Kent [1849-1916], they rejected the outer physical aspects of disease as being the true realm of disease causation, believing the organism to possess an inner ‘spiritual body’ or ‘vital force’ – “…Van Helmont’s Archeus, Stahl’s Animal Soul…” [Lesser Writings, 1808, 490; Haehl, I, 284] – that heals and coordinates during health, but which also harbours the root causes of sickness, and what van Helmont called “…exogenous agents…that irritate the Archeus…” [Pagel, 428]. In the Organon, when writing about the vital force, Hahnemann even “uses phrases that might have been Stahl’s own,” [Haehl, I, 284].
Unlike Sydenham, van Helmont correctly interpreted Paracelsus that contagion occurred by a “spiritual Gas,” [Pagel, 1946, 436] that invades the Archeus and so creates sickness. Contagion had always been viewed as a spiritual process and never physical. These ideas also resurfaced with homeopaths like Kent, who denounced “the bacteria doctrine,” and “the molecular theory,” in favour of a position of unbridled vitalism, declaring that “We do not take disease through our bodies but through the Vital Force,” [Kent, Lesser Writings, 1926].