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Although Hahnemann is the founder of the modern form of homeopathy, the principle of treating like with like dates back to Hippocrates a Greek physician (460-377BC). He thought the specific symptoms of an individual should be taken into account before diagnosis. This approach fell out of favour until the late 18th Century when Hahnemann another physician was dissatisfied with the conventional medical practices which included blood letting and giving patients toxic substances. He experimented on himself and found that an illness could be treated with a very small amount of the substance, that in larger quantities would produce the same symptoms in a healthy person. To reduce harmful side-effects he diluted each medicine till the greatest dilution that would still produce a response.
These experiments were called provings and led to the basic principle of homeopathic medicine.