What is Homeopathy?
Practitioners of Homeopathy treat their patients by drugs based on components, which cause symptoms similar to those, from which the patient is suffering. It is thus said, that homeopathy is the science of treating the like with the like. The logic behind this approach is that symptoms are actually signs of the body’s struggle with the disease.
Homeopaths create their remedies guided by ‘drug pictures’ and observation of the patient’s symptoms. A ‘drug picture’ is a description of symptoms, which a homeopathic drug component causes in healthy volunteers during a procedure known as ‘proving’. Drug pictures are recorded in homeopathic repertories.
A Homeopath will use a repertory to find out which components cause symptoms similar to those, from which the patient is suffering. He will then take those components and subject them to successive dilutions in water or alcohol following by shakings (succussions). This diluting procedure is called ‘potentization.’ It must be noted, that the degrees of dilution used in homeopathy are so great, that the end results sometimes consist of nothing but the diluting agent. Homeopaths say, that this diluting agent carries an active ‘memory’ of the components diluted and can therefore produce effects similar to the effects of the initial components but having a much greater healing power.
The father of homeopathy was the German physician Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann. He has come to formulate the principles of homeopathy in his works “The Organon of the Rational Art of Healing” in 1810 and “Organon of Healing Art” in 1819 after multiple experiments. To Dr. Hahnemann homeopathy was a sensible alternative to the crude and harsh medicinal practices of his day, which largely consisted of excessive bloodletting, blistering, and prescriptions of ‘heroic’ doses of mercury in an effort to ‘purge’ the illness from the body. It is said, that in those times more people died of medicine, than were healed by it. Dr. Hahnemann tried to develop a more kind and gentle medical practice.
From the days of Dr. Hahnemann up into the modern times homeopathy is known for its highly individual approach to the patient. The first visit to a homeopath may last about one hour and a half, while the practitioner learns about the patient all, which he thinks is important for prescription of treatment. This information may include eating and sleeping habits, hobbies and activities, previous illnesses etc. Based on this data the homeopath tries to find a remedy which suits the patient the most as an individual.
This is one of the reasons why people turn to homeopathy. It is the promise of a thoroughly individual approach, which most modern physicians in classical medicine cannot offer due to time constraints.
The other reasons why people seek the help of a homeopath are, first, for many chronic conditions conventional medicine is able to counteract only the symptoms, but not the disease, which caused them. Homeopathic medicine is said to tackle the root cause of many a chronic condition. Second, homeopathic preparations are normally very safe as they contain only infinitesimal portions of the active ingredient. Third, homeopathic medicines are normally much cheaper, than the conventional ones because they normally do not have to undergo the rigorous testing and evaluation required of the latter. This is because government drug authorities do not regard them as posing any potential threat due to high dilution levels.
People seek the aid of homeopaths for such ailments as migraines, arthritis, pain control, digestive problems, sleep disorders, and emotional disorders. The safety of homeopathic remedies appears to be a powerful incentive for many parents to turn to a homeopath’s for help with their child’s problems. However, for some conditions the patient is best advised to seek the help of a conventional physician. Such conditions include acute infections, cancers, and pains from serious traumas, heart problems, and cases requiring emergency surgery.
Homeopathy is one of the most controversial practices in alternative medicine, which often sparks hot debate between its advocates and critics. The critics allege that there is up to date no solid scientific proof that homeopathy is effective and no credible scientific explanation of the mechanism by which it works. The practitioners in their turn argue that modern science is simply not yet advanced enough to deal with these issues and the greatest proof of the credibility of homeopathy is its 200-year history of successful treatment and its ever-growing popularity fuelled by positive experiences of millions of patients.