What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a therapeutic system of medicine which has been practised for over 200yrs. Whereas orthodox medicine tends to treat symptoms of sickness as manifestations that need to be attacked or at least controlled, homeopathy operates on the principle of ‘like cures like’. In fact Hippocrates, who is regarded as the father of medicine, remarked that there were two systems of medicine, one the system of opposites and the other the system of similarities. The homeopath regards symptoms as indications of disease and sickness but also as the attempt by the body to get itself better. Rather than simply attacking the symptoms, homeopathy regards them as valuable ‘signposts’ pointing out not only the potential causes of the sickness or disease but also the best way to treat the patient.
The system only became formalised by a German doctor called Samuel Hahnemann who became disillusioned with contemporary medical practice which at that time was not only crude but often injurious to the patient. He was working on a translation of Cinchona bark (derivative of Quinine) and realised that this was one of the few effective cures for malaria around at that time. He was curious about why it could be so effective in treating certain kinds of fever. He experimented with the substance and discovered that if taken by a healthy person it can produce symptoms similar to the sicknesses and fevers it could cure. Putting it crudely, this observation has been around in folk lore for a long time, with expressions such as ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’, or ‘the hair of the dog’ analogy, but Hahnemann has given such truths, scientific validity.
The homeopath uses the symptoms of a sickness or complaint to investigate what causes the symptoms in the first place. He/She will spend a great deal of time asking the patient questions about their general health and well being. This is somewhat different to the orthodox approach. For example: a patient may come with headaches but these could be related to stress, hormone imbalances, poor diet, inflammation and a variety of other causes. It is important for the homeopath to explore every option to find out where the seat of the problem lies.
Substances which are used as homeopathic medicines have been taken by healthy individuals and the details of any effects are carefully recorded. In this way we know what effect a substance has, the symptoms it is capable of producing and therefore what it might be capable of curing. The details are very precise and because of this approach we can be sure that the medicine is safe, largely because these have been tested on ourselves. Homeopathic medications are free from toxins and chemicals and are a safe treatment for many forms of illnesses and diseases. It successfully treats a wide variety of both physical and psychological problems. Homeopathic medicine is effective for children and babies, acute illnesses and fevers and is useful as adjunctive treatment in first aid situations.