The British Royal Family, Mahatma Gandhi, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Tina Turner, and Yehudi Menuhin don't have much in common, except for the fact that they all have been strong supporters of homeopathic medicine.
No claims are being made that homeopathy can cure any medical condition.
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a 'holistic' system of medicine that uses very diluted natural ingredients to help the body to heal itself and to build up its resistance to illness.
The central axiom of homeopathy is "like cures like" a principles expounded in the saying "the hair of the dog [that bit you]"
It's approach is to view symptoms of ill health as expressions of inner disharmony, and that it is the patient who needs treatment and not the disease.
The remedies are believed to tackle the cause of someone's illness, rather than merely preventing or reducing the symptoms. Please note that no medical claims are made for homeopathy on this website; it is offered as an approach complementary to orthodox diagnosis and treatment by your own GP or specialist.
Homeopathy is not new, it was known to the ancient Greeks and has been practiced worldwide in it's present form for almost two hundred years. It was developed by Dr Samuel Hahnemann in the 18th century.
Hahnemann decided that the “medicine” required for proper healing must be used in the smallest of quantities. This small quantity was expected to produce least possible excitation of the vital force, while being sufficient to cause gentle, remedial changes to that force. Thus was born his "Law of minimum dose", and this concept lead to the that of potentization; a process in which serial dilutions of the homeopathic remedy along with vigorous shaking (succussion) was expected to increase its efficacy or ‘potency’.
Homeopathy is based on the principle of 'like cures like'; that substances that cause symptoms in healthy people will cure those symptoms in someone who is not well. The idea behind a homeopathic remedy is that by mimicking the disease it will stimulate the body to correct itself in a way that it hasn't yet managed to do on its own.
What are homeopathic remedies?
As an example, cutting a strong onion can produce stinging, runny eyes, a sore throat and an acrid, runny nose. A homeopath would prescribe the homeopathic remedy made from onion (Allium cepa) for a patient who had a cold with these particular symptoms.
Conventional medicine (known as allopathic medicine) tries to deal with the chemistry of the symptoms and treats them with something that is their opposite, rather than something that is similar. By doing so, the body still goes on trying to produce the symptoms.
Why do people choose homeopathy?
People try homeopathy for all sorts of reasons: because they hear from others that it has worked; because they feel it's natural and believe it's likely to have fewer side effects than conventional medication, or because they prefer its holistic approach. People also like the idea of having more control over their own treatment. Others turn to homeopathy because conventional medicine has let them down, or has no effective treatment to offer, or because they want to relieve the side effects caused by the prescription medicines they need to take.
What happens when people consult a homeopath?
Homeopathy aims to tackle the underlying causes of ill health, as well as to relieve the symptoms that made someone seek help in the first place. The aim of the homeopathic consultation is to get a very clear picture of the way that person is feeling and what is contributing to it.
A full consultation will consider your constitution (natural physical and mental make-up), your lifestyle, past experiences, diet, emotional and medical history, environmental factors and current problems: all factors that affect your present state of health. The current and past health of family members will also be relevant.
How is A homeopathic remedy selected?
Once a symptom picture is discovered, the Homeopath will match the remedy with the symptoms, For example the dry cough of Rumex is triggered by the slightest contact with fresh air. Rumex patients always walk with a scarf covering their nose and mouth. A Pulsatilla patient has a heavy cough during the day and a dry one at night. Natrum Sulfuricum is characterized by a very heavy cough aggravated by humidity. Spongia is the remedy for violent coughs which remind one of the noise a saw makes going through a plank; improved by drinking hot liquid.
What is the action of a homeopathic remedy?
The first action of a homeopathic remedy is on the vital force producing a gentle flow of information in order to create a state of 'balance' in the body and mind. When this 'vital force' is disturbed or weakened problems arise: disorder, illness.
In homeopathy what is referred to as the 'vital force', has the name of prana in yoga and in traditional Chinese medicine, such as acupuncture, it is called chi. It is known to all the world's mainly daoist traditions.
Correction of the flow of vital force, returned to the body to a state of health bringing the body and the mind back to its state of former harmony and allowing disease to heal naturally. This principle is observable in other holistic approaches such as yoga or acupuncture.
