Nature of Symptoms
To the homeopath, symptoms are an expression of the vital force of a person. They surface as an attempt by the vital force to stabilize or cleanse the entire system when it becomes disordered, but they are not the disorder itself. Ideally, when the system is adequately stabilized or cleansed the symptoms disappear.
But this is not always the case. Sometimes in long term or inherited conditions, the best the vital force can do is to maintain a semblance of balance by manifesting symptoms in the outer areas or relatively less important parts of the body. This condition is called a chronic disease. It does not resolve on its own without some assistance from the vital force. The weaker the vital force becomes, the closer the symptoms approach the interior and more important parts of the body. A common example of this phenomena is arthritis. The condition often begins in the smaller joints of the extremeties. Usually, it will not resolve on its own. As long as the vital force is strong, the symptoms will not change very dramatically. But when the vitality weakens, the arthritis will become more painful, spread to larger joints, and perhaps progress to the point where the heart and lungs become involved.
But symptoms are not the only way in which a homeopath becomes familiar with the vital force of a patient. The nature of the vital force also manifests itself in a myriad of traits, habits, or signs in every individual. These might include the types of food that a person might like or dislike, the nature and position of sleep, the temperament of the patient, and a host of other details that seem otherwise insignificant to the problem at hand. The more particular the information or the more peculiar the trait, the more is understood about the vital force. The homeopath seeks out the characteristics that are special and unique to that person, in order to understand the nature of his/her vital force.
Typically, a person comes to a health care practitioner with a symptom or set of symptoms from which he/she seeks relief. Conventional medicine focuses only on those symptoms along with the area in which the symptoms appear. The assumption is that the symptoms point toward a disease residing in a certain part or system of the body. It follows that the eradication of symptoms means the eradication of the disease, and that constitutes a cure. When a person complains of joint pains in the hands, this indicates that an inflammatory process is occurring. The disease is called “arthritis” and is deemed cured when the pains and inflammation subside.
The homeopathic approach only just begins with the main complaints of the patient. It then extends into an investigation of the vital force, exploring every aspect of it – whether or not there is an obvious relationship with the complaints themselves. Once the nature of the vital force is perceived, a suitable remedy is chosen which will invigorate it. The end result will be that not only are the symptoms thrown off, but that the person feels generally healthier and more energetic. Oftentimes, a person will express this as “a sense of well-being.” It is an intangible feeling that comes about when the vital force is strengthened.