in the physical sphere. Every patient will show some symptoms from all three spheres if careful search is made for them, but the symptoms shown will be more prominently marked in some one particular sphere.


Disorder or disturbance of the dynamis is called sickness, illness, disease, not at ease. This not being at ease presupposes some disturbance somewhere, which disturbance originates in the dynamic force of the body and restoration to order presupposes restoration of the normal dynamic action first and the physical afterwards. The dynamis of the body is resilient, just as a rubber ball pressed in on one place bulges in another. Distress, disease, injury of any part of the body shows in some other part. Allopathy attributes this to the reflexes. This disorder is disharmony, and to restore harmony a similar acting force must be applied. Such similar forces are of various kinds but the most similar and the best known at the present day is the potentised homeopathic remedy. How do we know this? We know it because the potentised drug when given to a well person, one without disorder, produces symptoms of disorder in the dynamis, and these symptoms represent distress, disturbance, picturing disease of one kind or another. We know it because the similar potentised remedy, administered to a sick person, tends to establish equilibrium and brings about a smoothness of action, a restoration to orderly action in the sick person. This constitutes the only logical and philosophical explanation of our homeopathic remedies ever expounded. Even that great philosopher, Emerson, recognised this to be true and whenever it was necessary called only a homeopathic physician.

The symptoms of disorder, due to many causes, produce an innumerable array of variations. Therefore remedies to be used to I restore harmony in disorder must display in their manifestations this same plasticity. They must, in their nature, be capable of having this same power of making numberless combinations of symptoms so that we may be able to fit them more or less approximately to any picture, whatsoever may arise. Disease in nature is plastic, for all or any disease shows a multiplicity of action which can not be foretold. Therefore the remedies must be pliable and admit of endless variations in their combinations. Under certain conditions it may be possible to foretell the type of symptoms in disease but this is not the general rule. For example, in a certain locality, at a certain time or season, measles break out, and this particular epidemic is of the haemorrhage type. This epidemic responds well to a certain remedy, the so-called genus epidemicus. Later influenza, typhoid or some other epidemic follows. These also are very apt to show haemorrhagic symptoms, and the remedy which fitted the original haemorrhagic measles epidemic will very likely be the remedy for these other diseases also. Homoeopathy gets away from the fixed, moulded form, it is adaptable, pliable, it must be so or it would have died long ago.

The remedy must be adapted to the patient, not the patient to the remedy. In taking your case and hunting through your repertories and materia medicas don’t make the mistake of getting a remedy too firmly fixed in your mind or you court disaster. No remedy is a fixed thing. It is capable of producing many different kinds of action in different people. For instance, in one person it produces liver disturbances, in another cutaneous, and in yet another mental. All the same remedy, but variations of its action. This is plainly shown in our provings. In partially proven remedies only one side of a remedy action may appear, as a disturbance in the digestive tract, while in the fully proven remedies one sees the multiplicity of symptoms, the innumerable variations. When the partially proven remedies are better known they too will show the same plasticity, the same adaptability.

The restoration of order presumes that the patient has been brought back to health. This may be spontaneous or induced. After the surgeon has done his best for a patient he may send him to a sanatorium or health resort to recuperate with the help of his own natural power. This is spontaneous recuperation, and is but a shadow of what can be done by unleashing the vital, dynamic power within the system to bring about orderly reaction and restore health. Whether the reaction is orderly or is disorderly, enters as a large factor into our final prognosis of the case. A case with a disorderly reaction is one which zigzags back and forth or one which progresses well then stops and shows no action whatever, or one which repeatedly shows an array of entirely new symptoms. In such a case it is unwise to try to find a new remedy to fit the new conditions (provided you are sure the remedy chosen was the correct one) without convincing yourself first, that this new array of symptoms is but a reversal of or a new array of old symptoms shown formerly. In such a case it is best to step up the potency. Say the 200th had been used, step it up to the 210th or 215th. Then wait for another pause in the progress of the case and continue waiting for the possible arrival of an entirely new symptom picture. A new symptom picture will most probably be fundamentally different from any seen before. It is not necessary to wait indefinitely because the patient has stopped progress and is doing nothing. This “do nothing” is in itself a symptom. In such a case think of the “do nothing” remedies, Opium, Phosphorus ac., Thuja or Sulph. Take it slowly, one step at a time stepping up the potency a little each time, don’t skip too many steps at a time in this stepping up process.

C.M. Boger
Cyrus Maxwell Boger 5/ 13/ 1861 "“ 9/ 2/ 1935
Born in Western Pennsylvania, he graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and subsequently Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia. He moved to Parkersburg, W. Va., in 1888, practicing there, but also consulting worldwide. He gave lectures at the Pulte Medical College in Cincinnati and taught philosophy, materia medica, and repertory at the American Foundation for Homoeopathy Postgraduate School. Boger brought BÅ“nninghausen's Characteristics and Repertory into the English Language in 1905. His publications include :
Boenninghausen's Characteristics and Repertory
Boenninghausen's Antipsorics
Boger's Diphtheria, (The Homoeopathic Therapeutics of)
A Synoptic Key of the Materia Medica, 1915
General Analysis with Card Index, 1931
Samarskite-A Proving
The Times Which Characterize the Appearance and Aggravation of the Symptoms and their Remedies