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Homeopathy simply explained


"Homeopathy is an effective and scientific system of healing which assists the natural tendency of the body to heal itself. It recognizes 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.

Different people react in different ways to the same illness and in order to find the correct remedy. Your homeopath will need to know not only your physical symptoms but also as much as possible about yourself, your background, and your lifestyle.

Homeopathic remedies cannot cause side effects and you cannot become addicted to them. This is because only a very minute amount of the active ingredient is used in a specially prepared formula, paralleling the illness; that's the beauty of homeopathy, the illness and the remedy are one and the same. Voila. 

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What is homeopathy?

In 1796 a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, discovered a different approach to the cure of the sick which he called homeopathy- from the Greek word 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 is to threat this by giving a drug to bring on an artificial sleep. This involves the use of large or regular doses of drugs which can sometimes cause side effects or addiction.

The way of similars, the homeopathic way, is to give the patient a minute dose of a substance which in large doses causes sleeplessness in a healthy person. Surprisingly, this will enable the patient to sleep naturally. Because of the minute dosage no side effects or addictions will result.

How does it work?

Homeopathic remedies work by stimulation the body's own healing power. This power is very great and many complaints heal themselves unaided, but when the healing process is faulty, blocked or slow, the homeopathic remedy acts as a stimulus to the curative powers of the body. To provide this stimulus, your homeopath must prescribe the right remedy and the right dosage for you.

What will your homeopath need to know?

In order to find the right remedy your homeopath will want to know all about you. He will ask you many questions about yourself as well as your illness and will also want to know about the health of your family, both present and past. Don't be afraid to mention something that you think is unusual or unimportant and please help by giving accurate information and remember that anything you say is confidential. This initial consultation can sometimes take as long as an hour.

What will the treatment be like and what do I have to do?

Your homeopath will give you a remedy, often in the form of pills which should be allowed to dissolve under the tongue. Nothing else should be put in the mouth for 20 minutes before or after taking the remedy, not even toothpaste or cigarettes. Your homeopath will usually advise that, while you are having homeopathic treatment, you should not take any coffee or peppermint, nor should you use any eucalyptus oil, camphor, or menthol because these strong smelling substances spoil the effect of most homeopathic remedies. For the same reason he will ask you not to take any other form of medication- even headache pills or cough and cold medicines. If you are given homeopathic pills to take at a later date be sure to store them in a cool dark place and well away from anything with a strong smell.

Your homeopath may ask you to make changes in your diet or habits if he thinks your recovery would be helped by doing so.

What can I expect to happen?

After taking your remedy you should notice some changes. For instance it occasionally happens that your symptoms appear worse for a short time. This is the remedy taking effect and you should feel the beginnings of recovery when this period has passed. Alternatively patients often experience a period of exceptional well- being and optimism.

If you develop a runny cold, a skin rash, or some form of discharge this will probably be the remedy having a "spring cleaning" effect cleansing the body. These new symptoms will pass away, they must not be treated as they are a very important part of the healing process.

If you feel worried by any changes that you notice, then you should contact your homeopath straight away, even if this is shortly before your next appointment. Whatever your reaction may be, your homeopath will need to know; so make a few notes of your changing symptoms as a reminder for you at your next appointment.

How quickly will I be cured?

This depends very much on what sort of illness you have. A very slowly developing complaint, such as a stomach ulcer, will not disappear over night, but other complaints can get better quickly. Complicated cases are cured from the inside out and from the head down. This means that superficial, outer symptoms, such as skin disorders are often the last symptoms to go. Be patient, it is much better for you to be cured of both the cause of your illness and its symptoms, rather than merely to relieve the symptoms. Every case is different, just as no two patients are alike.

Can I treat myself with homeopathic remedies?

You can learn to use some homeopathic remedy at home. There are a number of excellent remedies which deal effectively with first aid problems such as cuts, stings, burns, bruises and stomach aches. Ask your homeopath for further information or find out more at one of the many courses and seminars on this subject, that are held throughout the country. You should not of course, attempt to treat any serious complaint yourself and if any apparently minor complaint does not respond to your first aid treatment you should consult your homeopath immediately.

Published by the Society of Homeopaths, the professional body for practicing Homeopaths in 1983. 

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