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...for his outstanding contribution to the revival of homeopathic knowledge and the training of homeopaths to the highest standards.
George Vithoulkas was born in Athens in 1932. He started studying homeopathy in South Africa in 1960 and he continued in India in different homeopathic colleges, receiving a diploma from the Indian Institute of Homeopathy in 1966. Returning to Greece the following year, Vithoulkas started practising homeopathy and teaching it to a small group of Greek medical doctors. The Athenian School of Homeopathic Medicine was established in 1970. The school, since re-named the Center of Homeopathic Medicine, is devoted exclusively to the teaching of MDs. In 1994, Vithoulkas opened the International Academy for Classical Homeopathy on the Greek island of Alonissos, its purpose being to provide post-graduate training for health practitioners from all over the world.
George Vithoulkas was born in Athens in 1932. He started studying homeopathy in South Africa in 1960 and he continued in India in different homeopathic colleges, receiving a diploma from the Indian Institute of Homeopathy in 1966.
Returning to Greece the following year, Vithoulkas started practising homeopathy and teaching it to a small group of Greek medical doctors. The therapeutic success of these first doctors so attracted the attention of others that the Athenian School of Homeopathic Medicine was established in 1970.
The school, since re-named the Center of Homeopathic Medicine, is devoted exclusively to the teaching of MDs. In 1971, the first Greek Homeopathic Society was established and a year later Vithoulkas started the Greek journal, Homeopathic Medicine. In 1976 he organised the first International Homeopathic Seminars in Greece. Since then, international seminars have been held every year, attended by health professionals from at least 20 countries.
In 1994, Vithoulkas opened the International Academy for Classical Homeopathy on the Greek island of Alonissos, its purpose being to provide post-graduate training for health practitioners from all over the world.
Currently, as the Director of the Athens Center, Vithoulkas heads a team of 30 doctors who practise homeopathy while they study under his supervision. He has established homeopathy in Greece as a science respected by the medical profession, and has also made his country one of the leading centres for homeopathy in the western world.
Vithoulkas' books, Homeopathy: Medicine of the New Man (Arco, New York, 1979), written for lay people, and The Science of Homeopathy (Grove Press, New York, 1980), for health professionals, have been translated into twenty languages and have had a profound influence upon the acceptance and practice of homeopathy worldwide. His book A New Model for Health and Disease, published in German and English in 1991, makes a fundamental critique of conventional allopathic medicine and sets out a new paradigm for the science of medicine.
George Vithoulkas' overall vision is the establishment of homeopathy on a worldwide basis. A major goal in this vision is the foundation of homeopathic medical colleges in the USA and Europe where homeopathy can be taught at the highest level. A major production has been the Vithoulkas Expert System computer programme and a series of video courses made from his lectures. The computer programme has sold over 1,000 copies and has brought classical homeopathy within the reach of ordinary homeopathy students.
At present Vithoulkas is writing a new homeopathic Materia Medica Viva, in 16 volumes, including the contemporary knowledge and his own experience from the more than 150,000 cases treated at the Center in Athens. The first six volumes have been published in German and translation into English is planned. Vithoulkas also continues to teach, both in Greece and internationally.
As the practice of homeopathy becomes more widespread in many countries, Vithoulkas is seen to have made a major contribution to its establishment as a science that can substantially benefit human health and welfare.
December 9th, 1996
Madame Speaker, Your Excellencies ladies and gentlemen, friends.
I would like to thank the Right Livelihood Award Jury for honouring me with such a great distinction. In doing so, they have, primarily honoured Classical Homeopathy itself, as well as all my students who have worked with such enthusiasm and dedication towards the proper application and teaching of this therapeutic system.
When I started practising homeopathy 36 years ago in South Africa, and after having treated successfully - to my great surprise - quite a number of chronically ill patients, I decided to find out where one could receive formal training in such an effective therapeutic method. To my utter amazement, frustration and disappointment, I found out that this subject was not taught in any European or American Medical School, and only the rudiments were being taught in India and Mexico.
