What is homeopathy

Homoeopathy is a complete system of medicine. It is an effective and scientific system of healing which assists the natural tendency of the body to heal itself. It recognises that all symptoms of ill health are expressions of disharmony within the whole person and that it is the patient who needs treatment not the disease.

Treating like with like, or the Law of Similars
In 1796 a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, discovered a different approach To the cure of the sick which he called homeopathy (from the Greek words meaning “similar suffering”). He realised that there were two ways of treating ill health, the way of opposites and the way of similars.

Take for example, a case of insomnia. The way of opposites, (conventional medicine or allopathy), is to treat this by giving a drug to bring on an artificial sleep. This frequently involves the use of large or regular doses of drugs which can sometimes cause side effects or addiction. Homeopathic remedies are prescribed according to the Law of Similars. This law states, ‘That which makes sick shall heal’. This means that the symptoms caused by an overdose (too much) of a substance are the symptoms that can also be cured with a small dose of that substance. The way of similars is to give the patient a minute dose of a substance, such as coffee, which in large doses causes sleeplessness in a healthy person. Perhaps surprisingly this will enable the patient to sleep. We know that when cutting a strong onion we often experience an acrid runny nose, a particular soreness in the throat and stinging, runny eyes; so a homeopath will prescribe Allium cepa (the homoeopathic remedy made from onion) for the patient who has a cold and bad throat with these particular symptoms.

The holistic approach to medicine takes a wider view of illness, a wider view of the causes of disease and the ways in which people express their illness individually.

Homeopaths do not treat physical, emotional and mental or even spiritual illnesses separately, but regard them as intimately connected, since all are aspects of the whole of the patient’s suffering.

When starting homeopathic treatment, the patient may not realise the relevance of some of the questions being asked. It may appear that the homoeopath is interested in matters which have little to do with the particular complaint about which the patient is most concerned

Before prescribing, the homeopath wants to have a complete overview of the patient and will need to know all about you. A detailed understanding of who you are, along with any complaints and details of how you experience them, is needed to assess your case correctly. So anything you can tell your homoeopath that is typical of who you are will help this process. Finding out about your general energy level, your past medical history and the way you live are also important. Anything you say will be treated in the strictest confidence. The first consultation can take as long as two hours

This information is then used to prescribe a remedy for that individual patient, not merely for his or her disease but for the person’s whole state. Thus, homeopathy is truly holistic. This fundamental principle of homeopathy, that of the individual prescription, explains why two patients with apparently similar illnesses may be treated with a different remedy. In other words, two patients might have headaches but the way they have their headaches can be different, their overall state of health can be different, the way they cope with life can be different and so on.

What will happen once treatment starts?
Homeopathic remedies cannot cause side effects and you cannot become addicted to them. This is because only a very minute amount of the active ingredient is used in a specially prepared form.

After taking a homoeopathic remedy, different patients respond in different ways. After taking your remedy you may notice some changes. Some patients experience a period of exceptional well being and optimism others may suddenly feel very tired at first and need to rest for a day or so before improvement. This often happens with patients who have been under stress and who really do need to stop and recuperate. Sometimes your symptoms can appear to get worse for a short time.

All these reactions are indications that the remedy is working and that a process of self-healing has begun. Sometimes these responses are quite subtle and may pass unnoticed, while at other times they can be quite marked. Sometimes a cold, rash or some form of discharge may appear as a ‘spring cleaning’ effect which means your system is going through a cleaning stage. Similarly, old symptoms can reappear, usually for a short period. These symptoms will pass, and must not be treated as they are a very important part of the healing process. If any response to your treatment concerns you, do contact your homeopath as soon as you can, as it is important to know what happens as treatment progresses. You might also want to make notes of any changes and take them with you to discuss at your next appointment.

Homeopathy cures from the inside, and often outer symptoms such as a skin complaint, are the last to clear. Be patient! In the long term it is much better for you to be cured of both the cause of your illness and its symptoms, rather than merely relieving or suppressing the symptoms. Remember that every case is different, and no two patients are alike. If you wish to discontinue your treatment for any reason,

What are self-healing powers?
Since medicine began it has been recognised that there is a capacity for self-healing within the human organism. In acute illnesses such as colds, chicken pox etc., the body naturally resists infection and, in time, gets better through mobilising its own defences, helped by rest, fresh air and the right food. In more long-lasting chronic illnesses, such as repeated migraine or depression, the body’s vitality is often too depleted to do this without assistance. In these cases the right remedy will stimulate the body’s self-healing powers to start the process of cure.

How long does treatment take?
This depends very much on what sort of illness you have, as well as the other individual characteristics of your case. So it is not realistic for your homeopath to assess this until it can be seen how you respond to the remedies prescribed over some time. It is possible to say that a slowly developing complaint, or one that has been experienced for some years, will not disappear

What are homeopathic remedies?
The remedies which homeopaths use come from many different sources. Most are derived from plants, but minerals, metals and some poisons which have been used medicinally for generations are also used.

After initial preparation of the raw material the remedies are made by serial dilution and succussion (vigorous shaking) in a solution of alcohol and water. This is done a few (three to four) times or up to many thousands of times. The liquid dilution is then used itself as a remedy or soaked into tablets or granules for convenience. The diluted remedies are described as being ‘potentized’, in recognition of the dynamic healing power they can stimulate.

How the remedies are given?
Remedies may be prescribed in a number of different strengths, or potencies as they are called. The lower potencies have been subjected to less dilution and succussion than the higher ones and are not, broadly speaking, as powerful and long-lasting in their effects. It is the low potencies such as the sixth (e.g. Arnica 6) which are to be found on sale in many chemists and health food shops. High potency remedies are usually prescribed by experienced qualified homeopaths.

Remedies can be prescribed in different ways. Sometimes they are given as a single dose (probably in a high potency) when it is likely that homeopath and patient will wait for a period of weeks to see the patient’s response. A remedy can also be given in a lower potency, singly or repeated daily or more frequently.

The homeopath will choose the method to suit the patient and the nature of the illess. For instance, a person who has been ill for a long time and whose body has been physically damaged may need repeated doses of a remedy to stimulate the re- cuperative powers, whereas a young and basically healthy person may respond very quickly to a single high potency remedy. Individual patients also respond better to some methods than others; understanding this is part of the skill of the homeopath and explains why attempts to prescribe for oneself may prove ineffective.

People who have had homeopathic treatment generally find that their state of Health and well-being has improved. They are better able to resist infection and have a greater sense of stability and individual purpose in life. These improvements surely are steps towards real health.

People suffering from all kinds of illness, from depression to arthritis, migraine to ulcers, and now the more ‘modern’ illnesses including AIDS and ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis), can be helped by homeopathy to regain their health. Good homoeopathy will not just drive away the symptoms but help the patient deal with the cause of the illness and regain good health.

There are a number of good books available such as:

Homeopathy, Medicine for the New Man by George Vithoulkas Thorsons.

Homeopathy ,Natural Medicine for the Whole Person by Peter Adams Element.

Practical Homeopathy, A Complete Guide to Home Treatment by Beth MacEoin, Bloomsbury.

The Complete Homeopathy Handbook by Miranda Castro, Macmillan.


Information Courtesy of:
The Society of Homeopaths 4a Artizan Road Northampton NN1 4HU Tel: 01604 621400 Fax: 01604 622622 Email: info@homeopathy-soh.org

For Further information visit the website www.homeopathy-soh.org


How do I find a good homeopath?
To find a good homeopath consult the Register of the Society of Homeopaths. All homeopaths registered with the Society practise in accordance with a Code of Ethics and Practice, have professional insurance, and have passed stringent academic and clinical assessments before being admitted to the Register.

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