What is Homeopathy and How it Helps
Homeopathy or homeopathic medicine was developed in Germany well over 200 years ago. It was developed by Samuel Hahnemann at the end of the 18th century and has been practiced in the US since the early 19th century. Homeopathy is also widely used in India, England, and many other European countries.
It is an alternative medical philosophy based on the idea that the body has the ability to heal itself. Homeopathy has been used for wellness, prevention, and the treatment of many diseases and illnesses. It is based on two principles; the principle of similars and dilutions.
The Principle of Similars
The principle of similars or "like cures like" is one of the central principles of homeopathy. This principle is based on the belief that a disease can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy people. In other words, you would take a homeopathic remedy that produces the same symptoms you have to enhance your body's own self regulatory system. The law of similar seeks to stimulate the ability for the body to heal itself. It has been said that our bodies have an innate intelligence or wisdom. The symptoms that occur in the body is how the body chose to respond to a stressor or a situation. The symptom is how the body is compensating.
Homeopathy actually comes from the Greek word meaning similar (homo) and disease (pathos). The idea of similars can be traced back to Hippocrates and was further developed by Samuel Hahnemann after he ingested cinchona bark, a popular treatment that was used for malaria. Samuel found that when he took the cinchona bark, he actually developed the symptoms of malaria. This discovery led to his theory that if a substance could cause symptoms of disease in a healthy person, small amounts could cure a sick person who had similar symptoms.
The Principle of Dilutions
The principle of dilutions or "law of minimum dose" states that the lower the dose of the homeopathic remedy, the greater its effectiveness. Substances are diluted in a certain manner. Each substance is diluted many times and shaken vigorously in-between the dilutions. In Homeopathy, this dilution process is known as "potentization". Homeopaths believe that the solutions energy and information is transmitted from the original substance to the final diluted remedy. Most of the homeopathic remedies are so diluted that no molecules of the original healing substance remain. The basis of the dilution and belief is that the final substance contains the "imprint" or "essence" of the original substance and that is what stimulates the body to heal itself.
Many critics of homeopathy believe that there is so little active substance left in a solution that any benefits from taking the solution are highly unlikely to have an effect. These critics feel that the benefit is more of a placebo effect. On the other hand, the supporters of homeopathy believe that although these solutions are highly diluted, they actually contain a "memory" of the original substance in water and that the body recognizes this substance and reacts to it.
Homeopathic Remedies and Treatments
Homeopathic Remedies are designed on an individuals genetic and personal health history, body type, and current physical, emotional, and mental symptoms. An initial visit can be lengthy and the homeopathic remedies are specific to each person. It is very common in homeopathy that individuals with the same problem or disease will often receive a different homeopathic remedy. Remember, homeopathic remedies are based on an individuals symptoms and symptoms often vary.
All homeopathic remedies are derived from natural substances. These substances come from plants, minerals, or animals. I know many of you have heard of some of the more common homeopathics like arnica and rhus tox.
In 2006, approximately 3.9 million US adults and 900,000 children used homeopathy, according to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey. Some of the following conditions use homeopathic remedies; allergies, arthritis, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, dermatitis, digestive disorders, ear infections headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and skin rashes like poison ivy.
Homeopathic remedies are prepared according to the guidelines of the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS) and are regulated in the same manner as over the counter drugs. Most homeopathic remedies are considered to be safe and have been regulated in the United States since 1938.
Written by Mara Gerke, CA, CNHP, All Rights Reserved.