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On-Line Community for Discovering the Physical Basis of Homeopathy

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  • On-Line Community for Discovering the Physical Basis of Homeopathy

    I have recently sent the e-mail below to a number of parties, and would be interested in any responses.

    Perhaps this location could be used to do some initial coordination.


    I am a 15 year patient, supporter, and advocate of homeopathy, and have worked on a number of projects to promote homeopathic practice and education. I strongly believe that homeopathy has the potential to relieve human suffering on a tremendous scale, compared to its currently realized benefits.

    The critical challenges to expanded homeopathic benefits appear to be the relative complexity of treatment for the patient, and the difficulty of training highly effective practitioners. I believe these will be the "limiting variables" for the foreseeable future, perhaps the next 20 years or longer.

    However, from the time that I first learned about homeopathy, I have felt that a major transformative event in the widespread acceptance and adoption of homeopathic treatment will be the discovery of the physical basis of homeopathy. I say "will" because it is inevitable, and likely to occur within the next five to ten years, based on the accelerating understanding of micro-scale phenomena in materials science, electronic signals processing, and biology.

    While the clinical trials approach to proving the "reality" of homeopathy is important, and while the sheer volume of anecdotal patient cases increases exponentially, both continue to be dismissed by the people and institutions that have the greatest influence on the economics and public understanding of alternative medicine. The discovery of the physical basis of homeopathy will greatly weaken this resistance. The discovery of the physical basis of homeopathy will also be a watershed event in funding and awareness of clinical research, provings, and formal, lay and public education with respect to homeopathy.

    My inquiry to you is for help in identifying "online communities" that are focused on knowledge exchange and active research activities with respect to discovering the physical basis of homeopathy.

    My concern is that, as I scan the Internet for such communities, they are not readily identifiable, and are thus either very small, very "unlinked", or that the activity is suppressed, and people don't want to be seen as participating. Given the acceptance of homeopathy in Europe and India, however, I find this latter reason difficult to accept.

    Also, I would like to see if I could make a time-and-energy contribution to such communities, in terms of organization and strategies. My professional experience includes initiating up and providing consulting support for large scale business change programs. Some ideas that might be brought to bear in an on online research community include the following: 1) it would seem that the homeopathic pharmacies, manufacturers, publishers, and educational institutes would have a strong economic interest in such research, as its successful conclusion would greatly increase the market for their products and services, and hopefully align with their humanitarian principles as well. It is possible that these dynamics could be better focused. 2) Perhaps the "knowledge management" around such research could be better organized, with reviews, postings, categorization and so on. 3) From my experience, I can believe that the homeopathic community itself has some "sub-conscious" resistance to this discovery, based on the fact that it would have such a strong transformative effect on the "culture" of contemporary homeopathic medicine in the world today. This might be changed by some directed discussion. 4) Clinical and anectdotal information might be analyzed and combined with biophysics knowledge to derive pointers to the physical basis of homeopathy. And 5) Suggestive related phenomena from other disciplines could be compiled as "brainstorming" feedstock. Undoubtedly, there are many more such approaches that could be used to accelerate the time to the discovery.

    At minimum, I would like to know if such steps are being actively pursued, and to have the opportunity to understand if not, why not. Given the capabilities of the Internet and on-line community tools, all of this should be well within reach.

    And so, I would very much appreciate any guidance you could provide me in terms of identifying such "online communities" and key individuals that are focused primarily and directly on discovering the physical basis of homeopathy.

    Thank you in advance for any attention that you are able to give to this matter.


    Jim Johnson

  • #2
    Mr Johnson
    You have made some excellent points. There must be a conserted effort to explain a viable mechanism for homeopathy. This "shortcoming" as viewed by the opponents of homeopathy stands in the way of its acceptance.
    However I feel opponents of homeopathy are living under a double standard. In the United States the "Physicians Desk Reference" is the greatest arguement for homeopathy. It lists side effects, most are identical to the very symptoms that led the initial prescription.It also, in most cases, states a suggested mechanism. In many cases this suggested mechanism doesnot have in vitro or in vivo confirmation. The acceptence of the biomedical pharmacopia rests on the cultural construct of the practitionor and patient. In other words it falls into the existing paradigm. Then they demand a "valid scientific explanation for homeopathy" One standard will do nicely.

    Scientific validation of homeopathy should exist simply for the pursuit of knowledge. Not to prove a point. Existing scientific paradigms don't convert, they are overthrown.

    Studies should focus on clinical trials that demonstrate results of homepathy not the success of one particular remedy used outside of homeopathic methods ie no case taking and old fasioned repertorizing. (this point was raised in the 'Lancet')

    Such studies combined with anecdotal evidence will continue to persuaed the public, than insurance companies and government that pay for medical care.

