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Diagnosis – Value and Limits

Posted on 8th March 2022

I was once asked if homeopaths make a diagnosis. A good question and I fear my answer was not as concise as it might have been.

The simple answer is that by law only your doctor or specialist can make a formal diagnosis. This is with good reason, because he / she can arrange blood tests, X-rays or refer you for further investigation. This is outside the capability of the professional lay homeopath.

There are medically qualified (doctor) homeopaths who needless to say have a foot in both camps.

In fact, it is fairly rare for someone to seek a homeopathic consultation before they have seen their GP or specialist. For one thing the NHS is a free service, so your doctor is the obvious first port of call. That said, complementary therapists learn about “Red Flags”. These are warning signs indicating that further investigation by your GP is needed to rule out any risk of a serious underlying condition.

Here is a picture of the cover of an excellent little book that I have on my shelf:

In the UK medical records are by and large held centrally, but this is not the case elsewhere. When I sat in on homeopathic consultations in Calcutta, it was normal for patients to carry with them the documentation from whatever investigations they had undergone. This is quite common in many countries. All this was very useful to the homeopathic doctor (in India there are two equivalent paths in medicine – orthodox western and homeopathic). Needless to say your diagnoses from the NHS are equally of value to the professional lay homeopath here.

The Value of Diagnosis

Diagnostic tests indicate what is going on: what is as it should be, and what is not. They are not always fullproof. Results can range from the possible to the definite. Referral for further investigation may be necessary.

Accuracy and speed in diagnosis is a big topic in academic circles should you care to look into the matter. Artificial intelligence is the new frontier it seems as this article describes!

An important outcome from diagnosis is the likely trajectory of the condition. Will it get worse, stay the same or get better with or without treatment? Hopefully it is not “how long have I got doc?” as the sit-coms or “soaps” sometimes have it, but fair to say none of us live for ever!

The Limits of Diagnosis

The above would all seem positive and in many ways it is, but there is a hazard in diagnosing a condition, which usually means giving it a name. Thus people will say I have X or I am Y. The problem here is that once you have been put in a box with a classifcation X or Y it is easy to be resigned to the label. It becomes part of you.

In homeopathy disease symptoms have a wider meaning. No two persons with the same diagnosed condition will be treated in the same way. Dr James Tyler Kent one of the most notable American Homeopaths the early part of the twentieth century wrote this:

Most of the conditions of the human economy that are called diseases in the books are not diseases, but the results of disease. To call a group of symptoms a disease of one part, and another group of symptoms a disease of another part, is a great heresy….. Organic disease is the result of disease

Lectures in Homeopathic Philosophy, Lecture IX Dr James Tyler Kent

Ok, the language is old fashioned, but what he is saying is that your true dis-ease is something that is prior to the symptoms that cause you make an appointment with your doctor. I touched on this subject before.

So the question is what underlies the child diagnosed as ADHD or a skin condition, or an adult with rheumatic pains or digestive problems or whatever?

Sometime that cause is apparent from orthodox investigation, but often not. The long term management of the symptoms is the best that can be done. In contrast, homeopathy looks at patterns in health, mental physical and emotional. It is sideways look that can find a solution to an intransigent problem. It is not boxed-in by labels.

society of Homeopaths

Disclaimer: I am a qualified professional homeopath and not a medical doctor. The NHS has many resources, and seeking the opinion of your GP is always of value.

© 2022 Allan Pollock