WHAT IS HOMEOPATHY?
Homeopathy is a holistic, therapeutic medical science developed by Samuel Hahnemann over 200 years ago however the concept dates back to the time of Hippocrates. Homeopathy is based on the Law Of Similars, “like cures like” which states that a substance (in large dose) is capable of producing symptoms in a healthy person. That same substance (in minute dose) when diluted and potentized will remove those same symptoms in an unhealthy person.
Homeopathy is characterized by the fact that it treats the whole person — physical, mental, emotional and spiritual — their reactions to illnesses, their susceptibility, their personality and their past history. Homeopathy treats each person individually based on their particular symptom picture.
Homeopathy’s approach to treating illness is founded on the understanding that the symptoms produced when someone is sick, are expressions of the body’s attempt to correct an imbalance. Rather than suppress these tell-tale symptoms, homeopathic remedies (medicine) support the body’s efforts to heal itself and help restore a healthy balance in the body.
Homeopathy uses remedies to stimulate the body’s natural defense mechanisms. The body’s defense mechanisms are usually effective in maintaining a healthy, functioning body, however these defenses can become overwhelmed. When this happens homeopathic remedies act quickly to promote healing by stimulating and regulating the body’s own natural defenses.
For example, a homeopath treating a cold sufferer does not presume all colds are alike, but asks about the person’s unique expression of “their” cold symptoms, instead of treating all colds as if they were the same. For example…Is the person chilly or flushed? Is the nose running or stuffed up? Did the cold come on after stress, anger or loss of sleep? What is the person’s temperament like – happy, annoyed, wants to be left alone, etc.
The homeopath gets a complete picture of the person’s individual experience of the cold by using the client’s individually expressed symptoms as a guide to picking the right remedy. The homeopath chooses a homeopathic medicine that best matches this person’s unique set of symptoms. There are about 3000 remedies in our pharmacy and our work is to reduce that choice to about 3 remedies and differentiate between them.
The correctly chosen remedy will directly affect the vital force by stimulating and enhancing the body’s own immune system ability and self-healing function. Homeopathic remedies strengthen the total organism by helping the body defend itself against illness and by keeping the body in a state of balanced health – also known as homeostasis. This is done without producing the side effects experienced with antibiotics and other allopathic medicines.
Homeopathy provides an ecological approach to disease since it aids the body’s natural balance without suppressing the body’s inherent self-protective response.
The exact mechanism by which homeopathy works is unknown, but 200 years of clinical experience along with research published in such medical journals as The Lancet, Pediatrics and the British Medical Journal have confirmed homeopathy’s effectiveness.
• Is a Holistic Medical Science
• Provides Individualized Treatment
• Address all Symptoms At Once-Mental, Emotional, Physical & Spiritual
• Address the Root of the Problem
• Is Curative to Symptoms Rather Than Suppressive
• Produces Long-Lasting & Often Permanent Change
• Medicines Are Very Inexpensive even in Long Term Use
• Medicines Protect Against Future Illness
• Is An Effective Alternative to Drugs or Surgery
(Unless it’s an emergency or life threatening. Homeopathy can be used en-route to the ER)
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOMEOPATHY & CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE?
“Conventional medicine looks for what is the same between patients and then applies a uniform treatment to the disease. In homeopathy, we look for what is different, what makes each person unique. It is the whole person who is affected by disease and it is the whole person who responds to medicines.” — Homeopathy Today: October 2004
In homeopathy, the remedy or treatment program is customized and individualized to the patient, with the intent of removing the underlying cause, not just putting a bandage on it.
Conventional Medicine’s Approach
Conventional (allopathic) medicine relies mainly on treating a patient’s physical symptoms. This treatment chosen might also assume a person’s symptoms need to be controlled, suppressed or eliminated.
An important basic difference exists between conventional medical therapy and homeopathy. In conventional therapy, the aim often is to control the illness through regular use of medicines. If the medication is withdrawn the person returns to illness. A person who takes a pill every day for high blood pressure is not undergoing a cure but is only controlling and suppressing the symptoms. Homeopathy’s aim is the cure and complete restoration of perfect health.
THE HOMEOPATHIC CONSULTATION
A session begins by taking the patient’s history in their own words. Then, the homeopath asks specific questions to understand what makes the symptoms better or worse, e.g. do the symptoms vary from time of day or season, rest or activity, temperature, bathing, position, perspiration, eating, thirst sleep, intercourse, external stimuli and emotions, etc. Also noted is the patient’s eye contact, body posture, breathing patterns, voice quality and expressions.
