It is not easy to write about George Vithoulkas’ contribution to homeopathy in one article; about a man, aged 82 today, that has been working exclusively and incessantly for promoting homeopathy, for 54 years now.
He is known as the reviver of homeopathy in our times and an immense teacher and for his efforts he received in 1996 the Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) “…for his outstanding contribution to the revival of homeopathic knowledge and the training of homeopaths to the highest standards.”
He came across homeopathy when a book accidentally fell in his hands, Boericke’s Materia Medica, back in 1960 in South Africa. According to him, when he started reading that book, it was a sheer revelation; the revelation of the supreme truth of homeopathy. He read this difficult book in only one weekend, being in a “feverish state” as he described it himself. He continued being in that “feverish state” reading one homeopathic book after another for many years.
George Vithoulkas was born in Athens, Greece in 1932. He had a difficult childhood as he experienced in this tender age the cruelty of the war, the hunger and the loss of both of his parents during the German occupation in World War II. After school he went to South Africa to work as an engineer and after getting in touch with homeopathy he continued his studies in India in different homeopathic colleges. But George Vithoulkas had a real talent for homeopathy and he surpassed by far his teachers, even when he was a student. Essentially self-taught, he acknowledges as his real teachers the old masters like Hahnemann, Boericke and Kent. He began successfully teaching after only a few years.
After India, Vithoulkas returned to Greece, where he established in Athens the Athenian School of Homeopathy. All the renowned homeopaths all over the world today have been students of George Vithoulkas. World famous homeopaths like Roger Morrison and Bill Gray were among the first students of the Athenian School of Homeopathy.
In 1994 he established, on the island of Alonissos, the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy. Since then, homeopathic doctors and practitioners from all over the world gather during the summer months to learn from the master. They come from Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, United Kingdom, Russia, the U.S.A., Canada, Austria, Japan, India, Mexico, Brazil and Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Spain and many other countries.
The transparency of the lessons is remarkable as while the cases are being interviewed, the class watches in real time the whole process. After the interview, Vithoulkas sits with the class and after a discussion and a deep analysis of the case out of his long experience, he gives the remedy. The follow ups are also being taken in the same manner. The patient reports the effect he/she had after the remedy and Prof. Vithoulkas evaluates this effect and explains to the class what the best tactic for the case management is. The atmosphere in the Academy during the seminars is full of enthusiasm. Every time George enters the lecture room or a teaching period ends the applause is strong! At the end of the classes of every group there is always a standing ovation!
I believe that no other homeopath has seen the number of patients that George Vithoulkas has. This number is some hundreds of thousands of patients. This huge number of suffering human beings together with Prof. Vithoulkas’ ability to perceive what is pathological, to put questions and investigate in depth how deviation from health has manifested, led him to great discoveries. These discoveries involve not only issues about the remedy pictures but also deeper issues about the concepts of Health and Disease, the development of the disease, factors that make people sick, ideas about how healthier children can be born etc.
With this real scientific way of analysis, George Vithoulkas has been able to reach and to teach knowledge that is unparalleled in its nature. Let us see some of the fields of his contribution.
Definition of Health
This definition of Health is in my opinion the most precise and complete definition that had ever been given by the WHO or by anyone before. This definition is as follows: Health is freedom from pain in the physical body, having attained a state of well-being. Health on the emotional plane is freedom from passion, having as a result a dynamic state of serenity and calm. Mental health is the freedom from selfishness in the mental sphere, having as a result total unification with Truth. As a measure for health he defined the degree that one is free to create.
So Prof. Vithoulkas does not see the human organism as one-dimensional, a body with its organs, but as a multi-dimensional complex entity with emotional and mental levels as well; equilibrium and health must be preserved in every level. Only when we fully integrate the role of the psyche, spirit and emotions into our explanations of illness, he says, will we be able to generate a more complete definition of health, and change our conception and methods of treatment.
A New Model and the Continuum of Disease.
One of the greatest contributions of George Vithoulkas is that he has stipulated health and disease so that under any kind of treatment, we are able to determine what direction the human organism is heading in, that is, towards health, or towards degeneration. He elevated what was known as Herring’s Law, to a scientific level by explaining the three dimensional energy complex of the human organism and the hierarchical structure of the defense mechanism within the human being. He analyses and scientifically supports these ideas in his masterpiece A New Model of Health and Disease. In this treatise he reaches the sad conclusion that conventional medicine, with its irrational use of chemical drugs, is not improving health but is actually degenerating the human race. This conclusion is supported bibliographically and it is well documented.
