Amazing Homeopathy Dr. Liz Dickey, ND, LMSW

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1 The principles of homeopathy were first formulated at the end of the eighteenth century by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician. He gave up the practice of medicine because he found the therapies of his time to be ineffective and extremely harmful. He did not resume practice until he discovered homeopathy, a system of healing that works gently, rapidly, and reliably. Hahnemann s discovery of homeopathy spread quickly throughout Europe and to the United States, where at the beginning of the twentieth century, fifteen to twenty percent of all doctors were homeopaths. Despite repeated criticism from orthodox medical circles, the validity of Hahnemann s ideas have been demonstrated for over 200 years. Samuel Hahnemann, MD Stimulus to the Body-Mind Homeopathic treatment, like all truly natural therapies, stimulates the innate healing power of the individual. Physiologic function is improved, moving the patient toward optimal health. Thus the patient feels a generalized feeling of well-being after taking the correct remedy. In addition, local symptoms improve as body defenses are strengthened and activated. Unlike conventional drugs, homeopathic remedies do not suppress symptoms or chemically force the body to change, rather they initiate self-healing through stimulation of the body s innate healing mechanisms. Totality of Symptoms The homeopath views a person s health as a condition of the entire individual, rather than in terms of the presence or absence of isolated symptoms. A remedy is selected that best corresponds to the person s total state: mental, emotional, and physical. Choice of the correct homeopathic medicine depends in part on a thorough understanding of all specific symptoms, but important indicators of the person s general state of health, such as the level of vitality and emotional well-being, require close attention as well. While details about the person s symptoms are important to the selection of the correct remedy, the symptoms themselves are not regarded as something to be covered over or eliminated, because it is recognized that they are the body s best attempts to heal itself. Suppressing them would only inhibit the body s natural healing process.

2 Law of Similars The law of similars is one of the guiding principles on which the practice of homeopathy is based. It refers to the fact that a substance given in minute, homeopathically-prepared doses can cure the same symptoms that are created in a healthy person by a large (material) dose of that substance. For example, homeopathic Allium cepa (onion) can cure symptoms of bland discharge from the eyes and acrid discharge from the nose, such as from a cold or allergies. The symptoms experienced by the sick person are the most important guide to the correct remedy, not the diagnostic category of disease. Thus a person with the flu who is chilled and anxious will heal from a different remedy than another person with the flu who is flushed and irritable. Homeopathic Medicines Homeopathic remedies are made from a variety of sources, such as plants and minerals. To date, remedies have been made from over 3,500 substances. These substances are prepared by a standardized process of repeated dilution and succussion, which yields the potentized liquids known as homeopathic remedies. Remedies usually are administered on lactose pellets, while sometimes they are given in liquid form. When used properly, they are very safe and without side effects and are suitable for use with infants, the elderly, and the seriously ill. The Minimum Dose Unlike allopathic drugs, which are given in a standardized dose and schedule, remedies are given only as often as needed and only in the minimum strength needed. This is because they are stimulating innate healing mechanisms and not chemically forcing the body to change. Homeopathic remedies need to be given only as often as the individual requires and in a strength that matches the person s symptoms and level of health; i.e., the dose is tailored to what the person needs. This is judged through careful assessment of the individual s response to the remedy, based on homeopathic principles.

3 Scope of Homeopathy Anyone can benefit from homeopathic treatment, whatever their diagnosis and even if the diagnosis is unknown. Homeopathy works effectively in a wide variety of acute and chronic problems, including infectious diseases, allergies, gynecologic problems, digestive disorders, and emotional difficulties. Homeopathy decreases the tendency toward future illness by increasing the individual s constitutional strength and resistance to disease. The correct constitutional remedy will increase the person s overall energy and sense of well-being. In cases of advanced organic pathology, such as cancer and severe joint degeneration, the tissue pathology generally is not reversible with homeopathy. However, patients with such conditions usually can be helped to feel stronger and more comfortable. Surgery is required for conditions such as appendicitis, hernias, and ectopic pregnancy, while certain musculoskeletal conditions might benefit from manipulation or acupuncture. Allopathic drugs often interfere with the effects of remedies and people who are dependent on drugs may be less responsive to homeopathic remedies. Homeopathic treatment is an adjunct to good health habits, but not a substitute. In the long run, good health depends on lifestyle factors such as a nutritious diet, regular exercise, adequate rest, effective stress management, creative outlets, and loving relationships, in addition to homeopathic treatment. Acute Illnesses Homeopathic treatment is usually highly effective during acute illness. Again, the treatment is not aimed at removing symptoms or killing microorganisms, but rather toward strengthening the person so that his or her own healing capacities can bring about a more rapid return to health. The Homeopathic Consultation The information that you, the patient, provide to the practitioner is essential to effective homeopathic treatment. The homeopathic interview involves extensive questioning that may

