Homeopathy in Germany

Homeopathy in Germany

Germany was the home of Hahnemann until 1835. After 1812 he had followers - Stapf, Gross, Horburg, Franz, Hartmann, and others who formed the prover's union.

There were efforts to start a homeopathic hospital in 1832, but Hahnemann disapproved of the people who were to run it, and in an article called them "half-homeopaths." By 1834 the movement was splitting apart, and by 1837 there were those who believed that the writings of Hahnemann "can no longer be considered as expressing the standpoint of homeopathy of the day."

Isopathy was introduced by the veterinarian Wilhelm Lux in 1833-37. Guenther's Homeopathic Veterinary Physician was the first veterinary manual in 1836. King lists 20 graduates from Germany who studied at US schools between 1850 and 1905.

There were few lay people using homeopathy prior to 1855 when Arthur Lutze's work described practice with double remedies- leading to the practice of "specifics" for domestic use. The "single remedy, single dose, selected by similarity to the provings" had been virtually unknown for a long time, until Jost Kunzli translated Kent's Repertory into German in 1946. Most homeopathy in Germany was practiced on a very "pathological" basis. With the Repertory available, more people became interested in the Hahnemannian method.

Since George Vithoulkas began teaching in the USA in the 1970s, homeopathy has enjoyed a renewed interest and revival. Seminars with Vithoulkas and other American homeopaths were organized with up to 400 participants. Indian homeopaths also began coming to Germany to teach. In the 1980s some of the Heilpraktikers attending those seminars founded the Homöopathie-Forum, which is today the biggest homeopathic non-profit organization in Germany with more than 1000 members. Only medical doctors or heilpraktikers are allowed to treat patients in Germany.

"Heilpraktiker" is a medical profession recognized by the German government, based on the Heilpraktikergesetz of 1939. A heilpraktiker is allowed to practice any unconventional therapy, for treatment of all diseases except certain infectious and venereal diseases. At this time there are no educational standards for heilpraktikers; the only requirement for earning the distinction "heilpraktiker" is the successful passage of an exam set by the Public Health Department.

A heilpraktiker is not allowed to treat a variety of infectious diseases such as venereal diseases, malaria, chicken pox, measles, and diseases of the sexual organs - which limits them in cases of pregnancy and childbirth. About 10% of heilpraktikers are self taught but most are trained by private HP-schools, full time or part time. Because there are no mandatory guidelines, the school's quality varies greatly.

A heilpraktiker may not officially call themselves a homeopath, although they may indicate on their practice sign or calling cards that they practice homeopathy. Medical doctors in Germany can identify themselves as specializing in homeopathy if they have gone through a six-week training program in homeopathy followed by an internship with a medical homeopath for 6 or 12 months.

In 1997, a professional organization especially for professional homeopaths in Germany was founded, the Verband Klassischer Homöopathen Deutschlands (VKHD). One of VKHD's primary objectives was to establish qualified guidelines for appropriate medical and homeopathic training. These standards are modeled on the ECCH guidelines.

Other organizations exist, the largest being Homöopathie-Forum (HF) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Klassische Homöopathie (DGKH). These non-profit organizations are legally only allowed to work politically for public health (e.g. by promoting homeopathy as a therapy method), and not for the well-being of a group of professionals.

The umbrella organization for all other non-profit organizations is the Bund Klassischer Homöopathen Deutschlands (BKHD), with the HF, the DGKH, and Samuel-Hahnemann-Stiftung as its members. Together, the non profit-organizations in BKHD, and the professional organization VKHD are working to establish guidelines for medical and homeopathic training. There are about 2,800 MDs with this qualification, although many others use homeopathy. About 600 practitioners are registered with the ICCH.

Polypharmacy is also very prevalent and many heilpraktikers and MDs use polypharmacy preparations with little or no training in classical homeopathic methods. The ICCH lists 31 teaching institutions, five manufacturing pharmacies, seven journals, and three homeopathic hospitals: Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus, Stuttgart; Waldhausklinik, Augsburg; Harlachinger Krankenhaus, München - most using complexes and low potency organopathic remedies, although the Harlachinger Krankenhaus has some MDs prescribing classical homeopathy with Rajan Sankaran as their supervisor.

Germany is represented in the LMHI.