“Science has brought great advancements, yet all research has not brought us one step closer, in the question of the origin of life” – Prof. Rouviere, as quoted in Kent (page 89 – (1))
For homeopathy and many of the traditional and alternative health practices (2, 3) it is accepted without question, that for a material organism to come to life it needs an elemental principle that permeates and enlivenes the organism (1).
Hahnemann terms this anima or archeus, dynamis or vital force. This life-giving principle he describes as the source of all functional ability of the organism. Without it no physical action, emotional expression or perception, not even sustenance of life is possible (Aph.10 – (4)).
Therefore, according to Hahnemann, if man is ill, it is the omnipresent spirit-like vital force in the body that is ailing. Such inharmonious state, causes the adverse perception that is known as disease (Aph.10.11 – (4)).
Kent (1) interprets these statements of Hahnemann, stressing that it is the subjective and objective symptoms thanks to which it is possible to recognize a state of illness. Disease is the disruption of order, a disequilibrium in the functions of the organism. Therefore, a state of illness, much like one of health, spreads to the entire organism by way of the immaterial life – principle (1). Disease is thus a disturbance of the Vital Force (1, 3).
Conventional medicine understands illness and disease as “pathological cellular biochemistry” (page 2 – (6)); caused by influences produced by the infliction with bacteria, viruses or an inert hereditary dysfunction(5, 6). Therefore, an illness is to allopathic medicine, a material emergence, an alteration of body tissue and fluid. Furthermore, conventional medicine insists on healing being a consequence of drug intake. In homeopathy and other alternative and traditional therapies, healing occurs by the “reactive and curative power of the organism” (page 41 – (3)), of the inherent vital force, that in its progression leads to recovery (2).
The Vital Force does not belong to the belief-system of Science (5). Conventional medicine boasts with seemingly strictest scientificity, and the principle of scientificity insists that cases of sickness, their medicines and all issues pertaining to healing and treatment have to be testable according to the framework of research, that is strictly compliant with the principles of Science. Only if such investigation, according to this predominant paradigm, identifies a causal influence creating disease, and proposes an effective curative, is a therapeutic approach considered a scientifically acceptable treatment (5).
Within this pledge lies the crux to the acceptance and acknowledgement of the homeopathic treatment approach. According to conventional medicine “the Vital Force is not ascertainable” (page 3 – (6)) and thus homeopathy is denied scientificity. The Vital Force as causal principle is not measurable within the current conventional means of research, thus homeopathy is non-compliant with the structures of the existent paradigm and is termed as unscientific and is as such rejected (5, 6).
Yet, life itself, the origin of it, has not been made perceptible despite the vast methods of investigation that are available today (5). What research has and is documenting, are merely the life-concomitant chemical and physical processes and changes, but not life itself. It is difficult to accept and acknowledge that an immensely complicated and complex structure as the human organism, with its expansive number of cells, molecules, atoms, and theirmanifold interactions, does not involve a system or higher order that has constructed this material complex. A coincidential accumulation of this intelligent construction is hardly plausible (5). Therefore there must, behind this complex material organism, lie an entire energetic sphere of unimaginable complication, that has created, is maintaining and operating this material structure (5).
The human being has no sensory organ that can surpass the material, and is able to reach into the energetic sphere. Yet, taking into consideration that energies exist, magnetism, or gravitation, for example, that are not palpable, or perceivable by the human senses, emphasizes and supports the existence of such a sphere (5). As such, the actual cause of health and disease lies in this realm that has not been investigated and is yet unknown to us (5). Therefore, what instigates life in the material body, the source of all life-cycles of the human being, has yet to be determined (5). For homeopathy, and many traditional and alternative practices, the spark of life is ignited by an energetic principle; for homeopathy this is the Vital Force (2).
Science has led to extensive advancement where material events are concerned. Yet only, where the material sphere of the material organism is concerned. The actual cause for illness or health it has not identified yet (5).
Why and how the Vital Force or a causal energetic principle, got obsolete in medical thinking, considering it’s widespread and long-lasting belief in the traditional healing systems (2), is unclear, but it’s rejection has given rise to fundamental questions potentially influential on the understanding of all vital themes of life in general, as well as the comprehension of health, disease and cure. Until evidence for the existence of this energetic sphere is found, the implausability of the Vital Force, for conventional medicine, will remain and homeopathic effectivity will continue to be questioned.
 Kent, J. (1981). Zur Theorie der Homöopathie (2. Auflage) Leer: Verlag Grundlagen und Praxis.
 Stux, G. (1996). Akupunktur – Grundlagen, Techniken, Anwendungsgebiete München: C.H. Beck
 Jackson, R. (2001). Vis Mediatrix Naturae, vital Force to innate intelligence and concepts for 2000 Journal of Chiropractic HumanitiesVol.10, 41-47 [online] last accessed October 2012, available at URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1556-3499(13)60132-1
 Hahnemann, S. (1974). Organon der Heilkunst (2.Auflage) 6B Heidelberg:Karl F. Haug Verlag.