4 cover unfamiliar ground for those accustomed to a few quick questions from a busy doctor. To better prepare you for the consultation, the kinds of information the homeopath requires are described below. The exact location of all complaints (e.g., a headache located in the right temple). The specific character of any sensations, pains, or discharges (e.g., a crawling sensation, a burning pain, a thick yellow discharge). What causes the symptoms to come on (e.g., a cough that is worse from lying down, sleeplessness at three AM, stomach pain that comes on after drinking milk, anger from being contradicted). What makes the complaint better or worse (e.g., head pain that is better from cold applica-! tions and pressure, sadness that is worse from consolation). Anything that regularly occurs along with the symptom (e.g., always feeling nauseated with a cough, a desire to sit in front of a fan during an asthma attack). What may have caused your symptoms, such as a physical stress (e.g., becoming chilled), an emotional stress, or anything after which you have never been well since. Anything that seems unusual or distinctive about your symptoms (e.g., a burning pain better from heat, nausea better from eating, fear of birds). Homeopathic case-taking generally takes a minimum of 1 1/2 to 2 hours for most chronic conditions. The homeopath then carefully studies the information, to find the most well-indicated homeopathic medicine. Most people find this time investment worthwhile when they experience the benefits brought by the correct remedy. Treatment Based on the information gathered in the homeopathic interview, a remedy will be selected that best fits the totality of your symptoms. You will be given this one remedy and told specifically when and how often to take it.

5 Each individual experiences the reaction to the remedy in a different way. Usually the effects are gentle and gradual, though at times more rapid and dramatic changes occur. Since the remedies work to better your general health over time, you should not be concerned if your local symptoms do not get better right away. Aggravations of symptoms or recurrence of previously experienced symptoms sometimes occur. These are not side effects of the remedy, but an indication that the body-mind is responding to the stimulus of the medicine. If any reaction occurs that is concerning, don t hesitate to call or visit your homeopath. Recommended Reading Dooley, Timothy. Homeopathy: Beyond Flat Earth Medicine. San Diego, California: Timing Publications, Written by a family physician and frequent contributor to Homeopathy Today, this short introductory book describes homeopathy, how it differs from other healing approaches, and what to expect from homeopathic treatment. Lansky, Amy. Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy. Portola Valley, California: R. L. Ranch Press, A fascinating book that chronicles how the author s son was freed from autism with homeopathy. Explores the powerful healing effects of homeopathic medicine and what it can do for you, such as physical and emotional healing, increased sense of well-being, reduced dependence on medications, and accelerated recovery from acute illnesses. Includes many testimonials of healing for a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional conditions, such as anxiety, arthritis, chronic fatigue, dementia, depression, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, and shingles. Provides scientific evidence of homeopathy s effectiveness and demonstrates that its healing effects are not due to a placebo effect. Ullman, Robert and Reichenberg-Ullman, Judyth. The Patient s Guide to Homeopathic Medicine. Edmonds, WA: Picnic Point Press, Explains the scientific basis for homeopathy and its ability to produce lasting healing. Discusses why millions of people worldwide choose homeopathic treatment to improve their health and to avoid the risks and side effects of drugs.

6 Quotes Mahatma Gandhi as saying that Homeopathy cures a larger percentage of cases than any other form of treatment. Offers case examples that illustrate homeopathy s scope and power to heal chronic conditions such as allergies, constipation, diarrhea, eczema, headaches, insomnia, menopause symptoms, PMS, and skin conditions, as well as speed recovery from acute conditions such as bronchitis, bladder infections, and the flu. Explains what to expect during homeopathic treatment and how to gain the most benefit from working with a homeopathic doctor. Vithoulkas, George. Homeopathy: Medicine for the New Millenium. The International Academy of Homeopathy. An interesting introduction to homeopathy from one of its master practitioners. Explores the historical and scientific basis for homeopathy and shows how it addresses the health of the whole person. Illustrates how homeopathy can succeed in treating chronic conditions, even some regarded as incurable by conventional medicine. Includes a chapter on how to make the most of your homeopathic treatment. Dr. Liz Dickey is a naturopathic physician and licensed social worker who practices in Eugene, Oregon. She can be contacted at

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