Homeopathy Tips for 9/30/08 Signs and Symptoms

As homeopaths it is important to understand the importance of signs and symptoms. These are the guideposts for understanding the client and prescribing the remedy. Without them homeopathy would be reduced to an allopathic prescription based on clinical data without the richness of the human description; the language of nature.

Signs and symptoms are the phenomena of disease which lead to the complaints of the ill person and are the only perceptible forms disease can give. It is only through a persons experience and  the bodies reactions that any disease could ever be known.  Understanding the dysfunction of the vital force is necessary to fully comprehend the persons suffering.

Signs are objective observations about the client. There is a fever present, perspiration; those observations that cannot be denied. They are usually the physical observations of the physician. These signs gain richness when symptoms further describe them. Functional symptoms describe how an observable sign is experienced by the suffering person. They also help lead to the uniqueness of their suffering. It is these symptoms that can be most helpful in the selection of remedies.

Symptoms are subjective. They convey how the person feels.  An example of this might be when a person reports “my stomach hurts”. This is not a very good symptom, but a symptom none-the-less. This would require the homeopath to elicit more description of the symptom by asking “what more can you tell me about this?” encouraging the client to explain more how this feels and other details about it.  This allows the homeopath to observe the nature of the illness and thus find the curative remedy.

In the etiology of disease there are usually many symptoms before the physical expression of signs. This is why in case-taking it is important to get a full report from the person and understand what has led to the final expression of signs. The symptoms reported will give a wonderful picture of  the disease. Being able to “see” this picture will help you tremendously in the quality of your prescriptions when the essence energy of the remedies are also known.

J.T. Kent writes in Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy, “Symptoms are but the language of nature, talking out as it were and showing as clearly as the daylight the internal nature of the sick man or woman…It is nonsense to say that prior to the localization of disease, the patient was not sick.”

Complete descriptions of symptoms include it’s location, sensations and modalities (aggravations and amelioration).  Always ask open ended questions to get the client to describe in their own words how the experience the symptom. I usually ask them to describe to me how it feels in such a way that, if I tried, I could feel it myself. This asks them to search their mind for descriptors that are unique for themselves. Pay close attention to the words they use. These will be the best way to define the symptom for better repertisation and to give flavor to their sufferings, as well as a guide to the remedy.

In Paragraph 104 of the Organon, Hahnemann says, “When the totality of the particular symptoms characterizing the case at hand or, in other words, the picture of any given disease, is drawn exactly, the most difficult task has been accomplished.”

Roberts may have said best the truth about symptoms and homeopathy in Principle and the Art of Cure by Homeopathy. “Symptoms are the outward and visible signs of the inward disturbance of the vital force which will ultimately produce morbid states, and when these symptoms are removed the disease ceases to exist.”

12 comments so far

  1. Dr. Nritiya Dave on

    Hi!! Dr.Roberts

    The discusssion is good but its way too generalized … may be you should dicuss something more specific either a remedy or a case for instance, to understand the same concept better that could be really helpful
    Thanks for your eforts

    Hi Dr Nritiya Dave,
    Thanks for the suggestion. I find that I do not have enough space to go into cases thoroughly. I will try to use examples more if that would help you.
    Robert Field

  2. Debasish on

    Respected Roberts

    Many thanks for sending an article on Signs and Symptoms. It is absolutely right that proper case taking is the vital clue to a homeopath because when a patient comes to a homeopath he / she only describes a part of a symptoms. A good homeopath’s duty is to collect all the symptoms of the patient. He will convert the patient’s language into repertory language. He must follows Boenning Haussen’s four square foundations like causation, location, sensations and modalities (aggravation and amelioration) which Dr. Roberts wrote in his article. So, I think a good homeopath should possess the qulalities like knowledge of homeopathic philosophy (Organon of medicine), Knowledge of Materia Medica and knowledge of Repertory. Then he will be able to reach in a particular goal.

    Best wishes

    Debasish Bandyopadhyay

  3. Dr.Rakesh on

    thanku for article .it very helpful for new homoeopaths .am also intrested to write articles if you accept i will send to you.
    thank you.

  4. DR.Manjunath shinde on

    Hi Dr.Robert,
    Your article is interesting, as far as individual variation is concerned kinly highlight about the prescribing symptoms.
    Thank you,

  5. Dr.Nittur guruprasad on

    I second the feeling of Dr.Nritiya Dave,as it is too genera in concept. Insted a case discussion – taking symptoms will be very useful to every homeopath.
    with regards


    No dout correct remedy of a pts. is selected by their singh and symptoms.
    dr.ghulam mustafa pakistan

  7. muhammad saleh siddiqui on

    it is very important note. it is very correct that signs and symptoms play a main role in homoeopathic treatment.
    and without its full details no proper remey can be choosen.


  8. muhammad saleh siddiqui on

    It is correct that knowledge of signs and symptoms is a basic theory in homoeopathic treatment. And without getting proper signs and symptoms, no specefic remedy can be selected.
    Thanks. from Pakistan.

  9. dr.arshad on

    u r right

  10. DR.K.S.Lakshmi Narayana on

    would you please write more about DIABETES in your NEWS LETTER as it would help everyone

  11. DR.K.S.Shaarada on

    May I request you to kindly educate us in detail regarding MENTAL RETADATION and GANGRENE in your forthcoming News Letters and oblige?

  12. Dr.Aradhana Srivastava on

    How does sign and symptoms help us in individualization and reaching to the core of the patient???

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