What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is an effective system of healing which assists the natural tendency of the body to heal itself. It recognises that symptoms of ill health are expressions of disharmony within the whole person and that it is the patient who needs treatment not the disease.
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’). Like Hippocrates two thousand years earlier, he realised there were two ways of treating ill-health: the way of ‘opposites’, most commonly used by conventional medicine and the way of ‘similars’.
Homeopathic remedies are drawn from the natural world and prescribed on the principle of treating “like with like” or the way of similars.
What is “like with like”?
Take for example, a case of insomnia. In conventional medicine, this is usually treated by giving a drug to bring on an artificial sleep. This frequently involves the use of doses of drugs which can sometimes cause side effects or dependence.
The homeopathic way, is to give the patient a minute dose of a substance, such as coffee, which in large doses causes sleeplessness in a healthy person. This can then help the patient to sleep naturally. Of course, this is a simplified example. Homeopathy is patient-centred and a homeopath will prescribe based on the totality of your symptoms and how you, as an individual, experience them. This also takes account of you as a person – your individual characteristics, both emotional and physical.
Homeopathic remedies, properly prescribed, are safe and can also be given to pregnant women, babies and children.
How does it work?
Scientists cannot yet explain the precise mechanism of action for homeopathy but there is published evidence of its efficacy. It is believed that homeopathic remedies work by stimulating the body’s own healing abilities and that this stimulus assists your own system to clear itself of any expressions of imbalance. Details on this research is available on www.homeopathy-soh.org.
What do I need to know as your homeopath?
In order to find the right remedy for you, I will need a detailed understanding of who you are, along with any complaints and details of how you experience your symptoms. So anything you can tell me that is typical of who you are will help this process. Finding out about your general energy levels, your past medical history and the way you live is also important. Anything you say will be treated in the strictest confidence. The initial consultation will usually last at least an hour.
What will the treatment involve?
Usually you will receive a homeopathic remedy, normally in the form of a tablet or tablets or powder, which should be allowed to dissolve in your mouth; or you may be given a liquid remedy with instructions. Do make sure that you understand the instructions before you take your remedy.
Be sure to store your remedy in a cool dark place, away from anything with a strong smell and try to avoid placing them near your mobile phone. If you travel abroad, where possible, try to avoid putting the remedies through the X-ray scanner.
Please tell me about any medicine or supplement that has been prescribed by your doctor or that you take regularly. Please also mention any recent dental treatment or any other complementary or alternative treatments you are undergoing. These may affect your homeopathic prescription.
Homeopathic remedies can be used at the same time as conventional medication but it is important that you discuss this with me, both at our initial consultation and later, should your doctor make a new prescription.
If, at any stage of your treatment, you are concerned that your symptoms are changing, you should contact me and/or your medical practitioner immediately.
What will happen once treatment starts?
After taking your remedy, you may notice some changes. Some patients experience a period of exceptional well being and optimism. Sometimes your symptoms can appear to get worse for a short time. This is often a good sign that the remedy is taking effect. Sometimes a cold, rash or some form of discharge may appear as a ‘spring cleaning’ effect which means your system is going through a clearing out stage. Similarly, old symptoms can reappear, usually for a short period.
These symptoms are an important part of the healing process but, if any response to your treatment concerns you, do contact me as soon as you can. You may also prefer to make notes of any changes and take them with you to discuss at our next appointment.
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. Every case is different. So it can be difficult to assess this until after your second appointment. A slowly developing complaint or one that has been experienced for some years, may take longer to improve, although there may be a response and some improvement quite soon. Acute complaints can often get better more quickly.
Homeopathic remedies work from the inside, with the patient usually feeling more positive in themselves, with more energy, in the first instance. Outer symptoms such as skin conditions are often the last to clear. Sometimes patience is called for – as the balance is slowly restored, the symptoms will improve.
Will there be advice about diet and lifestyle?
I will ask you about your usual diet and lifestyle and may suggest changes, especially if it seems that this is contributing to your illness. Of course, a good basic diet is necessary for good health, with less sugars, fats, alcohol and refined foods. There is an increasing awareness of the benefits of foods free from artificial colourings, preservatives and flavourings. Whole foods and organic foods, free from chemical pesticides and fertilisers, are also increasingly available.
What about seeing a GP?
It is recommend that you maintain your relationship with your GP. Although homeopathy works in a different way from conventional medicines, it can sometimes help to combine the two systems.
You may want homeopathic treatment because you are unhappy with the side effects of conventional drugs. Or it may be that conventional medicine has been unable to help you and you see homeopathy as an alternative. In any event, it is important to remember that any changes in medication should be discussed with your doctor as treatment progresses.
Can I treat myself with homeopathic remedies?
You can use some remedies at home to help in acute and first aid situations such as colds, cuts, stings, minor burns and bruises. Ask me for further information or use the links below to find out more.