Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Homeopathy: Answers to Some Basic Questions

Homeopathy is system of therapy which gently stimulates healing. In homeopathy, everyone is seen as a complete and whole person. Symptoms are recognized as that person 's best effort at healing. The pattern of these symptoms is what determines the homeopathic remedy needed to stimulate healing.

Homeopathic treatment reaches all spheres of the person, including the mental, emotional, and physical levels of being. We define health and "dis-ease" as any limitation of freedom in a person's life. Any symptom, whether mental, emotional, or physical, which limits a person from being freely creative in his or her life, is viewed as significant in homeopathy.

What is a Homeopathic Remedy and How Does It Work?
About 200 years ago, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, was working to discover how medicines work. At that time, Chinchona bark was used to treat malaria. Although he did not have malaria, Hahnemann decided to take some Chinchona bark himself. H e found that while he was taking it he got malaria-like symptoms. When he stopped taking it, the symptoms went away. He then found that if he diluted the bark to remove any toxic effects and "energized" of "potentized" it by shaking, it would still caus e temporary symptoms if he took it for awhile.
Further testing showed that these very dilute doses would stimulate healing in a person with the same pattern of symptoms. This principle held true for every remedy Hahnemann tested. After testing the remedy in healthy people to discover its symptom pat tern, he was able to stimulate healing in an ill person with these same symptoms. He called this discovery the "Law of Similars." There now are nearly 2,000 remedies derived from mineral, plant, and animal sources.
The remedies act to stimulate the natural healing processes within the person. They do not merely suppress or control symptoms. There is no "drug" effect: therefore, there are no real side effects. The remedies are powerful but nontoxic and cannot caus e any actual damage. No one knows exactly how a homeopathic remedy works, only that it does work. Of course, no one knows exactly how an aspirin works, either.

How is a Remedy Selected?
Each person is carefully assessed according to his/her unique pattern of symptoms at the mental, emotional, and physical levels. This totality of symptoms gives an overall "picture" of the "disease" in the person. A remedy is selected which best matches the overall pattern or totality of the symptoms. For a chronic illness, the initial evaluation may take 1 1/2 hours. If the remedy "picture" is not clear, the homeopath may need further study or even another visit to find the best remedy.

What Can be Expected to Happen After the Remedy is Given?
The remedy is usually given as a single dose dissolved under the tongue. Because it stimulates the "vital force" of the body towards healing, the changes are usually gentle and subtle. When the healing forces are stimulated, about 40% of people will not ice a temporary increase in some symptoms. This is a sign of strong healing action. Another good sign of the healing process is a temporary return of some old symptoms.

How Long Does Treatment Take?
The length and speed of the healing process depends on many factors, including heredity, severity and length of illness, current and previous medications, level of ongoing life stresses, etc. In general, the treatment is usually at least a few months and can last up to a few years.
Follow-up is critical. For chronic illnesses, follow-up intervals vary from four to six weeks early on to several months later on. Acute illnesses may require follow-up even every few hours until healing is well established.

What is the Patient's Role in Homeopathy?
Homeopathy demands a great deal from the patient. Each illness is unique to the individual. Diagnostic labels (such as diabetes, colitis, etc.) have little use in recommending a remedy. The patient must be aware of and relate to the homeopath all sens actions and feelings, even those which may seem peculiar or unimportant, at all three levels (mental, emotional, and physical) in order to help arrive at the one best remedy for that particular time.
Homeopathy demands patience, perseverance, and commitment. It is not a quick-fix therapy, although it may result in dramatic improvements. The progress of healing in chronic illness can be slow with ups and downs. The long-term results are usually very gratifying, with an elevation in a person's over-all level of health and well-being.

What Are the Chances of Being Helped and What Are the Risks?
As in any therapy, there can be no guarantees. Homeopathy can potentially help any problem at any level (mental, emotional, or physical) except for physical mechanical obstructions and irreversibly damaged tissues. Experience has shown that more than 80 % of people can be helped by homeopathy.
Because healing can be slow and gentle, another "risk" is giving up too soon. A small percentage of people must wait up to six months to see positive results. There are also people whose vitality is so low that the remedy may not be able to stimulat e complete healing. However, even these people can usually benefit from treatment.

What Can Interfere With Treatment?
Treatment may be interfered with or be unsuccessful if a person stays in an environment which is very stressful or "toxic". This may include certain substances known to cause severe reactions to the system, such as chemicals or even certain foods. Ongoi ng emotionally stressful situations may also interfere. Many homeopathic remedies are available in health food stores. These are intended for use in acute illnesses and will work very well if given correctly. Some words of caution: Because these remedies powerfully affect the "defense mechanism" of the body , they should be used only sparingly and after considerable study as to their proper use. Overuse can make it almost impossible to stimulate healing in a chronic disorder. "Acute" remedies shouldn't be taken when a person is under homeopathic care for a chronic disorder unless recommended by the homeopath since some remedies complement each other and some don't work well together.

No comments: