In health all expressions of vital force may be expressed by perfect functioning of all parts of the body and by a sense of general well-being. In disease state there is a sense of discomfort. …

*** THE life and composition of cells is of a complex nature. The composition of animal protoplasm is capable of analysis, yet there is in each cell and its life function that which is beyond our comprehension and defies analysis. We cannot as yet fathom the reason why a human ovum takes on growth and development only when the spermatozoa imbeds itself deep in its innermost nuclei. We only know that it possesses some hidden vital function that compels it to develop and grow. The power of each life to develop from the single ovum into its own ego, unfolding and expressing itself for ever in its own way and individuality, never varying from the ideal that is once stamped, to carry out its perfection all the powers of adult life, distinguishing it from all other created species, is a marvel until we comprehend the principle of the vital force or energy permeating all created things. That power, although defying analysis, nevertheless continues all through life as a mysterious manifestation of the vital functions. It is the close study of these vital functions that becomes the chief study of the physician.

In order to obtain a thorough knowledge of these vital functions we must study them in their manifestations during health. From the earliest period of its existence growth is manifest from within the cell out; it is never observed growing from without in. The one point most vital to observe is the course and direction of its expression–always from within outward. This is true in the embryonic state and is always maintained as long as life exists. This is equally true in the specialization of functions. The special organs are developed and their functions maintained by the expression of the vital energy as the life- giving principle. All expressions of the mind are such manifestations. Indeed, it is the expression of the vital force in and through the mind and intellect that has a very great influence in the functioning of all life and of the special organs.

In health all expressions of vital force may be expressed by perfect functioning of all parts of the body and by a sense of general well-being.

In disease this expression is vastly changed. There is a sense of discomfort. The mental expressions are vastly altered according to the degree and disturbance. Physical signs and symptoms appear; and all because the vital functions are disturbed either from external impressions having a depressing effect, and the consequent reaction of the vital force, or from some hidden miasm coming into its full expression in its impress on the vital force. External impressions having a profound effect upon the vital force are such circumstances as the shock of sudden news, either bad news of joyful news; or severe fright, such as the “shell-shock”we see with our soldiers; long mental and physical strains; and various other reactions. All of these external forces, when in conjunction with an already disturbed vital force, have very profound effects upon the vital functions and they are manifested in a trail of symptoms which are expressed in different ways in varying individuals.

Likewise the vital function in its manifestations often shows the effect of inherited miasms and dyscrasias, where the protozoon has become vitiated by disease processes in the antecedents and its perfect form and possibilities of development are thereby impaired. The process of development may go on until such time as some disturbing element, as excessive joy, fright or anger, or some of the zymotic diseases, come in contact with the disturbed vital energy, when it bursts forth into volcanic action and we see the manifestations of what we all acute diseases.

Sometimes this comes as the first outward and visible sign of a disturbed vital energy. It is analogous to the disturbance that takes place in waters, ponds, and reservoirs, when they suddenly begin to heave, seemingly without cause, and throw upward their pathogenetic formations, becoming exceedingly roily, to spend their efforts on this saprolytic action and so set in motion a clarifying process. So it is with these manifestations in miasmatic conditions; a blooming or explosion of these acute diseases is Nature’s method of attempting to rid the system of these fundamental miasms that have been long buried. These manifestations offer to the homoeopathic physician a unique opportunity to learn of the indicated remedy, because to the close of the acute manifestations Nature cries out most loudly and points the direction most clearly, because at this time symptoms are produced that are of inestimable value in the selection of the constitutional remedy. These diseased states–or disturbed states of the vital function–present very extensive and exceedingly variable external manifestations, and the homoeopathic physician must devote much time to their study.

The vital force is always attempting to recover from diseased states. In the acute manifestations the vital functions are often restored to complete harmony by and through their own power, and it is noteworthy to observe the disappearance of symptoms in the reverse order of their appearance. This is well illustrated by the course of the appearance of symptoms in such manifestations as eruptive fevers– the rash appearing last is the first symptom to disappear; the cough of measles, being the first symptom to appear, is the last to disappear. This order is always maintained in invasion and recession of symptoms when the vital force is able to establish complete restoration of normal vital functions.

Acute diseases may take on various forms. The assault may be so great as to destroy life in a short time. The vital force may be so overcome as to be unable to strive successfully against the combination of outward and inward assaults, and be completely destroyed. On the other hand, it may be able to overcome the disease conditions, without outside help, by crisis; but when this happens, there is such a drain on the vital energy that it is a decided injury to the life-giving forces. Because of the sacrifice of fluids when crisis takes place, there is a lowering of the physical powers of the patient, and here again his very life is in danger.

When the vital force is not of itself able to make a complete recovery, either due to a hidden miasms or an especially violent assault on the vital energy, the vital force often resorts to methods of bringing about a partial recovery. Thus the vital force pushes the invader out *en masse by taking the inner trenches of the citadel and pushing the enemy to the outskirts of the country by establishing a semi-chronic skin manifestations; or there may be establishment of a catarrhal disturbance on some one or more of the mucous surfaces, or the establishment of pus abscesses, with the expectation and hope of throwing out the enemy. Unfortunately the emptying of such abscesses may be into an organ or organs where complete expulsion from the body is not possible, as in pyothorax or pustular appendices.

Remedies will assist in these acute diseases and very, very often save the sacrifice of the crisis, and thereby the loss of physical power. It will always remain unknown how this power works in conjunction with the homoeopathic remedy, to assist in conquering the assaults of the vital force, but that it does so and lowers very markedly the mortality rate in the acute disease we know to be true. In acute diseases only it is ever possible for the vital force to rectify the conditions without assistance. In chronic conditions this can never be done. The homoeopathic remedy assists in the cure because it represents a superior force; no cure can take place unless a superior force is exhibited. The most potent force in the world of medicine is the potentized remedy, more potency by far than is the diseased condition.

Under a cure, the symptoms of a deranged vital function always disappear in the reverse order of their appearance. This is true in acute as well as chronic disturbances. Because this order is always maintained it is a vital point of observation in taking the case to note the sequence of symptoms in invasion, so that the physician can know of the progress of the case under the selected remedy. In very serious cases, when we are so anxious to know what improvement is taking place. we can be assured by watching the order of the disappearance of the symptoms. In this way we can learn the action of the remedy in its assistance to the vital force, and can give an accurate prognosis. This is equally true in acute or chronic states.

Too much stress cannot be laid upon the importance of the law of direction of cure of diseased states. Every physician should have this thoroughly ingrained into his consciousness. By cure we mean the complete eradication of diseased states and consequently the complete eradication of the symptoms, and a return to a condition of normal, vigorous health. The vital force must first be set in order by the indicated remedy, and the understanding of this great law of cure has proven of inestimable value in this process, in that we can know definitely whether we are proceeding in the manner that will lead to ultimate cure of the patient, or whether we are merely palliating or suppressing conditions.

H.A. Roberts
Dr. H.A.Roberts (1868-1950) attended New York Homoeopathic Medical College and set up practrice in Brattleboro of Vermont (U.S.). He eventually moved to Connecticut where he practiced almost 50 years. Elected president of the Connecticut Homoeopathic Medical Society and subsequently President of The International Hahnemannian Association. His writings include Sensation As If and The Principles and Art of Cure by Homoeopathy.