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The vital force as a fundamental principle of the homeopathic treatment approach describes a life-inducing, spirit-like power that is inherent to all living things, human, animal, insect, plant.

Termed by Hahnemann as the “dynamis” it enlivens the material organism [1]. Without this vital energy the material body is unable to function, to conduct physical exertion, process or express emotional perception. All expression of life is impossible, not even the preservation of the self. This force is instinctive and without intellect. Its sole purpose is to maintain a harmonious equilibrium within the healthy organism. The dynamis has no curative ability [1].

This concept is not alien to medical thinking or the healing practices. In particular the traditional and alternative treatment approaches see a vital principle as foundational element of their healthcare philosophies.

At the root of the traditional Chinese belief system on the nature of the existence of life, and basic to the traditional medical thinking, is a universal life-force or life-energy termed “Qi”. Qi is the inherent source of all life, the life-force of nature [2]. All organ function finds its provoking force in Qi. Qi flows in the organism enlivening it. Although Qi is built from different Qi-energy forms on different levels within the body, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, its immaterial existence is what breathes life into an otherwise lifeless material organism [2].

In the Ayurveda, the universal life-force that instigates all function of the living body, is known as Prana or Kundalini [2].

In about 97 cultures and throughout all time, a vital energy bringing the body to life is a manifest concept of the philosophies of life. It explains and nurtures the understanding of illness and cure [2]. Yet toward the beginning of the 20th century this principle was abandoned in the western oriented conception of medicine and has since not found its way back into what was then born as the new conventional medical approach.

Where and why was this fundamental element lost? It always was and still is an established, accepted and valued component of the traditional and alternative practices. The dismissal of this property has undoubtedly impacted the development of conventional medicine, and the research that strived and still strives to be found scientific as per the standards of this allopathic approach. It has in the past been extremely difficult to provide evidence of effectiveness of the alternative practices as they are without exception required to be trialed using the standards of conventional medical testing. Yet these trial methodologies breech the most basic principle of traditional and alternative medicine. According to these requirements, investigations into the traditional and alternative approaches have been and are bound to be only inconclusively and unsatisfactorily appraisable.

What if the consequences of the rejection of a vital principle biased the medical concept of allopathy at the very root? What if the ignorance of a vital essence or life-energy has flawed and is corrupting all research and has mislead and is misleading all knowledge derived from it? What is the extent of impact on conventional medical thinking and on the scientific endeavours of finding and explaining disease, treatment and cure? Where would medicine and its research stand today had this principle been considered and had it been thoroughly investigated?

What held true for many thousand of years and within multiple health concepts and practices was suddenly found to be…wrong, impractical, useless ?? Why? Who decided to abandon a ‘natural law’ only as recently as about 100 years ago? How could the then new and modern concept of healing become as dominant over the traditional practices and as ignorant of this particular traditional principle?

The vital force is by all means not the only principle of the traditional practices that finds no consideration in conventional medical thinking, but in the practice of homeopathy for example, it constitutes the most fundamental element that is of great value in the understanding of disease and healing.

What was true and accepted for so long and had significant impact on diverse ancient and traditional health-care systems could, so one may be lead to think, be considered trialled and proven. One can only imagine where conventional medicine would stand today if its treatment, testing tools and scientific framework had taken the vital force into consideration in its creation.

[1] Hahnemann, S. (1974). Organon der Heilkunst (2.Auflage) 6B Heidelberg:Karl F. Haug Verlag.

[2] Stux, G. (1996) Akupunktur – Grundlagen, Techniken, Anwendungsgebiete München: C.H. Beck