FAQ's

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Homeopathy
'The highest ideal of cure is rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of the health, or removal and annihilation of the disease in its whole extent, in the shortest, most reliable, and most harmless way, on easy comprehensible principles'

Organon of Medicine Samuel Hahnemann

Definition

Homeopathy is a system of medicine which is based on natural laws which have always existed but which were only discovered, understood and applied therapeutically some 200 years ago. The word homeopathy, also spelt homoeopathy, comes from two Greek words homio meaning same and pathos meaning suffering. A homeopathic remedy is one which produces the same symptoms as those the sick person complains of, and in doing so sharply provokes the body into throwing them off. Similia Simillibus Curentur is the Latin phrase which was then chosen to describe the 'law of similars' which underpins homeopathy's application which simply means like cures like.

The way of similars, the homeopathic way, is to give the patient who has a set of particular symptoms which characterise their condition, a minute dose of a substance which in large doses causes similar symptoms of an artificially inflicted disturbance in a healthy person. This stimulus is provided in the form of a very highly diluted and potentised remedy. In its simplest terms, this can be explained by taking onions as an example. Chopping onions can cause streaming eyes, a symptom similar to the streaming eyes of some hay fever sufferers. In this way onion (Allium cepa) could be used, in its potentised form, as a treatment for hay fever when streaming eyes are a problem. Homeopathically prepared coffee (coffea tosta) is used to treat certain types of sleeplessness which resemble the sleeplessness caused by drinking coffee. The most effective remedy is always the one which matches three things: the physical symptoms, the mental and emotional symptoms, and the general sensitivities of the person concerned. The standard medical assumption is that if the body produced a symptom the appropriate treatment would be an antidote, an opposite or 'contrary' medicine to that symptom. For example, constipation would be treated with laxatives, which produce diarrhoea.

The symptom expression of each homeopathic remedy is discovered primarily through a standard procedure called a proving where a substance is tested on a group of healthy volunteers for its effects and the symptoms recorded and compared to produce the information which defines that particular remedy. Each homeopathic medicine has its unique symptom expression recorded in the homeopathic Materia Medica. The Materia Medica, Latin for medical matter or material, lists the symptom pictures of each remedy, as discovered in the provings.

The first consultation involves a detailed case-taking by the homeopath where the patient is examined and listened to while they explain in as much detail as possible their present symptoms, thoughts and feelings and the past history, this helps build up a comprehensive picture of the problem. The consultations are totally confidential. After recording the patient's case the homeopath will analyse the whole picture and by comparing the symptoms to the known remedies in the Materia Medica seek to find the remedy which best covers the patient's expressed symptoms mental, emotional and physical. Each patient is treated holistically. The remedy will be given to the patient in an appropriate potency and frequency of repetition according to the homeopath's assessment of their need. A homeopathic remedy may be given in tablet, pillule, powder or liquid form. After a suitable interval the patient will return to see the homeopath to assess the effect of the treatment and receive more treatment as and when appropriate. The number of appointments, number of remedies and amount of treatment will vary for each patient according to their condition and its severity.

Patients often feel a sense of well-being and optimism and are relaxed after taking a remedy. The speed at which it works will depend upon the condition being treated. In acute (short term) ailments this can be very fast often just minutes, but for chronic (long term) conditions the speed of recovery will vary according to the nature and history of the illness being treated. Sometimes your symptoms can appear to get worse for a short time. This is a good sign that the remedy is taking effect. Similarly, old symptoms can reappear, usually for a short period. If you have any concerns during homeopathic treatment consult your homeopath as soon as you can, it is important to know what happens as treatment progresses.

Yes, for many years homeopathic medicines have been recognised as safe and effective, being prepared to impeccable modern standards.

Homeopathic remedies are:

  • gentle and without side-effects;
  • suitable for all ages, babies, the elderly;
  • safe to use during pregnancy;
  • beneficial during the menopause;
  • not tested on animals, but on healthy, human volunteers;
  • safe to use alongside any other medicines

Remedies come in the form of pleasant tasting tablets, drops, granules or powders that dissolve in the mouth.

Homeopathy can treat many things as it is a holistic form of medicine. The homeopath is concerned with the well-being of the whole person, general health, diet and lifestyle, family illnesses, etc. Dealing with the cause, not just the symptoms will provide long term relief. It is beneficial when used as preventive medicine by boosting the body's own defence system to heighten resistance to colds, flu and other recurring infections. Invaluable also as First Aid - a small number of remedies will be able to deal with most routine problems: cuts, bruises, minor burns, insect bites, hangovers, etc. Also extremely effective for:

  • allergies (e.g. Hay fever, dust mites, etc.)
  • depression
  • phobias (e.g. Flying, spiders, etc.)

and much, much more.

During the initial consultation, which is confidential, the homeopathic physician needs to carefully question the patient regarding their medical history and characteristics of their personality, as the person is treated, not just the disease. In doing so, the Homeopath builds up a multi-dimensional picture to match one of the "drug pictures" or "constitutional types". They can then make a diagnosis upon which they will formulate and dispense a treatment.

