Strength of Vital Force in Classical Homeopathy: Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual Correlates Within a Complex Systems Context

Iris R. Bell, Daniel A. Lewis, Sabrina E. Lewis, Audrey J. Brooks, Gary E. Schwartz, Carol M. Baldwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: To explore associations between a global rating for the classical homeopathic construct of vital force and clinician and patient ratings on previously validated bio-psycho-social-spiritual questionnaires. Methods: Sixty-two (62) community-recruited patients with fibromyalgia (FM) were assessed at baseline prior to a clinical trial of individualized homeopathy. Two homeopaths jointly performed case-taking interviews. A conventional medical provider independently evaluated patients with a standardized history and physical examination. Homeopaths rated each patient's vital force (five-point Likert scale, with 1 = very weak to 5 = very strong). Homeopaths and the conventional medical provider rated their Clinical Global Impression (CGI) of the severity of illness (1 = normal; 7 = among the most extremely ill). Patients completed self-rating scales on pain, global health, mood, quality of life, coping style, health locus of control, multidimensional well-being, spirituality, sense of coherence, positive states of mind, and social desirability. Results: Greater vital force ratings (mean 2.9 standard deviation [SD] 0.6) correlated moderately (p ≤ 0.005) with less severe CGI illness ratings by the homeopaths (r = -0.59), decreased patient-rated mental confusion (r = -0.43), higher vigor (r = 0.38), and greater positive states of mind (r = 0.36). Vital force also showed correlations (p < 0.05) with lower CGI ratings by the conventional medical provider (r = -0.32), better self-rated quality of life (r = 0.33), lesser fatigue (r = -0.31), better global health (r = 0.29), greater sense of coherence (r = 0.28), powerful-others health locus of control (r = 0.27), increased emotional well-being (r = 0.27), and higher social desirability (r = 0.27), but not with age, pain, or illness duration. Conclusion: Homeopathic vital force ratings reflect better perceived mental function, energy, and positive dimensions of the individual, beyond absence of disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-131
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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