Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, was the forerunner of healers today that promote a healthy diet and lifestyle. He viewed poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, and other habits as obstacles to healing in homeopathy. During the nineteenth century when he was practicing homeopathy, a healthy diet and lifestyle were dismissed by many in the medical field.

In fact, a healthy diet and lifestyle were the antithesis of medical procedures promoted during this time. Many of these procedures were harmful, including bloodletting with leeches, skin plasters, emetics and other purgatives, electric shock treatments, and the use of toxic substances like cocaine and morphine. Hahnemann’s promotion of a healthy diet and lifestyle is just as relevant today as it was in the nineteenth century.

Obstacles to healing in homeopathy

In his Organon of the Medical Art, Hahnemann argues that poor diet, lack of exercise and fresh air, damp environments known to produce mold and other toxins, and other lifestyle choices or exposures produce a state of ill-health. He viewed such living conditions and choices (or lack thereof) as obstacles. When these obstacles are removed, health spontaneously improves.

For instance, if someone is suffering with chronic indigestion from greasy, spicy foods, then making changes to diet is more appropriate than taking a palliative homeopathic remedy. The remedy will simply allow the person to continue eating foods that are not suitable for their body. Ultimately, obstacles, such as poor diet and lifestyle choices, may be associated with symptoms and slow progress towards healing.

Obstacle or true symptom?

Hahnemann distinguishes between obstacles and true chronic symptoms. True chronic symptoms are those arising from within the person, whereas symptoms resulting from obstacles are those arising from obstacles. Awareness of symptoms that arise from obstacles could be improved by removing or reducing exposure to the obstacles. However, such changes alone may not be sufficient to heal in every case or circumstance.

For some, symptoms can arise from obstacles or at least could be helped by removing them. When obstacles are reduced or removed, it also allows for the homeopathic remedy to do its work without interference. An obstacle is like added weight on a remedy. For instance, it may be feasible for you to climb a large hill and do so quickly. However, adding ankle weights may slow you down or be more challenging. Obstacles can be like a weight on the remedy, interfering with its action and slowing down progress.

Hahnemann stressed the importance of educating people on the value of lifestyle choices in managing symptoms or conditions, especially those that may be the result of lifestyle factors.