Poll Summary #2: The Concept of the Vital Force
When you explain homeopathy to people for the first time, do you mention “The Vital Force”?
Yes (45.9 %) 61 votes
No (29.3 %) 39 votes
Occasionally (21.8 %) 29 votes
What’s that? (3.0 %) 4 votes
Total votes #: 133
To look at the full results for this poll, click here
It’s comforting to see how many respondents found the concept of the Vital Force to be so important as to require explanation to those who seek to learn about homeopathy, even for treatment or the sake of discussion. Those respondents who mention the vital force list a variety of reasons and methods for conveying the important concept. Here are a few quotes from our “Yes” responses:
From Marta Eugenia Matamoros (1/23/2006)
I usually explain Vital Force to my patients as an energy which usually is in equilibrium but looses it for reasons related to mental and emotional distresses. When this equilibrium is lost, the organism searches its restoration and shows symptoms which are like the mirror of the place where the equilibrium is trying to recover. I also tell them the Vital Force is like electricity which we can not see, but is there and flows through paths in our body which are the Chinese meridians and sometimes looses its way, producing different symptoms. I always mention the Vital force to them because it is the vehicle by which homeopathy cures.
Dr.Gary Stier, O.M.D., writes (1/23/2006):
Yes, I discuss the concept of the ‘Vital Force’ with patients because I believe that it is Key to their Understanding of how Homeopathy can help them.
Additionally, it frequently offers an alternative diagnosis and prognosis paradigm which better explains how and why their health condition or disease developed initially, and why the mainstream Medical Management with Pharmaceutical Drugs and/or the Surgical Management provided by Allopathic Physicians failed to resolve the condition, or offered only temporary amelioration of the presenting symptoms, but surfaced again later on…oftentimes worse than before!
In one of two examples of “simplicity”, Latifeh Behra (1/22/2006) writes:
I explain vital force for them and most of them are interested in it and want to know more.
Bonnie Rotenberg (2/5/2006) provides another example of simplicity in her comment:
I explain it as that ‘thing’ that exists in me this moment as I’m sitting here and does not if I died in the next moment.
Others write about making the concept accessible by referring to better-known parallel concepts, such as the Chi in Chinese medicine; or talk about explaining it “because it is true”, or because it provides an understanding of disease that no other medical system can match.
In the “No” responses, comments often addressed the inaccessibility of the concept to first-time learners. Priyanka Jadhav writes that she believes the term “Vital Force” shows a lack of understanding in itself. In her comment of 2/8/2006, she writes:
No, I don’t mention people about vital force. It’s very hard for people to understand and moreover accept the concept of vital force. I think at the time of Dr. Hahnemann, science and technology was not so advanced so he used the term, now with so much of technological advances, I think we can find the answer and much research is necessary in this field to find an appropriate answer.
Others, like Peter Darashah (1/24/2006) state simply:
I find it is more than enough to get through the explanation of homeopathic symptoms and how the remedies work in accordance with the Law of Similimums than to introduce the etherial!!
The “Occasionally” comments were very similar in that those who answered this way seem to “choose” a time when the explanation will be appropriate or understood or even worthwhile for the patient to hear. Here is one comment by Jamie Taylor, underlining once again how the individualization process must also apply in our readiness to “teach” others about homeopathy:
As in my practice so in my private life, I always try to assess before immediately talking about the role of the Vital Force within health. So there are some for whom this would be a place to ridicule Homeopathy and therefore it is better left unsaid.
There are those who want to understand more. It is always better to give a little and then see if more is wanted rather than “throwing pearls to swine” as Paracelsus warned.
I always strive not to give someone more than their appetite. To those who are still hungry, I will give more. To those who feel they are satisfied I will not force feed them more. Once they have digested what I have told them then they do sometimes come back for more.
So I always try to individualize, not just force my knowledge on everyone because they should know about it, as I did when a zealous student!!!
Though the concept is fundamental to what we need to know as practitioners, it may not be information that is so readily accepted or even needed by our patientsâ€”the kind of information that has to find an appropriate time and place to be of any value to someone else. The idea of the Vital Force sounds as solid as the earth to me, when I think of it as Bonnie Rotenberg described it, or, more appropriately the way Hahnemann described it (as the thing which heals, as, without it, the body would simply be dead). But it is quite a foreign one to introduce to populations already so conditioned by the “biochemical” paradigm we’re all taught not to question all our lives.