Homeopathy and the Future of Medicine: A Report from the Future

The future is always full of more changes than one can ever imagine. Over a century ago, some people thought that homeopathy was dead. At one conference in 1988, it was formally announced that reports on the death of homeopathy had been greatly exaggerated.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

This previously unpublished article was from a presentation made at the National Center for Homeopathy's Annual Conference, April, 1988, San Mateo, California. References to events occurring prior to 1988 are based on fact. All other events after this time are based on conjecture.

Captain's Log, Star Date April 29th, 2096. Captain Dana T.Kirk reporting. Star Fleet has asked me to speak at this centennial celebration of the re-establishment of Hahnemann Homeopathic Hospital in San Francisco. It is also the 300th anniversary of Samuel Hahnemann's first writings about the science and art of homeopathic medicine. It is indeed an honor to have these ceremonies transmitted to our Federation's 38 space stations and to our colleagues in neighboring galaxies. This celebration is meant to honor this hospital and this city, both of which helped spawn a major revolution in medicine and science.

As some of you may know, this hospital was originally established in the early 1900s as Hahnemann Hospital and was a homeopathic hospital. Due to a temporary decline of homeopathy, the hospital was renamed after its owner, Marshall Hale, in the 1970s. However, due to the rebirth of homeopathy in this city and throughout the world, the hospital was renamed for the founder of homeopathy on this date in 1996.

The very nature of a centennial celebration is to remember what it took to get where we are today at Hahnemann Homeopathic Hospital. I am honored that Star Fleet has asked me to put into words the past hundred years.

As with most history lessons, the story begins even more than 100 years ago. The rebellion of the 1960s created an environment which questioned established institutions and entrenched thought. The 1970s "me decade" seemed to provide an opportunity to retrench various progressive personal and political forces so that the 1980s could begin to mainstream new thought and practice. Of course, the bulk of the mainstream in the 1980s rejected these new ideas, and only small advances were made. But still, some of the mainstream was beginning to get the message.

The seed was planted.

In the 1980s, bizarre obstetrical rituals and somewhat barbaric birthing practices that turned birth into a medical and surgical event were finally beginning to be questioned, and what were then called "alternative birth centers" became a part of many hospitals. At the same time that people were questioning the then conventional birthing practices, people began questioning the horrid way that we let people die. Although one would think that the mainstream would have long ago recognized their grievous errors, it really wasn't until the 1980s that hospices and the humane treatment for the dying gained acceptance by such established organizations as the American Cancer Society.

Nutrition and fitness were initially thought to be fads that would pass with time, like the hula-hoop of the 1950s, the Earth shoe of the 1970s, and famous laser headbands of the 2030s. However, the 1980s saw the beginning of how healthy lifestyles were becoming an integral part of people's lives. Good nutritional practices were not simply helpful in physical health but mental health too, and good nutritional practices, as we later discovered, was an important part of creating a healthy ecological relationship with our planet Earth. Ecological thinking was so essential for the preservation of the Earth's oceans, which we today utilize as an invaluable source of farming of sea vegetables and fish.

The power of the mind to heal...and to cause illness too...was finally recognized. And from the integration of what was then segmented medical fields of neurology, psychiatry, and internal medicine grew the beginnings of "psychoneuroimmunology."

This research area and therapeutic approach recognized the inherent connection between psyche and soma. What is so obvious to us now in 2096 was obfuscated in much of the 20th century due to the then popular Newtonian mechanistic, reductionist thinking. Though this approach to science certainly has its place by helping us to understand how the parts of the whole work, it too often ignored the integrity of the whole, thereby decreasing the precision that the scientific method deserves.

As some of you may know, the concept of psychoneuroimmunology gained broad acceptance in the early 1990s. Researchers finally recognized the interconnection of the nervous system and immune system to the endocrine system, digestive system, excretory system, and other systems of the body. In lieu of calling the field psycho-neuro-endo-gastro-excre-immunology, we today prefer simply to refer to the study of the "bodymind" which implies the interconnectedness of all with all.

Pioneering research in the late 1980s began to open the minds of scientists. Great numbers of people in the 1980s had already believed in the power of the mind, as seen by their various efforts to heal through prayer. The large number of people who became disillusioned with the evangelical and fundamentalist movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s transformed their use of prayer into self-healing and group healing experiences. The laying-on-of-hands became not only a spiritual practice but a healing ritual as well.

And what we today know and respect as the primary bioenergetic therapies, acupuncture and homeopathic medicine, were beginning to raise their head in the 1980s.

