The Homoeopath is essentially a Vitalist; that is one who sees the human organism as a body/mind/spirit complex which, as a whole, makes a response to environmental stressors. Disease and sickness occur when this complex is out of balance. The disturbance may be an internal or external one, and the signs and symptoms which follow are an attempt by the individual to come back into balance.
This implies, then, that there is an innate power of self healing in every creature (which can be termed the Life Force) and a tendency always to restore order. In the Organon of Medicine, the Homoeopath's "Bible", this self-healing power is referred to by Hahnemann as a 'Dynamis' which gives life to the body. In other traditions, this energy is often referred to as: Chi; Prana or Soul. Today, homoeopaths call it the 'Vital Force'.
In keeping with the Vitalist tradition, Homoeopathy sees the Vital Force as being that aspect of each individual which: adapts to environmental influences; animates the emotional state; provides thoughts and creativity and gives rise to spiritual inspiration. Signs and symptoms of disease then are referred to by Homoeopaths as being the defense mechanism of the Vital Force at work as it attempts to restore equilibrium when subjected to a stressor whether it be physical, environmental or mental/emotional.
A good example of this fact occurs with food poisoning. As soon as the Vital Force recognises that a poisonous substance has been ingested, the most unpleasant results of vomiting and diarrhoea can be sure to follow as the body attempts to come back into balance. Disease then, is merely a response of the body to an assault on the Vital Force.
Signs and symptoms such as fever, rash or discharge from the nose or throat are then produced in an attempt to restore order. Disease can be acute, such as with influenza or cholera, where the symptoms come on suddenly and ferociously and leave in a short time with the person either dying or making a full recovery; or it can be chronic where the symptoms, such as with asthma or diabetes, persist for years resulting in a gradual deterioration of the individual's health.