I hear a lot of people these days using the term homeopathy incorrectly. Often, with the best intentions, many folks I talk with have grouped naturopathic medicine to be synonymous with homeopathy. In some cases, such as with myself, a naturopathic doctor does practice homeopathic medicine but this is not always the case. Homeopathy is one specific type of treatment that I use for patients, when it feels well indicated for the person. Below is an handout I give to patients to explain homeopathy.
Homeopathy is a form of medicine that assists the body in healing itself. It does not reject the great discoveries of modern medical science, only their commercial abuse. A German physician, Samuel Hahnemann, discovered homeopathy in 1796. Hahnemann founded 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 realized that there were two ways of treating ill health: the way of opposites (allopathic) and the way of (homeopathic).
What Hahnemann discovered was that a pharmacologically active substance administered to a person in good health triggers a series of symptoms. When these same symptoms appear in a sick person administering the same substance in a micro dose can cure them. A very common example of this is Ipecac. When taken in large doses Ipecac causes vomiting; when taken in a very small dose it is one of the best remedies for nausea and vomiting. This principle was known to two ancient physicians, Hippocrates (400 B.C.) and Paracelsus (1493), but it was not until the last quarter of the 18th century that it was actively investigated.
Homeopathy has stood the test of time, helping people achieve health not only in the last 150 years, but since its discovery 2000 years ago. Take advantage of the availability of this natural, non-abusive treatment.
How does it work?
Homeopathic remedies stimulate the body to resist negative toxins and thereby heal itself. Adequate rest, appropriate diet and a satisfactory environment will also support recovery. Rapid results can be achieved in acute illness, but if the patient’s vitality is low, long-term treatment may need to be undertaken. Sometimes irreversible bodily changes have already taken place. In these cases other forms of medical or surgical treatment may be necessary to give the patient a fresh start. Then homeopathy will help prevent deterioration or recurrence.
How does my physician find the correct remedy?
Finding the appropriate homeopathic remedy depends upon gaining a complete understanding of the patient as a whole person. This means that the Naturopathic physician must take note of the physical, mental and emotional levels of each person before deciding on a correct remedy.
Homeopathic remedies have been described as “designer medicines.” While this might seem like a simplistic and trendy view of homeopathy, it is true that remedies are specially “designed” for individuals based upon their unique, and sometimes complex, state of being.
Take for example migraine headaches. We could easily demonstrate that one person might have pain on one side of their head, while another person had pain on both sides. Still another person could have nausea accompanying the migraine, and yet another could have dizziness. It is important to recognize that, in addition to the person’s physical symptoms, there are underlying psychological and emotional aspects as well.
Homeopathic remedies are only given when the total continuum of physical and psychological symptoms has been identified.
What will the treatment be like and what do I have to do?
Follow the instructions of your physician. Remedies are often in the form of pills which should be allowed to dissolve under you tongue. It is better not to touch the remedies, so use the cap of the vial or tube. Drops can go directly into your mouth or be dissolved in water and then administered in teaspoonful doses. Nothing else should be put in your mouth for 30 minutes before or after taking the remedy, including toothpaste or cigarettes.
Store your homeopathic remedy in a place where there is no sunlight or strong odors and where it is neither too hot nor cold. This way it will remain active for a long time.
Your Physician will usually advise you that while having homeopathic treatment, you should not take any coffee or peppermint, or use eucalyptus oil, camphor, or menthol because these strong smelling substances can antidote the effects of most homeopathic remedies. For the same reason, she/he may ask you not to take any other form of medication without asking first.
Homeopathic remedies are sufficiently diluted so that no poisoning will occur if a child should accidentally ingest a tube of granules, though it is possible that he might prove the medicine so you might have to consult your homeopathic physician.
What can I expect to happen?
After taking your remedy you should notice some changes, which is why it is important to observe yourself during this time. For instance, it occasionally happens that your symptoms appear worse for a short time. This is the remedy taking effect and you should feel the beginnings of recovery when this period has passed. Alternatively, patients often experience a period of well being and optimism after taking the remedy.
Be sure to keep the follow up appointment which will be two to eight weeks after the initial appointment. Typically in the treatment of a chronic illness the follow up will be one to two months later. The better the treatment goes the longer will be the intervals between appointments until you are eventually cured. Cure is not simply the disappearance of one or several complaints but an optimally stable equilibrium physically as well as well as psychologically.
If you feel worried by any changes that you notice, contact your naturopathic physician. Whatever your reaction may be, your physician will need to know. You can help by making a few notes of your changing symptoms as a reminder for your next appointment.
How quickly will I be cured?
This depends very much on what sort of illness you have. A very slowly developing complaint, such as a stomach ulcer, will not disappear overnight, acute complaints can get better quickly. Complicated cases are cured from the inside and working outwards. This means that superficial or other symptoms, such as skin disorders are often the last symptoms to go. Be patient. It is much better for you to be cured of both the cause of your illness and its symptoms than merely to relieve the symptoms. Every case is different, just as no two patients are alike.