The Age of Iatrogenic Medicine

The natural health movement grew, in part as a reaction to what we today call "the age of iatrogenic medicine." The flagrant use of powerful drugs weakened the natural defenses of people. The drugging of our elderly population was but one of the most obvious symptom of a misguided medical practice. The overuse of drugs on infants and children, on pregnant women, and the symptomatic and pharmacologic treatment of most conditions helped people realize the need for an effective alternative. A now-famous television white paper in 1994 called "On the Cancer Ward" explicitly showed the barbarity of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The concentration camp-like scenes from the cancer wards shown in this documentary still flashes back in my mind.

When the "Just Say No to Drugs" campaign initially started by Nancy Reagan, the wife of President Ronald Reagan, was extended from recreational drugs to therapeutic drugs, people began rejecting their doctor's prescription of antihistamines, steroidal medications, chemotherapeutic drugs, tranquilizers, even antibiotics.

And speaking of antibiotics, one other factor that led to the transformation in medicine was the reckless use of these drugs. Antibiotics certainly may have been effective in treating various infectious diseases at one time, but these drugs also effectively destroyed the delicate web of life inside the body and ultimately spawned many antibiotic-resistant organisms. The weakened integrity of the body provided a perfect environment for various fungal, bacterial, and viral infections. Newly discovered infectious conditions seemed to be a regular occurrence in the 1980s and early 1990s.

AIDS, the acquired immune deficiency syndrome, had a devastating effect on populations throughout the world, though, as we today know, this disease played a crucial role in helping scientists understand the nature of infectious and immunological disease and in aiding physicians to develop effective means for treatment.

AIDS helped scientists recognize the importance of understanding infectious disease from an ecological perspective. Infectious organisms are only able to grow and proliferate when conditions are favorable to them. The use of antiviral medications only temporarily weakened the virus and ultimately caused more harm than good by also weakening the body's own recuperative powers. It wasn't until the early 1990s that physicians and scientists finally realized that it is preferable to utilize therapeutic measures that augment immune and defense response than to try to attack microbes with antivirals or antibiotics.

AIDS also helped scientists and physicians to understand and respect the body's immune system. Until AIDS, most physicians tended to ignore this important component of the body's defenses, or they simply assumed that it was an independent system of the body, one in which was not affected by thought or feeling, nutrition or exercise. The scientific discoveries in the early 1990s certainly corrected this narrow view of the body's defense system.

Although people in the 1980s and 1990s thought that AIDS was going to devastate the world's population, we today know that this did not happen. AIDS did lead to three million deaths and at least six million people suffered from the side effects of its infection; however, after 2020, AIDS became but a minor infection, analogous to measles in the 20th century. Just as measles devastated populations who previously had never been exposed to it, the human body ultimately developed its own antibodies to deal with it. And with the aid of the bioenergetic therapies and healthier living, the virulence of AIDS diminished greatly.

Conventional medical care in the 1980s and 1990s did not help those who were infected with the AIDS virus, and in fact, the prescription of strong drugs tended to weaken the sick person's immune system further. Conventional science of that day had recognized that the AIDS virus itself was relatively weak, and yet, conventional therapeutics primary sought to attack the microbe rather than directly strengthen the body's own recuperative powers.

The infectious disease crisis, of which AIDS was but a part, created a climate conducive to alternatives to conventional medical care. The epidemic of allergic disorders, hormonal dysfunctions, chronic pain syndromes, cancers, neurological conditions, and mental illnesses also provided an environment for people to actively seek out methods like homeopathic medicine.

The Growth of Homeopathic Medicine

The late 1980s and early 1990s served as pivotal years for the revolution in medicine and science. In 1988, research on the homeopathic microdoses was published in a respected scientific journal called Nature. However, this research was supposedly debunked shortly after this initial research was published, but a year later, the initial research and several other studies officially confirmed the biological action and clinical efficacy of the homeopathic microdoses.

Homeopathy became the darling of the media, with a barrage of coverage on its history, its research, its self-care applications, and its clinical applications in so many acute and chronic conditions. The story of how it had been viciously attacked or simply ignored by the medical establishment gave it an underdog status which helped it gain much support. The public was particularly interested in stories of how physicians and scientists were initially so resistant to accepting homeopathic research. A popular rock group wrote a song about this tendency to deny scientific truths. The song, "Denial Ain't Just a River in Egypt" was number one for two months.