 Voegeli, A. (1980) Warum so krank? Rheine: Verlag Volksheilkunde
 Milgrom, L. (2009) Is a unified theory of homeopathy and conventional medicine possible? Hpathy,[online] last accessed January 2014, available at URL: http://hpathy.com/scientific-research/is-a-unified-theory-of-homeopathy-and-conventional-medicine-possible/
Dr. Nancy Malik said:
Vitalism is the metaphysical doctrine that living organisms possess a non-physical bio-energetic self-powered inner inborn biological strength that gives them the property of life. i.e. it maintains the vital operations, sensation and functions in all parts of material body and regulates the body’s self-healing capabilities
Uta Mittelstadt said:
Thank you Nancy!
Big fancy words for a mere placebo effect. Mystique is an essential part of any religion/pseudo-science and homeopathy is not an exception.
Uta Mittelstadt said:
Where is the evidence for the claims you are making? Have you investigated the numerous trials and studies that have provided thoroughly researched evidence of the efficacy of homeopathic treatment to support your statement? I suggest you do so!
We can then discuss homeopathy and its efficacy. May I refer you to some articles that deal extensively with issues to consider when critiquing homeopathy and the evidence of its efficacy.
What is evidence-based-medicine?:
May I also suggest you read the following as it discusses the controversy of CAM, Science and evidence-based-medicine:
When it comes to the placebo effect, perhaps the following may be of interest to you:
Thorough research on homeopathy and the evidence from it can be found here:
As you yourself have posted on your blog on the 15th of June “thousands, if not millions people swear by it. They all claim that homeopathy helped them with all sorts of problems.” and “there are ones who are genuinely and honestly convinced that homeopathy helped them.”
Homeopathy interestingly works not only on humans but also on plants and animals. Where does ‘placebo’ take place with them?
I would like to suggest that you more thoroughly inform yourself on the topics you critique! Investigate, research and then lets discuss!
I thought that the burden of evidence should be on the side of homeopaths, since homeopaths are making these extraordinary claims that water remembers things, despite the fact that science was unable to prove such a thing, but since you insist…
How about this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=16125589
I went through the articles you suggested and I have to say the following:
1) Isn’t RCT the only relevant way of studying the effects of certain drug/therapy? Placebo effect is a very powerful thing and it’s not only caused by administering some inert substance for which the patient believes that it is a cure, but also by rituals such as consultation, “therapeutic” touch, etc. Only a properly conducted RCT can exclude these influences.
Few years ago I had a sleep over in my friends house and in the morning he woke up with severe stomach ache. His parents were considering calling an ambulance, but his grandmother performed a sort of traditional ritual by lighting matches and putting them in a cup of water while chanting something and in minutes my friend was better. Does that mean that this silly ritual works? If you would performed a carefully choreographed “research” you could prove that it does work.
2) About the external links – they are all organizations of homeopaths. Practitioners of homeopathy by definition have vested interest in making whatever possible claims that homeopathy works. I don’t consider content on those sites as trustworthy.
There is no government sanctioned training involved, in a true sense of the word (as evidenced by facultyofhomeopathy.org which is not an an .edu domain), as far as I know. It is almost trivial for a large group of practitioners of an unscientific discipline to produce scientifically-looking papers, referencing each other’s work and making all sort of incredible claims.
Uta Mittelstadt said:
Nice try! You provide only one study to prove your point? That hardly suffices.
Here is one that comes to a different conclusion: http://www.bmj.com/content/321/7259/471
What is even more interesting in your study is what it says about conventional medical trials! Just for your information, take a look at the following link: http://clinicalevidence.bmj.com/x/set/static/cms/efficacy-categorisations.html
The effectiveness of conventional medical treatments… a bit scary I would say!
The burden of proof is on he who makes a claim! You started it 🙂
To answer your questions:
1. No, there are numerous different methods of conducting trials on treatment interventions. The RCT is considered the gold standard, or highest in the hierarchy of conventional research methodologies! The RCT when applied to investigations into homeopathic treatment effects comes with potential to flaw outcomes. ( I did go into this a bit at: https://cleverhomeopathy.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/randomization-and-the-non-specific-placebo-effects-weaknesses-of-the-rct/ )
I am not saying there are no non-specific effects! The placebo is a very powerful and valuable element, but I am arguing that there is more to homeopathy than mere placebo! The links I have provided take you to a collation of studies and trials on homeopathic efficacy. They provide an insight into the homeopathic effect beyond placebo. This is of course backed by the extensive experiential reports and patient cases from clinical practice. (And, as I said in my previous reply, by the effect on plants and animals).
2. I am afraid only homeopathic organizations would provide such collections of research on homeopathy. That is why I have referenced them here. Of course you can get all the trials and studies listed there, published in credible scientific journals and magazines, via the common scientific electronic databases.
3. Your argument of the .edu, is not valid…website endings can be purchased.
Ute, the dead don’t get sick – they have nor vital force. Some more on vitalism http://www.mayohomeopathy.ie/?s=vitalism and here on vital force http://www.mayohomeopathy.ie/index.php/tag/lifevital-forceenergy/
Louise Mclean said:
Hi Uta, not sure I like your heading for the article. Very good article though. Excellent. Linking it on my website as ‘The Vital Force Not Measurable within Current Conventional Medical Model’ which is more positive. Putting your link, so people will see your title.
Uta Mittelstadt said:
Thanks for sharing the article! Glad you like it!
Best of wishes
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