Not only that, but I soon learned that in the whole of the western world, homeopathy remained entirely on the fringe, hidden from the public eye, so that most suffering people were oblivious of its existence and its possible therapeutic benefits.
Having witnessed its therapeutic effects in more than 150,000 cases in these 36 years of practice, I felt that the fact that it was so much ignored by our societies was an almost inexplicable peculiarity of nature rather than human neglect.
Homeopathy's main rule - "similia similibus curentur", or "like is cured by like" - had already been mentioned by Hippocrates: But it was at the beginning of the 19th century that it was organised as a therapeutic methodology by the German doctor Christian Samuel Hahnemann. When I first heard of homeopathy in 1960, this important therapeutic modality had remained in the same state that Hahnemann had left it 150 years before.
In 1963 I had already vowed, promised myself, to work to the best of my abilities to develop it to the full and to give it back to the world to stand on its true merit. I took up this task because I realised by that time, that nobody else was willing to do the work. Most probably because no one perceived its real value in helping humanity. Since then I have devoted all my time and energy to the task of reviving classical homeopathy as it was taught by Samuel Hahnemann, upgrading it to the level of a science and giving it back to the world with the proof that it works. To this day, I think that I have not retreated, nor faltered, from this task.
After some years of practice, and having the experience of treating thousands of cases, I started investigating and researching all these cases, all these human medical tragedies, that had come to my attention seeking help, and I tried to give answers to a lot of perplexing questions. Since then I have written several books that I believe have clarified many issues that had remained unresolved in homeopathy and answered many of those questions.
This untiring research and investigation led to the structuring of a new theoretical model that gives an altogether new direction and dimension to medical thinking. I think that for the first time the rules have been determined for an "energy" medicine, the subtle force that is behind all medical phenomena in living organisms.
I have stipulated the laws and principles that govern Health and Disease, that govern any therapeutic system actually, so that the therapist may know whether under a specific treatment the patient is improving or actually degenerating.
According to this model, the world, and conventional medicine in particular, has been moving in the wrong direction in therapeutics.
I understand that it sounds strange - even arbitrary, pretentious or superficial that such a strong criticism of conventional therapeutics should come from someone who has not had conventional medical training. Yet facts are stronger than prejudices, and when the issues are so important and urgent, perhaps the medical authorities will have to listen to someone who has experience in treating more than one hundred thousand cases, cases that were not only given up on by conventional medicine but had often been a result of it.
I claim that diseases of the human race have never been tackled properly by conventional medicine; on the contrary, they have been treated wrongly - suppressively - and therefore while the symptoms were masked, the real disorder underneath progressed and finally was pushed to the interior of the organism, which is the central and peripheral nervous system.
Let me give you just a few facts to judge for yourself.
Multiple sclerosis, a disease that eventually leaves its victims totally paralysed, is one which thousands of people are suffering from in the western world. Yet it is entirely unknown to Africans, Asians or South Americans, who have not had the "benefit" of the Excellency of western medicine. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a terrible disorder of the neuromuscular systems, is also unknown to all these people. Myopathy and muscular dystrophy is the same, known only to westerners. Epilepsy, which is rampant in the western world, is seldom encountered in these countries.
Anxiety neurosis, compulsive neurosis, and in general mental disorders of a severe nature from which millions of patients are suffering in the western world, are almost unknown in these groups that have not had the "benefit" of modern medicine and vaccinations. Chorea and a host of other nervous system disorders are also unknown to them.
The model suggests that all these chronic diseases, including hay fever, asthma, cancer and AIDS, are the result of wrong intervention upon the organisms by conventional medicine. It claims that the immune systems of the western population, through strong chemical drugs and repeated vaccinations, have broken down and finally admitted the diseases deeper and deeper into the human organism, to the central and peripheral nervous system.
