Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is homeopathic medicine?
Homeopathy is a medical specialty that is based on the knowledge and application of medicines contained in the U.S. FDA-recognized Homeopathic Pharmacopœia of the United States.It is a scientific therapeutic method which embodies a philosophy of understanding people and illness in an holistic context with the goal of promoting optimal health and healing.
Homeopathic medicines are applied on the basis of the empiric law of similars. While German physician C. F. Samuel Hahnemann codified this principle in 1796 into a system of medicine that he called homeopathy, from the Greek, omoiou (like) and paqos (disease), the observation of this principle dates to Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.). Resolution of an illness occurs when the sick individual is given a small dose of a medicine capable of producing similar symptoms in a healthy prover. The medicine acts to return that person's being to homeostasis.
In homeopathic practice, the assistance of homeostasis, rather than its opposition, renders the subject healthier and more able to resist illness. This aspect of cure is integral to homeopathic practice. The individual's overall sense of well-being and efficient, integrated functioning is of vital importance in assessing health. A complete cure is a step to greater health, not the mere absence of pathologic signs.
2. What about homeopathic research?
Basic science research studying heat shock proteins in mammalian cell cultures by Roeland Van Wijk, Ph.D., from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands has repeatedly confirmed the validity of the simile principle. (1)(2) On the clinical side, studies have suggested a positive treatment association when homeopathic medicines are used in the treatment of allergic rhinitis (3), fibrositis (4), influenza (5), childhood diarrhea (6), and asthma (7).
The prestigious medical journal Lancetrecently published a comprehensive meta-analysis of the randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials which have been conducted in homeopathy. (8) Analysis of the 89 trials with a consistent high quality methodology revealed consistently positive results for homeopathy when compared with placebo.
In France, research on cost-effectiveness has shown that the annual cost to the Social Security System for homeopathic treatment is 15% less than that of conventional treatment and the price of the average homeopathic medicine is one third that of standard drugs. (9) Paolo Bellavite has masterfully summarized the state of homeopathy in his comprehensive book: Homeopathy: A Frontier in Medical Science. (10)
- Van Wijk R, Wiegant FAC. The Similia Principle as a therapeutic strategy: A research program on stimulation of self-defense in disordered mammalian cells. Alternative Therapies. 1997:3:33-38.
- Van Wijk R, Wiegant FAC. Cultured Mammalian Cells in Homeopathic Research: The Simile Principle in Self-recovery. Utrecht, the Netherlands. Utrecht University. 1994:1-230.
- Reilly DT, Taylor MA, McSharry C, Aitchison T. Is homœopathy a placebo response? Controlled trial of homœopathic potency, with pollen in hayfever as model. Lancet. 1986;ii: 881-5.
- Fisher P, Greenwood A, Huskisson EC, Turner P, Belon P. Effect of homeopathic treatment on fibrositis (primary fibromyalgia). Br Med J. 1989; 299:365-6.
- Ferley JP, Smirou D, D'Adhemar D, Balducci F. A controlled evaluation of a homeopathic preparation in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1989;27:329-35.
- Jacobs J, Jimenez LM, Gloyd S, Gale J, Crothers, D. Treatment of acute childhood diarrhea with homeopathic medicine: a randomized clinical trial in Nicaragua. Pediatrics. 1994:93:719-25.
- Reilly D, Taylor MA, Beattie NGM, et. al. Is evidence for homeopathy reproducible? Lancet. 1994;344:1601-6.
- Linde K, Clausius N, Ramirez G, et. al. Are the clinical effects of homeopath placebo effects? A meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials. Lancet.1997;350:834-43.
- Health are professionals in private practice in 1990. Paris, France: Social Security Statistics. 1991; CNAM publication no 61.
- Bellavite P, Homeopathy: A frontier in Medical Science. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books; 1995.
3. What is homeopathy's position in the world?
Homeopathic medicine is practiced in many different countries. There are centers for training in homeopathic medicine in Europe, Asia, and South America. Homeopathic medicine is being taught to medical students, to medical residents, and to practicing physicians as a post-graduate primary care or a specialty training.
The Liga Medicorum Homœopathica Internationalis, the oldest extant international homeopathic medical league, established in 1925, has over forty member countries on all five continents, representing thousands of homeopathic doctors all around the world.
One of the benefits of active membership in the American Institute of Homeopathy is automatic active membership in the Liga Medicorum Homœopathica Internationalis, renewed annually, which brings each member directly the bi-annually published LMHI newsletter, The Liga Letter. AIH Associate Members can become Associate Members of the LMHI.
4. Who is a homeopathic physician?
A homeopathic physician is a medical or an osteopathic professional who has added homeopathic medicine to his/her armamentarium through organized education and/or self-study. All licensed physicians legally can practice homeopathy under their conventional license, although several states have separate licensing boards which must grant approval within their jurisdiction.
