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What is Homeopathy?

What is Homeopathy

What is Homeopathy? Homeopathy is a system of medicine based on the symptom manifestation of an individual patient.

The practice of homeopathy is based on an observation called the law of similar. What this means, in simple terms, is that what a substance can cause, it can cure. There are many examples of this principle of “like cures like.” Everyone knows how coffee keeps people awake and alert.  In homeopathy it is used in very small doses to cure patients with just that same kind of insomnia associated with an overly alert mind.[1]  –Timothy R. Dooley, N.D, M.D.

The term homeopathy comes from the Greek roots homoios meaning”similar” and pathos meaning “suffering” reflecting the basic theory of homeopathy using a substance that creates symptoms to cure those same symptoms. An important note is that with homeopathy, the symptom is not enough in and of itself. A practitioner of homeopathy must look for the peculiarity of the symptom in order to know what homeopathic remedy will best cover the patient. For example, there are many types of nausea so picking a remedy to cover nausea is in itself not effective, although you may get lucky with your remedy choice. However, nausea that causes vomiting, yet the vomiting does not make the nausea go away, known as relentless nausea, is a peculiar symptom and is best covered by ipecac. Nausea that is caused by the overindulgence of food or drink is best covered by nux vomica. The character or peculiarity of the symptom is extremely important to determine the most effective remedy.

The Basics of Homeopathy:

  1. Law of Similars (discussed above)
  2. The minimum dose – The recognized father of homeopathy, Samuel Hahneman, realized that medicine could be as problematic as it was curative. Thus he established experiments to determine how to give medicine without creating side effects. He used a process called potentization where medicines are highly diluted in a series of dilutions creating a non-toxic medicine that still retained its ability to cure when homeopathically indicated.
  3. Proving of medicines – Hahnemann conducted a series of experiments called proving whereby healthy individuals would take small doses of a substance on a daily basis and keep a thorough journal of all symptoms experienced during the course of the proving.  As Hahnemann was interested in the effects of the medicine on the whole person, volunteers were asked to make note of not only physical symptoms in great detail, but also to record information regarding sleep, appetite, thirst, sensations, heat, cold, emotions, desires, thoughts, etc.

Homeopathic medicine, also referred to as remedies, are substances that have been potentized into a highly diluted state following a strict protocol. They are predominately created in laboratories and regulated through the FDCA (Food Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938). The highly diluted homeopathic remedies are safe, effective, non-toxic, and have no side effects, unlike conventional medications.

Homeopathic mechanism of action not understood (from Homeopathy: Beyond Flat Earth Medicine, Timothy Dooley, N.D., M.D.)

The exact nature of this energetic property or how a living organism responds to it is not understood. Various theories have been proposed and research into these areas is ongoing.

The fact that the mechanism of action of homeopathic remedies has not been well defined does not change in any way their usefulness or effectiveness. It is common that understanding why something works is discovered long after it has been in use.

For example, sailors ate fresh fruit to dure the disease known as scurvy hundreds of years before it was understood that a substance called Vitamin C in the fruit is what the body needed. In conventional medicine today, the mechanism of action of many, if not most, medicines is poorly understood. The mechanism of action of common aspirin was not understood even partially until recent decades.

Homeopathy violates no known laws of chemistry, biology, or physics. Such a notion, sometimes promoted by skeptics of homeopathy, is ridiculous. Homeopathy was and is a therapeutic science based on objectively reproducible data and clinical experience. [2]

Homeopathy vs. Naturopathy:

Naturopathy and homeopathy are not the same, despite the fact the the terms are often inaccurately used interchangeably. Naturopaths utilize a variety of treatments including homeopathy. Homeopathy is one specific modality. There are practitioners that are trained exclusively in homeopathy and are not educated, qualified, or often interested in other modalities of treatment. At the same time, while naturopathic doctors trained in accredited medical schools learn the practice of homeopathy, it does not guarantee that the naturopathic doctor has interest or efficacy utilizing homeopathy as a treatment modality.

According to Dr. Dooley, N.D, M.D, author of Beyond Flat Earth Medicine, in his chapter entitled The Brilliance of Homeopathy, “Conventional medicine looks for what is the same between patients and then applies a uniform treatment to the disease. In homeopathy, we look for what is different, what makes each person unique, so we can treat the patient. Homeopathy is simple, really, It is the whole person who is affected by disease and it is the whole person who responds to medicines. To appreciate how the whole person is affected by disease or medicines, we have only to look at their symptoms. This is the secret to understanding how homeopathy differs from conventional medicine in a way as basic as the difference between the spherical earth and flat earth.”

[1] Dooley, Timothy R. “Non Toxic Medicines.” Homeopathy: Beyond Flat Earth Medicine. San Diego, CA: Timing Publications, 1995. 11. Print.

[2] Dooley, Timothy R. “Non Toxic Medicines.” Homeopathy: Beyond Flat Earth Medicine. San Diego, CA: Timing Publications, 1995. 46-47. Print.

Darla L. Logan, N.M.D earned her Doctorate from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine where she was trained in both conventional and natural health care. She currently practices General Medicine with an increased focus on regenerative medicine and injection therapies. Dr. Logan has completed specialty training in Environmental Medicine, Thyroid Disorders, Nutrition, Physical Medicine, and Injection Therapies including IV therapies, Prolotherapy and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy.

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