In the article “The Continuum of a Unified Theory of Diseases” Vithoulkas supports the theory that diseases in the medical history of a person are not randomly occurring incidences. Acute and chronic diseases in the medical history of a person constitute a chain of immune responses, and one’s health in a given moment indicates the end result of this continuum. In other words, a disease, for example multiple sclerosis, does not develop overnight but it is very strongly related to the medical history of the individual as a continuum. In this individual’s medical history we may see repeated herpes labialis infections treated wrongly, suppressed fevers and other stresses, all in a form of a continuum that has led to the present state of the defense mechanism and the present diagnosis. This concept of the continuum is fundamentally groundbreaking, especially for established medicine. This article, which was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Medical Science Monitor in 2010, has been well received.
The concept of the Levels of Health is a great contribution not only to homeopathy but to Medical Science in general. In my opinion, it is a concept that if its value was understood by the established Medical authorities, would be worthy of a Nobel Prize in Medicine. The theory of The Levels of Health gives answers to questions that still remain unexplained in conventional medicine. Questions like: Why in an epidemic do not all the individuals that come in contact with the virulent agent become infected? Why do schizophrenics rarely raise a high fever? Why do some severe diseases like multiple sclerosis occur mostly in distinct geographical areas? Is there a relationship between frequent acute diseases and a chronic disease? Why doesn’t everyone who gets exposed to cold air get a common cold? The theories of the New Model of Health and Disease, The Levels of Health and “The Continuum of a Unified Theory of Diseases” give answers to the above and many other questions. Prof. Vithoulkas writes in the Forward of the book: “The Levels of Health, contains the insights I have gathered during the past forty-nine years concerning the relation between chronic and acute diseases and their impact upon the defense mechanism.”
For the homeopathic practitioner the knowledge of the theoretical basis of The Levels of Health is crucial for the correct practical application of homeopathy. It is crucial for the prognosis of the case, the potency selection and repetition of doses and, most important, the correct evaluation of the action of a remedy after a prescription. In this treatise Prof. Vithoulkas also describes the problems that the homeopath may encounter when treating patients. He refers to these as The Obstacles to Homeopathic Treatment and they are also important concepts for understanding the possibilities and the limitations of homeopathy in order for the best advice to be given. The book The Science of Homeopathy and what is considered as the second volume, The Levels of Health, offer essential knowledge to anyone who wants to practice homeopathy correctly.
Establishment of homeopathy in medical schools
Homeopathy, being the most effective therapeutic method, should definitely have a position in medical schools. Yet, despite its amazing results, homeopathy has not been given the seriousness it deserves from medical authorities and governmental agencies. No man has fought more for this cause, the formal establishment of homeopathy, than Prof. Vithoulkas. Fortunately many people with key positions all over the world have realised the value of homeopathy and helped so that university gateways have opened for homeopathy. George Vithoulkas is today Honorary Professor of the University of the Aegean, Greece, Professor of the Kiev Medical Academy, Professor of the Moscow Medical Academy, Doctor Honoris Causa in “Dr. Victor Babes” University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Timisoara, Romania and Collaborating Professor at the Basque Medical University (2001-2004). Many other universities, like the University of Cluz in Romania also show marked interest in homeopathy.
Prof. Vithoulkas is above all a unique prescriber. He is the most experienced homeopath in the world today having seen a vast number of patients. In the field of teaching the Materia Medica, Prof. Vithoulkas has made a quantum jump. He has made Materia Medica easy to understand for anyone, giving the essential features of every remedy, “the heart of the remedy”, what one needs to know in order to make successful prescriptions. Attending Prof. Vithoulkas teaching a remedy or studying about a remedy from Materia Medica Viva is really an enjoyable experience. Materia Medica Viva is now in its 12th volume, up to the remedy Iris Versicolor. Roger Morrison has written that “the Materia Medica Viva will be the standard against which all other homeopathic texts will be measured for the next hundred years. George Vithoulkas has here begun a work as far beyond other contemporary writings as Kent’s “Lectures on Materia Medica” exceeded other materia medicas of his day.” The descriptions of every remedy are live pictures of the pathological state of the person that needs it, so that the practitioner can understand when the specific remedy should be prescribed.