    When the public demands more and more homeopathy the cry for scientific validation will become a whimper.

    I am, however, burning with curiosity. How does this stuff work exactly?


    • #3
      Mr Johnson
      another point.

      Could this site serve as an on line community to discuss your concerns?


      • #4
        Hopefully, yes, we could use this site to create some structured communications, until such time as we overburden it or it requires more active administration.

        I have added a topic "Major Reseach Areas" as a possible element of such a structure.


        • #5
          Dear Jim,

          How homeopathy works I had the honour to explain in two consecutive papers in the Journal of Theoretical Biology in '87 and '88. Not to scare the scientific public I only shortly mentioned it in the second paper, but in essence both publications are about homeopathy, as it can not be dissociated from the development of tolerance to drugs, the subject the papers were about.
          In the papers, a mathematical model is described. The model is based on the assumption that the decrease of drug action after repeated administration of a drug is due to an adapting mechanism counteracting the disturbing effect of the drug. It is made plausible that this compensatory activity is initiated at the moment the organism detects the presence of the drug, the quantity of the drug being of no importance for this particular part of the process. It then follows that only information about the nature of the drug is relevant for the process of triggering the compensatory mechanism. If a small dose of a drug is administered to an organism which has developed tolerance to that drug, the evoked compensatory action will be based on the effect the drug would have had if administered in the usual dose. The reaction then will be larger than the action of the diluted drug, resulting in an inverse effect with respect to the normal drug effect. If in the process of diluting, information about the nature of the drug is preserved, the diluted substance will also be able to trigger the compensatory mechanism. It is then a 'message' rather then a physical substance in the diluted solution which evokes the reaction.
          As far as I know, this model is the first scientific acceptable explanation of the working of homoeopathic diluted medicines (the Arndt-Schulz Law giving only a description of the phenomenon) and my hope at that time was that it should provide homoeopathy a scientific basis, both with respect to future research on the field and to the acceptance of homoeopathic treatment. However, reactions have been scarce. This is partly due, I found out, to mathematical modelling being difficult to appreciate by those not acquainted with it. However, a mathematical model is only an instrument in proving the underlying concept. And it is of course the concept that matters.
          The model described in the two papers, has changed in the meantime; it has improved and my understanding of the processes involved has increased. However, the papers describe the fundamental mechanisms which have not changed.

          I would greatly appreciate a discussion about the matter.

          Abraham P.

          Peper A., Grimbergen C.A., Kraal J.W., Engelbart J.H. (1987) An approach to the modelling of the tolerance mechanism in the drug effect. Part I: The drug effect as a disturbance of regulations. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 127, 413-426.

          Peper A., Grimbergen C.A., Kraal J.W., Engelbart J.H. (1988) An approach to the modelling of the tolerance mechanism in the drug effect. Part II: On the implications of compensatory regulations. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 132, 29-41.


          • #6
            And a deafening silence followed.
            I admit that my reaction to the appeal for information of Jim Johnson for a physical explanation of homeopathy, was not very clear and certainly not easy to read. I wanted to react quickly and had not much time, so I copied a letter I once sent to Harris Coulter. I am afraid he didn't understand it either. I will try to explain the subject again.
            The working of homeopathy can not be separated from the way the body reacts to drugs. When you start using a drug, the (initial large) effect decreases slowly when you repeat the drug: the body develops tolerance to the drug. In practice this means that to keep the same drug effect you have to increase the dose of the drug, until you settle at a certain dose. This dose then has the same effect the small dose had in the beginning. For instance, you start using sleeping pills. In the beginning you need half a pill to have a good night rest, but after a while you need one and a half pill to fall asleep. Of course it is not the sleeping pill that does not work as it did in the beginning. It is the body which tries to oppose the working of the drug which it regards to be a disturbance of its normal functioning. It does this by counteracting its effect. This counteracting activity of the body you can imagine as becoming awake during the action of the sleeping pill and - to give another example - becoming sleepy during the action of coffee, which has an activating effect upon the body.
            To be effective, this counteracting activity of the body has to occur at the same time and follow the same course as the activity of the drug. This implies - and this is crucial - that it has to anticipate the action of the drug; it is too late when the body starts reacting at the moment the drug is applied. So your body "knows" that at ten o'clock you are going to drink two cups of coffee, or when you smell coffee, your body knows that you will drink one cup of moderate strong coffee. And at that moment it will become sleepy to (partly!) compensate the activating effect of the coffee. When you now trick the body into thinking that it will get a cup of coffee, but you do not give it, the body will become sleepy. This effect can clearly be observed when you drink decaffeinated coffee for the first time: many people get very sleepy (I fell asleep in my chair). Or when you take diluted coffee when you cannot sleep. The latter is homeopathy: you trick the body into thinking that it gets a drug, but you give only a small dose of that drug. And because the body - at first instance - does not look at the dose, it reacts like it would react after a "normal" dose of that drug. And with coffee this is that you get sleepy.
            Of course this only part of the story, there is much more to it, but it is fundamentally the way homeopathy works.

