by Banyan Fierer
Starting homeopathic treatment
Homeopathy is an effective and scientific system of healing which assists the natural tendency of the body to heal itself. It recognises that all symptoms of ill health are expressions of disharmony within the whole person and that it is the patient who needs treatment not the disease. As a new patient, you will be given the time and attentiveness to communicate the totality of your concerns and symptoms so the homeopath can properly prescribe the indicated remedy.
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is the practice of medicine that embraces a holistic, natural approach to the treatment of illness, looking at the person as a whole, rather than focusing on a diseased part or a labeled or diagnosed sickness.
In 1796 a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, discovered a different approach to the cure of the sick which he called homeopathy (from the Greek words meaning 'similar suffering'). Like Hippocrates two thousand years earlier he realized that there were
two ways of treating ill health: the way of opposites and the way of similars. Take for example, a case of insomnia. The way of
opposites, (conventional medicine or allopathy), is to treat this by giving a drug to bring on an artificial sleep. This frequently involves the use of large or regular doses of drugs which can sometimes cause side effects or addiction. The way of similars (similimum), the homeopathic way, is to give the patient a minute dose of a substance based on the entirety of symptoms, which includes the physiological, emotional, and sometimes spiritual. By looking at the symptom picture, the homeopath is able to prescribe a remedy that not only may help the patient to sleep better, but also address other symptoms such as anxiety, depression or other physiological symptoms that were were not the main concern. This is the holistic approach to classical homeopathy.
Homeopathic remedies, when properly prescribed, are safe and can be given to pregnant women, children, and even babies. This is because only a very minute amount of the active ingredient is used (the essential part) in a specially prepared form. Your homeopath will give you a homeopathic medicine or remedy which matches your symptoms as you experience them. This approach takes into account ALL of you as a person, your individual characteristics emotionally as well as physically.
How does it work?
Homeopathic remedies work by stimulating the body's own healing power. This stimulus will assist your own system to clear itself of any expressions of imbalance and aid in transformation, leading to a more whole and often more fulfilled physical and emotional state.
What will your homeopath need to know?
In order to find the right remedy for you as an individual, your homeopath will need to know all about you. A detailed understanding of who you are, a family history, along with any complaints and details of how you experience them, is needed to assess your case correctly. Anything you can tell your homeopath that is typical of who you are will help this process. Finding out about your general energy level, your past medical history and the way you live are also important.
Anything you say will be treated in the strictest confidence. The initial consultation usually lasts between one and half to two hours.
What will the treatment be like?
Your homeopath will give you a homeopathic remedy, usually in the form of a pellets and occasionally as powders, which should be allowed to dissolve in your mouth; or you may be given a liquid remedy with specific instructions. Nothing else should be put in the mouth (even water or food) for 15-20 minutes before or after taking the remedy. Your homeopath will often advise you to avoid coffee, peppermint and preparations containing menthol, eucalyptus and camphor, and canabis as these can interfere with the action of the homeopathic remedy. Do make sure that you understand the instructions on how to take the remedy properly. If you are given homeopathic remedies to take at a later date be sure to store them in a cool dark place, away from anything with a strong smell.
Please tell your homeopath about any medicine or supplement that has been prescribed for you by your doctor or that you take regularly. Also mention any recent or immediate dental treatment. These may possibly affect your homeopathic prescription.
If you are taking a homeopathic remedy and you feel that you need to take additional medication – conventional or homeopathic medicine – consult with your homeopath to discuss how this might affect your homeopathic treatment. If you develop a cold, flu, headache, or any symptoms that concern you, please discuss them with your homeopath.
What will happen once treatment starts?
After taking your remedy, you may notice some changes. Some patients experience a period of exceptional well being and optimism. Sometimes your symptoms can appear to get worse for a short time. This is a good sign that the remedy is taking effect. Sometimes a cold, rash or some form of discharge may appear as a 'spring cleaning' effect which means your system is going through a cleaning stage. Similarly, old symptoms can reappear, usually for a short period. These symptoms will pass, and it is recommended that they not be treated as they are a very important part of the healing process. If any response to your treatment concerns you, please contact your homeopath as soon as you can, as it is important to know what happens as your treatment progresses. You might also want to make notes of any changes and take them with you to discuss at your next appointment. You may also be asked to document your dreams.
How long does treatment take?
This depends very much on what sort of illness you have, as well as the other individual characteristics of your case. It is not realistic for your homeopath to assess this until it can be seen how you respond to the remedies prescribed over a period of time. It is possible to say that a slowly developing complaint, or one that has been experienced for some years, will not disappear immediately although there may be a response and some improvement quite soon. Other acute complaints may get better more quickly. Often, patients experience healing and transformation over a number of years being treated.
Homeopathy cures from the inside, and often outersymptoms such as a skin complaint, are the last to clear. Be patient! In the long term it is much better for you to be cured of both the cause of your illness and its symptoms, rather than merely relieving or
suppressing the symptoms. Remember that every case is different, and no two patients are alike. If you wish to discontinue your treatment for any reason, please contact your homeopath discuss your continued treatment elsewhere.
Is there any advice about diet and lifestyle?
A homeopath will ask you about your usual diet and lifestyle, and may or may not suggest changes, especially if it seems that this is contributing to your illness. Of course, a good basic diet is necessary for good health, with less sugars, fats, alcohol and refined foods. There is an increasing awareness of the benefits of foods free from artificial colorings, preservatives and
flavorings. Whole foods and organic foods, free from chemical pesticides and fertilizers, are also increasingly available. Most homeopaths however, are not nutritional counselors and may refer you to another practitioner for additional information.
What about seeing a GP?
We recommend that you should maintain your relationship with your GP (General Practitioner). Your GP will be able to
arrange any tests or X-rays you may need. Homeopathy has an alternative philosophy but by working in this way with your GP the two systems of health care can provide complementary services.
Can I treat myself with homeopathic remedies?
You can use some remedies at home to treat first aid problems such as cuts, stings, minor burns and bruises. Ask your homeopath for further information or find your nearest class or seminar on this subject.