Homeopathy is a scientific, reliable and natural system of medicinal therapy, which has been in existence for 200 years.
It is a curative system of therapy that restores health, by stimulating the body’s own mechanisms of defense and repair. In Homeopathy, the focus is on the whole person using therapeutic methods that are safe, subtle and sympathetic to the body’s needs.
ORIGINS AND PRINCIPLES
Homeopathy developed from scientific investigations carried out by a German physician, Dr Samuel Hahnemann, in the late eighteenth century. He was so distressed by the toxic side effects of medications used in his time, that he explored ways of restoring the sick individual to good health in a gentle, thorough and effective manner. He experimented on himself and his students, and found that Quinine produced a fever and illness in a healthy person similar to that found in malaria. This is called a Proving. When a diluted dose of Quinine was given to a patient suffering from malaria, it effected a rapid cure. This he called the Law of Similars.
The Law of Similars
The statement “like cures like” was used by Hahnemann to describe the basic principle of homeopathic treatment. It means that any substance will produce certain reactions or symptoms if given to a healthy individual for a long enough period. The corollary to this was that these collective symptoms, if found in a sick person, can be removed or cured by the diluted medicinal substance that produced them in the healthy individual. The homeopathic medicine, which is matched with the patient’s symptoms, is called a simillimum.
Homeopathy vs Allopathy
The homeopathic approach to diagnosis and therapy is that the whole body must be considered as a single organism. Homeopathy sees symptoms as the body’s reaction against illness, as it attempts to overcome the illness and seeks to stimulate the body’s own Vital Force, rather than suppress the reaction. This is in stark contrast to the conventional or Western approach, which uses drugs to counter the disease by acting in an opposite manner [ = Allopathic Medicine] by suppressing the symptoms.
Modern drugs can be lifesaving in acute situations, as can advances in surgery, but they do not provide the ideal treatment option for chronic diseases. Many people suffer with chronic conditions such as allergies, asthma, migraines, eczema etc. These are at best controlled or suppressed with drugs, with the consequent return of all symptoms when the drugs are stopped. Others suffer for years in a state of dis-ease with little relief [see Integrative Medicine missing). Homeopathy can offer real hope of relief and lasting cures in very many cases.
Many people are becoming increasingly concerned with the difficulty in maintaining optimum health in the face of the deteriorating environment [air and food pollution, negative stresses, cell-phone and other radiation]. Homeopathy can provide an entirely natural way of returning the body to good health, without merely suppressing symptoms.
Many drugs have unpleasant and toxic side effects, whereas homeopathic medicines are completely safe. Homeopathy can also work together with Allopathy by relieving the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy, for example. Homeopathic medicines are mainly of plant, mineral or animal origin, and assist the patient in regaining health by stimulating the body’s natural mechanism of recovery.
The Law of the Minimum Dose
The selected homeopathic medicine should be given in a form that is not harmful to the patient. This is possible because of a second law, The Law of the Minimum Dose: the healing power of a substance is in direct ratio to its degree of serial dilution, when each step of dilution is accompanied by a period of agitation (succussion, grinding or shaking). By this process the therapeutic information of the remedy is imprinted upon the solvent and is progressively amplified, resulting in increased potency. This is a phenomenon of quantum physics. It is the quantum form of the remedy that renders it capable of providing the curative stimulus.
The Law of Individualization
Disease affects the entire person – body, mind and spirit. The homeopathic medicine is therefore selected on holistic principles in order to bring about a cure. The homeopath regards each patient as unique and individual. The homeopathic medicine is selected especially based upon those aspects that make the patient and his/her complaints unique – symptoms, life experience, personality, values, beliefs, habits, emotions, etc.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Prior to, or at the time of, the first homeopathic consultation the patient may be requested to complete a very detailed history questionnaire. Physical, mental and emotional factors are elicited to establish an extensive profile of the patient and the complaints. Alternatively, the practitioner may prefer to elicit the detailed history him/herself during the first consultation, as well as performing a physical examination. Once the homeopathic practitioner has matched the profile with the medicine [the homeopathic simillimum ], the patient is then given this medicine as the treatment.
