- What is Homeopathy?
- What health conditions can Homeopathy be used for?
- What can I expect from an appointment with a Homeopath?
- How is Homeopath different from Naturopath?
- Can I use Homeopathy in conjunction with regular medical care?
- Are homeopathic remedies safe? What are they made of?
- Are homeopathic remedies safe for children? How about pregnant or lactating mothers?
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a system of medicine developed by a German medical doctor named Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in the early 1800's. One of the basic tenants of the practice of Homeopathy is the Law of Similars. Homeopathy, from the Greek homoios ("similar") and pathos ("sickness"), literally means that a disease will only be cured by a substance that produces symptoms that are similar to the symptoms of the illness being experienced. For example, a healthy person who drinks too much coffee can feel nervous and jittery, have trouble sleeping, and may experience a piercing headache in the temples. A patient who comes to a homeopath for frequent migraines with these same symptoms may be prescribed Coffee cruda (homeopathically prepared coffee) to alleviate her symptoms.
This approach to health differs significantly from that taken by conventional Western medicine, whose basic tenant is the Law of Opposites. Western medicine strives to counteract the symptoms being experienced; a fever must be given an anti- inflammatory, a bout of diarrhea treated with a constipating substance. Both systems of medicine alleviate suffering and the occurrence of symptoms. However, homeopathy takes into account the long term effects of treating disease symptoms and the underlying cause of the illness when prescribing on the basis of a patient's symptoms.
Our bodies are extremely dynamic and react to anything that is external to itself. This includes all food, medicine, and chemicals that are put into it. Aspirin will bring down a fever, but the body reacts against this medication by breaking it down to rid itself of the drug. Once the drug is out of our system, the fever comes back, then one must take more medication to continue counteracting the fever. This conventional medicine approach to treating symptoms is suppression, which eliminates a vital expression in the body indicating a deeper imbalance. Pharmaceutical drugs are extremely good at suppressing symptoms, but rarely do they treat the underlying cause. Over time, the body has to find other ways to express this untreated imbalance, and it usually does so with a deeper, more serious illness. When a homeopathic remedy is given to a person, the body also reacts against the remedy to expel it. BUT, since the remedy is evoking symptoms similar to what the patient already has, when the body expels the remedy it also rids itself of its own symptoms! The body is stimulated to heal itself, without suppressing symptoms and causing additional serious illness down the road. In any medical tradition, this is the only way that true cure is achieved.
Homeopathy also recognizes that the symptoms of a disease or imbalance in an individual are not just physical in nature, but can be seen in one's emotions and mental thoughts. Often, physical symptoms only manifest after the initial appearance of a prolonged change in mood, an emotionally traumatic event, or a life-changing occurrence. The homeopath treats these types of mental and emotional symptoms with the same regard as the physical symptoms, and homeopathy can often prevent this type of imbalance from developing into a physical problem. This approach distinguishes homeopathy as a true holistic art that can achieve a profound level of cure.
Conventional pharmaceutical medicine has much to offer the world in alleviating suffering and prolonging life. Many people would not be alive today if it wasn't for their medical doctors and the pharmaceutical companies. However, for people who are facing an increase in their drug dosages to maintain their comfort level, tired of suffering from drug side effects, do not want to suffer from greater illnesses later in life, want a chance to permanently heal from their ailments, and want a whole person approach to their health and their life, homeopathy can provide what they are looking for.