What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is one of the most profound systems of natural healing ever developed. First founded in the late 18th century by a German physician, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, it spread throughout Europe and then to every continent of the world, including North America. In Europe, many physicians use homeopathy as part of their arsenal of patient care, and in some countries, such as India, it is primary care medicine. Homeopathy was prevalent in U.S. medical practice and training during the 19th century and underwent a period of suppression in the early part of the 20th century, but it has rebounded in popularity and practice since the late 1960s.
Homeopathy uses infinitesimally small doses of natural substances (based on plant, mineral, or animal sources) to stimulate a person’s inherent self-healing ability and thereby bring about improvements on the mental, emotional, and physical levels. The goal is to find, from the thousands of remedies available, the one that most closely resonates with an individual and his or her condition. When a truly resonant remedy is used, a person begins to experience a mental and emotional transformation and sense of well-being—even before physical symptoms begin to clear.
How Homeopathy Works
To better understand why and how homeopathy works, it helps to know a few of the basic principles on which it is founded. For example:
- Vital Force: Everyone has an inherent ability to self-heal. Western medicine might label this concept the immune system, but in homeopathy we refer to it as the Vital Force because it encompasses the mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects of human beings. The Vital Force can be damaged by stress, trauma, medications, and many other life experiences. Stimulating and enhancing the strength of the Vital Force is our primary goal in homeopathic treatment.
- Treat the person, not the disease: Let’s say you know ten people with insomnia. In conventional biomedicine, all ten might receive the same pharmaceutical drug to help them sleep, with varying success. In homeopathy, though, we recognize that each person is an individual. One person having trouble sleeping might be anxious, another might be worrying about work or family, a third might habitually overeat or drink too much alcohol before bedtime, another might be anemic from heavy menstrual flow, and so on. Each person would likely receive a different remedy customized to his or her “big picture.”
- Totality of symptoms: In homeopathy, we want to know more about this “big picture.” A person’s physical symptoms are important (all of them, not just the ones related to the main problem!), but so are life traumas, emotional and social habits, food likes and dislikes, factors that make the problem seem better or worse, sleeping positions, reactions to weather changes, and more.
- Law of similars: The shortest way to describe this “law” is by the aphorism, “What a substance can cause, it can cure.” For example, imagine you eat a substance that causes acid indigestion, spasms, chills, and irritability. When this same substance is made into a homeopathic remedy, it relieves those same symptoms.
- Minimum dose: Getting the right remedy is important, but so is getting the right potency. Less is more: The higher the potency, the less of the original substance remains in the remedy, but the stronger its healing effects become. This phenomenon stems from the way an original substance is successively diluted and succussed, or shaken, to increase its medicinal powers. Homeopathic remedies are safe, nontoxic, and without harmful side effects. But our goal is to find the lowest possible potency to achieve the desired results. Adjusting the potency to match a person’s natural sensitivity levels helps speed improvement.
- Law of cure: During homeopathic treatment, symptoms typically disappear first from the mental processes and emotional outlook, then from vital internal organs, and last of all from superficial organs such as the skin. This is why people feel a sense of improved well-being even before their physical symptoms start to change.
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Who Can Benefit from Homeopathy?
Nearly everyone can benefit from homeopathic treatment. Homeopathy is useful for both acute and chronic conditions. In acute conditions, finding an appropriate remedy is often straightforward and based on assessment of a few key symptoms.
Homeopathy is often considered a natural medicine of last resort, though; individuals often come to a homeopath only after they have tried everything else unsuccessfully. It is for these kinds of situations that homeopathy can work its most profound magic:
- Recurrent illnesses (for example, repeated ear infections in children, lifelong tendencies to urinary tract infections)
- Cognitive and behavioral problems in children
- Extremely sensitive individuals who are highly allergic or cannot tolerate perfumes, medications, and so on
- Illnesses that originate in unresolved emotional trauma or dysfunctional ways of coping
- Various stages of chronic or degenerative conditions
You are in for a special treat when you choose to embark on the homeopathic journey. It is a journey of transformation, greater self-awareness, and heightened life energy to face your current and future challenges with vitality.
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