I first experienced the healing power of homeopathy when living in Berlin in my youth. I had been ill for many months with glandular fever. The recurring fevers left me exhausted, unable to live an active life. When all else failed I decided to try homeopathy, and within a week of a thorough consultation and a simple remedy I was well on the road to recovery and able to move on in my life. How could such a tiny dose have such a profound healing effect? This question aroused my curiosity and changed the course of my life. I travelled to India to see homeopathy in action there, later returning to study in the UK. I have now been in full time homeopathic practice for 30 years.
Homeopathy: for the well being of individuals
Homeopathy is a widely used form of complementary treatment in the world today. People are discovering the benefits of a system of treatment that approaches them as unique individuals.
Homeopathy is a complete system of treatment for people experiencing a lack of wellness on the mental, emotional and physical levels.
Homeopathic preparations are chosen to treat the whole person, because homeopaths believe the mind and body operate as one, and you cannot treat one part of the body without affecting the whole. Homeopathic remedies are chosen to fit all the characteristics of the patient, so illness symptoms on the physical level are considered in relation to the individual’s mental and emotional state.
How homeopathy works
Homeopathy works on a principle known as ‘the law of similars’. This law states that a substance that can cause a disease can also relieve it. For example, coffee – or Coffea as it is known in Latin – is a stimulant that can cause temporary insomnia. Coffea may be used in minute potentised (i.e. homeopathic) doses to relieve that insomnia. Another example is that chopping onions can cause your nose and eyes to run with copious amounts of water. The onion – Allium cepa – can be used homeopathically to treat colds and hayfever where the main symptoms include runny eyes and nose.
The founding father of homeopathy
Over 200 years ago, the German doctor and chemist Samuel Hahnemann developed the system of medicine we now call homeopathy. He had a very clear and humane approach to the practice of the healing profession:
“The highest ideal of cure is rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of health, or removal and annihilation of the disease in its whole extent, in the shortest, most reliable and most harmless way, on easily comprehensible principles.” (Samuel Hahnemann, Organon of Medicine)
How homeopathic preparations are made
To maximise the healing potential of the remedies he used, Hahnemann prepared them in a very specific manner. This involved diluting the substance concerned, then shaking it vigorously with impact. This sequence of actions is known as succussion. A substance can be diluted and succussed many times, and Hahnemann termed this process potentisation. Hahnemann observed that potentisation made the preparations more effective and reduced the likelihood of unwanted effects.
Each new homeopathic remedy undergoes a particular process called a ‘proving’. Volunteers or ‘provers’ take the new substance until they experience symptoms. All symptoms that result from taking the substance are recorded in detail. In this way a huge variety of natural substances are tested for their healing and curative properties and can be added to the homeopathic pharmacy. Unlike orthodox drugs, homeopathic preparations are not tested on animals.
Your first consultation may take between 1 and 2 hours, with follow-up consultations lasting between 20 and 45 minutes. Your practitioner will need to build up a complete picture of your level of wellness, including your past medical history. Prescriptions for individuals who experience acute symptoms, such as fever, vomiting or flu like symptoms, are usually assessed much more quickly.
You will be asked detailed questions about yourself. To be sure to prescribe the best medicine for you as an individual, your homeopath needs to understand your individual needs. You will be asked about many aspects of your life, such as your emotional state, your sleep patterns and how you cope with stress. Your homeopath will choose a course of treatment for you that most closely matches your unique pattern of symptoms, based on your personal experience and symptoms rather than any ‘recognized’ illness.
Homeopathic preparations are usually supplied in tablet, powder or liquid form. As with all health preparations, they need to be stored safely and appropriately.
Patients often feel a sense of well-being, optimism and relaxation after taking their homeopathic remedy. The speed with which you feel any effect will depend on the duration and nature of non-well being in your individual experience. For people who suffer the symptoms of acute ailments, this can be very fast indeed. With the hard to shift symptoms of more chronic conditions, your move to well being will depend on the nature and duration of your symptoms and on your individual vitality.
Homeopathy for all
Homeopathy can be used effectively by everyone, from babies and children to adults, including women during pregnancy. Homeopathic medicines promote the body’s natural ability to heal itself.