In short, this model claims that conventional medicine, instead of curing diseases, is actually the cause of the degeneration of the human race. It is also very simple for anyone to think that if conventional medicine were really curing chronic diseases, today we would have a population in the west that was healthy, mentally, emotionally and physically.
Due to this model, I had already, in 1970, predicted the appearance of AIDS, saying to a group of medical doctors in Athens that if conventional medicine continued to use antibiotics the way it did, there would come a time when the immune system would break down and new incurable diseases would emerge. It was an unfortunate but precise and timely prediction of the appearance of AIDS.
Today, I want to make another prediction. If conventional medicine does not take notice of what we say and drastically change its practices and its logic in treating with chemical drugs; if it does not also change the direction of its research, soon diseases will go to the very centre of the organism, which is the nervous system, and most of the population on earth will be mentally ill individuals.
I do not expect that this theoretical model will be understood or appreciated soon by the medical authorities, but I think that from now on there is no excuse for ignoring the so-called side effects that conventional therapies have inflicted and are still inflicting on the human race.
The full explanation of what I am claiming here has been published in a thesis of mine with the title a "New Model for Health and Disease" or a "New Dimension in Medicine".
I am really glad and deeply thankful to the Right Livelihood Award Jury for giving me the opportunity to express my word of warning to the world, and I would be more than happy if, due to this warning, the suffering of human beings is considerably lessened.
I would now like to present some of the landmarks in my work.
At the moment, I am writing a homeopathic pharmacology, a Materia Medica as it is called, of which I have completed eight volumes. There are another eight volumes in preparation.
For the last 30 years I have taught classical homeopathy to medical doctors and health practitioners and have converted to classical Hahnemannian homeopathy thousands of medical doctors and health practitioners, primarily from Europe and the United States.
I have helped and encouraged my students to establish several teaching centres for classical homeopathy all over the world in order to teach other interested practitioners.
In co-operation with Namur University of Belgium, I have developed an expert computer system that imitates my thinking in the analysis of difficult cases. This computer system is helping homeopathic practitioners in solving difficult and complicated cases.
I saw a long-time vision come true in 1995 when I established the International Academy for Classical Homeopathy on the island of Alonissos in the Aegean Sea. In this institution I aspire to teach, from A to Z, all the material that I have taught in the last 20 years in different seminars all over the world. Already I have started teaching an international group, a group of Russian doctors as well as a group of Italian doctors.
It is a truly satisfying experience for me to see that 2,500 years after Hippocrates, medical doctors are coming back to a Greek island to be taught what I am convinced to be today the most advanced form of therapy.
I would like to give you now some personal background.
I was born in Athens in 1932. During the second world war I lost eight members of my family, including both my parents. I had to work hard from the age of 11, firstly in order to survive and then in order to study.
Since that time I seem to have learned to think for myself and to solve problems without asking for help from others. In any case, during those difficult war years, nobody could afford to offer help. Another event in my life that marked my later development was that as a result of malnutrition suffered in the terrible famine in wartime Athens, I developed a serious spinal condition at the age of sixteen.
I lived in pain for 12 years, refusing to take the orthodox treatment that was proposed in 1948, as the doctors told me that there was a strong possibility of paralysis if surgery was performed. I lived in that condition, still working hard to support myself and my studies, as well as to support my sister, until I came into contact with homeopathy in 1960.
My first reading of a book on homeopathy was a revelation. I studied everything that was available. I attended various homeopathic colleges but was totally disappointed with the low standards of teaching. I felt that homeopathy deserved a better kind of teaching, a better way of presentation, but most of all better results than those the practitioners of the time were able to present. In order to do that, I felt that I had to solve for myself the thousand questions that were plaguing my mind concerning homeopathy and its presentation to the world as a serious therapeutic modality.
I learned a lot from looking upon human suffering in all these tens of thousands of cases, and I can say that out of sympathy I experienced pain in all its manifestations and at all its levels through my patients. I felt when I was examining them what it means to suffer mentally, emotionally, as well as physically. The urge to help and the idea that this could be done through homeopathy inspired my efforts during those early days and gave me some hope in my nights of agony.
