What is homeopathy? Homeopathy is a system of medicine which involves treating the individual with highly diluted substances, given mainly in tablet form, with the aim of triggering the body’s natural system of healing. Based on their specific symptoms, a homeopath will match the most appropriate medicine to each patient. For any condition, there are many possible remedies, allowing the practitioner to find the one remedy that most accurately fits his/her clients symptoms.
The purpose is using homeopathic remedies is to stimulate the mind and body to heal itself on all levels rather than suppressing symptoms like conventional medicine. Homeopathy is based on the principle that you can treat ‘like with like’, that is, a substance which causes symptoms when taken in large doses, can be used in small amounts to treat those same symptoms. For example, drinking too much coffee can cause sleeplessness and agitation, so according to this principle, when made into a homeopathic medicine, it could be used to treat people with these symptoms. This concept is sometimes used in conventional medicine. For example, small doses of allergens such as pollen are sometimes used to de-sensitize clients allergic to pollen. However, the major difference with homeopathic medicines is that substances are used in ultra-high dilutions, which makes them completely safe and non-toxic.
There are many myths regarding homeopathy. Listed below are some of the most common.
Myth 1. There is no research that shows that homeopathic medicines work.
Most clinical research studies conducted with homeopathic medicines is usually performed using one homeopathic remedy and without any regard for individualized treatment which is typical of classical homeopathy. For instance, the homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica may help one person with a headache and the homeopathic remedy Belladonna may help another. It all depends on the individuals symptoms.
Myth 2. Research studies showing that homeopathic medicines work are poorly conducted.
Studies showing the efficacy of homeopathic medicines have been published in many well know journals including the Lancet, the British Medical Journal, Pediatrics, Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, Cochrane Reports, Chest (the publication of the British Society of Rheumatology), Cancer (the journal of the American Cancer Society), Journal of Clinical Oncology (journal of the Society of Clinical Oncology), Human Toxicology, European Journal of Pediatrics, and many more. All studies were randomized, double-blind, and placebo controlled.
Myth 3. Homeopathic medicine has been diluted so much it is rendered useless. Ironically, the more diluted a homeopathic remedy, the stronger it's affect on the symptoms. Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, discovered that substances that were highly diluted and shaken between each dilution had a more powerful healing affect than those that were less diluted, and therefore, shaken less. Hahnemann believed that by taking a particular diluted substance that was in harmony with the "vital force" (living presence in a person that controlled the physical, emotional, and mental aspects of a person's well-being or illness and related to their spirit) it would restore balance where the vital force had become out of balance.
Myth 4. If we do not understand how homeopathic medicines work, then they must not work.
How many more times in history do scientists and others need before they realize that we do not understand a lot of nature's mysteries, but our lack of understanding does not mean that the mysteries are not real.
Myth 5. Homeopathic treatments are for humans only.
Homeopathic remedies can also be used on animals. Animals can be treated for many ailments including stress, anxiety, allergies, vomiting, and pain.
Myth 6. Homeopathic medications should not be used with modern medications.
Homeopathic medications can work well with modern medications. For example, people going through chemotherapy have lessened the side effects with the help of homeopathic treatments. However, some medications may interfere with homeopathic remedies and render them neutral. The less medication used using homeopathic remedies, the better chance the remedy will work.
Myth 7. All homeopathic treatments for a certain disease work for all people.
Homeopathic medicine treats every person differently. Unlike traditional medicine, which provides a single medication for a condition, a single homeopathic remedy will not treat every person who has the same disease or medical condition. The right remedy depends on the specific physical and emotional symptoms of an individual.
Myth 8. You can treat yourself once you have gained knowledge about homeopathic medicine.
For acute conditions such as flu and colds, this can be true. Everyone should have the most common homeopathic remedies available for acute conditions in their First Aid kit. But treatment of chronic and complicated diseases such as joint pain or diabetes requires the expertise of a well-trained homeopathic practitioner.
Wauters, Ambika, (2007), The homeopathy bible, New York: Sterling Publishing.