            Please let me know if I explained myself better this time.



            • #7

              Are you proposing that the body's "knowing" is analogous to the placebo effect mechanism? Is it suggestion from the mind or is there a physiological reaction?

              The concept of "knowing" is an anthropromorhic term used quite frequently in the sciences. For example a solenoid coil will induce current when it "knows" there is a change in the magnetic field.

              Abraham your theory is good as it easily suggests experiments.

              To your knowledge do you know of any research that supports your theory?


              • #8

                Thanks for your postings. I think the phenomena described are an important part of the explanation of "how homeopathy works".

                My approach to the problem is from a "systems" perspective, in which the "system" includes the remedy, the patient (as organism), as well as the practitioner, materia medica, repertory, and practice approach. From the systems perspective, there are simply a large number of interacting elements (remedies, body energy states, biochemical reactions, overt symptoms, etc.) that generate the perceived behavior of the "system".

                The opportunity and challenge of this approach is that the "systems perspective" can be a middle-ground between the homeopathic "language" and the allopathic "language" that describe phenomena that are closely related.

                In this instance, the phenomena you describe, which, if I may, I will refer to as "acclimated low dose response", is related to the following phenomena recognized in homeopathy.

                The "disease state" in homeopathy arises due to some "input" to the organisim: delusion, stress, injury, exposure to pathogens, or so on. The organism responds first in a negative way, then counter-reacts to the input, and attempts to restores a "normal" state. The negative input is repeated (or persists). The organism attemps to counteract and restore again. Eventually, the organism's ability to counteract is overwhelmed, and the organism then compensates, or adjusts to, the negative input, and arrives at the "disease state". At this point, even if the actual physical cause of the negative input is removed, the organism stays locked in the "disease state", having internalized the negative external input, or its functional equivalent. Thus we have persistent, non-fatal, chronic illnesses, like asthma. (I believe this model would still fit the idea that the ultimate source of disease is a delusion about external conditions that no longer exist.)

                The specific homeopathic remedy that is selected is chosen based on the "like cures like" principle. That is, the remedy micro-dose cures symptoms that are like those that would be produced by the macro-dose of the same substance.

                So, the "acclimated low dose response" works in this case because the organism has tried to fight off, and given up and compensated for, the EQUIVALENT of the "macro-dose" of the remedy. More specifically, the organism has taken on a "compensating self-regulatory state" that is LIKE the state of reacting to and compensating for the macro-dose, even if the particular substance of the remedy was never present in macro-dose.

                Then, when the micro-dose is taken, the organism's original counter-reaction, which has stopped operating, then starts operating again, and because the negative input is no longer present, the counter-reaction works, is not overwhelmed, and is successful in restoring the "healthy state".

                To restate, the organism can arrive at particular "disease-like self-regulatory compensating state" (such asthma) for multiple reasons: 1) stress, 2) pollen, or 3) excess ingestion of sulphur. However, the same "disease-like self-regulatory compensating state" can be UNDONE by reversing ANY of the paths to it. So, the "acclimated low dose response", activated by the homeopathic micro-dose of sulfur, can undo the "disease-like self-regulatory compensating state" that was induced by stress and pollen, even though there was no sulfur involved in the first place. That is because the remedy is acting on the state of the organism, not the negative input of stress or pollen.

                (Note: this is a simplified example, as there are many different types of asthma, and many different remedies for asthma)

                If this description is valid, it is a good example of bridging from a known, scientifically accepted phenomena from the allopathic medical perspective, to a key phenomena from the homeopathic perspective.

                There are still many questions, such as, "how does the remedy, which has no physical traces of the substance, produce the response", and "how does the organism create and maintain a 'compensatory self-regulatory state' ". However, from a systems perspective, there is a conceptual linking from one island of accepted knowledge to another. If we can construct enough of these links, then we can achieve the result that we want, which is general acceptance of the scientific validity of homeopathy.


                • #9
                  May I suggest that this thread be continued under the RESEARCH AREA #3: HOW THE ORGANISM RESPONDS TO THE REMEDY?

                  I will post a note there pointing back to this thread, for reference purposes.