WHAT IS HOMEOPATHY?
Homeopathy is a system of medicine based on the research and observations of the 18th century German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann. Like Hippocrates 2000 years earlier, he realised that there were two ways of treating ill health, the way of opposites and the way of similars. He discovered that what a drug can cause, it can cure. For example, if a substance produces nausea in a healthy person, that same substance taken by someone suffering from nausea would act as a cure. Hahnemann used the term “homeopathy” from the Greek words meaning “similar suffering” to underline the fundamental principle that like treats like .
In trying to reduce the risks of side effects, Hahnemann further discovered the apparent paradox that the less of the original substance which is present in the remedy (when diluted in a particular way) the more effective or “potent” it becomes.
This principle of the infinitesimal dose is at the heart of the debate between conventional and homeopathic practitioners and yet the system thrives because it is observed to work, not only in humans but in animals treated by an increasing number of homeopathic veterinary surgeons.
Recent clinical trials by conventional practitioners have supported the efficacy of homeopathic treatments, and the modern theories of molecular physics are starting to offer some understanding of how the underlying principles can indeed be true.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
A homeopathic remedy acts to stimulate the body towards self healing. It does not seek to suppress symptoms but to treat the whole patient, not just the disease.Remedies are selected by your homeopathic physician to match the individual patient’s unique makeup; hence two patients presenting with superficially the same symptom may receive totally different remedies.
Homeopathy can at times offer spectacular results that seem close to miraculous, however with long standing and multifactorial conditions, a return to good health may involve careful patient management. Homeopathy is safe when practised by a specialist, medically qualified in both conventional and homeopathic medicine. Under such conditions harmful side effects are extremely rare.
WHO CAN IT HELP?
All ages benefit from homeopathy, from tiny babies to the very elderly and it can be used in a wide range of medical conditions.
Homeopathy can be used when:
- Ordinary drugs may have adverse side effects or are potentially dangerous e.g. in pregnancy
- No conventional therapies as yet offer real help e.g. post viral syndrome, pre-menstrual tension
- Conventional medicines offer only temporary control e.g arthritis, migraine, allergies
- Other treatments have simply failed to help e.g. chronic catarrh and recurrent infections especially childhood ear and chest infections.
HOW IS A REMEDY TAKEN?
Homeopathic medicines require special handling and storage.
The medicines are usually supplied in either tablets, pills or powders. These should be shaken into the cap of the bottle and tipped carefully under the tongue and allowed to dissolve. They should be kept in the container in which they are supplied.
The dose should be put in a mouth uncontaminated by toothpaste, food or drinks. Please wait at least 20 minutes either side of eating or drinking. The remedy is absorbed by the mouth and needs no water to wash it down.
It is usually advised to avoid coffee, menthol preparations and the use of strong perfumes such as aromatherapy during the period of treatment.
Medicines should be stored away from heat, light and strong smelling preparations such as camphor, Vick and Olbas oil.
During and after your homeopathic treatment keep a careful note of how your condition is changing in any way. Don’t be too impatient to just “get well quick” but observe any subtle changes and report them at the next consultation. Sometimes your symptoms can appear to get worse for a short time. This is a good sign that the remedy is taking effect.