Homeopaths consider ‘susceptibility’ of the individual as the fundamental ‘cause’ of disease. According to them, ‘susceptibility’ is a property of ‘vital force’, which is a ‘dynamic’,‘non-material’, ‘non-corporeal’, ‘conceptual’ and spiritual entity that enlivens and governs the organism from the ‘interior’. As such, ‘susceptibility’ to diseases is also ‘dynamic’.
As per this concept, ‘classical’ homeopaths would persistently argue that even so-called ‘infectious diseases’ are not caused by bacteria or viruses, but the ‘internal susceptibility’, dynamic in nature. They say: “Small pox virus is not the cause of smallpox, vibrio cholerae is not the cause of cholera”. According to this theory, homeopathy is not involved with ‘treating infections’, but ‘correcting’ the susceptibility.
‘Constitutional susceptibility’ and ‘miasmatic susceptibility’ are terms frequently encountered in homeopathic discussions.
Similar to ‘vital force’ theory regarding diseases, and ‘dynamization’ theory of potentized drugs, this ‘dynamic’ theory of ‘susceptibility’ is another stumbling block that prevents homeopathy from becoming a scientific medical system. With such a totally unscientific theory homeopathy cannot effectively communicate with scientific community.
‘Susceptibility’ in medical terms means the ‘state or character of being susceptible to disease’.
In epidemiology “a susceptible individual is a member of a population who is at risk of becoming infected by a disease, or can not take a certain medicine, antibiotic, etc if he or she is exposed to the infectious agent.”
From the viewpoint of immunology, ‘susceptible’ individuals have been exposed to neither the wild strain of the disease nor a vaccination against it, and thus have not developed immunity. Those individuals who have antibodies against an antigen associated with a particular infectious disease will not be susceptible, even if they did not produce the antibody themselves (for example, infants younger than six months who still have maternal antibodies passed through the placenta and from the colostrum, and adults who have had a recent injection of antibodies). However, these individuals soon return to the susceptible state as the antibodies are broken down.
Some individuals may have a genetically determined natural resistance to a particular infectious disease. However, except in some special cases, these individuals make up such a small proportion of the total population
In Virology, ‘susceptibility’ is an important factor that decides the possibility of viral infections. Viruses are only able to cause disease or pathologies if they meet several criteria: 1. The virus is able to enter the cell (called a susceptible state). 2. There is a sufficient number of viruses within the cell. 3. The virus is able to replicate within the cell (called a permissive state). Hence ‘susceptibility’ only refers to the fact that the virus is able to get into the cell, via having the proper receptor(s), and as a result, despite the fact that a host may be susceptible, the virus may still not be able to cause any pathologies within the host. Reasons for this are varied and may include suppression by the host immune system, or abortive measures taken by intrinsic cell defenses.” All these factors belong purely to biochemistry- nothing ‘dynamic’
There is no doubt, ‘susceptibility’ plays a major role in disease processes. When we sow same seeds on different fields, their rate of germination and growth will be different. The environmental conditions of soil, atmosphere and climate play a decisive role in this process. Availability of nutrients, water, sunlight, and various other micro-level factors influence the germination of seeds and growth of seedlings. If we sow same seeds on a barren rock, it will not germinate. This shows the role of environmental factors.
In a similar way, the internal biochemical environment of the organism, which is also more or less influenced by external environment, plays a role in deciding the ‘susceptibility’ of the individual to diseases including infections. ‘Causative’ agents of diseases are expressed in a biochemical background of ‘susceptibility’.
Internal biochemical environment that decide ‘susceptibility’ consist of diverse factors belonging to following categories:
In order to promote a scientific perspective in homeopathy, we should understand and explain ‘susceptibility’ as the ‘state of internal biochemical environment of the organism that facilitates diseases’.
‘Susceptibility’ can be changed for the better using potentized homeopathic drugs selected as similimum considering the totality of physical generals, mentals and miasmatic molecular errors of the individual.