Homeopathy in Austria

Homeopathy in Austria

Although Hahnemann studied in Vienna in 1777, homeopathy came to Austria in 1818 with Prof. S. Veith, a veterinarian, in Bohemia. In 1819 we find Dr. Fleischmann in Vienna and Dr. Marenzeller (who first learned homeopathy in 1815) in Prague. After successes with the 1831 cholera epidemic, practice was legalized in 1837. The first journal was published in Wien in 1844.

In 1842, a group of homeopaths, oriented toward "specifics," formed the Verein homöopatischer Ärzte Oesterreichs fuer physiologische Arzneipruefung (association of homeopathic doctors for physiological drug testing). In 1843, there were 17 members. In 1873, the association was renamed to Verein homöopatischer Aerzte Oesterreichs (association of homeopathic doctors in Austria). It then had a membership of 43, which dwindled as the years passed.

At the turn of the century, there were only a handful of known homeopaths, but the body of knowledge was being passed on to and adopted by priests, pastor's wives and lay people. By 1931 Dr. Hoyle notes a "marked decease" in practitioners with "no young men" filling the ranks. "25% of the letters sent came back marked 'deceased'." Between the two World Wars, several doctors (Schreiber, Rosendorf, Wancura and Gutman) tried to revive homeopathy in vain. Gutman immigrated to the United States in 1938.

After World War II, Robert Seitscheck and a pharmacist couple (Erich and Maria Peithner) established contact with homeopathic doctors. In 1953, Seitschek and Mathias Dorcsi founded the Vereinigung Homoeopatisch interessierter Ärzte (association of homeopathy-interested doctors). Seitschek built linkages abroad and in 1958 an international homeopathic league congress was held in Salzburg. In 1969, the association was renamed the Oesterreichische Gesselschaftt fuer Homoeo-pathische Medizin (OGHM). The membership in 1995 had about 1000 doctors.

In 1973, the association was officially recognized in the form of a research contract with the ministry of science. In 1985, Dorcsi obtained a teaching contract in the Institute for Pharmacognosy, and regular year-long homeopathy lectures are now held in the Vienna Faculty of Medicine. The campuses in Graz and Innsbruck soon followed. A journal, Homoeopathie in Oesterreich, was launched in 1989.

In 1991, a second homeopathy society was founded, the Ärzte der Klassischen Homöopathie/ physicians of classical homeopathy (ÄKH). They have a separate curriculum and maintain a separate roster but the quality of education is comparable between them.

As of 1997, the OGHM has 310 recommended homeopaths on its roster, and the ÄKH had 100. Only medical doctors are allowed to practice in Austria. The country is represented in the LMHI.

Little is known of homeopathy in Slovenia. Slovensko Homeopatsko Drustvo (SHD- Slovenian Homeopathic Association) is associated with the homeopaths in Austria.