is a system of natural health care that has been in worldwide use for over 200 years. It is recognized by the World Health Organization as the second largest therapeutic system in use in the world. While it is most popular in India and South America, over thirty million people in Europe also benefit from its practice.
The name homeopathy, coined by its originator, Samuel Hahnemann, is derived from the Greek words for 'similar suffering' referring to the 'like cures like' principle of healing. Hahnemann was born in Germany two hundred and fifty years ago. At this time the old world view was being renovated and traditional beliefs, many flimsily based upon superstition, were being increasingly subjected to the rigorous of experimental scrutiny and assessment.
Homeopathy is based on two principles that have occurred regularly throughout the history of medicine, both in eastern and western worlds. The first principle of 'like cures like' can be looked at in several ways. One is to assume that the body knows what it is doing and that symptoms are the body's way of taking action to overcome an illness. This healing response is automatic in living organisms; we term it, the vital response.
The application of a correct homeopathic medicine increases the body's ability to take this action and so makes the body's own healing more rapid and effective. In chronic illness, this vital stimulus literally lifts the suffering person over the stumbling block of their disease. Before the medicines are decided upon, their curative powers are discovered by testing them out on healthy human subjects and carefully noting emotional, mental and physical changes. This is termed a 'proving'. This information constitutes the basis for 'like cures like', for a medicine's unique symptom picture must match up with the individual's expression of the disease. The second principle, that only 'the minimum dose' should be employed is based upon the understanding that the stimulus of the medicine works from within the vitality and is not imposed from the outside. Only enough is administered to initiate the healing process which then carries on, driven by its own internal healing mission.
Why is it so popular?
- Homeopathic treatment works with your body's own healing powers to bring about health and well being.
- Patients are treated as individuals, not as a collection of disease labels.
- Homeopathy treats all your symptoms at all levels of your being, be it spiritual, emotional, mental and physical and finds the 'like cures like' match for them.
- Homeopathically prepared remedies, providing the minimum dose, are gentle, subtle and powerful. They are non-addictive, and not tested on animals.
What can I expect during my first visit to a homeopath?
You should expect when visiting any homeopath to spend a considerable amount of time during your initial visit. You may be asked to fill out a health history form, so be sure to bring important times/dates with you if you can, such as when you were immunized, hospitalized, when you had surgery, allergy episodes, and so forth. This information will provide me with a solid sense of your past health concerns and your family history, all necessary information to gain a clear picture of your background. Don’t worry, though, if you don’t have much of this information (some people don’t have knowledge of family health or of their own health as a child). Bring as much information as you can or that your memory permits.
Then, once all the paperwork is completed, your consultation will begin. I will begin by asking you to describe your most immediate health concerns. Often, you’ll be asked to describe symptoms and sensations (how you feel about your symptoms or how you feel while you are experiencing symptoms) in greater and greater detail. I will be writing down this information as we spend time together in order to gather a very clear and concise picture of your health state.
You may find this very unusual and quite different than a visit to an allopathic practitioner. As an example, let’s say you have a pain in your elbow. In conventional medicine, you might be asked to describe it, your elbow will be examined, perhaps you’ll have an X-ray if the pain was the result of an injury or if arthritis is suspected, and ultimately you may be prescribed something for the pain.
In classical homeopathy, you’ll be asked in greater and greater detail about the pain. What makes it better? What makes it worse? What kind of pain is it (people feel pain and describe pain in many different ways)? How are you feeling when in this pain? What does this pain remind you of? What else about it should I know? Your homeopath will explore many facets of your health, your feelings about your health, and the sensations you have while experiencing your current situation by using questioning techniques designed to help you express yourself as fully as possible so a complete health picture can be found. You might feel a little bit pressured during the interview as you are asked “Can you tell me more about that?” but you needn’t feel worried – I will guide you easily through the questions and give you feedback during your consultation. You should feel free to ask questions at any time. You may not be prescribed a remedy on your first visit. As a classical practitioner I may wish to spend some time in research and differential analysis (comparing several remedies to determine which one is the closest match for your overall state) to ensure giving you the best prescription possible.
Think of it this way: When you get a headache, it usually isn’t because your body lacks aspirin. A thorough homeopath may need to spend some time determining which headache remedy is best suited to your needs. Depending on your case and your state of health, you could be asked to return for a visit within a week or two – or it could be as late as four to six weeks after your initial visit. This is really very case-dependent, but I will discuss with you the best timing for a return visit.
Response to a homeopathic remedy
The response to a remedy is very individual. Sometimes the response could be quite intense or it may be more subtle and difficult to notice.
Different patients respond to a remedy in different ways. Some patients immediately feel better inside themselves or may feel that they have more energy. Other patients could briefly feel tired or their original symptoms may temporarily feel worse before they start feeling the improvement.
This reaction happens because the body has been stimulated into throwing out toxic materials. This can sometimes take the form of a discharge (e.g. runny nose, cold etc.). Sometimes you may notice that some old symptoms return briefly or you may notice a temporary release of emotional symptoms. These are all good indications that the process of self-healing has begun.
The return of old symptoms means that the body is dealing with the conditions that were not dealt with at the time or were previously suppressed. It is important not to suppress these symptoms as they are a normal part of self- healing. These are temporary and will usually quickly pass.
How long does treatment take?
Each individual case is different and cure depends on what sort of illness you have, as well as the other individual characteristics of your case. Deep seated diseases, that have been around for years, do not disappear overnight and cure depends on how much there is to unravel. I will discuss this with you before the treatment.
Whilst we appreciate the need in certain circumstances for prescription medications, the world in general is moving away from antibiotics, antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory and anti ‘everything’ medications; in homeopathy our aim is not to suppress anything but to let our body heal itself in the safest and most gentle way.