Along with the worldwide upswing of homeopathy, more and more medical doctors, laymen and practicioners use homeopathy as their favourite method of treatment. Educational institutions and schools steadily increase in number. Laymen commonly visit adult education centres to get insight into a therapeutic system which they expect to make them independent from professional therapists in minor acute cases of affected health. Homeopathic remedies are easily accessible in pharmacies, and so self-treatment is increasingly being practiced. Especially mothers use to exchange their experiences in homeopathically treating their children in minor cases of disorders. A great number of them are real fans of homeopathy. The quality of such introductory courses to homeopathy has a great variation depending on the qualification and education of the lecturer.
Since 1991 (7th amendment of the medical registration regulations), homeopathy is part of the catalogue of educational aims in medical education. Therefore, all medical faculties offer lectures in homeopathy. Almost every university supports study groups which commonly have been found by committed students of medicine. The study groups regularly come together by the â€žWilseder Students Forum of Homeopathy” and they organize homeopathy courses of further education in homeopathy, partly covering several semesters. The qualification of physicians in homeopathy is regulated since the mid 50’s. Qualifying courses are offered by the DZVhÃ„ (German Central Association of Homeopathic Physicians).
In 1980, the state parliament of Bavaria, Germany, decided to request at the national government to induce a study covering the prerequisites for chairs of homeopathy in German universities. The medical faculties of Nürnberg-Erlangen, Würzburg and Munich expressed rejection. Still, we can meet more activities, like the ones of the ‘Karl and Veronica Carstens-Foundation’, that have set the longterm goal to introduce homeopathy to German universities. The base of the goal is, that present studies justify the integration of homeopathy to the medical faculties.
The first professor of homeopathy was Dr. Hahnemann habilitating in 1812 and lecturing for almost a decade at the University of Leipzig. The total number of chairs in homeopathy that we have seen so far is very small. Professors who already had a chair and who included homeopathic thoughts into their lectures especially were Josef von Zlatarovich (1807-1874, Vienna), Georg von Rapp (1818-1886, Tübingen), Joseph Reubel (1779-1852, Munich), Johann Nepomuk von Ringseis (1785-1880, Munich), Hugo Schulz (1853-1932, Greifswald) and August Bier (1861-1949, Berlin). No one of the above mentioned persons owned a chair in homeopathy.
The first professor who is not primarily an academic and has no voice in faculty matters was Joseph Benedikt Buchner (1813-1879, Munich). Others were Hanns Rabe (1890-1959) and Alfons Stiegele (1871-1956). Real institutionalization with the acceptance of homeopathy as a separate subject never has been realized. The reason why may be due to the fact that the lobby of homeopathy always was pretty small. Also the people still favoured conventional medicine rather than homeopathy and, the next fact comes from within the homeopathic community, homeopathy ALWAYS was accompanied by internal quarrels of different schools.
Nowadays, private homeopathic schools exist in a remarcable number. They may follow different homeopathic philosophies related to Dr. Hahnemann, Kent or other masters in the field. Or they combine homeopathy together with different ideological, religious, psychological or alternative-medical methods. Therefore, the scope of the courses varies a lot. Even though many of such schools ensure their students to gain qualification, this qualification not necessarily is accepted by established homeopathic associations and official institutions. This fact makes it very difficult for patients to evaluate the real qualification of a therapist.
This situation is unbearable and it is very promising that activities have started to centralize the process of certification. This is the topic of the next chapter:
The valid qualifications, registration bodies…
Among the bodies offering certificates of qualification, I choose the two of which I think they have the most serious approach to the problem together with the best prospect for the future.
1. DZVhÃ„ – Deutscher Zentralverein homoeopathischer Ã„rzte (~ German Central Association of Homeopathic Physicians):
The federal general medical council has decided, that the additional name ‘homeopathy’ only can be earned after acceptance as medical specialist. The federal general medical council intends to reduce the necessary further training from 300 hours to 100 hours only, from 6 courses to 4. The DZVhÃ„ still insists on 300 hours for the period of 3 years and 6 courses lasting one week each as the minimum requirement.
The course-criteria that are demanded are the following:
– complete consideration of the curriculum of the DZVhÃ„
– quality control of the courses by means of written anonymous opinion poll by the members of the course.
– course leaders and lecturers have to participate at congresses for lecturers and in the further development of the curriculum of the DZVhÃ„.
– qualification of the course leader of every single course: authority to give further education and regular further training.
– qualification of the lecturer: additional name/title (homeopathy) for at least 3 years, homeopathic practice (single remedies !), regular further training.
– at most 9 hours daily
– observance to follow the sequence of the courses from A to C (certificate of the former course is required prior to acceptance to the course.
– at most 30 participants / course
– admission to the courses exclusively for physicians, dentists, vets and pharmacists.
A masters degree can be achieved only after medical registration and the course will not be given at university. This special course lasts for two years. This course does not replace the further education as required by the federal general medical council.
2. SHZ – Stiftung Homoeopathie-Zertifikat (~ Homeopathy-Certificate Foundation):
This new foundation started at November 1st, 2003. The main goals of the foundation are:
– certification of homeopaths
– accreditation of homeopathic schools
– registration of lecturers
– registration of supervisors
The qualifying homeopathic education as recommended according to the curriculum of the SHZ includes at least 550 hours of lectures (45 minutes each) and 1250 hours (45 minutes each) of home-studies according to a given curriculum. The duration of the course is 3 years.
Homeopaths already practicing can apply for registration. They are asked to submit their certificates to have their suitability proven. The decision is taken by two members of the board.
The above shows that activities have started to centralize the proof of qualification of homeopaths and practicioners of homeopathy and to regulate the contents of the curriculum of a course in homeopathy. Certainly it will take a good number of years until the goal that is aimed at will be achieved. At least there is a new development going on that will reverse the divergence in homeopathic education. Hopefully, all of the schools will join the efforts that have started. Not only students in homeopathy will get benefit from this, but also their future patients – and we shall not forget – homeopathy as an accepted art of healing as well.
1. Homoeopathie und Verfassungsrecht, Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Zuck, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft
2. Das Werden der Homoeopathie, Rudolf Tischner, Sonntag Verlagsbuchhandlung
3. Kleine Geschichte der Homoeopathie, Matthias Wischner, KVC Verlag
4. Homoeopathie an deutschen UniversitÃ¤ten, Christian Lucae, Haug Verlag
5. Homoeopathie 1796 – 1996, Katalog zur Ausstellung im Deutschen Hygiene-Museum
6. Homepage of the DZVhÃ„
7. Homepage of the SZH