What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a safe, effective, low-cost, non-toxic and rapidly growing form of medicine developed in the 1800’s by the German physician, Samuel Hahnemann.
Homeopathy is used by 200 million people worldwide and is included in the national health systems of a number of countries, including the UK where it’s used by an estimated 6 million people (10%). There are 400 medical doctors in the UK that prescribe Homeopathy and 1500 non-medical Homeopaths, all of whom are regulated by their individual governing bodies.
SAFE, GENTLE & PERMANENT HEALING
Homeopathy represents the leading medical alternative in Europe; it’s practised in 40 out of 42 European countries and 100 million EU citizens (29%) use it as part of their day-to-day healthcare. India has 200,000 registered homeopathic practitioners and leads with 100 million people depending solely on homeopathy for their medical care.
The word Homeopathy comes from two Greek words; omnio meaning ‘same’ and pathos meaning ‘suffering’ which roughly translated means ‘like cures like’ and refers to the philosophy that the symptoms that can be cured in a person who is unwell are exactly those that a homeopathic remedy causes in a healthy person.
When they’re unwell, most people suffer not only from the common symptoms of that disease, like a cough or low mood, but also from other symptoms which are entirely specific to them at the time such as irritability or the need for cold air for example.
Homeopathy uses mainly plant and mineral based substances known as remedies to treat these symptoms, which belong to the person and not to the disease.
Homeopathic remedies are made from non-synthetic substances and as such cannot be patented, which is why they are not referred to as drugs. These remedies stimulate the body’s own energetic healing mechanism which in homeopathy is known as the Vital Life Force. If this energy within us becomes weakened or disturbed by stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, environmental changes, grief or trauma, illness can result.
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole to restore them to their natural state of health and to eliminate the root cause of disease.
What are the benefits of Homeopathy?
Treats a wide range of physical, mental and emotional issues
No harmful side effects; a preparation process called potentisation refines the medicines to remove any toxic effects.
Safe, non-toxic and non-habit forming; plants and minerals are the main sources.
Gentle; remedies work by stimulating the body’s own healing mechanism to cure itself naturally.
Easy to take; remedies are given either as small pleasant tasting tablets which dissolve in the mouth, or in liquid form.
Not tested on animals; all remedies are tested on healthy humans. The symptoms that a remedy causes in a healthy person are exactly those that can be cured in a person who is unwell and suffering from those symptoms.
Treats the whole person and the root cause, not just the disease.
Strengthens the immune system as it treats
Invaluable for first aid; remedies can easily be used at home or on holidays.
Complementary; can be used alongside conventional medicine.
Who is Homeopathy good for?
Homeopathy is safe and effective for people of all ages including babies, children, older people and those in palliative care. Certain factors can sometimes affect how quickly homeopathic remedies act or can block treatment, but these will be established and discussed during consultation.
It’s not recommended to embark upon treatment if you’re already receiving certain other therapies such as acupuncture, reflexology, herbal medicine or aromatherapy as it may overload the body or antidote treatment. However, other therapies such as Reiki, McTimoney, Bowen Therapy and Osteopathy and Cranial Osteopathy can work well with Homeopathy. If you are considering having both discuss this with your current therapist, and with the Homeopath at consultation.
What happens in during Homeopathy?
During the first appointment the Homeopath will listen to you discuss your medical history, lifestyle profile and the reasons for you wanting Homeopathy.
As homeopathy works by matching an individual's exact symptoms to the right remedy for them it’s really important that the information you provide is as honest and accurate as possible. As well as the medical history, information about any accidents, injuries, operations, medication, vaccinations, traumas and life events will also be covered so it’s a good idea to have some of these details to hand.
You can expect to answer all sorts of questions about things that may not seem relevant or related to your initial complaint. These will include questions about your reactions and preferences to things like environment and weather as well as favourite foods and regular likes and dislikes.
When describing your complaint, say for instance a headache, a Homeopath will want to know what it feels like when you have them, what type of pain you experience, whether the pain travels from and to anywhere, how it affects your mood and behaviour and whether there’s anything that makes it worse or better such as positions, light, noises or foods.
Your thoughts, feelings and life experiences are also important and the Homeopath will be keen to learn about you in terms of the way you think and feel. Rest assured this is all part of the process required to get to the root cause of the problem and find the right remedy for you. Once this has been established you will be prescribed a remedy in the form of tablets to take and an instruction of when to return.
In this way Homeopathy requires some attention to detail, but getting into the habit of observing symptoms in this new way will come with practice and is all part of treating you as an individual.
The most important things for patients to do is to be open and honest, take the remedies as they’ve been prescribed, attend the recommended follow up appointments, and above all, be patient. The body is being stimulated to heal itself; this can take time, but is a rewarding and worthwhile process with far reaching benefits.
How do homeopathic remedies work?
Homeopathic treatment is powerful, but very gentle meaning improvement is often subtle and gradual. However, everyone’s constitution is different which will affect how they react to remedies. Something that’s useful to understand is what Homeopaths call the Direction of Cure. This is the name given to the order in which the body and mind naturally heals itself and will be seen in the following ways:
From inside outward: this means that a person will start to feel better emotionally before the physical symptoms disappear. It also means that a physical symptom can temporarily increases slightly for a short time before it stops.
From above downward: pains or skin conditions may change location during treatment before they disappear completely. For example, from spine to hips, from hips to knees and from knees to ankle.
From more important organs to less important organs: for example, as asthma improves, a short lived eczema may appear on the skin. This could then travel from above downward before disappearing completely.
In the reverse order of their appearance: as a patient improves, they may experience the return of old symptoms, like peeling back the layers of an onion. These may be things that were not completely addressed at the time that the body is being stimulated to heal properly now.
How many sessions will I need?
If you are seeking treatment for a long term, or what’s called a chronic condition, it’s most likely that you’ll need a course of treatment. How long treatment will take is completely dependent on the case at hand and includes factors such as your current level of health and immunity, toxicity levels, the cause of the problem and anything that might be aggravating it. It’s completely possible for homeopathic remedies to alleviate certain symptoms in one session or after a short course of treatment, but this is best discussed on an individual basis during a consultation.
Is there any evidence for Homeopathy?
If you would like to read more about how Homeopathy has helped others, there are some great patient testimonials here and also more videos evidencing how homeopathy has helped certain conditions here. There's some very useful information on the British Homeopathic Association website which enables you to search for information on certain conditions. The Faculty of Homeopathy channel has lots of very interesting videos from medical homeopaths explaining why they are so passionate about using this incredible from of medicine.
And finally, if you're interested in Homeopathic research, you can find up to date information here at the Homeopathic Research Institute.
There is also some enlightening information here which demonstrates how and why the availability of Homeopathy to the UK population has been changed in recent years Release the First Report.