I learned from such painful experiences that real health is a primary and basic "possession" that in fact very few people possessed in the western world. I came to the conclusion that health can be defined best by the word freedom:
I saw how many people not only lacked such a perfect state of health but often lived in fear, agony, panic, depression, in mental confusion or mental aberration. All of them had to take chemical drugs in order to be barely functional.
Yet I feel the despair of the person whose cries fall on deaf ears. Conventional medicine strongly resists the information that comes from us, does not even want to hear about it, does not even want to begin a dialogue and profit by it. We have the recent example of the Swedish Medical Association's negative reaction to my being awarded this Prize.
However, if one perceives the total insignificance and shortness of our lives on this planet and on the other hand the eternity of the cosmos and its eternal evolution, the controversies and confrontations, that spring from selfish interests and personal greed or insecurities, have no place at all in our efforts and endeavours to help ailing humanity.
As the greatest resistance to homeopathy - which is the cheapest way of curing diseases - comes from the pharmaceutical industry, I would propose that pharmaceutical companies by international law should not be allowed to earn profits from their sales. Only then, I think, may there be hope for change.
If the world's medical authorities still choose to ignore Hahnemann's beneficial discoveries, not only will they miss a tremendous opportunity to introduce a health system that could promote better health, and therefore a more harmonious and more peaceful life on the planet, but they will also be accused by succeeding generations of criminal negligence and short-sightedness.
I believe that humanity has an uphill battle to wage in its fight to attain real health, and I honestly believe - from hard-earned experience - that homeopathy can offer some solution to this problem.
I feel that I have totally exhausted myself in these 36 years of uncompromising efforts to prove the validity of such a wonderful therapeutic system and I was ready to give up the unequal struggle. But if this award makes a difference to the so far deaf ears of the medical authorities, then I could say, like Hahnemann, that I have not lived my life in vain.
asked in 2005
1.Homeopathy and conventional medicine - an irresolvable contradiction or do they complement each other?
They complement each other, but each one should be used separately. Homeopathy is indicated in the beginning stages of chronic diseases, conventional medicine is appropriate in the end stages of chronic diseases.
2. Are the questions you face still the same as in the early days of homeopathy?
The questions are similar but are asked from higher educated people.
3. Is homeopathy today more accepted than ever? In which countries is it most or least accepted?
Homeopathy today is way ahead than fifty years ago. Recently it has been accepted in several medical schools like the Basdue Medical School in Spain, the Kiev Medical Academy, the Moscow Medical Academy and to a minor degree with introductory lectures in several others. An important development in Greece was the cooperation of the International Academy for Homeopathy and the Aegean University for educating medical doctors - so far about 200. The cooperation started in 2004.
4. Do we know how homeopathy works?
We don't know yet. There are several theoretical models, but so far none has been proved beyond any doubt.
5. Why isn't homeopathy widely spread since it is so effective?
There are several reasons. First, the lack of a proper education, which should be long enough and with high standards. Second, the resistance from vested interests (pharmaceutical industries and medical authorities). Third, the lack of proper information in the general public and among medical students.
6. What effect has the RLA had on your work?
It had a very positive effect in opening the doors for cooperation with higher learning institutions and particularly great exposure in the media.
Homeopathy - Medicine of the new man. 1st Edition by ARCO USA, 1970.
Homeopathy - Medicine for the new millennium. Published by IACH, May 2000.
The science of homeopathy. Published by Grove Press, New York, USA, 1980.
Materia medica viva. Published in 11 volumes by IACH.
A new model for health and disease. Published by North Atlantic Books, USA.
Talks on classical homeopathy. Published by B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
Essence of material medica. Published by IACH.
Homeopathic conference Esalen. First edition in English, 1980.
The Bern Seminar. Published by Ulrich Burgdorf, First edition in Berne, Switzerland, 1987.
The Celle Seminars. Published by Ulrich Burgdorf, 1992.