homeopathyWhat is Homeopathy?

Homeopathy is a non-toxic system of medicine used to treat illness and relieve discomfort of a wide variety of health conditions. It is practiced by licensed physicians and other qualified prescribers in many regions of the world, including Europe, Asia, the U.K., and the U.S. Information on the use of several hundred remedies has been collected for nearly two centuries by homeopathic practitioners, through research studies known as “provings”, as well as documented clinical cases and recent scientific trials.

The Law of Similars and Potentization

Two important ideas on which the science of homeopathy is based are the Law of Similars and potentization. Simply expressed, the Law of Similars states that, since exposure to a substance can cause specific symptoms in a healthy person, that substance—when correctly prepared as a homeopathic remedy—can stimulate the body’s curative powers to overcome similar symptoms during illness.

For example: A person who chops an onion can develop watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and throat irritation from exposure to the onion’s active substances. The homeopathic remedy, Allium cepa, made of potentized red onion, can help the body overcome a cold or allergy attack in which the person has similar symptoms (watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, or throat irritation.) The actual symptoms of the illness were not caused by exposure to an onion, but the remedy made from the onion can help the body overcome them, because the symptoms are similar.

Potentization is a process that involves a series of precise dilutions and succussions (succussion is a vigorous shaking action). A substance has to undergo this process to be useful as a homeopathic remedy. Potentization is very important, because the repeated process of dilution and succussion brings about an energetic change that gives the substance a deeper curative effect. Repeated dilution removes all chance of chemical toxicity, allowing the homeopathic use of many substances that would otherwise not be safe to take as medicine.

The safety and non-toxicity of homeopathic remedies is reassuring; however, they still must be chosen carefully on the basis of specific information—and used correctly—or they may affect the symptoms only superficially, or have no effect at all. Homeopathic remedies are not selected simply to treat an isolated symptom or a named disease. To work correctly, they must be chosen to match the way an individual’s system expresses its unique response to the current stress and illness. Even within the same diagnosis, different people respond to different remedies.

Using Homeopathy with Professional Guidance

Homeopathic remedies can also be helpful in complex or even serious conditions—although self-prescribing is not appropriate in such cases. To correctly select the remedy and monitor the healing process, an experienced practitioner who is trained in homeopathy should be involved, for the following reasons:

• Medical knowledge is needed to assess complex or serious conditions. Professional diagnostic tests may be necessary as well.

• Using a remedy that covers isolated symptoms superficially, but does not fit the person on deeper levels, may change or suppress the symptoms, yet not be deeply curative.

• Even with a correctly-chosen remedy, a temporary aggravation of symptoms may occur as part of the healing process. Training and experience are required to distinguish a helpful aggravation from an intensification of symptoms that occurs because a remedy has not acted and the illness is progressing.

• An inexperienced or impatient person might be tempted to repeat the remedy unnecessarily, or change to other remedies at times when waiting is appropriate.

If an illness or condition is chronic or deep-seated, it is best to consult an experienced practitioner, for a “constitutional” remedy that fits the characteristic symptoms of the case and considers the person’s physical condition and individual nature in a more comprehensive way. At a typical first visit, we interview a patient to take a careful history and elicit information about many aspects of the person’s state of health—before choosing a remedy.