What is Homeopathy ?
Homeopathy was founded by Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann, more familiarly known as Samuel Hahnemann. Hahnemann was born in Meissen, Saxony Germany April 10, 1755 and died in Paris France July 2, 1843.
He was trained as a conventional medical doctor who, over time, became appalled by the methods engaged by the medical profession of his time, which seemed to kill more patients rather than heal them. After experimenting on himself with Quinine, an alkaloid derived from Cinchona bark, he discovered that Quinine was able to cure the symptoms of Malaria due to the fact that it could cause the same symptoms as Malaria, when given repeatedly to healthy people.
Hahnemann's first principle of homeopathy was Similia similibus curantur, meaning, likes are cured by likes, which was an idea that Hippocrates and Paracelsus both observed centuries before. This theory was completely opposed to the philosophy of the medical profession which was based on contraria contrariis curantur or opposites are cured by opposites, in other words, fight disease by using medicine, which produces effects opposite to the effects produced by the disease.
The term homeopathy comes from the Greek homoios ("similar") and pathos ("suffering" or "sickness").
The next logical step for Hahnemann was to conduct further experiments to validate his first principle, by testing a multitude of substances made from animal secretions and venoms, plant roots and flowers, and minerals. The term used for this process is "Provings". Homeopaths "prove" remedies on numbers of healthy people, known as provers, and collate the results. The symptoms, experienced by most of the provers for one substance, are recorded in our materia medica. A materia medica is a reference work listing remedies and their therapeutic actions, and used clinically to address similar symptoms in ailing people.
Homeopathic remedies are prepared by a controlled process of successive dilutions alternating with succussion i.e. strong shaking, until the resulting medicine or remedy, contains no recordable molecules of the original substance, creating an infinitesimal potency. This is known as The Law of Potentization.
Homeopaths treat the patient according to their symptoms rather than treating based on the name of a disease. In other words, a patient comes in complaining of a headache, conventional medicine would likely prescribe a headache pain reliever, whereas a homeopath will ask many questions about the modalities, i.e., What does the pain feel like?, When is the pain worse?, Where exactly is the pain?, What makes it better or worse?
That said, a well trained homeopath is also educated in the sciences of Anatomy and Physiology,
and Pathology. Homeopaths treat the person as a whole person rather than separating their mental aspects from their physical aspects; or focusing only on the chief complaint being presented. A homeopath wants to know how is this person, sitting in front of me, experiencing eczema, anxiety, or asthma differently from anyone else suffering from the a similar ailment. We don't only want to know the patient has a cold, but how are they experiencing this particular cold. Or if they have a phobia, what is characteristic to the way they experience it compared to the way anyone else experiences fears or phobias. [Please refer to my previous article "Strange Rare Peculiar" on this blog for greater detail at http://www.homeopathicsolutions.blogspot.com/2012/07/strange-rare-peculiar.html].
A Classical or Hahnemannian Homeopath, such as myself, prescribes one remedy at a time, and does not suggest anyone use "combination remedies", i.e. numerous remedies combined in one bottle, and labeled as "Cold Remedy", "Headache Remedy" etc. The problem with "combination remedies" is that if there is an improvement, or worse, an aggravation from it, we cannot know the offending ingredient. Or, if there is an improvement we cannot know which remedy was responsible. The worst drawback from taking a "combination remedy" is that if it is taken repeatedly, and one of the substances causes a "proving" we do not know which remedy caused it. The indiscriminate mixing of these substances to make the combination will often include remedies that cancel or antidote each other. "Combination Remedies" are manufactured, with the idea to "simplify" the choosing of a remedy for those unfamiliar with homeopathic case taking. The often negative consequences and or additional symptoms resulting from their use, are not easily resolved.
The question is often asked, "Are homeopathic remedies placebos?". Even though there may be placebo results from using homeopathic remedies, there is no question that homeopathy is effective in treating babies or animals, neither of which can be included under the heading of placebo effect when their presenting symptoms are resolved. A baby or an animal cannot say, "Since my mother gave me something to make me feel better, I do! There are well designed clinical and laboratory studies on the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment, many published in both conventional medical journals and complimentary medical journals, proving that positive results after taking a homeopathic remedy are not due to the Placebo Effect.
When you visit a homeopath for the first time, the initial interview may last between one to two hours. This enables the homeopath to get a full picture of the person, what makes them unique from other people mentally, emotionally, physically, and how they have responded to stress and illness in their life. We need to understand what events in the person's life preceded their illness, how the symptoms have progressed, and to understand how their vital force has or is already attempting to heal itself. The uniqueness of the patient and symptoms leads us to the remedy that stimulates the vital force to further heal the disharmony of the patient.
The relationship between homeopath and patient is a true partnership in healing. A big part of the job of the homeopath is to educate rather than commandeer the patient.
© Lynn Cremona 2012, all rights reserved.