The Vital Force – What It Is and What It Does

november 2022

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Hilsen Homeopath Rita Arntzen MNLH


  • The very name of Homeopathy gives us a clue to how it works. The name comes from two Greek words that mean “similar suffering.”
  • Substances, when tested on healthy people, produce symptoms.
  • When unwell, humans (and animals) also produce symptoms.
  • When the symptoms of a substance closely match the symptoms of an unwell person, that substance can be prescribed according to the Law of Similars to trigger a healing response within the person.
  • Substances, when prepared and used homeopathically, are known as “remedies.”
  • Remedies can be prescribed as either crude chemicals or in a potentised, sub-molecular form, which is free of chemicals and their side effects.
  • Potentised remedies have many advantages over crude ones: they cannot poison or interact with other medicines, are inexpensive to produce, and heal deeply.

So far so good, but all of this information begs a question: if homeopathic remedies do not act by chemicals, how do they work? To understand this we need to understand the Vital Force.

Health and the Role of the Vital Force

All living things have an integrated? force that maintains and directs life. This is true whether that living thing is human, plant, or animal. This force is a form of energy that underpins all biophysical and biochemical processes, and separates living from non-living matter. Throughout history, this  spark has had many names and been described in many ways. In the English-speaking world it has been called the innate intelligence, life principle, life force, vitality, dynamis, regulatory force, or vital energy. In other cultures it has been known as qi, chi, or prana. Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, called it the Vital Force.

The Vital Force is an energy that enables all living things to self-heal or to preserve life by adapting to environmental changes. In the case of the human body, the Vital Force directs the different body systems to function as a harmonious whole, in much the same way a conductor directs the separate parts of an orchestra to produce a single, pleasing piece of music.

The Vital Force and Disease

When a plant or animal is diseased, or when we become unwell, we often look to the symptoms as the cause of the problem. In reality, symptoms are only the secondary changes- products of a deeper disturbance. Apart from injury, the symptoms of disease and ill-health can only occur when there has been a disruption to the energetic Vital Force. This disruption can occur from psychic (mental rather than physical) shocks such as deep grief, prolonged anxiety, terror, disappointment, or even extreme joy. Physical shocks can come from infectious diseases, exposure to the elements, trauma, malnutrition, extreme exertion, and so on.

The Vital Force, when disrupted energetically by one of these shocks, enters a struggle to regain its balance and preserve life. In the course of this struggle the Vital Force produces signs and symptoms. These are not the disturbance but only by products of the struggle. In the case of acute problems such the flu, gastroenteritis, and headaches, the Vital Force is usually successful and we recover. Sometimes it is unable to regain balance, though, and the sufferer dies. On other occasions the acute problem gradually changes into a chronic disease.

Chronic disease can arise from unresolved acute problems, or directly from the mental, emotional or physical assaults that are part of life. Chronic diseases are too numerous to list but include problems such as lung complaints, digestive problems, skin disorders and various types of arthritis. Unlike acute problems they do not go away, but gradually lead to worsening health as the person ages. Unless death comes by a sudden acute event, most people die from the long-term damage caused by their chronic disease or diseases.

While the imbalance created by acute diseases can be overcome by the Vital Force, the imbalance created by a chronic disease cannot- the Vital Force can only contain it. In doing so it engages in a long-term struggle to preserve life. Remember: the symptoms we often think of as the disease are only by-products of this deeper energetic struggle. They do however give us important information on how to help the Vital Force correct rather than just contain its imbalance so that the sufferer can be fully returned to a state of health. How this is done and the role Homeopathy has to play is the focus of the next tutorial.