Questions a homeopath may ask include:
● Family, social, occupational and past medical/surgical history including the results of any recently performed tests. A history of the use of medications and other therapeutic modalities is also sought.
● Generalities and characteristics of the patient as a whole, including food likes/dislikes, favorite weather, best/worst times of the day, type of skin and hair, their sleep patterns, degree of perspiration, type of appetite for food, drink or sex, favorite activities or hobbies.
● If the patient feels critical, unassertive, timid, angry, sensitive, etc. These questions are often the most difficult yet the most revealing. The homeopath does not put a value judgment on the patient’s self-description. The descriptions give the homeopath an understanding of the patient’s personal style or modus operandi within the context of the patient’s world as defined by the patient themselves.
● Questions about the patient’s personality, how they behave at work, what kind of parent, child or spouse the patient is. How the patient copes with stress, their fears or worries. The client’s mental functioning e.g. memory, learning ability, retention, etc.
● Questions about PQRS symptoms (peculiar, queer, rare, strange symptoms) to individualize the patient e.g. nausea with hunger.
After analyzing the case and arriving at several probable remedies, the homeopath determines if the patient’s problem is acute, chronic, an inherited illness or an illness due to suppressive effects of previous treatment. The homeopath then blends their natural science training in anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, etc. with their observation of the patient and their understanding of the patient’s self description.
The selection of any homeopathic remedy is made on the TOTALITY of symptoms presented by the patient. The ART of homeopathy is in the capacity of the homeopath to process this information into a synthesis, a “remedy portrait” or gestalt, which corresponds most closely to the remedy likely to stimulate a healing response. The CHALLENGE of homeopathy, even in the treatment of apparently purely physical conditions, is to select a few probable remedies from thousands of possible remedies.
The GOAL of the homeopath is to REMOVE the symptoms AND eliminate the underlying CAUSE of the problem by stimulating the body’s natural curative powers. This is the reason for obtaining such a detailed analysis of the patient to understand the cause of the problem.
After a dose of the indicated remedy, the patient and homeopath must now wait. Depending on the patient, the nature of the problem and the potency of the remedy, a return visit is scheduled approximately a month later. While there have been miraculous homeopathic cures after just one dose of a remedy, most chronic cases take months or more. The process is highly individual.
Constantine Hering MD (1800-1880) was the “father” of American homeopathy. He observed and concluded that the curative process occurred in a specific “Direction of Cure”. From above downward, from the body center to the periphery, from more vital organ to less vital organ and in reverse order of the appearance of the original symptoms (reverse chronological order).
The patient’s reaction can be: nothing, or an aggravation followed by nothing or an aggravation followed by improvement, or by simple, gradual, and gentle improvement. Old symptoms and even mental and psychological complexes may return briefly then be relieved or eliminated. As improvement occurs and as the remedy potency is increased the patient returns less frequently until they only need to come for treatment of new acute problems.
You will know you are getting better when you feel a greater sense of well being on all levels, not just the levels that bothered you when you came for treatment. Homeopathic care goes much deeper than most types of treatment. Changes in life long problems, both physical and emotional are reported by satisfied patients. (I am one of those satisfied patients – a homeopath changed my life after 20 years of sickness.)
Homeopathic treatment encourages the body to return to a natural state of balance and health. Like the missing pieces of a puzzle, homeopathic medicines help “fill-in” the gaps in the body to stimulate the body’s own healing potential and energies.
FIRST AID, ACUTE & CHRONIC ILLNESS
Level 1: First Aid
Homeopathy can be used in first aid to safely address common ailments like teething pain, bruises, minor burns, and skin irritations and reactions e.g. poison ivy, diaper rash and insect bites.
Level 2: Acute Homeopathy
Acute health problems are usually transient and the brief and self limiting symptoms will eventually go away on their own. These are temporary conditions such as colds, flu, coughs, sprains, etc. Homeopathy can be used in acute emotional states e.g. grief at the loss of a loved one and also to assist sensitive conditions such as pregnancy.
Level 3: Constitutional Homeopathy for Chronic Illness and Disease
Chronic illness is normally persistent. It usually develops slowly, lasts indefinitely, results in deterioration of health and does not resolve without some sort of healing intervention. E.g. recurrent ear infections, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, etc. Also long term mental and emotional states like anxiety, fear, phobias, etc. Homeopathic constitutional care can elicit a profound healing response.
WHAT IS THE PATIENT’S ROLE?
Open Communication & Observation
While it is the homeopath’s job to elicit relevant information by asking probing questions, the patient can expect a higher chance of receiving an effective homeopathic remedy if they are open and truthful in describing their physical and psychological symptoms. It is also important to be observant of the changes taking place in your system. To that end, you might want to keep a journal or notes on any noticeable changes or shifts in your symptoms or health.
