Homeopathic Schools

Homeopathic Schools

The period from 1870 through 1930 was when the allopathic health care model as we know it today was established. During the time that the roots of this system of health care were becoming firmly established, the ideas of the eclectic and other schools of medical thought were also prevalent.

Homeopathic Medicine. As stated earlier in this chapter, homeopathic medicine was developed between 1790 and 1810 by Samuel C. Hahnemann in Germany. In the practice of homeopathy, the person, not the disease, is treated. The practitioner treats a person by using minute doses of plant, mineral, or animal substances. The medicines are selected using the principle of the “law of similars.” A substance that is used to treat a specific set of symptoms is the same substance that, if given to a healthy person, would cause the symptoms. The medicines are administered in extremely small doses. These medicines are said to provide a gentle but powerful stimulus to the person’s own defense system, helping the person recover.

Homeopathy was popular in 19th-century America and Europe because it was successful in treating the raging epidemics of those times. In 1900, 20% to 25% of physicians were homeopaths. Due to allopathic efforts to wipe out the homeopaths beginning in 1906, the movement has dissipated. A small group of homeopaths still exists in the United States, however, and there are larger practices in India, Great Britain, France, Greece, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico (Homeopathic Educational Services).

Osteopathic Medicine. Osteopathy, developed in 1874 by Dr. A. T. Still in Kirksville, Missouri, is the art of curing without the use of surgery or drugs. Osteopathy attempts to discover and correct all mechanical disorders in the human machine and to direct the recuperative power of nature that is within the body to cure the disease. Osteopathy is the knowledge of the structure, relation, and function of each part of the human body applied to the adjustment or correction of whatever interferes with the body’s harmonious operation. As far back as 1921, George V. Webster described osteopathy as “the knowledge of the structure, relation and function of each part of the human body applied to the adjustment or correction of whatever interferes with the harmonious operation of the same.” Furthermore, it claims that, if there is an unobstructed blood and nerve supply to all parts of the body, the effects of a disease will disappear (Dolgan, 2006). According to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine there are currently 26 colleges of osteopathic medicine

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in the United States, offering instruction at 34 locations in 25 states, that offer the doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree.

Doctors of osteopathy (D.O.s) are fully qualified physicians who can prac- tice in all areas of medicine and surgery. They, like medical doctors, have com- pleted 4 years of medical school, 1 year of internship, and generally a further residency in a specialty area. They take the same course work as do medical doctors, often use the same textbooks, and often take the same licensing exami- nations. The lines of distinction between the medical doctor and the osteopath arise because the osteopath, in addition to using modern scientific forms of medical diagnosis and treatment, uses manipulation of the bones, muscles, and joints as therapy. Osteopaths also employ structural diagnosis and take into ac- count the relationship between body structure and organic functioning when they determine a diagnosis. The osteopathic doctor has the same legal power to treat patients as a medical doctor (Dolgan, 2006).

Chiropractic. Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on the relationship between the body’s structure—mainly the spine—and its functioning. It is a controversial form of healing that has been in existence for over a century. It, too, adheres to a disease theory and a method of therapy that differ from allopathy. It was developed as a form of healing in 1895 in Davenport, Iowa, by a storekeeper named Daniel David Palmer, also known as a “magnetic healer.” Palmer’s theory underlying the practice of chiropractic was that an interference with the normal transmission of “mental impulses” between the brain and the body organs produced diseases. The interference is caused by misalignment, or subluxation, of the vertebrae of the spine, which decreases the flow of “vital energy” from the brain through the nerves and spinal cord to all parts of the body. The treatment consists of manipulation to eradicate the subluxation.

Chiropractic is practiced in two ways. One form is that of the “mixers,” who use heat therapy, enemas (“colonic irrigation”), exercise programs, and other therapeutic practices. The other group, the “straight” chiropractors, who use only manipulation, disapprove of the practices of the “mixers.” They be- lieve that the other techniques are a form of allopathic medicine (Cobb, 1977).

Eclectic Medicine. The word eclectic means “choosing,” and it refers to choosing the means for treating disease. Methods and remedies are selected from all other systems. This school of medicine believes that nature has curative powers, and practitioners seek to remove the causes of disease through the natural outlets of the body. They treat the cause of disease, rather than the symptoms, and do not use bleeding, antimony, or poisons to treat diseases (School, 1924, pp. 1545–1546).

Hydrotherapy. The use of water for the maintenance of health or the treatment of disease is one of the oldest known therapies. It is an ancient method of treatment that has been used to treat disease and injury by many different peoples. A German farmer, Vincent Priessnitz, reintroduced hydrotherapy in 1840. It includes the application of water, internally and externally, in any form

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at any temperature, with the belief that the water can have a very profound effect on the body (School, 1924, p. 1527). A popular form of hydrotherapy can be found in today’s popular spa—SPA is an acronym for the Latin salus per aquam—“health by water.”

There were also many popular theories of healing during this era that focused only on the mind. Some examples follow.

Mesmerism. In the late 18th century, mesmerism was a popular form of healing by touch and was named for its founder, Friedrich Anton Mesmer. Mesmer believed that illness was a condition in which the body and mind of a person were influenced by a mysterious force emanating from another person. He further believed that the stars exerted an influence on people and that this force was the same as electricity and magnetism. Initially, he believed that stroking the body with magnets would bring about a cure for illness. He later modified this to the belief that touch alone could heal (School, 1924, p. 1592).

Hypnotism. Hypnotism artificially creates a condition in which the person appears to be asleep and acts in obedience to the will of the operator as regards both motion and sensation. It was developed in 1841 by James Braid, an English surgeon (School, 1924, p. 1595).

Mind Cure. Mind cure is the cure of disease by means of the mind alone, in which faith influences the cure of disease. Two prerequisites in faith healing are the desire to get well and faith in the treatment (School, 1924, p. 1598).

Christian Science. The religious philosophy of scientism lies outside allopathic and most homeopathic philosophies and delivery systems. Christian Science, as a system of spiritual healing, was first explained in 1875 in Mary Baker Eddy’s book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Eddy introduced the term Christian Science to designate the scientific system of divine healing.

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