Prof. Vithoulkas’ teachings are now available online through the E-learning program in homeopathy. It is a unique opportunity for everyone to be educated in classical homeopathy at home! As he writes himself “The objective of this course is to give each enthusiastic medical practitioner and student the basis for a solid foundation in Homeopathy so that he can take the knowledge to newer dimensions.” It is a complete course in Classical Homeopathy including homeopathic theory, materia medica, and clinical practice with real cases and generally what one needs to know for a successful practice, given by an inspiring teacher. In his message about the E-learning, Prof. Vithoulkas ends with these words: “My wish has always been to teach those talented individuals who care deeply about health and well-being and help lessen the pain of human suffering.”
Prof. Vithoulkas is also a pioneer in the field of Expert Systems, computer programs that imitate the line of thought of the great master in order to reach the correct remedy. The first attempt was done in 1987 and had as a result the development of VES (Vithoulkas Expert System). VES is included in the Radar software by Archibel.
The latest development in the field of expert systems is Vithoulkas Compass. The collaboration of Prof. Vithoulkas with a team of Greek scientists, led to the development of Vithoulkas Compass (VC), a powerful tool, an online classical homeopathy computer program that helps the practitioners to their difficult task of finding the correct remedy. Its online platform makes it available from everywhere like a smartphone or a tablet, offering help whenever needed. An innovation of VC is the differential analysis, a feature that provides questions to the practitioner to ask the patient during the case taking. VC elevates the success rate of every homeopath and Prof. Vithoulkas has stated that “using VC is practically like having me at your side.”
During his career Prof. Vithoulkas has destroyed, from heavy use, many copies of Kent’s repertory. Today, even after 54 full years of experience, he still opens the repertory. When examining a case in Alonissos, he has an assistant by his side that uses Vithoulkas Compass in order to look up rubrics and consult the program himself. He has said that a homeopath who does not use the repertory may be getting a more superficial view . Success comes only after dedicated hard work.
The way that he prescribes one remedy each time and the way that he thoroughly examines the effect during the follow ups, have given him the possibility to make numerous extremely important additions in the repertory. These include change of degrees in remedies, remedy additions to existing rubrics and also additions of new rubrics with remedies. A reliable repertory is crucial for the correct practice of homeopathy and it is also a critical requirement for any homeopathy software to operate effectively. For this reason George Vithoulkas has criticised repeatedly the unreliable additions in the repertory that come from improperly conducted provings and pure imagination. In the VC repertory, the homeopathic practitioner can find additions that Prof. Vithoulkas has inserted from his clinical experience which can be found nowhere else.
Those who know George Vithoulkas, recognise his clarity, coherence and creativity of mind, the qualities of a healthy mind as described in his Model. As a deep thinker and a true scientist, he has given not only insights about the correct practice of homeopathy but also more general ideas for the benefit of mankind. These include ideas about the necessity of the inner preparation of the homeopath, ideas about how healthier children can be born, the role of conscience in health and diseases, how medicine or religion can affect the world, euthanasia, ideas about national health policies and many more. One can find more about these ideas in Vithoulkas’ articles, his website or his teachings that are included in the E-learning program.
I am sure that I have not covered all the fields of contribution of George Vithoulkas, a man who was quick to perceive the real value of homeopathy and committed himself to promote it according to the best of his abilities. The following words are from his Right Livelihood Award acceptance speech in 1996: “In 1963 I had already vowed, promised myself, to work to the best of my abilities to develop it to the full and to give it back to the world to stand on its true merit. I took up this task because I realised by that time, that nobody else was willing to do the work. Most probably because no one perceived its real value in helping humanity. Since then I have devoted all my time and energy to the task of reviving classical homeopathy as it was taught by Samuel Hahnemann, upgrading it to the level of a science and giving it back to the world with the proof that it works. To this day, I think that I have not retreated, nor faltered, from this task.” Today, eighteen years after this speech, George Vithoulkas is working with the same devotion for this high cause. He has succeeded in reviving classical homeopathy. He is still working to formally establish it so nobody can doubt it.