A consultation with your homeopath can be the turning point that will lead to a restoration of health and vitality.

Homeopathy represents good value for money. A homeopathic remedy costs less than an NHS prescription and the average consultation fee for a professional homeopath is less than private, conventional medicine.

Contact the HMA office on 01474 560336, or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , for details of fully qualified and insured homeopaths in your area. All homeopaths on our register have to meet with our membership criteria and abide by our stringent Code of Ethics and Practice. You can use our online register to search for a practitioner who has met the requirements of the Homeopathic Medical Association.

Hippocrates in the fifth century BC wrote that there were two methods of healing, by contraries and by similars. His writings show his insistence on a high ethical standard, on accuracy of observation and clarity of recording cases rather than on theory and symptomatology. His observations on cure by similars were not followed by the medical profession and over the next thousand years they seemed to lie dormant, yet country people throughout the world have used this principle successfully in their own folk-medicines for many hundreds of years.

Paracelsus (1493-1541), a German doctor, was unconventional even by the standards of his time is known as 'the father of chemistry' for he updated alchemy by moving it away from its search for the elixir of life towards treating illness and practical pharmaceutical studies, based firmly on the observation of animals, minerals and plants. Paracelsus believed in the harmony of the whole universe. He turned to German folk-medicine, which believed in like curing like, or that the poison that causes disease should become its cure. Again, his observations on the law of similars were not taken up for over two hundred years.

Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) the Founder of Homeopathy. Hahnemann was the third of five children born into a poor but upright and devoutly Protestant family. He was educated initially by his parents. His father, a man of high principles and deep religious belief, taught him never to learn or listen passively but to question everything. At school, his teachers recognised his unusual intelligence and his family were not charged the usual fees for education at that time. Hahnemann studied Medicine and Chemistry at the University in Leipzig and qualified as a doctor in 1791. It was while he was translating a treatise on herbs by Dr Cullen of Edinburgh that he came to establish homeopathy as a medical system. Cullen has stated that quinine, an astringent substance purified from the bark of the cinchona tree (Cinchona calisaya), was a good treatment for malaria because it was an astringent. Hahnemann questioned why quinine should have an effect on malaria when other, more powerful, astringents did not. He decided to investigate and for several days dosed himself with quinine and noted down his reactions in great detail. It seemed that in a healthy person, himself, quinine produced all the symptoms of malaria, fever, sweating, shivering and weakness, this he called proving. He then went on to test various substances on himself, family, friends and medical colleagues. Using the results of his provings, Hahnemann went on to test various substances on sick people. From each consultation and examination he built up a 'symptom picture', he then prescribed the substance whose drug picture most closely matched it, the closer the match the more successful the treatment.

During the 20th century the advent of much of the new pharmacy and surgical techniques of modern conventional medicine led to a temporary decline in homeopathy's popularity in many countries. Now it is once again rapidly regaining popularity around the world as an alternative option to conventional medicine for the treatment of many conditions which conventional medicine only has limited effect on. Homeopathy is also useful at times as a complementary therapy when the effects of conventional treatment can be supported or mitigated as the case may be. As with any therapy homeopathy has certain limitation in which conditions it can treat but it is probably true to say that it is one of the therapies with the broadest scope in terms of the range of illnesses it can treat as well as the severity of pathology suffered. It is particularly useful in a whole range of conditions for which conventional medicine either has nothing to offer or offers only palliative approaches of symptom control or disease management. Homeopathy is a medical option for patients who want to manage and maintain their health holistically.

Homeopathic medicines known as remedies are prepared from source substances derived from all three of nature's kingdoms, animal, mineral and vegetable as well as from the realm of energy where medicines have been produced from different forms of radiation for example. The standardised process of 'potentisation' involving repeated serial steps of dilution and succussion by which all homeopathic medicines are prepared renders all original source materials innocuous to the human system. The potentised medicine maintains the curative properties of the original source substance which are effective when a chosen medicine is applied homeopathically to a particular patient according to the 'law of similliars'.

Potentised medicines are prepared according to the instructions recorded in homeopathic pharmacopoeia.  Used in Europe are the German and French pharmacopoeia which differ in a number of ways. It is envisaged that a European Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia will soon be in place which will replace the existing ones. Homeopathic medicines are recognised within European Union pharmaceutical legislation by directives 92/73/EEC and 92/74EEC, which acknowledge the particular nature of homeopathic medicines and give them special status and requirements alongside the rest of conventional pharmacy. There are currently more than three thousand remedies listed in the homeopathic materia medica.

Homeopathy is the proven way to better health, as it is gentle, non-invasive and effective. It is a completely natural way to get and stay healthy. Poor health can be treated effectively while still at the stage "I know there's something wrong, but no-one seems to be able to find anything", and before a more serious condition develops. Homeopathy has always taken into account rare and peculiar symptoms that can defy medical explanation, but which are nonetheless real enough to the patient. Homeopathic medicines are remedies, not drugs; they stimulate your body to heal itself. Homeopathic remedies are non-toxic, non-habit forming and are easy to take. Homeopathic medicines are not tested on animals.