The Follow-Up Visit
The homeopath will schedule follow-up visits about four weeks after the first interview and remedy prescription. The follow-up visits are used to determine what additional methods or remedies are required. In some cases, it may be required to use more than one remedy sequentially so that balance and full health can be restored.
Traditional homeopathy only applies one remedy at a time. What you will experience when you receive the correct remedy can include the disappearance of specific symptoms, more energy, stronger immune system functions, and a sense of increased well-being. Homeopathic treatments have rapid and far-reaching effects. Even if the changes require time to develop, they usually are long-lasting.
Storing & Dispensing Remedies
Keep remedies out of sunlight and away from all strong odors, e.g. perfumes, chemical fumes, nail polish, hair spray, tiger balm, aromatic toothpaste, menthol/mint, essential oils and burning agents such as incense. Keep remedies away from magnetic or electrical fields, (T.V., X-ray, magnets) as the remedy could be altered by these fields. Try not drinking coffee when taking remedies.
The average medicine cabinet is not the ideal storage area for remedies. Do not open the remedy bottle if you can smell any strong odors.
In general, remedies work even after X-rays, allopathic drug use, drinking coffee, and using mint products. However, it is best to allow the remedies a clear field in which to work uninterrupted.
Taking the Remedy
Take the dose that has been prescribed by your homeopath. Do not take more than suggested. Do not eat or drink anything 15-30 minutes before/after taking the remedy. Water is acceptable.
Open the bottle and place the required dosage in the lid of the bottle then place under the tongue. Do not to touch the inner rim of the bottle or lid with your fingers or tongue to prevent contamination of the bottle, and to prevent your fingers from absorbing the remedy. Do not put pellets back into the remedy bottle if they should fall out onto the floor or your clothing.
Prescription drugs, recreational drugs or alcohol intoxication can alter the action of the remedy and you may need to adjust the dose, by repeating the remedy more often.
Mental/emotional shocks and dental work may require acute remedies; then resume chronic treatment.
GIMME SOME DRUGS!!
Ok…it’s not like that…I just wanted to inject some humor.
Homeopathic medicines or remedies contain minute quantities of natural substances from the plant, animal or mineral kingdoms which are diluted in milk sugar. Homeopathic remedies are safe, effective, non toxic and have no side effects. There are no known or suspected contraindications or drug interactions between homeopathic and conventional medicines. Homeopathic medicines are recognized as drugs by the US FDA and are regulated by them. Remedies are non-toxic and when properly administered, can be safely used with infants, children and adults. Most homeopathic medicines are available over-the-counter and are very inexpensive (approx $6 per bottle). They are used by millions of people worldwide.
DRUG PORTRAITS: ANIMAL, PLANT OR MINERAL TYPES
For a little flavor and interest I’ve included basic characteristics of the different remedy types.
Excerpted from Whole Woman Homeopathy,
Reichenberg-Ullman, Judyth, Prima Publishing, USA
ANIMAL TYPES are flamboyant, engaging and vivacious and love getting attention. Or they seek to be this way. It’s important for them to be attractive, competitive and at the top. This makes sense since animals continually engage in a survival of the fittest for their very sustenance. Clients who need animal medicines often have a conflict between their wild, born-to-be-free side and their domesticated, controlled, tame aspect. When difficult situations arise, they might respond with jealousy, aggression, dominance and territoriality. Quick, alert and vigilant they are on the lookout for others who might strike or attack. Clients in this group can be seductive and enjoy high sexual energy. In extreme cases, animal-like and if enraged, can strike out, bite or even growl. Their dress can be revealing so if you see a colleague decked out in her leopard-skin dress and alligator shoes, watch out.
PLANT TYPES are in a different world from animal types. Soft, gentle, changeable and flowing they are typically kind, sweet and may be self effacing. The main feature defining people needing plant medicines is their sensitivity. It could be sensitivity to insults or criticism, the beauty of nature, others’ suffering, injustice, noises, smells, light or whatever. Plant types tend to be adaptable and tenderhearted and to favor pastel, flowery or lacy garments. You won’t be surprised to learn that plant types love nature, gardening landscaping, arranging flowers and anything to do with plants. They flourish best in a well-tended, watered and fertilized garden with high to low light, depending on their nature. Don’t be harsh with plant-types because it may hurt them deeply.
