WHAT IS HOMOEOPATHY?
Homoeopathy is a system of medicine which involves treating the individual with highly diluted substances, given mainly in tablet form, with the aim of triggering the body’s natural system of healing. Based on their individual symptoms, a homoeopath will match the most appropriate medicine to each patient.
The Idea of Treating ‘Like with Like’
Homoeopathy is based on the principle that you can treat ‘like with like’ i.e. a substance which causes symptoms when taken in large doses, can be used in small amounts to treat those same symptoms.
For example, drinking too much coffee can cause sleeplessness, agitation and even palpitations, but when made into the homoeopathic remedy Coffea it can be used to treat all these problems. You may already have come across this concept in conventional medicine e.g. the stimulant Ritalin being used to treat ADHD, or small doses of allergens such as pollen being used to de-sensitise allergic patients. However one major difference in homoeopathy is that substances are used in such tiny doses that they are completely non-toxic.
Scientifically it can not yet be explained precisely how homoeopathy works, but new theories in quantum physics are going some way towards shedding light on the process. What we do know is that a carefully selected homoeopathic remedy acts as a trigger to the body’s healing processes.
Homoeopathy has been widely used throughout the world for more than 200 years. In 2000, the House of Lords’ Select Committee on Science & Technology cited homoeopathy as one of the five Group One Therapies, having ‘an individual diagnostic approach’ along with osteopathy, chiropractic, herbal medicine and acupuncture. (1)
Homoeopathy can be safely used alongside conventional medicines and will not interfere with the action of medicines prescribed by your doctor. Because homoeopathic medicines (often referred to as remedies) are non-toxic, there are no side effects (2) and they are safe even for pregnant women and babies.
What Happens When You See a Homoeopath?
At the first consultation your homoeopath will ask detailed questions about your current health, medical history, and lifestyle. Some of the questions may seem strange, but the important thing to remember with homoeopathy is that it treats the individual in a holistic way, and so your homoeopath is looking to understand how you experience your symptoms and how they effect your life, so that she/he can match you with the most appropriate medicine.
Subsequent consultations will involve you discussing the changes that have occurred with your homoeopath, so that she/he can understand how you have responded to the prescription and what the next step of your treatment will be.
What Can Homoeopathy Help?
Homoeopathy treats the person rather than the named ‘disease’ so potentially it can help patients with a wide range of conditions, both acute and chronic, illnesses commonly seen by homoeopaths in the clinic include recurrent infections (such as colds, tonsillitis, cystitis), skin conditions, menstrual and menopausal problems, chronic fatigue, migraine, and stress related symptoms such as anxiety/depression and insomnia, IBS and digestive problems.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Homoeopath?
The Society of Homoeopaths produces a frequently updated register of professionally trained and insured homoeopaths, who agree to abide by the Society’s strict Code of Ethics and Practice
1) House of Lords Select Committee on Science & Technology. ‘Complementary & Alternative Medicine’. Session 1999-2000, 6th Report. The Stationery Office, 2000.
2) Dantas F, Rampes H. Do homoeopathic medicines provoke adverse effect? A systematic review. Br Hom J. 2000, 89: 3508.