Homeopathy is a form of holistic medicine in which treatment is tailored to the individual. Homeopathy can be used alongside conventional medicine when necessary to give an integrated approach to your healthcare.
Definition: Homeopathy means “like cures like”. The word Homeopathy is pronounced “hoh-mee-op-a-thee”.
The basic principle of Homeopathy has been known since the time of the ancient Greeks and Hippocrates. Homeopathy is the medical practice of treating like with like. That is to say, treating an illness with a substance which when taken by a healthy person produces symptoms similar to those displayed by the person who is ill.
Current medical opinion takes the view that symptoms are a direct manifestation of the illness and, therefore, treats the ailment by suppressing the symptoms. Homeopathy, by contrast, sees the symptoms as the body’s reaction against the illness as it attempts to overcome it, and seeks to stimulate and not suppress the reaction. Homeopathy is essentially a natural healing process, providing remedies to assist the patient to regain health by stimulating the body’s natural forces of recovery. The remedies appear to trigger a healing process in the body, leading to the correction of the illness.
How Homeopathy Began
In the eighteenth-century Dr Samuel Hahnemann, the great German physician, appalled by the medical practices of the medical community sought a method of healing which would be safe, gentle and effective. He believed that human beings have a capacity for healing themselves and that the symptoms of disease reflect the individual’s struggle to overcome his illness. He reasoned that instead of suppressing symptoms he could seek to stimulate them and so encourage and assist the body’s natural healing process. Hahnemann discovered that when he took an infusion of cinchona bark (quinine) it produced the symptoms of Malaria.
Hahnemann re-discovered that when given to a patient suffering from the disease it alleviated the symptoms. In other words, a substance which produces symptoms in a healthy person will cure a person suffering from a disease having similar symptoms.
Hahnemann went on to discover that remedies obtained from animal, vegetable, and mineral sources were just as effective in extreme dilutions. In so doing he unexpectedly discovered the second principle of Homeopathy; that the more a remedy is diluted the more effective it becomes. Hahnemann then worked to establish the smallest effective dose. He realized that this was the best way to avoid side effects.
The third principle of Homeopathy is that people vary in their response to an illness according to their basic temperament. Thus, Homeopathy, concentrates on treating the patient rather than the disease. A homeopath does not automatically prescribe a specific remedy for a specific illness. Instead, he or she tries to determine the individual patient’s unique temperament and responses and prescribes on an individual basis. Patients suffering from the same diseases often require different remedies. On the other hand, another group of patients, with different diseases, may all benefit from the same remedy.
So to summarize: Hahnemann established the three principles of homeopathy:
- A medicine which in large doses produces the symptoms of a disease will in small doses cure that disease.
- By extreme dilution, the medicine’s curative properties are enhanced and all the poisonous or undesirable side effects are lost.
- Homeopathic medicines are prescribed individually by the study of the whole person, according to basic temperament and responses.