MINERAL TYPES are very different and they thrive on structure and order. They like things to be neat, organized and under control and to live by the book. Just like the minerals from which the medicines they need are made, they are solid, grounded and earthy. In fact, they may admire rocks and gems, like to spend their free time hiking in the mountains or buying diamonds and often choose careers such as banking, accounting, architecture, financial planning, drafting and engineering. If you go into your homeopath’s office with an extensive, meticulous list of your past and present concerns, each one enumerated according to month and year, chances are you are a mineral type, particularly if you prefer clothes with stripes, checks, plaids and geometrical designs.
GIVE ME REAL LIFE EXAMPLES SO I CAN UNDERSTAND IT BETTER?
Example 1: A person has hay fever with watery eyes and a burning nasal discharge. Instead of giving an antihistamine to dry up the discharge, a homeopath may prescribe Allium cepa – a tiny dose of onion – because onion is known to cause watery eyes and a burning nasal discharge.
Example 2: A person has insomnia and can’t sleep because of agitation or an overactive mind and they are restless. Instead of giving a conventional “sleeping pill,” a homeopath may give Coffea cruda – a homeopathic preparation of coffee – because coffee produces wakefulness, agitation and an overactive mind.
Example 3: Arsenic (“Arsenicum”), famous for its toxic properties, is used in homeopathy as a remedy for food poisoning.
Example 4: Ipecac, which, when administered in large doses, causes vomiting, has proved to be an effective remedy in the case of nausea.
Are you starting to understand it a little more? I hope so.
WHO SHOULD USE HOMEOPATHY?
Homeopathy can be used by everyone who needs help on any level of their persona – mental, emotional, physical or spiritual. Homeopathy can help men, women and children of all ages and health conditions.
Homeopathy is extremely effective in treatment of acute illness or chronic diseases. This includes any long-term physical or emotional problems, as well as illnesses which return time and time again. Whether conventional medicine considers the condition curable or not is not the major factor in determining whether homeopathy can help. Homeopathy is also appropriate for those who have problems that bother them, even though no disease has been diagnosed.
Homeopathy is not very well known in the United States though it is growing fast due to its high success rate in helping people, especially those that cannot be helped by conventional medicine. Homeopathy is very common and widely accepted in England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Israel, South America, Australia, India and other countries.
SCIENTIFIC PROOF (For those who need it.)
— Excerpted from Homeopathy Today
— August 2005 published by National Center for Homeopathy.
Athletes Turn to Natural Therapies to Relieve Pain and Avoid Steroid Use
Steroids are used to pump up athletes into muscle-bound record-breakers, to reduce inflammation, and to recuperate from painful injuries. But while these steroids—known as corticosteroids—can be used legally by professional athletes such as baseball and football players, they can have dangerous side effects—easy bruising, weight gain, and osteoporosis.
Unlike corticosteroids, homeopathic medicines heal without side effects and are non-doping (are not performance-enhancing substances). Homeopathic medicines give sports doctors a safer option for treating bruises, swelling, and trauma from impact.
“The greatest value in sports? Its speed of action,” said Dr. Jean-Marcel Ferret, doctor to the French soccer team from 1993 to 2004, including the World Cup championship team in 1998. “I can use homeopathic medicines like Arnica directly on the soccer field.”
Marie-Hélène Prémont, a Canadian, won the 2004 Olympic silver medal in mountain biking and credits homeopathic medicines with helping in her victory. “Homeopathic medicines are safe and work naturally to relieve aches and pains so I can work hard one day and continue what I need to do the next day,” Prémont said. The rough and tumble sport of mountain biking means an occasional fall for Prémont who uses Arnica cream to reduce pain, swelling, and bruising. Prémont trains six days a week, sprinting and climbing on her bike in preparation for the 2005 World Cup and World Championships of mountain biking and the 2008 Olympic games. –Medialink Features, www.medialinkfeatures.com
Sales of Homeopathic Flu Remedy Rise Sharply
Boiron announced on June 14, 2005, that sales of its Oscillococcinum® six-dose homeopathic flu medicines increased by 203 percent for the 12-week period ending April 16, 2005. Sales increased 62 percent from last year for the same 52-week period. Oscillococcinum® is one of the most widely used homeopathic medicines in the world and is the number one homeopathic flu medicine in the United States. –PRNewswire, www.boironusa.com
Homeopath on the Air
Homeopath Karl Robinson, MD, appeared on World Talk Radio on April 30. You can listen to the interview at www.worldtalkradio.com.
Doctors Warming to Homeopathy: Training Programs Underway
Dr. Peter Nieman, pediatrician and part-time faculty member at the University of Calgary, reports that although the majority of traditional clinicians remain extremely skeptical toward the usefulness and safety of homeopathic treatment, the trend is slowly shifting. Traditional physicians who want to integrate homeopathic medicine in their clinics must undergo additional training.
