George Vithoulkhas - A Living Legend
Updated: Aug 26, 2019
Some call him the Master and some a living legend, many question his stubborn adherence to the laws and some criticise him for being too strict in his interpretation of those laws, but no one can dispute the impact George Vithoulkas has made on the theoretical and practical revival of Classical Homeopathy throughout the world and to this day. The Classical bit is important - it differentiates between those who use poly-pharmacy and those who follow the directive of single dose prescriptions laid out by Samuel Hahnemann, the father of Homeopathy, in his Organon of Medicine. To veer from these laws (with the exception of during emergencies) is frowned upon in purist circles. And make no mistakes about it, George Vithoulkas is a purist, and then some.
As a young man Vithoulkas first came across Homeopathy while working as an engineer in South Africa. He then travelled to India where he qualified as a Homeopath. As a young practitioner Vithoulkas was called on to treat the gravely ill philosopher Krishnamurti whom he brought back from a sever pneumonia. “All the people in his court stopped saying that George had intuition. You don't have to have intuition in such a situation, you have to have knowledge,” Vithoulkas said - and this has remained his steadfast position throughout his sixty year strong career.
“All the people in his court stopped saying that George had intuition. You don't have to have intuition in such a situation, you have to have knowledge,”
In the latter part of the 20th century, as traditional medicines and psycho-somatic-therapeutic models made inroads into the healing arts in the west, Homeopathy became a popular alternative to allopathic medicine. However it also become a watered down version of its former self as practitioners moved away from strictly Hahnemannian practices creating different branches and methodologies to explain the mysterious workings of the highly diluted and potentised remedies. The mind/psyche/body relationship had begun to mainstream bringing forward broader ideas about health which were largely rejected by the pharmaceutical based medical model. But for those who found no answers in modern medicine, Homeopathy, with its record of miraculous results without side effects offered a very attractive alternative.
The relationship between the mind and the emotions and their effect on the vital life force or immune system, had been clearly outlined in the classic Homeopathic literature by Hahnemann as early as 1810. To Vithoulkas this was a given, but the theories were incomplete. Always the engineer, Vithoulkas could see a structure forming from his years of successful and unsuccessful cases. From that structure, he developed two stand out theories - Levels of Health and A Continuum of Disease. These two theories alone have impacted Classical Homeopathic practice and restored Homeopathy to its former glory as one of medicines most refined and sophisticated treatment models.
In his book entitled Levels of Health (2010), Vithoulkas describes detailed treatment protocols based on the idea that patients need to be assessed and treated according to their individual level of health. This is determined by both hereditary predisposition and immune response; namely the ability of the immune system to react to pathogenic influences by raising a fever and/or bringing the disturbance out through the periphery - the skin or external mucous membranes, by a discharge of some sort. Under Vithoulkas’s strict tutorage, the physician is called on to closely monitor the patient over time, paying attention to the most minute details and changes in mental, emotional and physical pathology and in the patients ability to raise (or not to raise) a fever. The response to the remedy (by way of an aggravation of symptoms) and the organisms ability to return to a state where it can create a fever, (or not), is indispensable information for the practitioner and immunologists alike.
Vithoulkas’s Theory of A Continuum of Disease, won him and his team at the IACH a Certificate of excellence at the Congress "MOVEMENT AND COGNITION INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE – Neurological Conference" Harvard Medical School in 2017. The theory is based on the idea that suppression of disease impacts the level of health of the individual patient over time. After continuous suppression of disease via antibiotics, anti-fungals, cortisone, vaccination or drugs, the immune systems ability to respond to an acute inflammation by creating a fever state, is worn down. Eventually all it can do is create a state of chronic inflammation. Furthermore, the individual disease history offers us a blueprint of the organisms response to invasion and must be taken into consideration as the organism responds to treatment.
“The parameters for improvement and good response to treatment in homeopathic therapy are measured by the body’s ability to defend itself with an efficient acute inflammation when required. The idea is that as the defence mechanism becomes weaker, the organism loses the ability to put up an efficient acute inflammation and enters a low- grade chronic inflammation eventually triggering the chronic disease that the patient is predisposed to genetically. The reverse of this occurs during homeopathic therapy and patient begins to have acute inflammatory states as the chronic complaints reduce.” - Theory of A Continuum of Disease.
While some western countries, backed by pharmaceutical interests, continue in their misguided assault on all Homeopathic practice (without any interest or understanding of the vast differences in theory, practice and application of different schools of Homeopathy), Vithoulkas’s theories have gained ground and influence in the international medical arena. In collaboration with the Ministry of health in Moscow, Russia leads the way in Classical Homeopathic training of Medical students. But Russia is not alone. Vithoulkas’s success has brought him fame and recognition across Europe, Israel, Mexico, South America, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Balkan countries to name but a few. His International Academy of Classical Homeopathy has been host to over 15000 doctors and practitioners from over 30 countries since its doors opened in 1995.
Sitting on the southern tip of the complex of Sporades Islands, the Marine Park island of Alonissos welcomes summer travellers who spend their days wondering through the side streets of the small port in search of trinkets and local craft and visiting it’s magnificent nature reserves and beaches. However today the yellow Flying Dolphin Ferry which brings me to the Island is filled with Homeopathic practitioners and doctors who have all come to learn from the Master himself.
The Academy is impressive. Custom built by Vithoulkas for the purpose of educating doctors and practitioners in Classical Hahnemann Homeopathy, the outlook is spectacular and the professional atmosphere is as compelling as it is relaxed. The clear waters of the Mediterranean call but the bell rings and all 100 or so students make their way into the main learning hall to watch a case in progress via a live broadcast. The analysis will follow with Vithoulkas in person. He enters the hall to a round of applause and takes his seat in front of the class but after less than five minutes, the octogenarian is up, casually pacing up and down, asking students questions and sharing his wisdom and humour.
Dressed in sports shoes, jeans and a powder-blue button up shirt he is equally as handsome and charming today as he ever was. He is boyish in his mannerism, and sharp in intellect, and though a scientist in every sense of the word, he is also a spiritual man. “Disease confesses itself through the body,” he has been known to have said and while he adheres to the strictest of theoretic law, he is also one to acknowledge that the individual reaction of each organism can never be predicted and that all comes from a Higher power. And it is this perfect balance of deepest scientific inquiry coupled with compassion and kindness, topped with a healthy dose of respect for the unknowable, which makes Vithoulkas so loved and respected by his peers and students alike.
While few have dedicated as much to Homeopathy as Vithoulkas, even to this claim, he refers all credit to his lovely wife Zissula who has accompanied and supported him throughout his career. Vithoulkas is one of those rare men whose personal and professional integrity run parallel. He has been awarded multiple honorary professorships from universities across Europe including the Moscow Medical Academy, the State Medical University of Chuvash Republic (Russia) and the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Timisoara (Romania) to name a few. He has also received the Right Livelihood Award for his outstanding contribution to the revival of homeopathic knowledge and the training of homeopaths to the highest standards.”
His commitment and dedication to the restoration of Homeopathy as a medical science worthy of serious attention, is nothing short of impressive. While still delivering lectures and taking cases, today Vithoulkas is focused on the publication of papers in peer reviewed scientific journals of which he has a growing body. This he believes is the most important task of Homeopathy today as we grapple with an ever growing population of chronically ill for whom modern medicine offers little but palliation.