Translating a nonlinear systems theory model for homeopathy into empirical tests

Altern Ther Health Med. May-Jun 2002;8(3):58-66.


Various investigators have proposed that nonlinear systems theory, notably chaos and complexity theory, provides a heuristically useful modelfor conceptualizing the way in which complementary and alternative medicine therapies, which purport to modify subtle energies, effect change throughout the individual as a whole. In this paper we apply this theory to classical homeopathy and outline an empirical approach for testing the resultant hypotheses. Such research may advance understanding of the mechanisms of homeopathic remedy effects and provide a direction for homeopathic research that expands the previous emphasis on clinical trials and the remedies themselves. In refocusing attention on the dynamics of the patient as a nonlinear complex system, the proposed research program is consistent with the homeopathic emphasis on the individual rather than the disease. This approach may have additional applications that can elucidate similar effects of other energy medicine modalities (eg, acupuncture) on the healing process of the person as a unified whole.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Homeopathy / standards*
  • Humans
  • Materia Medica / standards*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Nonlinear Dynamics*
  • Research Design
  • Sick Role
  • Systems Theory


  • Materia Medica