A training program being coordinated by the International Center for Education and Documentation on Homeopathy involves a minimum of 200 hours in theory and practice and exists in more than 20 countries. In France, approximately 2,000 doctors have received a diploma since 1991. In Scotland, around 20 percent of general practitioners have completed basic training in homeopathy. In the United States, the Center has an agreement with some medical schools and universities. A pilot project at Beth Israel Hospital in New York has been accredited. And at Yale and Harvard universities, relatively new departments are dedicated to the objective study of integrative medicine. –The Calgary Herald (Alberta, Canada), May 12, 2005
No Longer the Alternative
Judging by the numbers, alternative medicine doesn’t seem so alternative after all. Spooked by safety concerns surrounding pharmaceuticals and squeezed by rising prescription drug costs, Americans spent roughly $36 billion on alternative medical therapies in 2004. These therapies include acupuncture, herbal medicines, homeopathy, and massage therapy. Alternative medical services account for just 2 percent of annual health care spending, which topped about $1.4 trillion in 2004, said Grant Ferrier, editor of Nutrition Business Journal. Consumer interest in alternative medicine is a “reality [and a] call for mainstream medicine to become more involved,” said Rebecca Pauly, associate professor and chief of the Division of Internal Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. — Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville), May 7, 2005
World Homeopathy Awareness Week
Peter Torokfalvy, President of the Australian Homeopathic Association (AHA), reports that World Homeopathy Awareness Week was so successful in Australia that they plan to make it an annual event. Twenty-four 30-second radio advertisements ran during that week in Brisbane. And in two capital cities, Brisbane (Queensland) and Hobart (Tasmania), AHA members made large, heavy-duty vinyl street banners which were displayed on main thoroughfares throughout the week.
–Excerpted from Homeopathy Today
––February 2004 published by National Center for Homeopathy.
There is a growing body of research demonstrating that homeopathy does work! The following is a compilation of major studies from the past two decades.
Hay fever & Allergic Asthma
Results from a group of researchers in Scotland have shown homeopathic preparations effective in the treatment of allergic asthma and hay fever (Lancet, 1986 and 1994). Their most recent study in the British Medical Journal (2000) showed that hay fever sufferers given a homeopathic preparation had a 28% improvement in nasal airflow compared to placebo.
Influenza & Fibrositis
Homeopathy has also been found effective for the treatment of influenza (British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 1989) and fibrositis (British Medical Journal, 1989).
The May 1994 issue of Pediatrics published a randomized double-blind clinical trial showing homeopathy effective in the treatment of acute childhood diarrhea. This was the first study of homeopathy published in a mainstream peer-reviewed American medical journal. Since that time, the authors have published a second study confirming these results in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (March 2000).
Head Injury Studies
A study in an AMA publication, Archives of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (August 1998), found that a homeopathic medicine produced a reduction in symptoms that was equivalent to conventional medicine in the treatment of patients with vertigo. The National Institutes of Health Office of Alternative Medicine funded a double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the homeopathic treatment of mild traumatic brain injury which found a significant improvement in some of the measures used. (Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, December 1999)
More recently, a study of homeopathy for acute otitis media in children found a significant decrease in symptoms within the first 24 hours of treatment. (Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, February 2001). There have also been several studies showing no difference between homeopathy and placebo in the treatment of dental pain (British Medical Journal, 1995), muscle soreness in long-distance runners (Clinical Journal of Pain, 1998), and rheumatoid arthritis (Rheumatology, 2001).
A meta-analysis combining results from the two diarrhea studies above and a third pilot project found highly significant results (Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 2003). The Lancet (1997) published a comprehensive review of 89 double-blind and placebo-controlled studies on homeopathy. On average, those patients who were given a homeopathic medicine were 2.45 times more likely to experience a therapeutically beneficial result than those patients given a placebo. The British Medical Journal (1991) published a meta-analysis of 107 clinical trials of homeopathy; of the 22 best-quality studies, 15 showed positive results in conditions such as hay fever, influenza, migraine headache, trauma, and duration of delivery.
The Nature of Remedies
Several different physical-chemistry techniques have reproducibly demonstrated that, despite the lack of source molecules at dilutions beyond Avogadro’s number (at potencies higher than 12C), homeopathic remedies prepared with succussion do possess measurable ordered differences in their solvent structure compared with plain solvent (Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 2003; Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1999; Physical A: Statistical mechanics and its applications, 2003).
200 Years of Use
Homeopathy has stood the test of time with literally millions of satisfied patients world-wide. More research will surely further confirm its efficacy.