The significant body of clinical and basic science research studies on homeopathy were invaluable in distinguishing it from other unproven therapies, and this research prodded serious investigation in virtually every scientific field. Medical researchers investigated the applications of homeopathic medicines in preventing and treating illnesses. Veterinarians and zoologists researched the application of the treatment of domestic and wild animals. Physicists, biophysicists, biochemists, and bioenergetic scientists engaged in homeopathic research to help understand previously unknown laws of nature. Botanical researchers and agricultural scientists explored the use of homeopathic medicines in crop production and pest management, and biologists and environmentalists tested and showed the value of the homeopathic medicines in correcting various environmental problems. Chronobiologists studied how and why people had aggravations of symptoms at specific times and the how and why specific medicines are effective in treating such conditions. Bio-meteorologists measured how weather affects health, and how homeopathic medicines can alleviate weather sensitivity. Geneticists have recorded that homeopathic medicines can dramatically decrease birth defects. Optimal health specialists have charted increasing levels of health in our population, and the role that homeopathic medicines play in accomplishing each new goal is widely recognized.

But all the news on homeopathy was not positive. At first, the medical establishment sharply attacked it. Some reports played up the gullibility of people and the power of placebos. Other media reports highlighted disillusioned patients of homeopaths who didn't get cured of their condition or of those people who experienced an aggravation of symptoms. Still, other reports described the unregulated practice of homeopathy by various health professionals and unlicensed individuals.

To the rescue came the Homeopathic Anti-Defamation League. This organization played an instrumental role in correcting individual's and the media's misconceptions of homeopathy. This organization also served as the primary defender in legal actions against homeopathic practice.

By 2010 however, homeopathy was widely recognized as an invaluable therapy. Conventional physicians were largely supportive of homeopathy, though drugs companies still tended to be its strongest opponents. By 2020, many drug companies that did not enter the homeopathic field experienced serious financial distress, as did other corporations which made outdated products such as gas-driven cars, typewriters, and portable telephones that couldn't be worn on a lapel.

The rapidly acquired recognition of homeopathy created serious problems. Even before all the publicity, many good homeopaths were popular enough that they either had a long waiting list or simply were not accepting new patients. After the publicity, virtually every homeopath had to stop accepting new patients, due to the demand for homeopathic care. Here is where the major problem began. Many physicians and other health professionals who knew little or nothing about homeopathy began calling themselves homeopaths and started practicing it. Needless to say, the results that their patients experienced were not up to the standards that homeopathic care normally obtains. Some patients were turned off to homeopathic care, thinking that it didn't work and that the whole movement was overrated. The lack of a nationally recognized certification of properly educated homeopaths exacerbated the problem. In time, however, the media exposed this problem, and with the aid of government agencies and public health officials, a national homeopathic certification procedure was established for all health professionals.

Still, the deficiency of quality homeopathic practitioners forced many people to treat themselves with the medicines. The applications of homeopathic medicines in self-care came at a crucial time in history. Just when the costs of medical care were exploding, when even the costs of health insurance was difficult for many individuals and corporations, and when the government's deficit was significantly increasing in part due to the medical care costs, the use of homeopathic medicines for self-care sharply decreased doctor visits, hospitalizations, and sick days. The media, once again, played an important role in educating people about homeopathic self-care. Even the Russian news service, Itzvestia, "reported in 1986 that Soviet workers who utilized homeopathic medicines had significantly less sick days than those workers given conventional drugs.

Homeopathy's effectiveness in treating alcoholism and drug addiction gained further attention to the power of the medicines. By helping to reduce the physiological consequences of alcohol and recreational drugs upon the body, the medicines helped alcoholics and addicts become healthier. As they became healthier, they seemed to crave alcohol and drugs less. Aided also by the development of strong support groups for alcoholics and addicts, these diseases declined significantly. Of course, a drug problem still today exists, though it is recognized that the chocolate and Martian tea addictions are not as serious as those that existed in the 20th century.

During the early 1990s, almost every week the media covered yet another miraculous story of the curing an incurable condition with homeopathic medicines.

Establishment medical organizations began to take credit for the homeopathy revolution. This action was true to the predictions of William James who said that there are three stages in which new ideas are accepted into established thought and practice: the first stage is that the idea is worthless, and advocates of the idea are charlatans and quacks; the second stage is that it has been discovered that the idea is true, but of little or insignificant value; and the third stage is that the establishment's research has concluded that idea is true and valuable, and because the establishment helped verify its value, they claim to be the original and rightful advocates of the idea.

We can, of course, credit the conventional medicine of the late 20th century for contributing so many important drugs to the homeopathic materia medica. These drugs, however, were not used for the same indications as those determined by conventional medicine of that day. Through the diligent and creative work of Dr. Ronald W. Davey, the Physician to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, we today utilize these drugs for the side effects they were known to create. The conventional pharmacology texts provided invaluable, reliable information of these symptoms, information which was analogous to that provided by the homeopath's provings of drugs.

