What is homeopathy? Homeopathy is a system of medicine which uses highly diluted substances, usually given in tablet or liquid form, which aim to trigger the body's natural ability to heal itself. It is a highly individual prescription, with remedies selected according to the patient's specific symptoms. Therefore, two patients both wanting help with eczema are likely to need two entirely different homeopathic remedies.
What is its main principle? It is based on the principle of 'like cures like'. This means that a substance which causes certain symptoms if taken in large quantities can be used to treat those same symptoms if prepared in minute, homeopathic doses. This is a bit like conventional science where allergens such as pollen are used to de-sensitise allergic patients or tinnitus aids which create a buzzing noise in the ear to cancel out the buzzing noise of tinnitus.
Is it holistic? Homeopathic medicine treats the person as a whole, rather than treating specific conditions in isolation. This 'holistic' approach is one of the main differences between homeopathy and conventional medicine. For example if you were suffering from depression, period pains, migraines and eczema the conventional route might involve separate courses of treatment for each symptoms by contrast a homeopathy will consider all symptoms together as a whole (whether mental, emotional or physical as shown in my logo), possibly addressing them with a single prescription.
What will treatment involve? The initial homoeopathic consultation usually lasts for an hour to 90 minutes, whilst follow up appointments are generally shorter. During this consultation we discuss all your symptoms and some background information such as any related emotional aspects that affect you, food preferences, how you sleep and even dreams and your favourite climate! This is so I have a full picture of you to help me prescribe holistically. If a homoeopathic prescription is needed this may come in tablet, liquid or powdered form and full instructions are given in writing on how to use take this as homeopathic remedies are taken differently to conventional medicines.
Is homeopathy safe? Homeopathic treatment has an excellent safety record(1) and because homeopathic medicines are non-toxic they can be used in cases involving adults of any age, babies, children and during pregnancy. It can also be used alongside conventional medicine without interfering with this medication.
Who makes remedies? Homeopathic medicines, known as remedies by homeopaths, are prepared by specialist pharmacies using a careful process of dilution and succussion (a specific form of vigorous shaking).
How does it work? There are many high quality randomised clinical scientific trials which demonstrate that homeopathy is clinically effective. For example, in the treatment of hay fever(2) and upper respiratory tract infections, such as ear infections and sinusitis(3). Furthermore, a Health Technology Assessment report on homoeopathy commissioned by the Swiss government has concluded that homeopathy is clinically effective, cost-effective and safe(1,3). To read more about clinical trials, and to read about them, please visit the Society of Homeopaths website or visit theHomeopathy Research Institute.
At present, science cannot fully explain the mechanism of action of ultra high dilutions in the body although many studies are investigating how it might work in randomised controlled trials using petri-dishes. Despite this, conventional medicine uses these techniques (such as treating allergens with pollen as described above) and calls it 'hormesis'.
Who discovered homeopathy? The very earliest mention of a form of medicine using the principle of treating “like with like” dates back to Hippocrates (460-377BC). However, it was discovered in its present form by Dr Samuel Hahnemann, a German doctor, over 200 years ago.
Dr Samuel Hahnemann became frustrated by the medical practices of his day, which included blood-letting, purging and the use of poisons such as mercury. As a result he began experimenting with different forms of medicine, in particular the use of the tree bark 'China'' in very small doses. He discovered that the smaller the dose, the more effective and gentle the treatment. He dedicated his life to fastidious, empirical observation of many, many different remedies produced in this way and their curative effects.
I'm interested, tell me more! If you would like more information why not use my contact form to ask me for more details. I have leaflets I can give you explaining homeopathy and its use in many different circumstances. These explain homeopathy in general, in pregnancy and childbirth, for treating men, for anxiety, stress and depression, menopause and for babies and children.
1. Endrizzi C et al. Harm in homeopathy; aggravations, adverse drug events or medication erros? Homeoapthy. 2005. 94(4): 233-240. 2. Taylor MA, Reilly D, Llewellyn-Jones RH, et al. Randomised controlled trials of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial series. Br Med J. 2000 321:471-6. 3. 'Homeopathy in Healthcare: Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs' by Gudrun Bornhoft and Peter F Matthiessen (Editors). 2001. ISBN 978-3-642-20637-5.