In homeopathy, there are "short" route, treatment strategies appropriate for a speedy resolution of a single acute problem, like flu, where the choice of the drug is relatively easy, but its use is narrowly focused and bring a return overall health.
There is also another strategy, the so called constitutional prescription when the drug acts on the whole, and gradually leads to "gentle and permanent restoration of health" in its entirety.
Take the example of our own dear Queen Elizabeth II, who recently celebrated 89 years of operational deployment. Her mother lived in excellent condition 102 years. The British royal family has been known to be under the care of homeopaths for nearly two hundred years. While other royal privileges are unavailable to most people, this is one available to anyone who wants it.
The tablets should not be handles but tipped into the bottle cap and under the tongue to dissolve and it's also best to avoid putting anything in your mouth for 15 minutes before and after taking them. A pretty standard dose if three times daily between meals but that can be altered in many ways. Sometimes doses can be taken hourly if symptoms are very acute.
How do I take the remedy?
A key principle in homeopathy is to reduce or stop taking the remedy as symptoms get better and restart again at the first signs of symptoms returning.
What if the remedy doesn't seem to be working?
Patients often experience a sense of well-being after taking a remedy, but sometimes it can be hard to tell whether the treatment is working. To begin with, it may be a question of feeling more able to cope with things in general, rather than noticing a particular improvement in the condition you are seeking help for.
Occasionally, symptoms may appear slightly worse for a short time. This is known as a "homeopathic aggravation" and is thought generally a good sign, showing that the remedy is taking effect. Sometimes a cold, a rash or a discharge may appear, as the system goes through a 'cleansing phase'. In this case the dose should be discontinued for a short time while the body processes the change.
Homeopathy doesn't suppress symptoms but rather works with them so the body is aided to use them to fight the disease. This is why it can be difficult to tell if the dose is working but it is often worth persevering with the remedy: the healing process can take time and patience.
Sometimes very dramatic change is noticed if the problem is not so deep seated: Hay fever can respond very quickly to desensitization doses for example.
What if I'm taking other medication?
Homeopathic remedies are able to work well alongside most other medicines, because they are so highly diluted that they won't chemically interact with other drugs. It has already been explained why there is no physical molecule of substance other than the diluent present in the remedy, it does not work that way. However, if you have been prescribed any medication by your GP, psychiatrist or other healthcare professional, it's very important that you don't stop your treatment without first talking this over with them. Please let your doctor know you are considering homeopathy and let your homeopath know if you are taking any prescribed medications.
So-called skeptic groups whose remit is to attack homeopathy say that homeopathy is dangerous because it stops people from seeking orthodox (scientifically proven) methods offered by their GP, who they would otherwise go to see with their problem. Please see you GP in the first instance and tell him/her that you are considering homeopathy. GP's will respond variously along the spectrum of negative to positive responses; from putting homeopathy down as a bogus cure while others may encourage you to give it a try or remain completely neutral.
Homeopathy is not considered proven by science, which is not to say there is no favorable research data, but homeopathy does not lend itself to the methods used to research pharmaceutical drugs for example and there have been many examples of how flawed that can be even for the drugs it is meant to safeguard us from.
What about side effects?
Because of the dilution process that is part of their preparation, homeopathic remedies are free from side effects even if they have exotic names of poisonous substances like belladonna and arsenic.
How should I go about getting treatment?
It's always helpful if you can go to someone who has been recommended to you. In any case, you should check whether the practitioner is a qualified member of a recognised professional organisation, as well as finding out details of their training and experience. These should be set out clearly on their website.
Practitioners may work in their own consulting rooms, in natural health clinics and, sometimes, in GP surgeries. A qualified and experienced homeopath would never tell you to reduce or discontinue prescribed medication without consulting your GP or health care provider. Homeopathy can work alongside and be complementary to allopathic medicine.
Chemists and health shops sell a limited range of homeopathic remedies for minor disorders such as bites & stings, bruises and strains, colds & flu which provide useful, safe alternatives to drugs. More and more people are finding homeopathy a safe and effective treatment for everyday aches and pains, sports injuries and other ailments and conditions.
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