This book review is reprinted from the British Homoeopathic Journal Vol 87, July 1998, with permission from Peter Fisher, Editor.
Homeopathy -Medicine for the
By George Vithoulkas
The International Academy of Classical
Homeopathy.- Athens, Greece; 2000.
This is a new, expanded edition of Vithoulkas' book 'Medicine of the New Man'. I have always considered the original book to be one of the finest introductions to homeopathy available. My original copy is dated 1979, and it is a long time since I last looked at it, so I was very interested to read this new edition and to compare it with the former.
It is essentially the same book (Chapters I - 9, 1 1 and 12 are unchanged) but there are some changes, and some significant new additions making an extra 84 pages in all. Chapter 10: 'Does Homeopathy Work?' has been substantially rewritten including several new cured cases. These cases, although anecdotal, are an extraordinary testament to what homeopathy can achieve in seemingly impossible situations.
Chapter 13: 'Plans for the Future' has some changes. Entirely new are the chapters: 'The Great Misunderstanding', 'What is the Alternative' and 'Revolutionary New Proposal'. 'The Great Misunderstanding' refers to the widely held belief that constant improvements in orthodox medical science have brought a better state of health to mankind. Vithoulkas asserts that this is not so, and that not even one chronic degenerative disease can be truly cured by current orthodox therapeutics. He also asserts that no centralized health system can succeed and advocates an entirely different system for delivering health care which he outlines in the next chapter 'What is the Alternative?'. Crucial to this is much more research into alternative methods of treatment such as homeopathy, and provision of necessary funding to finance this. The chapter 'Revolutionary New Proposal' details how health care might be funded in order to make his vision a reality.
The original book contained detailed materia medica of four well known polychrests, Nux vomica, Lycopodium, Natrum m riaticum, and Phosphorus. In the new edition these have been replaced by Alumina, Argentum nitricum, Aurum metallicum, Ba ta carbonica, and Calearea carbonica. These remedy pictures are much more detailed than the originals, and are based on the author's now much more extensive clinical experience. The book is worth buying for these remedy pictures alone. They are taken from Vithoulkas monumental work on homeopathic materia medica "Materia Medica Viva"which is being published in stages.
One of the main features of Vithoulkas' writings on materia medica is how he details stages of development of pathology from the beginning, right through to the end stage at the mental, emotional and physical levels. His ability to do this is based on detailed observation of many thousands of cases. This level of detail brings many new insights and it is one of the main reasons that I was first attracted to him as a teacher.
So far I have been writing for those who have already read the original edition of 'Medicine of the New Man'. For those who have not read it I will outline the contents of the book as a whole. It is an excellent introduction to the basic principles of homeopathy which is suitable for the general public and students alike. The explanations are clear, concise and articulate, and expresses particularly the classical homeopathic view.
He begins with an introduction to Hahnemann and the Law of Similars and follows with chapters on 'The Vital Force', 'The Dynamic Plane' and 'Predisposition to Disease' with reference to the appropriate paragraphs from the Organon. He continues with a chapter on 'The Homeopathic Interview' where he describes the procedure of case taking giving a delightful example of one of JT Kent's cases. He follows this with a theoretical case of influenza describing a series of pertinent remedies with differential diagnosis.
The next chapter, 'The Patient's Responsibility' is an unusual and welcome subject in a book of this nature. Here Vithoulkas outlines the patient's role in the homeopathic interview and treatment. He writes 'Homeopathy is a powerful and effective therapy, but it also demands a great deal from the patient. One doesn't get something for nothing. The patient must learn to observe areas of life which are ordinarily ignored by most people, and this observation must be done objectively and dispassionately.' He goes on to give details as to how this may be accomplished, pointing out the various pitfalls. He also underlines the need for patience as homeopathic prescriptions are always designed to bring about cure of the entire organism, not merely momentary relief of specific symptoms. The goal of harmonious functioning on all levels may take weeks, months or even years. Cure is dependent upon the strength of the patient's vital force, history of severe illness particularly if treated with orthodox drugs, hereditary factors and the history of poor diet, lack of exercise and drug or alcohol abuse. He then describes interfering factors which could influence the effect of the medicine including dental treatment and coffee. He also includes a short paragraph on the handling and storage of medicines. He finishes the chapter with a description of remedy aggravations or healing crisis. This is a practical chapter for patients. The following chapters are of equal interest to patients. In 'Does Homeopathy Work?' Vithoulkas gives a number of case examples from his 40 y in practice and in the next two chapters describes the homeopathic understanding of the process of cure in an easily digestible manner.
In conclusion, this is an excellent update of a previously excellent book which has done much to promote homeopathy. Its clarity and simplicity of style would make it a welcome addition to any practitioner's bookshelf.
British Homeopathic Journal
Volume 90, Number 3, July 2001