Section 4: What is Illness and What is Healing? The Pied Piper of the Vital Force.
Questions to ponder:
In the previous section we touched on the concept of disease versus wellness. In this section we will expand on the concept of illness and healing, as well as discuss the above questions.
Everyone knows the signs of an illness coming on. You may notice a bit of fatigue, or a sore throat, some body aches, and a headache. The body is expressing to you, through symptoms, that you are sick (out of balance) or that you have a disease.
The first thing that we must understand, before discussing health and illness, is the vital force. The vital force otherwise called the vital principal (Aphorism 10), or the Dynamis (Aphorism 9) is the immaterial being, or self-sustaining spirit that exists in every living being. I like to call this our vital resiliency. Without this self sustaining spirit/ vital force/ vital resiliency, the body dies.
Our vital resiliency not only gives us life, but it underlies all health. When our vital resiliency is in “tune” we are healthy, and when our vital resiliency is “untuned” or “out of tune,” we are susceptible to illness.
In order to explain this further we will use an analogy of the vital resiliency being the a person playing a flute. When the vital resiliency is in tune we are resilient to disease. Imagine a person playing a flute. The healthy, resilient and perfectly tuned instrument produces beautiful music that reflects a happy and healthy being.
We can not see that the flute is in tune but we can tell that the player has tuned it well because of what emanates from it (the lovely music).
But let’s say the person gets sick (out of tune, less resilient, out of balance). They have a respiratory cold and are not able to take deep breaths and sustain notes. The shape of their mouth changes and the sound of the flute is different. You can not see the sickness of the player, but you know they are sick by how the music changes.
The job of the homeopathic prescriber is to listen very carefully to the sounds of the instrument and to discern: Is this instrument in tune? If it is not in tune, in what unique way is it different? Are the notes choppy, is the flute flat or sharp in pitch? Once you understand the way the music is different and in what way it is out of balance, you can then select the medicine that matches that out-of-tune state and correct it.
In the book The Organon of Medicine, written by Samuel Hahnemann, Aphorism 19 defines diseases simply as “deviations from the healthy condition.” When a patient is in a diseased state, the objective of the physician is to cure the illness and to restore the patient to health.
In Aphorism 17, Hahnemann defines what a successful cure looks like: “Elimination of all the perceptible signs and symptoms of disease, means also the removal of the inner modifications of the vital force which underlie them (them being the signs of symptoms of disease): in this way the whole disease has been destroyed.”
If the vital resiliency stays in tune, the person is resilient, and they are able to stay healthy, and their flute is played in beautiful wonderment.
So the next question is: What causes untunement of a person’s vital resiliency?
Remember, your vital resiliency is your body’s internal resilience against stress, illness, and disease. You can increase your body’s resilience by following the principles of the Naturopathic Therapeutic Order. Not honoring these principles will result in untunement/ disease/ imbalance and therefore a reduction of resiliency. When we are not resilient, we are susceptible to disease and even death.
Let’s talk about a few important terms:
Definition of Dynamic disease: “When a [person] falls ill it is at first only this self-sustaining spirit-like vital force (vital principle) [vital resiliency] everywhere present in the organism which is untuned by the dynamic influence on the hostile disease agent.” (aphorism 11) (brackets added by Dr. Cain).
This is basically saying that there is an outside influence that has “dynamic” capabilities. Dynamic capabilities means it is capable of acting on your vital force/ vital resiliency. This causes it to become “untuned.” When it is unturned, the person becomes ill.
This is called dynamic disease, because it affects the vital force or dynamis.
Aphorism 11 goes on to say: “It is only this vital force thus untuned which brings about in the organism the disagreeable sensations and abnormal functions that we call disease.”
This is saying that diseases are the symptoms produced by the untuned vital force. Aka: Your resiliency is compromised.
“Being invisible, and recognizable solely by its effects on the organism, it can express itself and reveal its untunement only by pathological manifestations in feeling and function, ie: disease symptoms.”
Your resiliency/ vital force is invisible (see definition of vital force). What we see is the signs of untunement by observing symptoms of that unique untunement. We define these symptoms as disease symptoms.
Disease = untunement of the vital force/ your resiliency
Just like if the flute is out of tune and produces the symptoms of notes sounding squeaky, breathy, short, or even of out of pitch, your body being out of tune also produces symptoms. The unique way you are out of tune, or the unique way your resiliency is compromised will results in unique symptoms. You will need a unique medicine that matches your exact experience in order to be restored to balance/ enjoy increased resiliency/ experience (let’s invent a word here) “retunement.”
The classical homeopath’s job is to follow the principle “like cures like” and to find the remedy that matches the tune that we are seeing and hearing in our un-tuned or diseased patient. We are to be the Pied Pipers of the vital force!
(1) Samuel Hahnemann, his life and work : based on recently discovered state papers, documents, letters, etc. Haehl, Richard. “Index of essays and works of Hahnemann”: vol. 2, p. 511-515
Bellavite, P., and Signorini, A. (2002). “The Emerging Science of Homeopathy: Complexity, Biodynamics, and Nanopharmacology.” North Atlantic Books. ISBN-10: 1556433840
Hahnemann, S. (Reprinted in 2009) The organon of medicine, 5th edition. ISBN-10: 8131903117
Haehl, R. “Life & Work of Samuel Hahnemann.” B Jain Pub Pvt Ltd; 1 edition (June 30, 2003) ISBN-10: 8170216923
Haehl, Richard. “Index of essays and works of Hahnemann”: vol. 2, p. 511-515. Originally published: London : Homoeopathic Pub. Co., 1922. Retrieved from http://find.lib.uts.edu.au/search;jsessionid=448F6E4270C600395B9A944B687B7FF6?R=OPAC_b1516353
Kent, J.T. “Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy.” ISBN-10: 0913028614
About the Author: Dr. Nicole Cain is a naturopathic doctor in Grand Rapids, Michigan and a naturopathic doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona. She splits her time between these two wonderful states and also sees her patients via telemedicine around the world. Dr. Nicole Cain is the leading expert in the field of homeopathic approaches to bipolar disorder and mental health conditions. Her passion is to demystify the homeopathic process and bring integrity and science of homeopathic prescribing back into the modern medical system.