The development of modern homeopathic pharmacy also was instrumental in homeopathy's growth. The standardization of the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia" which occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s helped assure homeopaths and their patients that they were getting quality medicines. The later invented ultrasonic, laser, and crystal potentizers did provide some important benefits to the manufacturing of the homeopathic medicines, though, consensus is that they still do not match the results of the classical means of homeopathic pharmacology.

Developments in Homeopathic Practice in the 21st Century

As has been the tradition in homeopathy from its inception, there are a variety of ways to prescribe the medicines. The primary schools of homeopathic practice in the 21st century have been:

--the classical homeopaths who utilize the single medicine;

--the pluralists who utilize more than one medicine at a time;

--the techno-homeopaths who utilize electronic and energetic technologies to help find the correct medicine and potency;

--the intuitive or spiritual homeopaths who prescribe primarily from their own psychic abilities;

There are, of course, different schools of thought within each of these previously mentioned schools of practice. Computerization of homeopathy through the efforts of David Warkentin revolutionized the classical school and helped make the use of a single homeopathic medicine considerably more precise. Not only have all the repertories been put on integrated chips, but most of the major materia medicas also have been added. The DataBase Project, which started in 1990, had 500 million cured cases by 2025 and over ten billion as 2095. The computerization has made most homeopathic reference books unnecessary. Luckily, several homeopathic publishers diversified their product lines.

Each of the various schools of homeopathic practice feels his or her own method provides the best results, and each points to specific DataBase Project research studies to verify this. However, a greater number of studies point to the conclusion that classical homeopathy is more effective in the treatment of chronic conditions than other methods of prescribing. Still, the treatment of many acute conditions seems to be effective with various forms of homeopathic prescribing.

The techno-homeopaths have developed numerous sensors over the decades that seek to find one or more homeopathic medicines for the sick person. The first such technology called the Voll machine, also called the Model V (named after the car) spawned various other electronic technologies similar to itself. The Model V placed an electrode on an acupuncture point and sought to evaluate how homeopathic medicines might balance that particular point. Over time, researchers learned that measuring an individual acupuncture point primarily measured the effect of a medicine on that specific meridian, not to the whole person. Other machines measured the energies coming from the hands, and likewise, these machines too primarily detected hand energy. Some machines measure the person's blood, urine, semen, or other fluids, but it was discovered that each fluid primarily represented its own idiosyncratic aspect of the person. In 2070, however, new technologies were developed which evaluate the whole body field and how to individualize medicines and specific potencies.

Despite the good results that these new technologies offered, many physicians and many patients still prefer the classical approach to homeopathy.

Medical Care in the 21st Century

By 2010, the vast majority of physicians and healers worked in a group practice. A collaborative model of health services was offered, in which a team of practitioners work with an activated patient who plays an integral part as a member of the health care team. Virtually all practitioners utilize homeopathy, nutrition, breathing techniques, therapeutic yoga, color therapy and emotive-attitudinal work. Certain people specialize in homeopathy, others in acupuncture, others in body therapies, and others in what has become known as energy work.

Speaking of "energy work," something should be said about the concept of "energy." In the 1970s and 1980s the concept of "energy" in relationship to healing was derided as some vague, new age poppycock.

It took the seminal writings of a meteorologist who also was a student of homeopathy to help people understand the concept of energy in a more simple way. Dr. Gregory Weinstein utilized a meteorological metaphor, noting how wind and high and low air pressure are the primary determinants to the planet's weather, and that wind and air pressure are forces in nature that cannot be seen. Dr. Weinstein described the obvious: that the more one knows about wind and high and low pressure patterns, the more accurately one can predict weather patterns. Likewise, the energy of the body, whether it be called chi, prana, or vital force, is an invisible but tangible force. Analysis of the energy flow within the body can provide vital diagnostic and prognostic information to the practitioner, and by harnessing and balancing this bioenergy, the bodymind is able to heal itself.

We today know the important role that homeopathic medicines played in breaking the prejudice against bioenergetic concepts in healing. Even the skeptics of bioenergetic medicine had to admit that the medicines had dramatic effects on people's health, thereby conceded some basis to bioenergetic healing. It is indeed ironic that such an ancient concept such as energy in healing would also become a modern, even futurist, concept.

As for other developments in medicine in the 21st century, I should remind everyone that in the 1980s the costs of medical care rose as high as 12% of America's gross national product. This figure is quite startling to us today in 2096, since the costs for medical care amount to less than 2% of the western hemisphere's budget. The sharp decline in cost was directly connected to the growth of homeopathic medicine, acupuncture, and bioenergetic therapies.

