What is Homeopathy?
The word “homeopathy” is derived from Greek words meaning, “like disease”. Homeopathy is a system of medicine that is based on the Law of Similars. The truth of this law has been verified experimentally and clinically for the last 200 years. Disease causes a pattern of symptoms to occur in a healthy person that can be cured by the medicine that matches those same symptoms.
For example, if a person has the following hay fever symptoms; watering eyes that burn, sneezing and a continuous runny nose, these symptoms match the same symptoms a person would have from peeling an onion, and they may be treated with an extract of the onion that has been made into a homeopathic remedy.
Why does Homeopathy cure when other medicines fail?
It is a system that looks at individuals as a whole and not at a specific disease. For example, a person complains of neck pain from a car accident. The person tried many drugs, acupuncture, chiropractors, etc, that are only trying to treat the specific pain. The question is, what causes the pain to continue? In asking questions about the accident the Homeopath finds out that after the accident the person gets angry at other drivers of cars who get to close, as they fear they will be hit again and hurt. The Homeopath then finds out that when they get angry and fearful, their neck pain becomes tense and more painful. The Homeopath finds a remedy to take away the anger and fear, and sure enough the neck pain subsides and the patient fully recovers. Homeopathy treats the whole person. No other medicine addresses physical, emotional and mental issues as a whole. There are several thousand homeopathic remedies to choose from that address various sets of symptoms that cause someone to have chronic health problems. No other medicine is this diverse and no other medicine can cure like homeopathy. All of the cured cases you read about at this site, were cured because the medicine (remedy) matched the pattern of the symptoms of the patient.
Another important difference between conventional medical therapy and homeopathy is that in conventional therapy, the aim often is to control the illness through regular use of medical substances. If the medication is withdrawn, however, the person returns to illness. There has been no cure. A person who takes a pill for arthritis every day is not undergoing a cure but is only controlling the symptoms. Homeopathy’s aim is the cure!
Who provides treatment?
The availability of treatment depends on state laws. Many providers of homeopathy have extensive medical training. These include: MD or DO medical doctors, ND (naturopath), NP (nurse practitioner), PA (physician’s assistant), DC chiropractor, L Ac. DDS (dentist), DVM (veterinarians), Acupuncturist, etc. However, none of these credentials indicate a person’s ability to practice homeopathy.
The practitioners who have been credentialed by homeopathic certification groups, who have various requirements regarding education and skills in homeopathy, are those that should be better qualified include: RSHom (NA) registered society of homeopaths North America, DHANP diplomat homeopathic association of naturopathic physicians, DHt diplomate of Homeotheraputics, CCH certified in classical homeopathy. Also there are some very good Homeopathic consultants who work under a licensed physician. Although the practice of medicine is regulated under law, the use of homeopathic medicines for self-care is available to all, and those who buy remedies available over the counter for acute care, are free, under the laws of most states, to use them in such situations.
What are the Medicines / Remedies?
Homeopathic medicine is a natural pharmaceutical science that uses various plants, minerals or animals in very small dose to stimulate the sick person’s natural defenses. The medicines are individually chosen for their ability to cause in overdose the similar symptoms the person is experiencing. “Homoios” in Greek means similar and “pathos” means disease or suffering. Since one’s symptoms are actually efforts of the organism to reestablish balance, it is logical to seek a substance that would, in overdose, cause the similar symptoms the person is experiencing. The medicines, goes with, rather than against the person’s natural defenses.
Remedies are administered in a minute dose and have been greatly diluted. They are mixed with alcohol and potenized by shaking. They are prepared by a homeopathic pharmacy in accordance with FDA approved guidelines. Homeopathic Medicines are tested by groups of healthy people who take a plant, animal or mineral substance to determine the effects of its action. The main symptoms that the majority of people develop during this process determine which symptoms will respond well to each remedy. Such an experiment, using healthy volunteers, is called a proving,.