After having experienced three years of homeopathic medical practice, medical or osteopathic physicians are eligible to seek candidacy for examination by the separately incorporated homeopathic medical specialty certifying board, the American Board of Homeotherapeutics (1960). Successful candidates become Diplomates of the American Board of Homeotherapeutics and may affix the designation D.Ht. after their name. They must maintain certain criteria of continuing homeopathic education and submission of Journal articles annually to maintain their Diplomate status.
5. What is the history of the American Institute of Homeopathy?
Having been introduced to the United States in New York City by Dr. Hans Burch Gram in 1825, homeopathy's first epoch has been designated as 1825-1835 whereupon the first magazine, The American Journal of Homeopathia, was published by Drs. John F. Gray and Amos G. Hull. Initially strong in New York and Pennsylvania where there was a greater percentage of German immigrants, homeopathy's first school in the world was established in Allentown, PA, by Drs. Henry Detweiller and Constantine Hering with instruction only in German. In late 1836, the first books were translated into English and published, Hahnemann's Organon and Jahr's Manual.
Homeopathy's second epoch culminated in 1844 with the founding of the American Institute of Homeopathy. Many of homeopathy's early practitioners were highly trained physicians, graduates of the most prestigious medical schools. However, on taking up the practice of the "new school," they would find themselves ostracized, if not expelled from their local medical societies. In 1843, the members of the New York Homeopathic Physicians' Society contemplated the need for a response to their dual concerns for the dissemination of a broader knowledge of homeopathic materia medica and for the proliferation of unqualified practitioners.
The perceived urgency for their plan may have been heightened by the news of Hahnemann's death in July, 1843. In any case, on April 10, 1844, on the eighty-ninth anniversary of Hahnemann's birth, a national convention of homeopathic physicians was called to order in the Lyceum of Natural History in New York City at the behest of the New York Homeopathic Physicians' Society. On that same evening, the American Institute of Homeopathy was established with several stated purposes, including the setting of standards for homeopathic physicians, the promulgation of public information about the development of better knowledge of materia medica, whereupon the convention was adjourned and the first meeting of the Institute was opened.
The AIH continued to perform vital functions in the professional homeopathic movement, setting standards for practitioners, and raising the standards for homeopathic medical education at the homeopathic medical schools. In 1897, the American Institute of Homeopathy published the first homeopathic pharmacopeia in the United States, the Pharmacopeia of the American Institute of Homeopathy.
6. What about the American Institute Today?
The American Institute of Homeopathy finds itself again facing a time of burgeoning public interest in homeopathy which, in these modern times, has triggered regulatory interest in homeopathic medicine and practice. In November, 1998, a survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that over 46% of Americans consulted an alternative practitioner at their own expense. Additionally, homeopathic medicine faces the same third party and governmental challenges to the practice of medicine and the delivery of medical care that all of medicine faces, but with the particular posture of our status as an alternative medical therapy. This makes the political activity of the AIH an essential ingredient in the future well-being of homeopathy and of our society.
7. What are the benefits of membership?
The greatest benefit to all who become members of the American Institute of Homeopathy is access to current, accurate information on the scientific, social, political, and economic issues relating to the practice of homeopathic medicine.
AIH Membership Benefits
- The American Journal of Homeopathic Medicine, published quarterly
- The American Institute of Homeopathy Handbook/Directory, published biannually
- Automatic membership in the Liga Medicorum Homœopathy Internationalis the renowned international homeopathic medical league (est. 1925), renewed annually, which brings you directly the annually published LMHI newsletter, The Liga Letter
- The opportunity to attend LMHI International Congresses in a different country each year, held annually
- Representation at the legislative level and regulatory levels of government
- A voice in the organization through voting privileges for Active Members,
- Voting representative on the Board for Associate Members
- An opportunity to volunteer for committee membership
8. Why should I join the American Institute of Homeopathy?
In joining the American Institute of Homeopathy you become a member of a prestigious organization which, grounded in the wisdom and brilliance of our famous homeopathic forebears, strives to assure homeopathy's rightful place in the modern medical world.
Members of the American Institute actively advance the science and the art of homeopathy through original research and innovative homeopathic training programs in private clinics, hospitals, and academic medical centers.
The true and enduring foundation of our profession is the assistance of our patients in healing themselves by means of high quality homeopathic care. This is our greatest strength and the bond which unites us. You will be joining other like-minded professionals in the safe, effective, and scientific treatment of illness through homeotherapeutics. Your membership will strengthen our voice and enable us to represent the professional homeopathic community, and the public that we serve, more effectively.
Will you join us?
In view of these critical functions and the increasing scrutiny of homeopathy by many parties, it is crucial that all qualified physicians, dentists, APN's and PA's become Active and Associate Members, respectively. Your membership and participation will allow the Institute to fulfill its purpose of supporting and furthering
the professional practice of homeopathy in the United States as the AIH dedicates itself to its mission of "advancing health care through homeotherapeutics." Please join us as we move homeopathic medicine forward into the twenty-first