As the result of the significant cost savings that homeopathic care was providing, major corporations began to play an important role in promoting homeopathy by providing scholarships to those medical professionals who want to be retrained. The health insurance and life insurance companies that encouraged their insurees to seek homeopathic care proved to the corporate world that homeopathy could save much money for individuals and companies. Health maintenance organizations and paid provider organizations had some inherent incentives to utilize homeopathic medicines, and they began using them considerably before the individual private practitioner.

As one might have predicted, the government was much slower in accepting and supporting homeopathic practice, but once they assumed total financial responsibility for every person's health care at the turn of the 21st century, the government developed incentive programs for the retraining of physicians to homeopathic and bioenergetic therapeutics. The government also infused much research monies and resources to the scientific investigation of homeopathy.

The increase in homeopathic care ultimately led to a sharp decline in the number of doctors. First of all, there was not as much need for as many physicians since the new medical care that was offered was working. Secondly, many physicians did not want to attend retraining programs. Third, the government assumed the role of health care provider, thereby making health care free for all. Many physicians did not want to be employed by the government, especially since this was to result in a significant decrease in wages. Sociologists and economists who have studied medical care and medical care costs discovered how much more medical care was previously offered when the physician profited from it. And fourth, a growing number of citizens were effectively using homeopathy and other self-care treatments to reduce the need for doctor visits. The emergence of homeopathic software programs for at-home use in 1992 played an important role in this self-care revolution.

Medical care in the 21st century has become as high-touch as it has become high-tech. Self-care with homeopathic medicines, herbs, good nutrition and nutritional supplements, body therapies, yogic postures, and breathing exercises have become a regular part of most people's lives.

This effective health care has made utilization of the high-tech developments relatively rare, and it has led to the closure of many hospitals. In fact, Hahnemann Homeopathic Hospital is one of only three hospitals remaining in San Francisco. Now that so much health care can be provided on an out-patient basis, there is little need for hospitals. Plato asserted in his Republic "that a sure sign of a bad city is one with many doctors and hospitals." It is remarkable that just a century ago people took pride in the fact that their city had lots of doctors and lots of hospitals.

Back in 1980, the respected and staid American Council of Life Insurance published a forecast of health care in the year 2030. Their report stated, "The newly established Cooperative Commission on Wellness placed substantial reliance on community-based healers as educators. Osteopaths, acupuncturists, massage therapists, ethnic healers and allopathically trained diagnosticians had equal status--and roughly equal earnings."

We today know that this forecast was not radical, but actually quite conservative. Besides the serious omission of homeopathy from the forecast, we today know that these changes in medicine took place considerably before 2030.

I realize that some of you cannot imagine such revolutionary changes in such a short period of time. But let me remind you of that if any person in 1988 were to take a time machine back just 25 years, you would be shocked at the everyday life of the time. The workplace would not have computers, and most may not even have electric typewriters. Copying machines did not exist, and phone machines were a long 15 years to come. Smokestacks would bellow smoke into the air, and the conservation movement was little more than an anti-litter campaign. Outright discrimination against women, the elderly, and various races of people was pervasive. Women were judged more on how clean and shiny they kept their floor than much else. Black people were riding in the back of buses and drinking from separate fountains. And anyone who ate bran was considered a health nut.

The future is always full of more changes than one can ever imagine. Over a century ago, some people thought that homeopathy was dead. At one conference in 1988, it was formally announced that reports on the death of homeopathy had been greatly exaggerated.

And today, as we look throughout this auditorium at our fellow colleagues from the Andromeda Galaxy and the Pleiades, we can feel a sense of real accomplishment that we Earthlings have made some contributions to homeopathy, even though they have utilized the homeopathic principle for centuries longer than we have.

It is, of course, ironic that my great-grandfather Dana Ullman's son would become an allopath, but I'm certain that he would feel that justice and virtue has prevailed as the result of the fact that his son's daughter, my mother, is presently the President of the Homeopathic Society of Earth.

In closing, I must give personal thanks to homeopathy for saving my own life. While on a space mission just five years ago, I contracted a Neptunian virus. Without the carefully selected and timed doses of Sulphur and, of course, Phosphorous, I would not be here to honor this hospital and to honor you.

Live long and prosper.


Dana Ullman, MPH, CCH, is America's leading spokesperson for homeopathy and is the founder of www.homeopathic.com . He is the author of 10 books, including his bestseller, Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicines. His most recent book is, The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy (the Foreword to this book was written by Dr. Peter Fisher, the Physician to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II). Dana lives, practices, and writes from Berkeley, California. He sees patients from all over the world via phone and Skype and in his Berkeley office.

Popular in the Community


HuffPost Shopping’s Best Finds