Based on the concept of “like heals like”, homeopathy was founded by a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, in 1796. Hahnemann, like Hippocrates 2,000 years earlier, realised that the “law of similars” was an effective way to heal the body and mind. He was shocked by the medical practices of the day, which included blood letting and purging, and felt sure that there had to be a gentler, less invasive way of healing, without horrific side effects. By giving minute doses of a substance that would cause the symptoms the body is displaying, homeopathy triggers the body’s innate healing process, e.g. a minute dose of coffee is used to help heal people suffering from agitation and restlessness. The minute dose is usually given in the form of a little pill, which dissolves easily in the mouth, making it an ideal and safe approach for children and animals. Homeopathy looks at the whole person, and recognises that symptoms of ill health are expressions of disharmony within an individual.
What to expect when you visit a homeopath
A good homeopath should be your first port of call when considering using homeopathy for your family. Many people who visit a homeopath for the first time are amazed at how holistic the approach is: rather than rush through a quick list of physical symptoms, a homeopath asks many questions, from how you cope in stressful situations to what time of day you are at your best, to build a thorough picture of you and your health. This aware, thoughtful approach allows them to treat the whole person and not just the symptoms, as each person experiences life differently. When you are a parent, this kind of approach can feel amazingly nurturing; the homeopath is interested in your child as an individual, in you as a parent, and how they can help. The Society of Homeopaths offers a find a homeopath service at homeopathy-soh.org.uk.
How to Prescribe
As mentioned, homeopathy is based on the principle that “like cures like”. Each remedy has a “picture” and homeopathy works effectively when you can find a match between your symptoms and those of a particular remedy. For example, a headache may be throbbing, stabbing, pressing, better by heat or cold or pressure, etc. each suggesting a different picture. There are books and leaflets on homeopathy which can help you to find the correct match for your condition.
Remedies are readily available in two strengths (also called “potency”): 6c and 30c. 30c is preferable for a quicker response, but either can be used. The correct choice of remedy is more important than the potency.
Taking the remedy
- Avoid handling the tablets - use a clean spoon or tip into mouth from the lid of the bottle.
- Remedies are absorbed in the mouth, so suck the remedy until it dissolves.
- Avoid mints, menthol and eucalyptus when you are taking the remedy.
- Keep remedies away from sunlight, high temperatures, and strong-smelling substances (e.g. perfume, disinfectants, nail-polish) to avoid inactivation. If stored correctly, homeopathic remedies will remain active for decades.
Repeating the remedy
The frequency of the dose depends on the effects of the remedy. Here are some guidelines for the use of 30c potencies (for 6c, double or treble the frequency)
- If there is a lot of discomfort, repeat the remedy every 5-30 minutes.
- For less urgent conditions, e.g. cough, food poisoning, etc., repeat every 1-2 hours.
- For non-urgent conditions, e.g. flu, sore throat, teething, etc., repeat every 4-8 hours.
Once you see that the remedy has started to work, “stretch” the dose, that means, increase the gap between repetitions. There is no need to repeat as long as there is an improvement - repeat if symptoms return.
As a rule of thumb, in acute conditions, if you have taken 6 repetitions of a remedy and there is absolutely no improvement, it is likely that a different remedy is needed.
READ The Family Guide to Homeopathy by Andrew Locke
VISIT worldhomeopathy.org for info on Homoepathy Awareness Week that takes place from 10-16 April
LEARN Various study options available at homeopathyschool.com including Homeopathy First Aid course
HOW TO TREAT YOUR FAMILY
Dr. Gabriel Blass of homeopathy-glasgow.co.uk talks about administering remedies at home:
Homeopathic remedies are safe, but it is important not to miss a serious diagnosis, so if in doubt, seek professional advice. Homeopathy can be used alongside conventional treatment.
Homeopathic self-treatment is safe in conditions which are brief in duration and self-limiting, non-life-threatening and the diagnosis is clear e.g. colds, flu, sore throats, teething babies, cystitis, boils, occasional headaches, infant colic, indigestion, acute diarrhoea, motion sickness, exam nerves, etc or for first aid e.g. bruises, cuts, sprains, minor burns, insect stings (including serious problems until help arrives).
Self-prescribing is not appropriate if it is a long-standing condition or it involves important organs, symptoms suggest a serious cause e.g. chest pain, the diagnosis is not clear or the patient is already undergoing professional homeopathic treatment.
CREATE YOUR OWN FIRST AID KIT: 5 REMEDIES THAT ARE USEFUL TO HAVE AT HOME
ARNICA - The single most important remedy for trauma and bruises, falls, “black eyes” from blows, concussion, surgical trauma and post-surgical bruising, dental procedures, extractions, labour and trauma of delivery. Also important in the first hours after a bone fracture and to treat sore muscles after unaccustomed exertion or exercise.
ACONITE - After sudden fear, fright or shock, trauma when accompanied by great terror. fear of death, with anxiety and restlessness,
at the first sign of any inflammation which develops suddenly after exposure to dry cold weather, or cold winds, e.g. “first sneeze” after catching chill, fever, sore throat, cystitis, diarrhoea, etc.
CALENDULA - Useful in cuts, abrasions, or in virtually any open wound to prevent infection and speed healing. Also to prevent scarring as wound heals. In post-surgical wound infections. For cleansing an open wound you can use the diluted tincture as well.
HYPERICUM - Wounds to areas dense in nerves - tongue, fingertips, genitals. Injuries to nerves. Where pain is more severe than the injury seems to warrant.
SYMPHYTUM - Promotes new bone growth in fractures. Acts so quickly, fractures must be set before the remedy is given. Non-union of fractures. For painful fractures even if they have already healed.
10 REASONS TO USE HOMEOPATHY
- NO HARMFUL SIDE EFFECTS - A preparation process called potentisation removes all toxicity from each substance. It is safe for all ages and during pregnancy. However it is advised to be under the care of a qualified practitioner.
- GENTLE - Healing through homeopathy is a gentle process and results are often powerful and long lasting.
- HOLISTIC - Homeopathy considers and addresses the whole person. Often one or a succession of single remedies resolves all complaints.
- INEXPENSIVE - Remedies usually cost surprisingly less than allopathic prescriptions and most herbs/supplements.
- PREVENTATIVE - By boosting the immune system and overall health, homeopathy improves a person’s resistance to infections and possible illnesses.
- NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS - Humans respond differently to medicine than animals. All homeopathic medication is tested on healthy humans.
- EASY TO TAKE - Homeopathic medicines are given as small pleasant tasting pellets which dissolve in the mouth, through olfaction, or in liquid form. Granules, powders and drops are also available.
- PATIENT INVOLVEMENT - A homeopath will ask many questions, not only about the symptoms which are bothering an individual, but also how they react to the condition and about their general health and lifestyle.
- INVALUABLE FOR FIRST AID - Homeopathic medicines can be safely used anywhere to treat bruises, minor burns, sprains, insect bites, gastric upsets and more.
- THE MEDICINE OF THE FUTURE - With over 3000 homeopathic medicines and new remedies being made all the time, Homeopathy is a growing art.