I am often asked to define homeopathy – "what is homeopathy" or "how is homeopathy different from naturopathy?" I still get called a herbalist or a naturopath by acquaintances, somehow what I do does not seem to get through. So I thought I would explain in my own words what homeopathy can do for you. Recently in our homeopathic community blog I saw the following statistic of 100 million homeopathic users in Europe, in 2009 Europe's total population was approx. 803 million. That's quite a statistic.
So let's be practical, why would so many people use this modality, BECAUSE IT WORKS, why else? I will tell you what happened to me and why I am now a dedicated user and also try and explain how this alternative medicine can help you.
My second daughter was 3 months old when I first needed help. I had moved to a small town in country NSW and she developed croup. This condition was not something I understood so I rushed her off to the local doctor who told me they could not help me, all I could do was sit with her in a bathroom full of steam to help her breath and if this didn ' t work I would need to rush her to hospital. I had met Anne (a local homeopath) a few months earlier had heard her spiel on what she was offering but at that stage I had not tried her wears however now she was my next destination. I got 3 remedies from her and she assured me they would work quickly. So home I went, gave Emily the remedies and by the next morning my little girl was so much better I could not believe it. In two days the symptoms were all gone. Marvelous, what joy and relief and empowerment really. I realised I was onto something here, this medicine worked and quickly. If you do a bit or research and ask people who use homeopathy that is usually the answer ….. I gave it a try, it worked ….. marvelous! That has been my experience as well. Homeopathy is different to other modalities, it dilutes to energy. It re balances.
When we study homeopathy we learn about the vital force and how the remedies we use strengthen and re balance the vital force. Here is a definition of vital force
"The vital principle or animating force within living beings: élan vital ….."
So as the years went by I used this medicine for myself and my two girls as often as was needed. I initially did it because it saved me money and it worked, I realised by putting in a little effort I could address any short term illness that arose in the house, it raised my confidence and I did not feel so vulnerable. My children were young and I needed to work and I found homeopathy helped me do this but I also realised after a few years that we did not get as sick as the people around us.
I should add here though from the moment I first discovered this type of medicine I was aligned to it, you know when something just sits right with you, well that is what happened. I understood it and it understood me.
Benefits of treating at home
I initially began using first aid homeopathy and was happy with that for many years. It was not until I formalised my study that I realised the scope of this therapy and this is the beauty of homeopathy you can use it to suit your needs. It can be used to treat the common cold but can also be used to address more serious concerns, symptoms that have been coming on for years. The practice of using remedies to heal your family was the practice for many generations, we have forgotten the ways of our grandmothers. For me homeopathy is a reminder of those methods.
You can use homeopathic remedies to treat not so serious conditions like
- the common cold
- a chest infection
- a single headache from overindulging from too much wine, or being out in the sun too long
- a child's fever.
You can diagnose yourself and use the first aid remedies easily, allowing the body to heal gently OR you can go further and see a homeopath to address symptoms that are considered chronic, something you have been experiencing for more than 6 months – any condition will benefit from homeopathic treatment.
There are many sites which explain the history of homeopathy and how remedies are made. Wikipedia has a section on homeopathy like many sites you find on Google it will show both positive and negative. My personal experience has been positive.
The remedies I use and studied are made from a range of plants, minerals, metals and animals. The basis behind a remedy being used is simple, someone usually a homeopath will decide if a specific element could be useful and make a remedy from it.
Once a remedy is selected it is trialled on a group of people and the symptoms of the group are taken down and recorded and added to our materia medica.
Different dilutions are used for different conditions in the body it is a general rule to use low dilutions for first aid conditions and I recommend you stick to that if you are self treating. Low dilutions = X and C dilutions. It is by experience that we know how the dilutions work, all remedies are tested on humans and results recorded.
Basically I use the remedies because they work gently and I do not experience side effects.
Different ways of treating a patient – here are a few different ways homeopaths can treat their patients, there exists a number of different approaches –
- Aetiologies – prescription is based solely on on some past trauma, illness or event rather than on the presenting symptoms. Homeopaths will take past trauma into consideration when prescribing a remedy and can just prescribe on a past event to enable healing. For example if a patient has had glandular fever in the past it can be addressed through a remedy.
- Constitutional prescribing – It involves taking the whole person into account and treating the person simultaneously on all levels – physical, mental and emotional. Treating the person not the disease applies here.
- Genus Epidemicus – This is based on Hahnemann's observation that during a true epidemic of acute disease a majority of cases will respond to the same remedy, provided the remedy is similar to the characteristic symptoms of the epidemic. The FLU is a good example here. As homeopaths we will look at common symptoms of a current flu and surmise a particular remedy will address the virus in many people.
- Intuitive prescribing – Prescribing from an intuitive or felt-sense. I am big believer in listening to your intuitive side and I use this in prescribing as do many homeopaths.
- Isopathy – Treating with a remedy made from the supposed causative agent or product of a disease. I personally use isopathy and have had good results when I do. Candida Albicans is a good example of isopathy we can give this back to a patient if the symptoms of candida are causing problems.
- Miasmatic prescribing – This method is based on the assumption that there exists in virtually everyone an inherited or acquired energy blockage or disturbance producing a predisposition towards a particular pattern of disease. I think you will agree we all inherit a predisposed weakness to disease. For many it is heart disease, it can be cancer or skin conditions. Homeopathy can address this predisposition with particular remedies.
- Organ remedies – This method is based on the assumption that certain remedies have a specific affinity for certain organs and that some patients will benefit from this methodology. I personally believe in this homeopathic treatment, liver detoxification is one treatment I use often.
- Polypharmacy – This method encompasses any prescribing technique where two or more remedies are given simultaneously. This method of giving two or three remedies works well, however you can find remedies that you can buy off the shelf with sometimes up to 10 or 12 remedies included. From my experience I have found these multiple remedies are slow acting. I personally advise people to use single remedies if possible, they work quickly and effectively.
- Sequential prescribing – A series of remedies addressing a sequence of events, traumas and circumstances that have contributed to a persons illness. You could think of this as addressing the layers that have built up within a person, each remedy will deal with one level then you would move onto the next level with another remedy.
- Therapeutics – Using a range of remedies selected that have proven clinical relationship to a particular disease process.
If you want to delve deeper into the different methodologies of homeopathy I recommend this book – Watson, Ian. (1999) A guide to the methodologies of homoeopathy. Cutting Edge Publications.
I will finish with a quote that I agree with entirely
"… One of my goals for homoeopathy is that it may be picked up and used by anyone in a way that is more or less commensurate with their current level of understanding and expertise" (Watson, 1999)