The selection of any homeopathic remedy is made on the totality of the symptoms presented by the patient. Any remedy may be used for any condition if the symptoms generated by the remedy match the symptoms experienced by the patient. Since there are potentially several 1000 remedies to choose from, you should not take remedies that are labeled for a specific illness as required by the FDA, but should seek a qualified homeopath to prescribe. This is the same reason why you should not take combination remedies. (more information on this in the future) The exception to this is for people who have studied homeopathy, such as with study groups that are available in many cities, (see Links: National Center for Homeopathy to find study groups near you) who treat themselves and family members in acute instances. Some remedies are invaluable for severe acute cases and you can learn about these remedies through study groups.
Why isn’t Homeopathy better known in the U.S.A.?
While it is extremely well known in Europe and many other countries, some in which over 50% of all medical treatments are homeopathic, the supply of Classical Homeopaths in the U.S.A is very low. While it‘s growth rate has increased in recent years, and it will continue to grow, the practice of homeopathy is extremely complicated and takes many years of practice to become efficient. Also, many practitioners do not practice Classical Homeopathy and their success rate is significantly less.
Secondly, the methods of practicing classical Homeopathy vary greatly regarding case taking, analysis and prescribing and as a result, the over all success rate of cured cases varies greatly from practitioner to practitioner. Most homeopaths can cure 80% of all acute cases while the cure rate of chronic cases is considerably lower as they are more complex. However, some homeopaths have very high cure rates (over 80%) for chronic cases. One objective of Perennial Medicines is to complete research to determine which method or methods have higher success rates and then to promote those methods. (see About Perennial Medicines)
Also, the FDA requirement for labeling a remedy for any one specific illness creates many problems for homeopathy. Many people buy a remedy from a health food store for a specific illness like headaches. They take the remedy with a great deal of hope, but nothing happens. While some remedies are well known for specific illnesses since homeopathy treats the whole person and many symptoms determine which remedy to take, the odds of picking a remedy off the shelf and being cured are probably less than 1 in 100. Then the person who tried homeopathy is greatly disappointed. This is very unfortunate as for most acute illnesses a classically trained homeopath can find the right remedy within 1-2 tries and the patient would be cured quickly. That is why most people who want to try homeopathy should only do so with a qualified homeopath and should never self prescribe. The exception to this is for people who have studied homeopathy, such as with study groups available in many cities, (see Links: National Center for Homeopathy) who treat themselves and family members in acute instances.
Also combination remedies are heavily marketed and while they may relieve some symptoms or provide a cure in some cases, the odds of the remedy working are very low. Again this is based on the fact that remedies must be selected based on individual symptoms and not a specific illness. So when people try combination remedies and the fail to work, the reputation of homeopathy suffers.
A Brief History of Homeopathy in the U.S. A. & it’s Future Homeopathy was brought to the United States (beginning in 1825) by several doctors from Europe. They trained many other physicians and established schools. At the turn of the century there were over 20 homeopathic medical colleges, and one out of five doctors used homeopathy. But the move toward a mechanical model of the body and of disease pushed homeopathy into the background. The A.M.A. was seriously threatened clinically, philosophically, and economically by homeopathy and by the mid 1940s Homeopathy almost became extinct in this country. However, despite the strong pressure from A.M.A. and the drug companies, homeopathy has survived and has flourished throughout the world and is now growing rapidly in many countries.
The present day resurgence of homeopathy in the U.S. has been fueled in part by demand of patients wanting to be fully and permanently cured and the great efforts of the National Center for Homeopathy, New England School of Homeopathy, and others listed at this site in “Links” , that are bringing homeopathy back into the medical care system in our country. It is estimated that approximately 3,500 physicians and other health care practitioners currently use homeopathy and approximately 3 million people per year seek help from a homeopathic doctor. Recent market research shows that sales of homeopathic medicines have grown at a rate of 30-40% per year during the past ten years.
Perennial Medicines has plans to address many of the issues herein and to promote homeopathy by educating and encouraging the public to seek out a qualified homeopath. (See About Perennial Medicines)