After the first consultation and prescription there will usually be a follow-up appointment in 3 to 4 weeks, (unless the condition is acute). This is to give the medicine and the patient’s defense mechanisms time to respond. Occasionally this response might include a slight exacerbation of a particular symptom, called an “aggravation” which normally resolves after a short time. The longer a disease has been present and/or suppressed with drugs, the longer it may take to cure the condition. In acute situations homeopathic treatment can work very quickly, contrary to popular opinion.
HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINES AND HOW TO GET THE BEST OUT OF THEM
Homeopathic medicines are available in a variety of forms, most commonly as liquids, tablets, pillules, granules, powders, injections, suppositories or creams.
Observe the following precautions as far as possible when taking homeopathic medicines:
- Allow the remedy to dissolve in the mouth. If you are taking several remedies, then allow each to dissolve before taking the next. Pillules can be chewed or crushed.
- Avoid touching the remedy, as it is sensitive and may be affected by the oils of your skin.
- For babies the pellets can be dissolved in some water, and a spoonful of this given as a dose.
- Homeopathic drops can be taken neat, or in a little water, and held in the mouth for a few seconds.
- Do not take the medicine with water, food, other drinks or before or after smoking. They are best taken on an empty stomach, or not less than 5 minutes before eating. If you have eaten, allow 20 minutes before taking the remedy.
- If you have brushed your teeth, wait 20-30 minutes before taking, as peppermint in the toothpaste [or sweets] prevents absorption from the mouth.
- Avoid the 4 C’s as much as possible [or at least for several hours before and after taking homeopathic medicines], as they may counteract the effects of homeopathic medicines: Camphor [in creams or rubs or inhalations], Cortisone, Chamomile herbal tea, Coffee.
- Medical drugs can also be taken, [with your doctor’s knowledge] as they act on a more superficial level.
- Homeopathic remedies can be stored for many years providing they are protected from heat, light, strong odours [e.g. in the medicine cabinet], perfumes and moisture.
- If you travel by plane, try to avoid having your medicines pass through the personal X-rays. Put them in a separate bag and pass them around the outside, informing the officer that they are homeopathic medicines.
- Please return the amber glass bottles, as they can be recycled.
Conventional Western doctors dispute the principle that a very dilute substance can have any therapeutic effect on the body. They claim too that the PLACEBO effect [i.e. the power of suggestion] accounts wholly for the success of homeopathy. This effect does indeed account for about 30% of the success rate BUT it also does so in conventional clinical studies!
It is technically difficult to set up “double blinded” clinical trials on homeopathic cases as the treatment needs to be so highly individualised. Nevertheless, much research has been done, and its mode of action and success have been proven scientifically. Trials are expensive, and funds are limited as they obviously do not have the support of the large, corporate pharmaceutical companies. All too often, poorly conducted trials which show homeopathy in a negative light, are highlighted in the press and media, in an attempt to discredit homeopathy.
WHO CAN HOMEOPATHY BENEFIT?
Almost anyone can be helped with homeopathic treatment. Children and animals respond very quickly. Many conventional drugs can be taken concurrently with homeopathic medicines, as they work on a different level in the body. Homeopathy cannot cure Diabetes, Cancer or AIDS, but it can relieve many of the symptoms of these illnesses. Remember, homeopathy treats the person not the disease!
REGULATION OF HOMEOPATHY IN SOUTH AFRICA
The Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA) is the statutory council that regulates homeopathy in South Africa, in accordance with Act 63 of 1982. AHPCSA controls all matters relating to students and practitioners – disciplinary matters, educational standards and professional fees. www.ahpcsa.co.za
The Medicine Control Council (MCC) is a government body that examines, revises and regulates the registration and control of all homeopathic medicine.
The Homeopathic Association of South Africa (HSA) concerns itself with all matters relating to the interests of practitioners, maintaining and promoting the good name of the profession. www.hsa.org.za