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What is Isopathy?

An image of the word same for this article on isopathy

Isopathy is the use of a potentised substance that could cause a symptom or disease, to treat or relieve that same symptom or disease in the unwell.

Drawn from the Greek, isopathy means ‘equal or same suffering’. This differs from homeopathy’s underpinning principle of ‘similar suffering’ and conventional medicine’s allopathic approach of ‘opposite suffering’.

Potentised remedies prepared from harmful substances and used isopathically to treat symptoms caused by them are called ‘isodes’.

The following are some examples of what would be an isopathic approach:

  • Potentised peanuts to potentially treat peanut allergy
  • Potentised cat hair to treat potentially cat hair allergy
  • Potentised gonorrhoea to potentially treat a gonorrhoeal infection
  • Potentised breast cancer cells to potentially treat breast cancer
  • Potentised vaccines to potentially treat vaccine injury
  • Potentised lead to potentially treat lead poisoning
  • Potentised antibiotics to potentially treat antibiotic reactions
  • Potentised tubercular discharge to potentially treat tuberculosis

The isopathic approach was first introduced and used early in homeopathy’s history by the veterinarian Wilhelm Lux. Over the subsequent 200 years it has had regular surges and lapses in popularity.

Hahnemann on Isopathy

Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy, experimented with isopathy and supported its use within certain limits. These were:

  1. Isopathy is best used for acute (self-limiting) disease and infections rather than chronic disease, and
  2. Isopathy is not a ‘cure-all’ as treatment often has to include standard homeopathic remedies from the plant, animal and mineral kingdoms for complete success.

Hahnemann refuted the claim that isopathy was a separate or better medical system by providing evidence and examples (1, 2.) of how a ‘same’ could not and would not treat as well as a ‘similar’.

Isopathic Examples

The following two examples help to demonstrate the isopathic effect.

  1. Homeopathy alleviated a situation of chronic and inescapable arsenic poisoning for villagers: Studies: Homeopathy for Arsenic Poisoning
  2. Erica quickly created a hand-potentised isopathic remedy to help her young daughter during an emergency. (You could too in a similar situation.) Dishwashing liquid? – You’re soaking in it!

Several studies in which small animals were poisoned or exposed to toxic substances have also been conducted. We do not support animal testing as it is usually unnecessary and potentially cruel but these studies can be found with an internet search.

Limitations of Isopathy

In spite of its simple appeal, isopathy has limitations. These include:

  • The use of isopathy alone provides incomplete treatment as, apart from symptoms of the immediate problem, all other symptoms are ignored and remain untreated.
  • As isopathic treatments do not reflect the complete disease (mistunement) of the vital (life) force benefits are limited for the treatment of chronic cases. Further treatment with standard remedies will be needed.
  • Because isopathy is a simple this-for-that approach, there has been little incentive to put isodes through formal homeopathic provings. As a result, the full symptom picture of most isodes is unknown.
  • Unless the prescriber and patient fully understand the isopathic approach and its limitations, both may mistakenly believe they are engaging in full homeopathic treatment but not receive its full benefits.

Usefulness of Isopathy

Isopathy may be helpful in certain instances. These are:

  • Isopathy is a simple this-for-that approach that is easy to understand and apply. Very little training is required.
  • Isopathy offers a quick response for immediate poisoning or sudden infectious acutes- as long as the isode for that particular problem is available or can be quickly be made by hand.
  • Occasionally, well-chosen homeopathic remedies fail to act. If the person has a history of having ‘never been well since …”, the isopathic use of what may have been the initial cause of the problem such as an infection or toxic exposure can sometimes remove an ‘energetic block’ so that cure can then be completed by the initial homeopathic remedy.

In summary, the isopathic treatment approach is best reserved for immediate acute complaints caused by a pathogen or toxin, or as an attempt to remove a ‘blockage’, and in the knowledge that the most similar homeopathic remedy will likely still be needed to complete a treatment process.

  1. Organon – footnote 35 (page 46):
  2. Organon – aphorism 56: